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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest Took a train to Busan. Did not encounter any zombies but I was ready just in case.

Busan. First visit to this city (couple weeks ago) and was blown away by its beauty. Also, shocked that it has become the fifth largest containment port city in the world. That's a lot of import and export.

#MyAttemptToBeTheBestSmartphonePhotographer 
#Pusan #SouthKorea

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 6 hours ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 6 hours ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 6 hours ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 2 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 4 days ago