April 25, 2023 -


Embracing a Biblical Vision of Flourishing for All

Timothy Isaiah Cho

Jesus’ upside down kingdom brings cosmic, communal flourishing. We get practical with Timothy Isiah Cho about how we can both experience and partner with God in seeing heaven on earth. From his work with the Racial Justice and Unity Center, to his small business, Mosaic Coffee, he shares how God has led him to seek solidarity, thriving and restoration for every community.

Episode Reflection

Invitation to Explore

Timothy Isaiah Cho shares a bit of his story about how he was a bit of a latecomer to the Christian racial justice space and how he had to wrestle with an internalized narrative that looked down on his own ethnic and racial background. 

Have you ever stopped to think about how your ethnic and racial background connects to following Jesus? Are there ways in which you’ve been ashamed of your cultural background or tried to avoid it altogether? 

Take some time to think about the reasons why it’s been difficult for you to acknowledge and praise God for your cultural background. What if your ethnic and racial background are an integral part of your redemption story? 

Scripture to Study

“‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

“‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.

(Leviticus 25:8-13)

Wise Words to Consider

“… for us who are on this side of the cross, we don’t have a year of Jubilee, right? You don’t have to count off every 50 years. But we do have the Jubilee Bringer. We have Jesus. And because of that, we aren’t constrained anymore to this 50 year cycle. We, with the power of the Holy Spirit, every day, in a sense, is a year of Jubilee. We are able to, as the church through the Spirit, do things and influence things in a way that turns things completely upside down.”  – Timothy Isaiah Cho

A Prayer to Lead You

Jubilee Bringer,

In Your life, death, and resurrection, You ushered in the year of the Lord’s favor. In You, debts are canceled, bonds are broken, liberation is declared, restoration is accomplished, and the poor are made rich. We are citizens of Your upside-down kingdom. 

You have poured out Your Holy Spirit so that we might live as Your hands and feet in this world that desperately needs Your jubilee. Give us the courage, the care, and the curiosity to know the places where You have placed us so that we might be instruments of Your freeing grace.  

As we wait for You to bring in jubilee to completion when You return with glory, make us diligent here and now to spread tangible signs of your jubilee far and wide and deep.

We rejoice in Your jubilee. Amen.   

A Practice to Begin

Timothy gave four next steps to participate in God’s redemption of our communities:

  1. Get to know the community where you’re located.
  2. Find a community where you can be on mission with together. 
  3. Learn about racial justice from a follower of Jesus. 
  4. Pray.

Over the next few weeks, go through these four steps and take notes about what you learn about your community and the potential places where God can do amazing things. What do you know about the history of the place where you live? What are the stories of heartache and the stories of victory in your community? Ask Jesus to intertwine your heart and affections with the place where you live and see where He leads you.

Questions to Answer

Timothy talked about his struggles with seeing security, safety, and personal control as idols as he navigated where he and his family chose to live. It is easier to trust in your own feelings of being in control of your neighborhood than to trust that Jesus has you safely in His hands. 

Where do you see the idols of security, safety, and personal control in your life? In what areas of your life – the place where you choose to live, your career, your friendships, your leisure – do you sense God calling you into a deeper sense of trust? Where might Jesus be stretching you to grow? 

Resources to Help

The Racial Justice and Unity Center’s Coaching Network

The Racial Justice and Unity Center’s Assessment Tool

Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America

Faithfully Magazine


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:00:00] But the Bible wants us to see flourishing in such a bigger way. Much bigger than ourselves. Much bigger than our own group. But there’s something about Jesus working all things in creation, a way in which there’s going to be right relationships between groups of people who are able to serve one another, care for one another in a way that everyone flourishes, everyone is brought up.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:00:26] Welcome to the Created For Podcast, a space where our everyday lives intersect with God’s redemptive story


Michele Davis: [00:00:33] where together we learn from diverse voices, explore our unique callings, and pursue communal flourishing.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:00:39] We’re your hosts, Chelsea Smedley.


Michele Davis: [00:00:42] And Michelle Davis.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:00:43] Hey guys, I’m excited for you to listen to this conversation that Michele and I had with Timothy Isaiah Cho. If you remember, from our Created For Wholeness event, Timothy talked about the ways that setting his mind on heaven actually influenced how he decided to run his business with Mosaic Coffee and how we can practically be people who are seeing the Kingdom of Heaven come to Earth. He’s someone who is engaging in the racial justice space with hope and he also writes our reflections each week. And I just love the way that Timothy is able to help us take the things that we’re learning here and bring them into our lives and see how God can use them to change how we’re engaging with others, the ways that we think about ourselves and the world around us. And so today we’re talking about the values of the upside down kingdom and how that influences Timothy’s work and his personal life. He shares about his own ethnic identity journey, about tearing down idols in his own heart, about ways that we could participate in solidarity between communities. And it’s all for the sake of seeing this biblical vision of flourishing for everyone lived out in the spaces that we live and breathe and work in. And so let’s get into it.


Michele Davis: [00:02:07] Timothy Isaiah Cho, welcome to the Created for podcast.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:02:10] Thanks so much for having me.


Michele Davis: [00:02:12] Yeah, we are thrilled that you’re here, not just because we just realized we’re all neighbors. The three of us on the show today all live in Columbus, Ohio. But we’re also just so excited to hear more about the work you’re doing, the things that God has put on your heart. Could you begin by just introducing us to yourself and your work?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:02:30] Yeah, absolutely. I wish I could say that I’ve always been working in the racial justice space. That’s not really true, though. Actually, I’m pretty latecomer to it. Just kind of give you a little bit of a shortened version of just my own history and where I’m coming from. So I grew up in the suburbs of an affluent, predominantly white community in Southern California. From preschool to junior high, I was actually one of a very small handful of Asian American students at my small private school. And so other Asian Americans could probably relate to. I was on the receiving end of quite a bit of racism and bullying from my formative years. I had this defense mechanism that I created, which was to try to distance myself as much as possible from my ethnic background and then try to assimilate as much as I could with my white peers in order to be able to kind of fly under the radar. I lived with that defense mechanism even after I became a Christian in college, there was a lot of wrestling with just even thinking how the person that God created me to be, a Korean American, I considered it as a burden to me for a very long time and what I didn’t realize at the time, but I can put to words now is that I had internalized a narrative that a proximity to whiteness was the highest virtue that I could attain. And the fruit of that narrative really could be seen in the way that I was lacking in empathy towards other people of color.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:03:57] So that really started to shift and change for me pretty late. Actually, when I was in seminary, I started to put, I guess, theology to practice. And, you know, one of the things I learned very early on in my classes was like to be a follower of Jesus means that sometimes we’re called to speak the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. And we’re also called to hold each other accountable as the church, even when, again, if that’s uncomfortable for some people to hold each other accountable so that we’re living consistently with the gospel that we say we believe. That really made a headway in 2017, if you remember, that’s when the Unite the Right rally happened in Charlottesville. And so at that time, I was actually on the leadership of a Christian nonprofit organization, and I decided to write a really short article just explaining how racism, white supremacy, the things that we saw at the Unite the Right rally, are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus. And so, to be honest, like it was a really, really like short, not supposed to be controversial sort of piece, but man, you would you would have thought that I insulted someone’s mother. I was really blown away by the dismissiveness, the vitriol. But also I was saddened by the amount of people who would say behind closed doors that they agreed with me, but in public would kind of, you know, push me away. Right? For the sake of their reputation. It was a bad situation a lot of ways, but that was how God led me to Faithfully Magazine, which is a publication that’s led by my boss, Nicole Menzie. She created this publication to be uniquely centered around issues that impact Christian communities of color. I think that’s where I started finding my voice as an editor since 2017 and started having my eyes open to a lot of things going on in terms of racial justice. And there was really something freeing about being part of a publication that wanted to center on Christians of color, our experiences. And then in addition to Faithfully, I’m also working as the operations manager for the Racial Justice and Unity Center, and I’m also a member of my local church. I’m the leader of our church’s racial justice team. So the job and the task of our small team is to try to integrate biblical principles of justice and mercy, specifically as they apply to race in the daily life of our church. I’ve come a really long way from where I started to where I am now, and I’m still a work in progress, but I’m really grateful that God did stop me in my tracks and has opened my eyes to this work of racial justice that I think is especially needed in the church.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:06:35] Thank you so much for sharing all of that. And it’s really empowering to hear you talk about how, yeah, in 2017 I wrote this article and did not expect it to get backlash. Or like before this I wasn’t really speaking out and how bold you are now in this space. Like think about your Twitter. You’re very good at calling out truth and holding the church accountable and not letting the ‘I’m late to the game thing be a hindrance’. And then one thing you didn’t mention is Mosaic Coffee. So,  I’d love to hear about the vision behind Mosaic too.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:07:13] Yes. So I am the owner and founder of Mosaic Coffee, and I’m going to be totally honest. Coffee roasting started for me as a stress relieving hobby. And over the years, as I started getting a little bit better, I was sharing my coffee with friends and family and people started saying, ‘Hey, maybe you should consider selling this to people’. So February 2022 is when I officially opened Mosaic Coffee and located here in Columbus, Ohio. And the thing that’s unique about Mosaic is that we’re committed to working with local artists and creators of color. So everything from branding our artwork, our merchandise, all these things, they’re all made in partnership with someone that I can literally drive over to and see and talk to them in person. And I’m not really a huge art guy myself. Um, you know, that’s just not my gifting. But what I do know about art is that it’s often a window into the life of the artist and their community. And so there’s a story that’s often behind the art, and the art itself becomes a bridge between that story and the person who’s consuming that art. My hope is that the person who buys something from Mosaic, whether that’s the coffee, whether that’s merchandise, so on and so forth, will become into closer contact with that artist, with the communities they come from. The bigger stories of both, you know, the struggles of their communities, the joys that they’ve experienced as well. And perhaps that’ll create avenues for natural and equitable partnerships to come into fruition between communities right here in Columbus so that together we can actually tackle some of the historic inequities and hopefully make Columbus a better place for everyone to thrive in.


Michele Davis: [00:09:01] That’s really exciting. I’m curious to hear for you when you think of God’s vision for human flourishing both in and out of the church, what comes to mind?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:09:13] Yeah, that’s a great question. So I think that the Bible gives us kind of a big picture of what human flourishing is supposed to look like. You can even take it all the way back to the first pages of the Bible with creation. The first time that God says that something isn’t good is when Adam is alone. God wanted us to be in fellowship and communion with one another. Right? Adam and Eve were meant to both image God and also be an equal partnership with one another for the flourishing of humanity. In that there’s a need or a design that God’s made for each of us to be both needed and needy. And even, you know, as we take kind of that story of creation and into the fall like, sin as well is very much the opposite of that. There’s so much of a self-centered selfishness to sin, like you can see even when the first sin happens. Adam is no longer in this union fellowship with his wife, but he blames her for all that’s happened. Their kids, Cain kills Abel, and he, you know, asks the question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Which is basically a huge statement of like, do I need to care for this guy? basically. Sin is like this complete opposite of communal flourishing.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:10:40] It’s this kind of like me on my own, pulling myself up by my bootstraps sort of mentality. And then when you move into redemption, it, we often get this wrong. Like Jesus doesn’t just come and save us as individually hermetically sealed souls away from each other. Right? He doesn’t do that. He actually, you know, he doesn’t just save us and say, ‘Hey, good luck on your own and figure it out’. Right? But he actually puts us as a part of his body, the church. And even bigger than that, like Jesus is not only saving us individually, saving us as a part of this body that he calls the church, but he’s also redeeming the whole creation as well. There is a flourishing that is cosmic in the work of Jesus. That sort of bigger story of the Bible and human flourishing really cuts to the heart of a lot of things that we’ve taken for granted, especially as American Christians, of just ways that we have made this hyper individualistic understanding of humanity become our default. You know, even in the ways that we have constructed our neighborhoods of where we want to always be in the suburb where people are just like us or we want to be in a church where everyone votes the same way that we do, or all these sorts of things where we have basically taken individualism, we just made it into our little in our little tribe of people. But the Bible wants us to see flourishing in such a bigger way, much bigger than ourselves, much bigger than our own group. But there’s something about Jesus working all things in creation, a way in which there’s going to be right relationships between groups of people who are able to serve one another, care for one another in a way that everyone flourishes, everyone is brought up. That’s challenging for us, I think in a lot of ways where we’re taught so often that our success is dependent upon what school you go to, what job you have and all these sorts of things, and that the only way to get ahead is if someone else is pushed down, right? This zero sum sort of mentality where Jesus kind of blows that out of the water. It’s like Jesus does not work in a zero sum game. He wants all people to flourish and that really should change us in the way that we want to approach flourishing.


Michele Davis: [00:13:09] Yeah, and that seems really integrated to what God has put on your heart. I’m just noticing there’s a lot of things here. You’re a magazine editor, you’re super involved in your church, leading a team, working at RJUC, Mosaic. The theme that we see with all these things you’ve described is the centering of voices that have been marginalized, right? And so I’d love to hear you comment more about what would be different in our world if marginalized voices were put in the center.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:13:41] Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think this is the most important thing I’ve learned, just kind of being a late comer, but still coming into this racial justice work in the church is that healing and repair needs to happen for both marginalized communities and also marginalizing communities. So in other words, it’s not only a great harm for the marginalized communities who’ve received injustice historically, but it’s also a harm to the soul of the people and the communities that have also been the ones who have been enacting the injustice as well, whether unintentionally or intentionally. So deep wrongs have been done, and there needs to be healing and repair in order for restoration to happen. That’s when it gets really scary, right? Because that’s when we’re talking about things like power dynamics. We’re talking about things like money, influence. We’re talking about restitution. Now we’re talking about how bad the issue is, the things that need to happen in order for repair to happen, for restoration to happen, or a commitment to life together and flourishing together can actually happen in our world. Sometimes the solutions that are brought forward would be like, ‘Oh, we need to just all be fluent in diversity talk or we need to just forget the past’.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:14:53] But when it really comes down to it, we’re dealing with idols, right? We’re dealing with idols that need to be rooted out. They need to be addressed. That’s when things start to change. Like here in Columbus, you know, I think every single person where they’re planted, where they are rooted and located, will affect exactly what that looks like. The things going on historically here in Columbus looks very different from what’s going on in Los Angeles. And I think that we need to be able to assess, and see what’s the history behind the people in the communities here? What kind of healing does need to happen? Is there healing that needs to happen not only between the black and white divide, but even between you know, Korean Americans and African Americans. There’s historic tensions there within multiple locations as well. So I think there’s just so many contextual things that we need to think about as well when we want to put marginalized communities in the center. It’s more than just putting them in the center right. There’s healing. There’s things that need to be fixed in order for that to really be substantive.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:15:56] Yeah, I think that’s so important to remember and to acknowledge. Our goal isn’t just to change the landscape, but it’s actually to bring restoration and healing. You talked about how we need to recognize that we’re dealing with idols. How have you seen the Bible model this for us, this kind of restoration that you’re working towards?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:16:16] Yeah, that’s great. Let’s basically you’re like asking me ‘what’s your favorite passage of the Bible question?’ Like, but mean like there’s so many passages, but like what I think is one thematic big event that I think has really been  captivating for me recently is the idea of the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament. God has given basically a holy calendar for His people. There’s all kinds of feasts, all kinds of things that happen every single year, maybe even every single month. The Year of Jubilee is like this big deal where every 50 years, like society gets turned completely upside down. You have debts forgiven. If someone ever had to sell their property because they fell into poverty, they get it back. If they had to sell themselves to become servants because of, you know, dire circumstances, they become freed again. There’s this whole complete shift of just everything being totally turned upside down. And I think that’s something that God wanted His people to do even before the Messiah would come, right? They knew of the promise of the offspring of Eve who would come and stomp on the serpent’s head to fix everything. And God still wanted them to have something in their calendar, right? To bookmark it for them to say this is a little picture of what that’s going to look like, I want you guys to do it. And now for us who are on this side of the cross, right? We don’t have a Year of Jubilee, right? You don’t have to count off every 50 years. But we do have the Jubilee Bringer. We have Jesus. And because of that, we aren’t constrained anymore to this 50 year cycle, right? We, with the power of the Holy Spirit, every day, in a sense, is a Year of Jubilee, right? We are able to, as the church, through the Spirit, do things and influence things in a way that turns things completely upside down, where the power dynamics, the money, all these things get completely shifted. And I think that’s been, for me at least, a huge picture and a way to see how that’s modeled in the Bible.


Michele Davis: [00:18:33] The Jubilee Bringer is my new favorite name for Jesus. Like this excessive grace that we have, you know, and that should actually be infiltrating every part of our life in existence, not just like in a slice of our life or a part of the week, but in how we operate all things. And so I appreciate you bringing that up. So I’m curious to hear more about your work with the Racial Justice and Unity Center. What is it that you get to do with this group?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:19:07] Yeah, so the Racial Justice and Unity Center, I’m going to call it RJUC, since it’s so much shorter to say. So the RJUC is actually broader work that my colleague, Chad Brennan, has been doing for about 15 years. And Chad has been working with mostly Christian nonprofits, colleges, churches, to help them to make real assessments and growth for diversity, inclusion and that sort of work. And so where the RJUC fits in is, about three years ago, Chad and a group of researchers from Barna, Dr. Michael Emerson, who is one of the authors of Divided by Faith, Dr. Glenn Bracey, a couple others decided to do some research to kind of answer the question, have things changed since Dr. Emerson wrote that book, you know, several decades ago? Right? And what are some of the metrics or some of the things that we can find by our research that has helped people? And what are some things that have actually hindered people in their understanding of racial dynamics? And so with this research, we were able to create some assessment tools that both individuals and organizations can take. And what I specifically do at the RJUC is I oversee a coaching network. These are people who are biblically based, theologically astute, justice oriented people who have experience coaching people and mentoring them in their walk with Jesus as it relates to racial justice. And when someone takes the assessment and they want to get a full blown report of like exactly where they’ve scored, what they can do to grow, they work with one of our coaches. And so I’ve been mentoring the coaches, helping that coaching network expand, and I’m excited about it because I think this is something that is really unique that doesn’t exist anywhere else. And I think this is a really helpful way for individuals who really want to make those next steps, but even the organizations that are part of to really grow and to have that personal dimension to it as well, working with a coach, working with someone who is able to hold them accountable, but also to encourage them, you know, especially when they get discouraged in this sort of work.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:21:33] That’s really cool to see. I feel like when you were talking earlier and you were talking about how like healing needs to happen on both sides, right? Like we all need to heal from the injustices that have been done to us and that we’ve perpetuated. When you’re coaching individuals, how do you help them become proponents? Not only like, okay, there’s the I need to heal and figure this out in my own heart, but also be a proponent of biblical unity in my community.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:22:02] Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I’ll give you kind of a sneak peek of two things that I will usually do when I’m working with a client. A lot of the clients that I work with are white Christians who have grown up in white evangelicalism and, but who want to learn and want to grow. And so one of the things that the assessment measures is how well they recognize their own racial background as a white person. And across the board, I think white Christians often score very low on that. Many times they might say things like, ‘I don’t identify with the race or I don’t have a race’, right? And what I really like to tell them through my coaching is that racism also hurts white people, too. There is actually something that has been done over the course of time where there was an invented category called white, and even immigrants from Europe basically shed off their ethnic backgrounds in order to be assimilated into that so that they could have a position of privilege. And so there’s a lot of actually, lament that needs to happen as a white person to realize that they don’t have a connection anymore. right. There’s a lot of loss of their own ethnic backgrounds. So that’s one of the things I try to coach them individually of like to have them recognize what are the things that have been lost because of racism for them as a white person, and what are the things that they can maybe lean back into right when Jesus returns and makes all things new and worshiping him around with our own cultures. Like there’s something about them as well as white people from their own backgrounds that’s going to be expressed in the way that they are worshiping Jesus. Whether they recognize that now or not and so how can they lean into that?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:23:52] The second thing is we ask some questions about solidarity with different communities. So we’ll ask questions on the assessment, like if something bad were to happen to this community, how would it affect you? Would it affect you at all? If things go better for, let’s say, the Asian community, would it go better for you? And those kind of questions help assess the big solidarity question of things like how proximate are you on a daily basis with these communities? The Bible, when it talks about flourishing and thriving, is when all people are thriving. When a member of one community hurts, that should hurt someone from another community, right? When someone rejoices, that should be our joy as well. Like we are supposed to be able to have this reciprocal relationship with people. And so to have people ask the questions of where am I located? Who do I see on a daily basis? Who do I not see? What are the reasons behind that? And even the scarier questions, who do my kids see? Because a lot of people choose neighborhoods, right, for their kids that they intentionally or not distance themselves and even segregate themselves from people who are different from them. Those are just helpful ways for people to take inventory of how they’ve fashioned their lives and to think about how might Jesus be calling them to walk a different path rather than just following the path that they’ve always been on?


Chealsia Smedley: [00:25:16]  Oh, I feel like there’s so many things to think about, even like I’m thinking about my own life. Um, and so I’m curious for you, like, what has growing in these areas looked like in your own life?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:25:28] Yeah, in terms of the solidarity question, as I’ve thought about, even when we moved from Southern California to here in Columbus, we had to, you know, make decisions about where we wanted to live, right? There are lots of different places, lots of different suburbs in Columbus. Think it’s the same with any other city. But even if you drive from one neighborhood to another neighborhood, you can see a very stark difference of how when it snows who gets their streets plowed, right? Who do we want to be proximate to? And we decided to live in one of the most diverse zip codes in Ohio because we wanted to be near people who were different from us.


Michele Davis: [00:26:10] And I think I’m seeing a connection here to what you were talking about just right before this, about solidarity and choosing proximity to people who are different than you. Can you comment on that, about that practical choice?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:26:24] Yeah, the very basic level, what I hope as we raise our family in a very diverse zip code is that when something affects a group of people in our neighborhood that we may have no other connection with culturally, just in any other way when something hurts them, that we also are going to be hurt by it. Right? That we are going to be able to weep with those who weep as Jesus wants us to. And in the same way when something goes well for them, when justice is actually served for someone in our community, we are able to lean into that and rejoice with them. That solidarity, like being able to be proximate to, you know, and I’m going to be totally honest to like my neighborhood has a bit of a reputation for being a not safe neighborhood. And you can go on to Nextdoor and all that stuff and see all kinds of, you know, people saying all kinds of things about shootings and all that stuff. I think that really does show, at least for me, the ways in which I had made things like safety and security an idol, where I thought if I had control over my neighborhood in every single possible way, then it’s going to be safe, it’s going to be secure for me. And not realizing like, that’s me not entrusting myself to Jesus, that’s me not letting myself be stretched in a way where I’m not supposed to have control over everything. In many ways it might be helpful for me to be able to take a step back and say, What can I actually learn from a different community rather than just try to control it in a way that is manufactured, in a way that is most secure or comfortable for me?


Michele Davis: [00:28:10] Yeah, and I mean, I live there too. So, I hear that pushback about the safety things and it doesn’t seem true to what I’m experiencing at all, like in terms of like how much my neighbors know and love and look out for each other. Also, there is literally crime all over our city. I had a neighbor who moved away for a safer neighborhood and her car immediately got stolen in that safer neighborhood. You know, it feels like, um, I mean, I want my kids to be safe too, you know? Like, I don’t, like, give them knives and tell them go jump on the trampoline. But also, it seems like sometimes, like we talk about it in terms of like, crime and safety, but we’re really just afraid of people who are different, that we can’t predict what they’re going to do as a result of that. And, um, that breaks my heart.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:29:05] Yeah, no, that’s for sure. I think your experience is like, perfectly maps onto my experience of like, there’s a lot of just inter-neighborhood sort of solidarity. We’ve all chosen to live here. We all have each other’s backs and we all, you know, want the best for each other.


Michele Davis: [00:29:23] Timothy, this has been a truly inspirational conversation and I feel really energized and I might want to have your family over for dinner, just for fun. Like, it feels like that should happen. But I want to ask you one last question. In light of all that we’ve talked about today, how would you encourage someone who wants to participate in God’s redemption of their communities but they don’t know where to start? So what’s like a one step?


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:29:51] Yeah, I’m going to cheat and give you a one step that has one A, one B, one C, one D.


Michele Davis: [00:29:57] I mean, yeah. No. Yeah, yeah. Please.  Four steps is fine.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:30:02] I think the first thing, just from my own experience here as someone who’s a newcomer to Columbus, is to really get to know this community of where you’re located. That can be, you know, your entire metropolitan area. It could be your neighborhood subsection, to get rooted deeply and locally. We could even start with a Wikipedia search. I mean to be honest, that’s one thing that I did. If you don’t know the history, you won’t know the present. And if you don’t know the present, then you can’t imagine what the future will be either. So you don’t know where there’s been fractures, where there needs to be healing, what needs to be redeemed if you don’t know your context. So that’s the first step. The second is I would really recommend that you find a community who you can be on mission with together. There’s something about creating a community so you know that you’re not on your own on this journey so that when you’re discouraged, you can have someone to lean on. When someone else is discouraged, you can give them the encouragement that they need. The third thing is, I do think that racial justice is absolutely essential if we want to be effective where we’re located. And the reason is because the places that we live have all been touched and infected in some way by racial injustice. Whether that’s neighborhoods that have had on their deeds, exclusionary covenants, saying non-white people cannot purchase this property so that those exist everywhere from Columbus, Ohio, to Long Beach, California, right? Or it can be redlining. It can be even in Columbus, the fact that the interstate highway actually was designed to go directly through historically Black communities, completely destroying their own economies, their culture, everything, while affluent communities were completely unaffected by the highways, needing to know in what ways that injustices happen and in what ways that needs to be healed.


Timothy Isaiah Cho: [00:32:03] It’s absolutely essential. The Bible talks so much about justice and mercy. So, one of the tangible things I can say is to learn about racial justice from someone who is a follower of Jesus, who has thought about these things in ways that are helpful, that can provide hope, that can actually provide change. I’ve mentioned that I’m a part of the RJUC, and we have a whole coaching network of people who are more than glad to work with people. I’m also glad myself to talk with anyone. And then the last thing I think is, is, you know, assumed. But we got to say it. You got to pray. Prayer is is so foundational to, you know, everything we do, but especially as we participate with God because there is something about prayer that changes and forms us so that we are prepared to have the right posture when we go into these things. If we don’t pray and we try to bring redemption into our communities, we will inevitably see ourselves as little saviors. If we are not bowed on our knees, then we are just going to always come as people with our noses down at people. We have to come with a posture of humility and willingness to learn in order to be able to even start seeing the problems, but also even seeing the possibilities of what can be done.


Chealsia Smedley: [00:33:33] Timothy gave us so many things to take away today as we pursue communal flourishing, whether that’s examining the ways that we think about solidarity and our commitment to other communities or being rooted locally so that we can better participate in the work of restoration that God is enacting around us. As we do all of these things, there’s one thing that I want to leave you with today, and that’s the Year of Jubilee. That every 50 year event that Timothy described in the Old Testament where debts were forgiven, the captives were set free. Wrongs are made right. The fact that when Jesus came, he used this passage in the Gospel of Luke to describe what he came to do, and then how Timothy reminded us that we have Jesus. We have the Jubilee Bringer with us today. That we carry his presence into every place that we walk into. And as we partner with the Holy Spirit, we too can shift power dynamics, forgive debts, and set each other free.


Michele Davis: [00:34:43] For more ways to continue journeying with us, hit subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Check out the show notes for any links we referenced and then go to cru.org/createdfor for a guided reflection based on this episode.


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