Eugene Cho

In honor of Rosa Parks: Quiet, confident, strong, courageous, prophetic…and a follower of Christ.

Rosa_Parks_BookingRosa Parks.

This woman.
Quiet but not timid.
Confident but not arrogant.
Fierce but not violent.
Strong, Courageous, and Prophetic.
…and a follower of Christ.

Rosa Parks.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

As many seek to honor her, it’s common and tempting for folks to only acknowledge parts of her. In a fast changing post-Christendom world, many will not want to acknowledge (or even know) the significance that her faith in Christ played in her life and thus, her activism. In other words, her activism was part of her discipleship. She was a lifelong Methodist and committed to her local church wherever she lived including the AME church in Montgomery. She later served as a deaconess when she moved to Detroit.

One of my favorite things about Rosa Parks was that she was known to have always be carrying around her Bible.

“I remember finding such comfort and peace while reading the Bible. Its teaching became a way of life and helped me in dealing with my day-to-day problems… From my upbringing and the Bible I learned people should stand up for rights just as the children of Israel stood up to the Pharaoh.”

When people condemn Christians for being judgmental, bigots, and hatemongers…we have to listen, in part, because it’s partly true. But…it’s partly true but not entirely true. To make a statement over the whole because of one, couple, or some is simply not accurate.  It’s true, there are some that are judgmental, bigots, and hate-mongers but that’s not at all the full story of the Church – the bride of Christ.

After listening for a few minutes of people going off on Christians, I love sharing the story of Rosa Parks with them. And they’re often dumbfounded to discover that she was a devout follower of Christ. And it’s not just Rosa…there’s a long list of people – known and unknown – that are clearly imperfect but living beautiful livings.

Words matter…but words with deeds, words with actions, faith in motion, love in Christ lived out…it’s the most powerful, compelling sermon anyone can hear.

As a preacher myself, I love teaching and preaching but compelling sermons aren’t just from pulpits. They’re preached around kitchen tables, by bedsides, on the streets, in company boardrooms, in your neighborhoods…and even on a bus.

Preach, Rosa. Preach, sista. Preach.

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One Day’s Wages

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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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