Eugene Cho is overrated.
At least that’s what he’ll tell you in his new book, Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?
Cho, pastor at Quest Church in Seattle and founder of One Day’s Wages and Q Café, is an outspoken Christian voice for social justice. His first book is a self-professed confession of the risks of personal platform in the work of justice — and a call to humble self-awareness for Christians in an age of social change-idealism. When justice and changemaking are buzzwords, how do we embrace the long challenge of bettering the world while remaining humble about our place in it?
Cho stopped by the Sojourners offices this fall to chat public ministry and what he calls "the marathon of discipleship."
“There’s so much emphasis on storytelling that we then get really attracted to feeling like we have to write sensational stories,” Cho said.
“[But] a few things that Jesus does just fascinate me immensely because it wasn’t always just about the ladder, about getting popular. The moments he performs amazing miracles — in our culture you just want to broadcast it out to as many people as possible, but there are numerous occasions where he tells people, ‘Don’t tell people.’” I think that’s definitely an issue of humility that needs to be emphasized again.”
For better and for worse, the chance to highlight our own good deeds and heart for justice is currently just a status update away; as is our ability to idolize or demonize others under the banner of change. Cho is exploring and sharing guidelines for working with integrity, leading with reflections on his own public status.
“A couple of things I have to be reminded of is the danger of being obsessed with attention, the danger of being obsessed with platform," he said.
"I think social media is an amazing thing. Just phenomenal. [But] I think there’s a difference between being obsessed with fame, and acknowledging that we don’t have to be afraid of influence."
Watch the interview below.
Catherine Woodiwiss is Associate Web Editor for Sojourners and tweets at @chwoodiwiss.