Eugene Cho

There will come a time to hope but for now, we mourn. We lament.

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“…Mourn with those who mourn.” [Romans 12:15]

This picture.

Wailing.
Crying.
Disbelief.
Incredulity.
Oh no, not again.
Just utter pain.
Deep lament.

It hurts to just stare at this photo and even more so, to imagine the shrieks and intensity of this father’s deep scream.

For a moment, put aside your views, your “I told you so” comments, or your aspirations to be a political commentator.

For us – especially as Christians –
if our Black brothers and sisters in Christ are hurting
…If they are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ;
And if we are truly the Body of Christ as we profess
…may we mourn with them.
May we truly listen – even to the shrieking cries of a father and mother.

Mourn with those who mourn.
And in mourning, may we capture a glimpse of why so many are so hurt, crestfallen, and angry…

We mourn for the Brown family.
We mourn for Ferguson.
We mourn for our Black sisters and brothers.
We mourn – even – for Darren Wilson and his family.
We mourn for us. All of us.
We mourn for America.

There will come a time to hope…but for now, I mourn.
There will come a time to hope…but for now, we mourn.
We lament.

And may the Lord meet us in our mourning…

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” [Psalm 34:18]

If you read one more thing about Ferguson, I invite you to read this post by Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo Verhage: “Call to Arms – Arm to Arm – After Ferguson. It’s written for you.

[photo credit: Reuters]

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21 Responses

  1. Bruce Strom says:

    Thank you! Too many commentaries going both ways that lose sight of the human tragedy regardless of facts and our need to mourn with our friends. Thank you for your example.

  2. Glori says:

    There are consequences to poor decisions, NO CONDEMNATION but always consequences,

  3. Michelle W. says:

    I find it hard to mourn for Wilson. But I trust your words. Yes, let’s mourn….

  4. Santes Beatty says:

    Well said my brother.

  5. cathy b says:

    “We mourn – even – for Darren Wilson and his family.” ?? A very disappointing post from a very wise man of God.

    I too mourn for Michael Brown parents, but I also mourn especially for Darren Wilson.

  6. Tia says:

    It’s scary how cut n dry this is to some people. Like the racial & socioeconomic context has nothing to do with it. Yes, I’ll seek to understand the law. A system that is KNOWN for it’s racial disparities. Yep, I’ll lean on my understanding of THAT law to help me arrive at an objective interpretation of M. Brown’s murder. Thanks for your wisdom

  7. Marcy says:

    As Christians, can we also try to understand the pain law enforcement and their families feel? Do you know many spouses and children are under protective custody tonight? Our society has gone insane. We cannot continue to be at war with one another. Listen DEEPLY. Hear each other’s hurts. Wounds must be cleaned not just patched over.

  8. Rick says:

    Sorry…but you lost me at the word “even.”

  9. Bret S. says:

    Ferguson wakes up angry every day, and should. And the white infrastructure of that judicial community is correctly under a microscope, and must change, and be racially representative of and accountable to the majority black population of that township.

    None of those necessities change the ugly forensic facts of the shooting, or compel the indictment of a cop doing his job. This is a tragedy all around, but the cop-whatever his skin color, or even his opaque bias in shooting when he did-was doing his job, and dealing with the hurried and muddled facts on the ground. We cannot punish or indict a man for the injustice he symbolizes. We can only judge the fact of what he did, and whether it was correct within the moral and professional parameters of his job

  10. Ignacio says:

    Mourn because he killed someone. It’s not to difficult to understand. Pastor didn’t say feel sorry for him but to mourn. There is a big difference!!

    • JPoole says:

      Mourn because his life is now changed forever, he has to live in fear for his own life. He killed someone because he was defending his own life, something most people would make the difficult decision to do as well.

  11. Shawn M. says:

    Eugene, why would you intentionally diminish the call to action for mourning with the Wilson family? I’ve watched your posts about Ferguson since day one, and it appears your bias for the Michael Brown family pits you against the Darren Wilson family. We shouldn’t have to muster extra strength to feel Officer Wilson’s pain.

    • Jake says:

      I have much more empathy for communities who have historically endured the oppression of white folks than I do for the pain (which is derived of white oppression in the first place) endured by said communities. I think we should understand the ultimate sadness is in the general picture this event uncovers

    • JPoole says:

      Shawn, 100% agree. I have attended Eugene’s church a few times looking for a Church home. I was taken aback by the subtle racist preaching I heard in those sermons, I thought possibly the first time i really didn’t hear the message, but the second time (this time an associate Pastor) it became quite clear the church is not a uniter under Christ but a divider.

  12. Adam S. says:

    EVEN Wilson? Wow, that man has lost his career, under constant threat of murder so yes. I also mourn for him.

  13. Nancy says:

    Brother Eugene has always been transparent with us all, and if “even” is how he feels, then I trust that he was led by the Spirit to mourn with all.

    Check the judgement in your hearts, brothers and sisters, and let the man own his own feelings.

    • JPoole says:

      Nancy, I believe you are misguided. Pastor Cho’s article below is not transparent, but heavily skewed towards his personal beliefs and bias. Claiming he doesnt know the facts of the case yet, gives no reason to write such a one sided skewed article supporting the false narrative the media has been portraying that this is a simple case of and unarmed black man being killed. All the facts are out, and it is clear this police officer was defending himself from a proven aggressive bully. The false narratives of being shot in the back and hands up were debunked by forensic and witness testimony.

      Yes, it’s tragic Michael Brown died, it was awful. While Wilson was tending to a sick African American baby, Brown was knocking off a store and bullying the store owner. A bully and a police officer crossed a tragic path moments later. One, who wakes up every day to help keep us safe crossed with a known bully and racist (google Browns rap lyrics). Wilson had never fired his weapon in the line of duty, but unfortunately had to that fateful day. Transparency should be supported by facts and given with a bias free and objective heart.

      https://eugenecho.com/2014/08/16/please-dont-ignore-it-five-ways-that-christians-and-churches-must-engage-michael-browns-death/

  14. Jonathan Nkwagu says:

    All our righteous&unrigteous acts,good deeds or misdeeds, justice&injustices are but momentral & have their just rewards from the Almighty.

  15. JPoole says:

    “Even for Wilson and his family”, biased and not genuine. The word “Even” automatically puts Cho in a position supporting the false narrative being spun by part of the media,

  16. […] especially with their engagement with Black Americans. As some of you may know, I’ve been a vocal supporter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Yet, if we’re not wise and discerning, we can make a similar kind of tragic mistake by […]

  17. […] especially with their engagement with Black Americans. As some of you may know, I’ve been a vocal supporter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Yet, if we’re not wise and discerning, we can make a similar kind of tragic mistake by […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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