‘Ridicule’ Doesn’t Rile This Pastor

Post a Comment » Written on June 21st, 2007     
Filed under: News
SEATTLE, WA (June 21, 2007) – Many pastors would be upset to have their church ridiculed, but Evangelical Covenant Church pastor Eugene Cho is laughing over a recent article in the city’s weekly “alternative” newspaper, The Stranger.

The weekly newspaper sent 31 writers to 31 houses of worship for its article, “A Month of Sundays,” and reviewed each of them, including Quest church, where Cho is pastor.

The writer visiting Quest reports not being impressed with any part of the church, calling the music “insipid” and the sanctuary akin to “the Brady Bunch’s living room pressed into service as a church.”

Communion fared no better. “When I was dragged off to church by my parents, we folded our hands together to pray and assumed a posture of humility,” the newspaper reporter writes. “In today’s emerging churches, you lift both hands up toward heaven, arms out, in what looks like a sort of double-armed fascist salute. It’s a posture that screams, ‘Look at me, God! I’m praying! To you!’ The more enthusiastic worshippers looked like toddlers reaching up for daddy, anxious to be picked up and hugged past their comfort levels.”

Each of the writers appears to have been trying to outdo the others in trying to be clever and harshly critical. “While there were some mean-spirited things written, I have to admit, some it was downright hilarious,” Cho says. “And it’s not a bad thing to laugh at ourselves every now and then.”

Quest has received a plethora of good publicity, including a recent feature in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the congregation’s merger with Interbay Covenant Church. See “Quest-Interbay” for a recent Covenant News Service article about the first joint worship service.

The weekly newspaper article may prove again that even bad publicity can still be good publicity. “Reading the article again confirmed to me that people are watching the church,” Cho says. “Even if the content of the ‘review’ wasn’t positive, I was encouraged in knowing that people still noticed our church. Both our church website and blog experienced significant increase in traffic.”

Cho adds that the article serves as a reminder to the church of the social milieu in which the church exists. In response to the weekly article, the pastor writes on his blog, “Seattle is infamously known as the most ‘unchurched city in America.’ The Northwest is the most unchurched region in America. But it isn’t godless or spiritual. It’s a beautiful place, full of life, questions, conversations, and such. What I love the most about living in this city and this region is that you have to earn the right to have your voice in the larger marketplace of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies.”

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