There seems to be a significant amount of misunderstanding regarding where things stand and even the larger context regarding DVZ. I was hoping to not have further blog conversation on this topic but really to work to build relationships behind the scenes. But I do feel the need to address some specific issues and questions that have arisen.
(1) I have reviewed my posts and at no point do I ever call for the complete shutdown of the website. As far as I can tell, I don’t know of anyone else that asked for the complete shutdown of the website. I and many others have repeatedly stated that the subject matter was an important one. There was no statement opposing the blog, the community itself, or every single aspect of the book and website. The suggestion was to pull the offensive material and to drop the theme. The decision to completely shut down the website and to pull the books was in the hands of the authors and the publishers. Asking the authors to drop the theme and shutting down the entire website are not equivalent. I believe that there should have been enough content to continue the website without continuing the theme. And I am praying that the authors will be able to bring back the content in a new and impactful way.
(2) There was never a point where the word “racist” was used against the authors. Phrases like, “cultural insensitivity” were being used. The word “racist” is such a loaded word that anyone even evoking the term becomes a name caller and loses credibility. What an incredible irony.
(3) Please recognize that many were offended by the theme and found that it was harmful to the body of Christ. Many felt that it hindered witness to the non-Christian Asian-American community. The CONTENT of the book should not have been impacted by dropping the marketing theme. The work of calling the church to Christian integrity could continue without an absolute reliance upon the theme. There was never any call for Mike and Jud to stop their ministry. In the same way that there was never any call for Zondervan to stop publishing books. There was never any sense of concern beyond this immediate situation. There has always been a high level of respect for their past ministry and a strong affirmation of their future ministry.
(4) Some have asked about stereotypes in the secular media. These are also very harmful. However, these stereotypes and racial/cultural insensitivity are not being perpetuated by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The secular media are not governed by Christian values, but the church should be governed by Christian values of respect for the other, an honoring of the image of God found in other cultures and a willingness to pursue God’s justice and righteousness.
I absolutely acknowledge that I made numerous mistakes throughout this process. I extend both my public apologies as well as continue to offer apologies in private. This ongoing process is a difficult one for all those involved, but we are choosing to stay engaged on this very difficult journey. I have a deep sense of empathy for the strong feelings felt by many that something very significant was taken away. Please understand that that is how many Asian-Americans felt when confronted with this material. I don’t feel the need to re-hash why the marketing of this material was so harmful, but let us not forget that the need for a response was because there was an offense in the first place. I feel no sense of victory about the material being pulled. If I had an agenda at all it was that this episode will call the church to a greater sense of understanding regarding matters of race, culture and the Christian faith. We have a long way to go on this. But I’m praying that for everyone involved, we can continue to move towards authentic reconciliation.