Pastor Eugene Cho has a confession to make: “I’m more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus.”
But with his confession comes an indictment. He believes that many Christians are just like him. They like the idea of following Jesus or changing the world or doing good more than the actions themselves. And this, Cho says, is a big problem.
Cho is the founder of One Days Wages and lead pastor of Quest Church. In his new book, Overrated, Cho throws some powerful punches at American Christians. He paints a picture of couch-surfing, lazy slactivists who talk a lot about justice but don’t do much of anything. This has led him to propose that modern generations may be “the most overrated in human history.” Here, we discuss this provocative idea and what he thinks Christians can do to begin following the “Jesus of downward mobility.”
RNS: A lot of people talk about the potential of modern generations to positively impact the world, but you say we may be “the most overrated in human history.” Explain.
EC: I’ve been to enough gatherings, church services, and conferences over the past decade and you’re right, a lot of people talk very positively about the potential of modern generations. I often year phrases like “history makers” and “world changers” and even the “This is the generation to…” At heart, I’m an optimist but if we’re not careful, I think we can sound–and be–arrogant and it can lead to a dangerous spirituality where so much revolves around us.
I’m also concerned that in our social-media-hyper-narcisstic-ego-self-centered world, we might be more enamored by the idea of “good”-– feeling good or good intent or doing good. But it takes more than just desire. It takes action.
Our wealth of resources and opportunities lends itself to this theory that we may be part of the most overrated generation in human history—because we have access to so much data, info, resources, modes of communication but we end up doing so little. We tweet, blog, talk, preach, retweet, share, like, and click incessantly. What do those actions actually cost us? How are we sacrificing?
RNS: How have following Christ and pursuing justice become, as you say, “unrealistic and glamorous” among Christians?