Archive for the tag “Eugene Cho”

Youth pastor donates half his salary to justice cause

Eugene Cho blogs:

You have to read this email I recently received. Crazy, radical, and an amazing story of courage and generosity.

First, let me set the table:

We all love our stuff. All of us. We all consume. We all get sucked into the lifestyle of  upward mobility. This is most apparent during the festivities that surround Black Friday, Cyberspace Monday, and Christmas shopping.

This isn’t a guilt trip but to simply state that which is obvious. What I do want to state is the importance of us also growing a culture of generosity in our lives. Generosity isn’t just for others…but also for us:

Generosity isn’t just merely for the sake of blessing OTHERS. Even more so, it’s to rescue US from the abyss of our greed.

Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.

Let me share a crazy story of generosity and a reminder – once more – that you don’t have to be a rock star, a billionaire, or a celebrity to make an impact.

Recently, I received an email from a youth pastor named Joon Park  from Florida. I’ve never met him, don’t know him, and never heard of him. In his blog, he describes himself as:

I am a former atheist/agnostic, fifth degree black belt, recovered porn addict, and currently a youth pastor at New Light Church in Tampa, FL. Like every other dude with a laptop, I blog regularly. I can eat five lbs. of steak in one sitting. I have a German shepherd named Rosco.

Joon – after hearing a talk I gave at the 2011 Catalyst Conference – shared that he was convicted by the Holy Spirit and now… was acting upon that conviction. This young youth pastor has decided to donate half of his yearly salary to charity.

Read his email:

Hello Pastor Eugene!

My name is Joon Park. I’m currently a youth pastor of New Light Church in Tampa, FL.

After a friend of mine sent me your Catalyst Lab from 2011, I was convicted to donate half my salary this year to a charity. That would amount to $10,000, which I understand is not large by certain standards, yet hopefully enough to save a handful of lives. I listened to your sermon in the car, then at Sweet Tomatoes (where I felt sick over the affluence of a culture that needs buffets), and by the time I got home, with tear-drenched eyes I knew what I had to do.

I wanted to personally thank you for your message. I checked out your websites and I believe in what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. Though I haven’t decided where I will donate the money yet, I am seriously considering your One Day’s Wages program.

I am a “nobody” pastor with a 30+ youth group and a blog like every other pastor…Please pray that I may stay encouraged and faithful to my pledge. I’m pretty scared. You are right. We cannot ask of others what we don’t do ourselves.

God bless you, brother. Thank you again!

Wow.  How crazy, radical, and counter-cultural is this?

Think about it:

Young. Youth Pastor. Donating half of his salary = $10,000.
What can you do for $10,000?

He could have purchased 20 iPads, or 10 Macbook Airs, or a new car, or lots of sushi, or anything he wanted but instead, he’s chosen to donate all of it to ODW’s Human Trafficking Fund. In addition, he’s also inviting friends, family, and strangers to help him match his $10K donation in hopes of raising and donating a total of $20,000.

How cool is that?

To read Eugene’s suggestions about three things you can do, click here.
Read Joon’s full letter at the One Day’s Wages website by clicking here.

How can you love and serve the poor if you don’t know the poor?

Eugene Cho writes:

During this election season, there were many conversations going on. They’re all important. … But what has been very troubling for me is the lack of focus and substantive dialogue around domestic poverty.

Why are poor Americans invisible? And if and when it’s discussed, mere numbers and statistics are thrown out…and then on to the next question.

When you break down the numbers, this is the reality: 15% of Americans are living at or near the poverty line. … 1 out of 5 American children face food security issues.

Simple and real talk translation: They are hungry.

For African-Americans and Hispanics, the statistics double. [Let that sink in…]

… What does 1 out of 5 mean? It means approximately 16.7 million American children under the age of 18 live in this situation. 16.7 million children. This, fellow Americans, is not acceptable.

This isn’t to suggest that global issues and children and citizens of the larger world aren’t important or that I’m suggesting that American children are greater than global children. Let’s not go there. … What I’m suggesting is that if we simply open our eyes – these are our kids. They are in our neighborhoods; They are our neighbors; They are in our schools; They are in our churches; They are our friends; They are right here.

How can we seek to love the larger world and ignore our very own neighbors?

When we do speak of the poor, there’s an awkward but at times, subtle judgment about the poor. While we cheer thunderously any time the “military” is mentioned in political speeches and debates, the audience turns quiet when the mention of the “poor” comes up? Whether it is articulated or not, there are judgments made in the larger mainstream discourse and perhaps we’ve allowed ourselves to believe it.

The poor are poor because they deserve it? The poor got what they deserved because they are lazy? “They are a bunch of folks taking advantage of the welfare system. They are stealing and cheating from this country. We shouldn’t help those who won’t help themselves.”

While there are clearly real stories of real people abusing the welfare system, we are making an egregious mistake when we allow one story or the stories of some to filter all the stories of real people.

Eventually, we start dehumanizing the poor.

And when you start dehumanizing the poor, you have no desire to build relationships with them. You have no interest in their stories. You have no interest in relationships. You believe stereotypes 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.

Listen: When we’re not interested in building genuine mutual relationships, you rob people of their dignity and they become projects and not people. They become statistics and not reflections of our selves.

Listen: How can you love and serve the poor if you don’t even know the poor?

Read the full post by clicking here.

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