Seattle pastor Eugene Cho has a new book out, his first, and it is SO Overrated.
No, really. It’s Overrated.
That’s the name of the book.
I didn’t have to even read one page to know that this book is not to be taken lightly. (Disclaimer: I received an advance e-copy of the book in exchange for my review.)
Cho does not mince words. He does not coddle. He does not accept excuses.
He asks the question that needs to be asked: Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world?
He puts it like this:
And as much as I hate to admit it, he’s right. I’m guilty of wanting to change the world, of wanting to make a difference but doing very little to back that up.
So this book is hard to read. It’s like seeking advice from a friend who tells you not what you want to hear but says the hard things and challenges you to do what needs to be done.
While it’s a book about justice and the Christian’s role in justice, it’s also about discipleship and generosity and intentional living and passion and purpose. It’s about these things working together in the life of a disciple of Jesus so much that the world can’t help but notice.
And Cho does not speak as one who has done it all perfectly with impure motives. He does not preach what he doesn’t live. He offers his own confessions, failings, and wrong motives as testimony that this call is not just for other people but for him as well.
Here are five of the most challenging statements, for me, Cho makes in the book:
“Isn’t that what makes discipleship so uncomfortable and challenging? God often leads us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us.” (26)
“I believe you cannot credibly follow Christ unless you pursue justice.” (43)
“The inescapable truth about justice is that there is something wrong in the world that needs to be set right.” (52)
“We should be about the marathon, not about the transactional sprint for instant justice gratification.” (105)
“We cannot speak with integrity about what we are not living. We don’t need more dazzling storytellers; we need more genuine storytellers. And the best way to become a better storyteller is to simply live a better life. Not a perfect life, but one of honesty, integrity, and passion.” (178)
I could go on. Nearly every page contained a nugget of truth that lodged in my heart and wouldn’t let go.
I forced myself to read it slow, take one chapter at a time and really let the words sink in.
And it doesn’t have to stop with the end of the book. As part of the message of the book, there’s a 5-day challenge, by e-mail, to help you avoid being overrated. Click here for more information about that.
The book officially releases Sept. 1, but if you preorder it today, you’ll have immediate access to an interactive e-copy. Find out more here.
I’d put this book at the top of my list of recommended reads for churches, youth groups, ministry workers, seminaries–really anyone who desires to do good in the world because of their relationship with Christ.
Overrated won’t condemn you for your actions, or lack thereof, but it will challenge you to let your life be about more than Twitter-style justice and passionate ideas. It’s encouragement to dream big, yes, and think hard and press on in the long run.
Cho often ends his Facebook posts and even a chapter or two with these words: Your move.
After reading this book, I firmly believe that.
It’s my move. What will I do with the challenge set before me?
Will I let myself be overrated and ineffective? Or will I seek the bigger picture and let God lead?
Because God is on the move.
And He’s going with or without us.