Eugene Cho

so sad that my parents have only 19 friends

Have you seen this commercial about a car called Venza (video below)?

I have no idea about the car. In fact, I’ve never even heard about this car from Toyota but I did see the commercial for the first time last night and laughed out loud or LOL or ROFLOL or whatever it is that people write nowadays.

Absolutely brilliant.

Funny, biting, and surprisingly provocative because it directly or indirectly asks some probing questions about “our generation” and social media:

  • Are we more connected?
  • Are we more social?
  • Are we more engaged in community?

Or even deeper yet…

Are we happier than our parents or our parents’ generation?

My parents aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and the last time I checked, they weren’t using MySpace. They don’t own a smartphone, an iPhone, 3D phone, iPad, Blackberry, but a dumbphone that just calls and answers.  They don’t instragram, Foursquare, check-in, Gowherehuh, etc. And while they do use a laptop and email, they seem to do absolutely great connecting with friends without usage of the great and indispensable gifts of social media.

I don’t know if they’re happier but they certainly understand the importance of connectedness and community.

Minhee and I have been begging my parents (who reside in San Francisco) to move up to Seattle to live with us or live close to us. We love them. We want to be around them. We’d love their help with the kids. We want our kids to spend as much time with them as possible. We want to care for them as they age. And our list goes on and on why them moving to Seattle makes sense.

But they can’t make the decision to move because…well…their community are all in San Francisco.

It was news to me: Community matters as much to my parents as it does for us. In fact, I might contend that it may actually matter more since they don’t lean at all on the over-inflated experiences of feeling connected via social media.

“This is living…”

It’s difficult to quantify an answer to the question, “Are we happier?” but as great are the benefits and merits of social media, I do wonder if we – in our current generation – actually love telling the story of our stupendous lives via 140 characters, check-ins, facebook statuses, and other mediums more than being fully present in that moment.

I’m certainly been there. Done that.

My parents? They love telling stories, too. But I noticed it happens after the event. And with real people in the flesh around them. And over a meal or with food and drinks involved. And they don’t LOL…they actually laugh out loud.

Go figure.

What do you think?

Here’s the commercial:

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15 Responses

  1. Thanks for this. One of the surprising trends that Andy Crouch said to look for is that young adults are making decisions based on their community instead of their job. I guess it’s not just the “young” people!

    “At the Q gathering in 2010, urbanologist Richard Florida observed that young adults meeting one another no longer ask, “What do you do?” They ask, “Where do you live?” More and more people will change careers in order to stay in a place—connected to family, friends, and local culture—than will change place to stay in a career. The 20th-century American dream was to move out and move up; the 21st-century dream seems to be to put down deeper roots. This quest for local, embodied, physical presence may well be driven by the omnipresence of the virtual and a dawning awareness of the thinness of disembodied life.”
    http://www.qideas.org/blog/ten-most-significant-cultural-trends-of-the-last-decade.aspx

  2. Drew Brown says:

    I think the reason why social networking is so popular is because it “satisfies” our hunger to be connected with other people, but without all the hurt that comes from real relationships.

  3. Jim says:

    “I read an article. Well, I read the majority or an article online…”

    So funny. And then I stopped laughing because I realized it was making fun of me.

    Darn it.

  4. Rebecca says:

    LOL
    LMAO
    ROTFL
    ROTFLMAO

  5. Daniel Azuma says:

    I think I’m going to skip my usual philosophical-theological tirade against technology and social media, and… go out for a bike ride. 🙂

  6. Dennis Lyons says:

    I love your work/ministry, whatever you want to call it! You are always right where I’m thinking, which probably isn’t very mainstream. Yes, I’m one of thoose older people who has started to do some networking, but mostly to stay connected to my kids; who don’t cal as much as they text, facebook, and what ever else it is they do. I try to stay connected to friends from church,etc. but it does seem that most arr going with tech. for communication,,,,it would be nice to just go out to dinner sometime!!!

  7. jddoug17 says:

    Eugene, thanks. Helpful for a talk I’m doing at a Ministry Net conference. Have to keep remembering–it’s about real people. Real community.

  8. […] 8 minutes of this month. I’ll refrain rom saying the best used 8 minutes of your life because that would be sad if watching a video is the highlight of your […]

  9. […] you seen the new Toyota Venza commercial? It’s the one where the teenage actress says, “I read an article online, well I read the […]

  10. The Count says:

    What? Why no comment on the irony of this sad little girl tweaking her parents for having a life she can’t relate to.

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One Day’s Wages

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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