costly commitment

eugene cho who has been following the south korean hostage situation very closely and raising questions as to the lack of response from the press and evangelical world has been noted in an article by christianity today posted august 13 responding to the hostage crisis. it was a mere few sentences that have nothing to do with all that eugene’s been in an uproar about. they were just using his good name.

i admit the article disturbed me. it actually kinda pissed me off. not only did it come across – to me at least – that the article just used eugene cho’s name citing that he “served on the staff of the 25,000-member Onnuri Presbyterian Church in Seoul” but the article reflects a certain problem that i see in christianity. in light of events, it almost sounds from the article that christians or missions sending agencies like the saemmul church that sent the hostages are now fearful, almost regretful – once bitten twice shy. it almost even sounds as if all the attempts to go out in the name of Christ that appeared to have failed are laughable and foolish. it sounds as if christians don’t know what they’re doing or probably that God doesn’t. at least to me these things make us collectively sound foolish, naive, ignorant even though in reality many have considered the cost and moved forward not just in obedience but love.

sure many situations that we find ourselves in are unexpected and not very favorable. that’s usually a given in missionswork. it is a costly commitment. the cost of the journey, the time, the preparation, and leaving behind possessionas, a professional life, family and friends all have some numerical value attached. the loss of life however is a cost that may be too unbearable for many to accept, christian or otherwise. a single life is priceless. but what about a single life given for others? isn’t that what the very foundation of the christian faith built upon? isn’t it the christian life?

i think we play our christianity too safe.
i think christians are too positive about life here on this side of heaven.
what do we offer the world? cheap versions of music, film, art, and literature that on a spiritual level are like products made in china but then again anything that has the label “christian” must be ok. we provide preaching that feed our self-loving hearts with ways to “improve our lives”. we build up churches like mega-cinema-plexes rather than people.

are you tired of cheap imitations? are you weary of the world yet? the world is not a nice place. life is negative. how can we be positive when there are wars (beyond just iraq) and people dying here, there and everywhere? we don’t get along be it a matter of race, religion or otherwise. our best efforts can be easily frustrated. our legacy may stop with us. in our churches we have squabbles over the smallest things when even our best worship are mere shadows of heavenly things (hebrews). it’s all hebel, says the writer of ecclesiastes. we’re dreaming the wrong dreams for our lives. christians ought to be the most disillusioned people in the world – that is to have no illusions about it. it’s a messed up place. we’re not ok.

all his life he had done all the right things. but something wasn’t quite right. he knew who to go to scratch this itch of a question he had – what must he do to find favor with God? how can he inherit eternal life? he approached Jesus with the utmost respect, calling him the “good teacher” but the teacher was not impressed. Jesus went straight for his heart and asked this young, rich kind-of-a-big-deal to give away everything he had, give it to the poor and then, “come follow him”. he turned around and walked away.
Jesus still holds his hand out today and asks us the same question.

what makes us think we’re safe?

Luke 21:16-17
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me

John 12:25
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

outgoing links
follow eugene cho’s following the south korean hostage crisis
read eugene cho’s post on costly commitment
read the christianity today article: costly commitment.

christianity today poll:
Are Missions to Dangerous Places Irresponsible? (screenshot taken 10:58am 08-14-07)
Christianity Today Poll


1 Response to “costly commitment”

  1. August 14, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    LT — Thanks for speaking out on this. At first, I was glad to see that CT was finally giving this situation some coverage — but, after reading the article, I also felt frustrated and angry. It seems like the only reason they’re covering the story is because of the criticism these missionaries have received from the non-Christian media in Korea.

    I’m not trying to look for the racist bogeyman around every corner, but the feel I am getting from the West (the church included) about this situation is patronizing at best and disdainful at worst.

    “We’re dreaming the wrong dreams for our lives” — thank you for expressing this important, and often unspoken, truth.

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[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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