Thou Shalt Not be a Jerk: Eugene Cho

New on the Tokens Podcast:

Eugene Cho is a Korean-born immigrant to the United States and now activist and author. We discuss his moving and distressing childhood experiences at age six; his journey to Christianity; and how both those realities have given him insight and possibilities for service to the world, as well as put him at odds with both the right and the left in America.


Dear friend,

For whatever reason, I tend to like people who have friendships with all sorts of folks, and yet who also find themselves at various times in trouble with any or all parties.

Perhaps this is why I so much enjoyed my time with Eugene Cho. He’s a well known author, activist, pastor, and now president of Bread for the World, a non-profit seeking to end world hunger by 2030. Korean-born, Eugene immigrated to the United States as a child. I’m still thinking about the stories he tells about his six-year-old self in first grade in San Francisco; and I’m still thinking about the story he tells about his seventeen-year-old self who made a decision to face his fears, and what he did about it.

He also shares how he came to become a Christian. This combination—Christian, immigrant—has allowed him a unique set of perspectives in the American context that means he has some remarkable things to say about being Christian in America. On the one hand, he’s experienced marginalization as an immigrant: “I don't know of a single Asian person in my life, who's not heard the phrase go back home,” he says in the interview. And on the other hand, there’s the fact that his being Christian in a so-called secular context of the north-west adds another layer of potential marginalization.

In that regard, I noted with him that it seems that it’s not just southern, conservative types who are good at shaming, but also good secular left-wingers. Then I asked him what he thought about that. He said: “I absolutely agree. Growing up, having been a Christian at the age of 18 I began to hear and learn about fundamentalism and it being a product particularly of the Bible belt in the United States in the South. I know it's a real thing, but what I've learned having lived in this very left progressive city and state, Seattle, Washington, I've learned very quickly that fundamentalism is not just reserved for those who are very conservative. It's also reserved for any sort of camp that basically says, ‘this is our dogma. This is our doctrine. It’s either this way or the highway.’”

Many, many gems in this interview. Proud to share it.

And thanks to you all for listening, and sharing.

Click here to listen now.