A Joint Statement from the teleconference yesterday

Posted: November 5, 2009 in multi-ethnicity
Tags: , , ,

On Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 4th, several folks gathered on a phone call to talk about the various postings related to the Deadly Viper’s book.  The people in the conversation were Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite (Authors),  Chris Heuertz (Director, Word Made Flesh), Soong-Chan Rah (Prof., North Park), Kathy Khang (InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Ministries Director), and Eugene Cho (Pastor, Quest Church).  The conversation was facilitated by Nikki Toyama-Szeto (Urbana 09 Program Director).

Various people in the conversation share their reflections on that conversation below:

Kathy Khang writes:  The conversation didn’t begin until our moderator, Nikki Toyama-Szeto, introduced the individuals at our virtual table and then lead us in prayer. The very act of praying and acknowledging our common need for and desire to seek after God, and hearing Nikki’s voice invite us to the conversation and into God’s presence, reminded me that leadership does not always look, sound or feel the way or come from the places we expect it to. Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite did not expect our voices, our concerns or our leadership when this started with a Facebook status and blog post, but now here we were on a conference call. What I heard were the voices of leaders all committing to begin a conversation that took energy, passion and a common agenda of seeking to start the process of reconciliation. For me, Eugene Cho and Soong-Chan Rah, the conversation is not a new one. But before I could even begin to answer questions about next steps and reconciliation and share even more about our concerns I knew I needed to hear something from both Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite. I needed to hear an apology with no if, ands or buts. I heard what I believe many of us wanted and hoped to hear: “We’re sorry. We didn’t know. We want to learn. How do we do that?” And then Mike and Jud listened. We start right there, and we hope to continue.

——————–

We, Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite, started a positive conversation with members of the Christian Asian-American community today who have been part of the blog discussion about Deadly Viper and Asian culture. We’ve waited to comment on the situation until now not because we weren’t listening, but because we hoped for a better understanding and for a conversation. Much can be misconstrued in a blog post. We are learning a lot. For one, we deeply offended some members of the Asian-American community who feel like we hijacked their culture for our purposes. We sincerely apologize for this and want to take steps to listen and respond to concerns. We will be removing a video and some content immediately and we’ll talk with our Asian friends to make sure our community embraces all peoples. We are on a learning journey here. Please have grace with us. This was never done intentionally or with any malicious forethought. We each have many Asian friends, some of whom have been part of the Deadly Viper community. We’ve also made some new friends who have shown us kindness. We desire to honor Asian culture and those friendships. We prefer to have these conversations in ways that have more potential to generate light than heat. In that regard, we’ll continue to have conversations about this topic offline, continue to learn and continue to grow.

—————

Soong-Chan Rah writes:

This afternoon I was part of a conversation with the authors of Deadly Viper (and Chris Huertz) and a number of Asian-American leaders.  I am thankful that we were able to engage in a direct conversation over what has become a highly charged issue.

I am thankful for the authors’ genuine remorse for the ways that many in the Body of Christ were wounded.  The telephone conversation should pave the way for further dialogue and ways to remedy what has been a source of great pain to many, but specifically to the Asian-American community.

I know that the authors have already taken steps by removing offensive material.  This action was taken with great sincerity and with a desire to move the process forward.  I believe we have taken a very significant step in dealing with a serious issue and believe in the sincerity of the authors to move further along the process of understanding and reconciliation.  I ask that they continue along that journey, as difficult as that path might be.

On a very central level, we are brothers and sisters in Christ seeking to understand each other.  There are many potential places of misunderstanding in the Body of Christ, but we are united by one Savior and we are part of one Church.  Thanks to our brothers who were willing to hear the pain borne by others.  Thanks for your commitment to continue on this journey.

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Comments
  1. […] has been a lot of conversation online and, apparently, in person.  This morning Dr Rah posted a nice summary of what sounds to have been a very productive phone conversation between the book’s authors […]

  2. […] Apologies were offered and a committment to work together to move forward was reached. You can read a report and summary of these positive events on Prof. Rah’s […]

  3. Steve Yamaguchi says:

    This looks like a good start to a new conversation (hopefully among new friends) and a good start at directing energy in a constructive, redemptive direction. I am glad that Foster & Wilhite seem open to learning to appreciate distinctions between different Asian cultures. I hope that you who are in this conversation with these men might also be able to help them learn to distinguish between Asian and Asian American cultures. They do seem admirably open to learning. I appreciate their humility and their willingness to listen and learn some things about themselves and about others.

  4. What an amazing outcome! Thanks for your leadership and wisdom on these issues. Let the journey(s) continue.

  5. […] out about 40 minutes into the hour conversation, I was encouraged by the honest conversations from everyone involved and the shared conviction that we did not want this to be a one hit (one chat & out) wonder a […]

  6. […] has occupied a lot of our attention this week. Here’s the beginning of Soong-Chan Rah’s blog post from this morning: On Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 4th, several folks gathered on a phone call to talk […]

  7. daniellui says:

    props to everyone involved, showing us how to engage in racial dialogue in a Godly manner. I hope this will be formative in the construction of an Asian-American Christian voice that does not settle for silence and saving face, but values speaking up with maturity and confidence for the sake of the multicultural Church and the Kingdom.

  8. eliseanne says:

    that is so encouraging.

    praise God for this important step!

  9. Thanks for your leadership in once again bringing light to an issue about which the church has been groping in the dark for too long. You continued leadership, and the constructive dialogue that ensues, serve as a model for the rest of us to follow.

  10. […] to Lo and Collin for the link to this follow up statement from all parties. It’s on the book’s blog as well. No word yet from Zondervan (now there’s a big […]

  11. Hannah says:

    Praise the Lord!!! Thank you for your leadership.

  12. Answers to our Lord’s and our prayers! “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

  13. nicole poirier says:

    so glad there were open ears and hearts. praying there will be continued progress.

  14. […] Another apology from the authors: “We, Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite…. are learning a lot. For one, we deeply offended some members of the Asian-American community who feel like we hijacked their culture for our purposes. We sincerely apologize for this and want to take steps to listen and respond to concerns. We will be removing a video and some content immediately and we’ll talk with our Asian friends to make sure our community embraces all peoples. We are on a learning journey here. Please have grace with us. This was never done intentionally or with any malicious forethought…. We desire to honor Asian culture and [our] friendships [with Asian people].” Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Oh How I loved Kung Fu Movies!!!Kung Fu Christian – Lesson 1: There Are No Accidents!’Black’ Belts — SL’s Guide to Brothers in Kung Fu & Karate Movies […]

  15. deen says:

    what about an apology for some in the christian community calling them racists?

  16. Tim Wright says:

    So glad my insulin is working or I would be in a diabetic common from all this fluff over nothing. I want to throw in my apology for being white, and being faithful to my wife and adopting a child from China without asking her permission and imposing our white values on her. I could go on but I am sure you sense my sincerity.

    Tim

    A missionary in England imposing Jesus on another culture before I asked their opinion before I came.

  17. […] Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite have posted their conversation w Asian American leaders as well as Soong-Chan Rah. A conference with Zondervan was also conducted which included Ken Fong weighing in. This is […]

  18. […] out about 40 minutes into the hour conversation, I was encouraged by the honest conversations from everyone involved and the shared conviction that we did not want this to be a one hit (one chat & out) wonder a […]

  19. […] Update 5: A meeting happened. […]

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