Eugene Cho

gender, church, and the art of alternate endings

* While I’ve written my share of posts expressing support for egalitarianism, justice, and women’s leadership in society (particularly in the Church), I’m no champion of gender equality. In fact, I make my share of goof-ups but what I’ve come to realize is that like everyone, I have my blind spots. One of my blind spots deals with gender or to be more blunt, I don’t always understand or see things from the lens of a woman for the obvious reason that I’m a dude (and thank God that I’m a man and not a woman!)

Several important remedies to our blind spots are to acknowledge them and to put ourselves in situations where we can learn. Additionally, we need courage to engage the conversation and grace to help sustain the conversation into transformation. And so with that in mind, today’s guest post, Gender and the Art of Alternate Endings, is from Dr. Michelle Garred – an independent researcher and consultant in international peacebuilding. She also worships at Quest Church and c0-leads one of our community groups. She asks some compelling questions:

Why does this distorted social setting appear to pit me in competition against my husband and best friend? Why can’t someone meet a couple and assume that these two inter-dependent individuals both have something to offer? Why should I be forced to wield my trump cards as instruments of power, making conversation into a contact sport? Most importantly, what about the many women who don’t have trump cards, but who do have boundless gifts to be shared with the Church? Who sees those women? And who hears them?

Take a read and let me know what you think.

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I love those children’s books that have alternate endings for the reader to choose from. What a sweet freedom to decide how a story will end!

My husband and I recently attended a denominational leadership conference, which prompted me consider my own alternate endings…

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“So, what do you do for a living in Seattle?” The man looks intently at my husband Brent across the lunch table, and the two become engrossed in a discussion of green building design. I sit and listen, enjoying the conversation, and anticipating that at some point the same question will be directed toward me. But that never happens. Our new acquaintance, who holds a lot of stature at this conference, does not appear to connect the topic of making a living with me as an individual. I don’t know why – the ‘gender vibes’ feel palpable, Read the rest of this entry »

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Thank God that I am a man and not a woman.

It’s likely that some of you will take offense at the title of this post. But if you read through the post, it’ll certainly make more sense in the larger context. But for what it’s worth, I was intending to entitle this post, “Fortunate to Have a P*nis” and maybe I should have but ultimately, I just didn’t want to receive too many rebukes and tense emails. Seriously, who wants emails about genitals?

Seriously, it’s not my intent to be sensational or even controversial but simply to make an important point.

So, what is my point?

I am fortunate to be a man.

Or to put it in other words, I’m fortunate to have a p*nis.

As I recently preached at my church or in another blogpost about the silence of women in the Church, there’s great privilege and power in simply being a man. This is why I contend that the treatment of women is the oldest injustice in human history. We can talk equality and equity all day long and while we can acknowledge how far we’ve come, we still clearly live – even in 2011 – where there’s great advantage in simply being a man.

How fortunate?

Consider this statistic from UNICEF and UN:

Women give birth to 100% of the human population. In addition, women do about 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food, but earn 10% of the world’s income & only own less than 1% of the world’s property. [You can also read more about these statistics from The Global Poverty Project.] Read the rest of this entry »

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sexism? stereotypes? guilty as charged.

As most of my readers know, I wrote as post regarding Ann Rice’s simple but dramatic departure from organized Christianity entitled, “Why I’m Not Quitting Christianity.”

I was encouraged by how it was generally received. It was crossed posted on numerous places including Huffington Post.

But shortly afterwards, I asked for some honest and gentle feedback about one little line I inserted – not necessarily intentionally but because I’m a wanna be funny guy. It was my attempt to use humor to diffuse a tense subject:

First of all, I am a fan of Anne Rice. In fact, I don’t know of many people that dislike her. She’s a phenomenal writer and additionally, she’s gotta have some Asian genes in her. She’s 68 and ages like no other.

But I received several emails and notes about the possible racial or sexist undertones. Some of these came from absolute strangers or stalkers and couple came from folks I know.

Was that statement racist? Read the rest of this entry »

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faith and gender

Quest Church, the church I serve as lead pastor, is excited to invite you to join us for our Annual Learning Conference on October 10-11.  This year, we host Lauren Winner for a conference entitled, “Faith & Gender.”  Asides from a stimulating and challenging conference, one of our commitments is to make the conference as financially accessible to the larger Seattle and Northwest community.  Registration is ONLY $15 and $10/students but space is limited.  Register now and help spread the word by sharing this entry or the conference site on your blog or website.  Here’s the Facebook event.

Quest has always affirmed women in ministry but it has been a while since we have had a sustained discussion on why that is and how we can take discussion further to issues of what it means to be men and what it means to be women “in Christ” and how we can construct our ideas of gender from a Biblical perspective Read the rest of this entry »

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