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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#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

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You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
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