there are nights when the sky stretches so wide open.
praying for God to provide wide open spaces in our lives.
to listen. to love. for proximity.
I admit to being more in love with the idea of changing the world… than actually changing the world.
Eugene Cho’s debut book reads as a millennial gut check.
Do we love compassion and justice… until there’s a personal cost?
Eugene and his family understand personal cost. In finishing their commitment to donate ONE YEAR of wages to One’s Days Wages, his family rented their home out for 2 months, each family member taking one bag to live in a single room of a friends house.
And in wanting to change the world, I confess to neglecting a posture of humility in which I must be aware that I, too, must change.
He is refreshingly honest about his own personal story, including his love for cars like his ‘Blue Thunder.’ Leaders who are transparent, give their messages authenticity. Eugene came to America a part of an immigrant family, beginning work in the family grocery store at age six, and one point living in an upstairs room. When beginning Quest Church he spent a year as a janitor in a Barnes and Noble.
Perhaps, those moments of humility taught him the beautiful lessons he shares in the book. This sentence emerged for me:
In an age of excessive self-broacasting, the discipline of self examination and introspection are the keys to wisdom and balance.
I think coming from a posture of learning from others is not easy.
As Eugene outlines in his book, the world is not changed by our efforts, but by our willingness to change too.
We serve because we need change as much or more… hard to admit, yes.
Being selfless is really hard, we want to cling to our stuff and our time… hard admit, yes.
We sometimes don’t know our ‘helping’ hurts… hard admit, yes.
We are not hero’s. We’re actually doing exactly what we are called to do… harsh, yes.
Eugene shares his favorite One Day’s Wages story, a teenager who donated $73 dollars, a day of work at Subway.
I think it’s pretty much that simple. Hashtag #justdoit #getoveryourself #loveselflessly
And also LOVE. As a nineteen year old college student on a mission trip to New York City, I gave my McDonald’s cheeseburger to a homeless man. He looked up at me with a smile void of teeth and politely explained that he only ate tuna out of can, having no teeth and all. He patted my arm kindly and thanked me for caring.
We share grace as we learn. Then our making a difference is not overrated, but perfect.
I’ll be giving away a copy of the book later in September on the About Proximity Facebook Page. What are your thoughts on Eugene’s message?
I am doing the awake at night worry-thing. Transitions set my mind on fire a little bit. We are leaving summer and creeping toward a new school year. My mind is in overdrive.
For today, I am remembering this one. I’m his people. He wants me, imperfect and all.
and also, that we are ALL his people, imperfect and all.
Dr. Kara E. Powell is the executive director of Fuller Youth Institute. Her research and work in the field of youth ministry has shaped culture and the church. Her newest book, The Sticky Faith Guide for your Family, addresses the problem of young adults leaving the church in their twenties.
Nearly half of all young people raised in Christian families walk away from faith when they graduate from high school
The study Sticky Faith was born out of seven years of research with 500 young people, 150 churches, and 50 families. What comes out of the study is over hundred practical ideas from parents to parents to help build a faith that sticks in our families. Watch the book trailer here. Hundreds of great articles by Kara are archived here.
I love the practical nature of this book. It’s FULL of ideas. You know the books full of ideas you have heard before a hundred times, this book is FULL of great, fresh ideas. There are applicable ideas for every family.
My favorites take aways:
1. A great reminder to me was the chapter about the power of handling mistakes. It is powerful when parents admit their own mistakes, which are inevitable in the parenting journey. Being honest, helps our kids understand forgiveness, and that perfection is not attainable.
2. Doubt is most toxic when its not expressed. Talk, talk, talk. Encourage questions.
3. I think you have laugh sometimes read this quote:
One night at dinner, I decided to talk to my kids about unconditional love. I asked them, “Who in this family has expressed unconditional love to you?” All three answered in unison, “the dog.”
4. Their findings revealed young people want deep conversation and opportunities to serve. After years in youth ministry, I think this is absolutely true. Young people never failed to meet high expectations when walked alongside of in love.
So, hope. This book is hope, and a gentle wake-up call that what we are doing now matters, maybe more than we realize. I know I need to pray more often for a sticky faith for my kids.
(leave a comment and win a copy of the book!)
What do you think the key to sticky faith is? Have you experienced the longing to leave the church?
(I have to admit, when fighting and meanness rears, I sometimes want to flee.)
My friend Amy sent me a study of Nehemiah about how waiting time is never wasted time.
Then my kids started preparing a Lego Vacation Bible School.
The theme “The Magic of God.”
The setting “Hogwarts.”(Ellie is reading Harry Potter right now.)
The magic of God.
The waiting time is not wasted.
Nothing is lost to God.
On a middle school mission trip to Chicago I sat in a small group with sisters. I was twenty-two. I was looked for my first job post-college. That week we studied Nehemiah. They prayed for me: if Nehemiah could build the wall, then Lisa can get a job! Such faith. They were of course, so right.
Yes, the magic of God. Perfectly trustworthy through the eyes of children.
Oh, that our grown up hearts might soften to remember…
that he has it under control. Our worry is in vain. Our need to speed ahead and pack full is all in vain.
This around the web has made my heart happy!
Where the wild things play! What do you think? I’d sign the waiver and send my kids in.
The Head Nurse at Emory University talks about why bringing Ebola patients to the United States, benefits not threatens…
I’ve been following the work of Eugene Cho for quite some time. He’s a pastor, writer, and founder of One Day’s Wages. His first book is releasing September 1, Overrated. It will challenge us to DO JUSTICE and not just love the IDEA of making a difference. His premise is that sometimes we are the one’s that need changing. Take his 5-day challenge here.
Amy also just introduced me to She Reads Truth. Check it out. They are studying the book of Hebrews this month.
Restorative justice. I read Orange is the New Black on vacation. I haven’t seen the show, but I read the memoir by Piper Kerman, incarcerated ten years after transporting drugs a single time as a young woman. I LOVED the book. She accepted her punishment, and saw the prison system and the women in it with compassion, many incarcerated women are mothers, and non-violent drug offenders. A deeper look into their lives shows how poverty influenced their choices. I applaud how she took something devastating and turned it into an opportunity to make a difference.
She encourages the public to look at the justice system as a place for these women to find restoration and receive what they need to have a new life when freed. Check these out when you get a chance: Angel Tree (supporting kids with incarcerated parents), Woman and Prison written by the woman there, Book through Bars, Thousand Kites, Pen Prison Writing. Want to learn more about restorative justice, The Office Social Justice has great resources.
Who has kids hanging around? Check out this great paper slingshot from Leslie at Pink Stripey Socks.
Also… if you window shop on a website… later the $140 Born leather boots show up in your sidebar, every minute of everyday. I say that is not compassion.
What have you witnessed/read/done lately that was compassion? What’s your take on any of these articles? (Want to share with a guest post? I love your voice!)
I read a few books, did little computer, little television, no writing.
Instead, we were present. The kids and I did cousins and family. And it was very good.
I love that these unplanned cousin journey pictures in Michigan and Minnesota so mimic each other. Summer and cousins are like peanut butter and jelly.
There in one train car:
An amish family in traditional clothing, the little girls in bonnets.
A kindly gentleman on the way to babysit five grandkids who shared his seat with me.
Two young men one with black skin, one caucasian discussing zen buddhism philosophy.
… and the one I struggle to describe. Purple hair, engaged but in an open relationship (on the train, I guess), and recovering from a hangover. She ripped a color page of an intricate patterned elephant from an expensive drawing book, and poured brand new markers into a container before handing them to Ellie.
She asked what I did, and went on to share how she made a difference for close to an hour. She helps people with illness have a better life by dispensing medical marijuana. ‘I ease their pain, and there is nothing better.’ ‘Kind of like God easing the pain of our messed-up choices by forgiving.’
And I was reminded how much I love people.
His best creations. Everyone of us.
When we got home there was this:
You Don’t Really Know Us. An op-ed for the Chicago Tribune by students at Bradwell School of Excellence.
They defend their neighborhood…
We want you to know us. We aren’t afraid. We know that man on the corner. He works at the store and gives us free Lemonheads…When the sun shines here, it’s not God saying he wants to burn us; he sees us all with bright futures…. This is home… this is us.
You don’t really know a person’s story, until you know.
And when you know, you love.
Fourteen days of silence and I think I’m right back where I belong.