Responding to Specific Questions

Posted: November 23, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

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.

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Comments
  1. at no point do I ever call for the complete shutdown of the website
    The suggestion was to pull the offensive material and to drop the theme

    When the entire website, and book, are built upon the theme, how do you suggest doing this? You may not have officially used the words “please removed the book and website” but that’s exactly what you asked.

    I am one who asked if Kung Fu Panda offends you as well. Although you didn’t answer my question, on another blog the question was answered, and that answer was affirmative. The poster then gives an example of being a child teased by “asking if I knew kung fu” and “speaking nonsense made-up chinese language while making kung fu hand motions to provoke me”. I’m sure his two responses are indicators of things that bother many who objected to Mike’s book. Here was my response:

    Lots of kids are teased for lots of reasons when growing up. Siblings tease each other, and it’s not racist. Kids teach each other about lisps, and it’s not racist. Kids tease each other.. because kids teach each other. None of us have a monopoly on having been teased for something.

    When those being teased grow to be adults, some allow themselves to hold onto the pain of having been part of the life path of normal childhood. Others let go.

    My parents moved around ALL the time, all my life (example, in High School alone I attended 5 different schools). I was always the new kid in school. There was always someone teasing me about something. But I can’t even remember most of what I was teased about while growing up. The only thing I do remember was senior year in High School when one group of boys used to drive by calling me “White Nigger” and occasionally throwing apple cores out the window in my direction (I had very curly hair that resembled an afro). Until just now, I’ve never mentioned it. Why not? Because I belong to the second group: I chose to put childish things behind me.

    Asian characters were used on that book to fit a theme, not to degrade a culture. Sure, Mike could just as easily have picked… the Navy seals. Or some other group of warrior. But he didn’t. He picked martial arts, and hurt the feelings of those still holding on to normal childhood teasing.

    Your response seems to indicate that Kung Fu Panda offends you as well. I’m sure you’re not the only person in this thread who feels that way. It is MY opinion that this further illustrates how petty this current argument really is. What a boring world we’ll live in should we start saying movies like that, or book’s like Mike’s, can’t be created.

  2. dewde says:

    Professor:

    I know that neither you, nor the Asian American community at large, asked for the complete shutdown of the website. You have articulated well that neither the book’s primary subject matter, nor the intentions of the authors, have been on trial. I know this.

    I take heart that good has come from the mess. When I read on your blog, and Angry Asian Man’s also, that non-Christians are shocked, and pleasantly surprised, at the response by the authors and by Zondervan… that makes my spirit leap for joy. When I consider that the resolution here has removed a potential barrier between an Asian American non-believer, and Jesus, it sits well with my soul. I choose to focus on that.

    I was an Atheist for a decade, largely because of my experience with living, breathing, sinful Christians who were too worried about their own agendas, and refused to make sacrifices for the greater cause of unity. I used things like their disagreements and disharmony and bad attitudes to build walls in my mind, shutting Jesus out… not because of Jesus, but because of his followers.

    So when a series of events like this unfolds in public, and non-Christians are taken off guard and impressed with an unexpected outcome, I can not help but be glad. Because I remember my life before God.

    I did not expect that backlash that ensued when the site went down. I knew I was feeling a loss, but it did not occur to me that it would cause such a tidal wave of expressed frustration, exasperation, and, for some, even hostility. I have not talked to Mike since the site went down, but I do not believe he and Jud would have done it like that if they believed it would have had such a polarizing reaction.

    I sincerely pray for blessings on you, your wife and children, and your personal ministry.

    peace | dewde

  3. t-hype says:

    Donny,
    I don’t want to jump at you too hard, cause I don’t know anything about you other than what you’ve stated here.

    Still, you’re making an apples and oranges comparison, of the type that majority men (in particular) are quick to make to minorities in these type of situations.

    Note that I chose my words carefully.

    I am a black American female who’s been living in South Korea teaching at a public high school, working with all Korean coworkers and living in a Korean neighborhood for almost two years. I am the minority’s minority. (We’re not talking about Korea at the moment but my statement applies here as well.)

    I know, I know. Big words like “cultural misrepresentation” and the dreaded “r” series of words make people go a little crazy but let’s get to the bottom line: When someone says, “You hurt my feelings,” regardless of their tone of voice (or post), the correct response is ALWAYS “Sorry.” Always.

    The sooner every majority learns that lesson. The faster EVERYONE can move on. *sigh*

  4. T,

    It is my opinion that the sooner people stop thinking of themselves as victims simply because they’re in the minority the sooner EVERYONE can move on.

    If you do a Google search for this topic you’ll find plenty of Asian Americans that were not at all offended by Mike’s book. I just wish I could post some of the private messages I’ve received.

    Some people choose to feel victimized regardless of whether or not they actually have been. That isn’t a very productive position.

  5. dewde says:

    “When someone says, “You hurt my feelings,” regardless of their tone of voice (or post), the correct response is ALWAYS “Sorry.” Always.”

    I don’t think you mean that exactly as it is written. I think what you meant to say was:

    When a racial/cultural/minority someone says to a racial/cultural/majority someone, “You hurt my feelings,” regardless of their tone of voice (or post), the correct response is ALWAYS “Sorry.” Always.

    Case in point if my feelings were to get hurt because I have been stereotyped as being “institutionally racist” because of my “white privilege”… it is not appropriate for me to expect an apology.

    Not trying to stir the pudding here, just trying to fully articulate.

    peace | dewde

  6. t-hype says:

    Donny,
    Don’t know what to tell you. It seems (at least in your own mind) you’re a completely neutral arbiter of legitimate and illegitimate offenses.

    I’ll leave that alone.

    I (personally) make it a rule not to tell people what they can and cannot be offended by. You can offer logic/reason but you can’t change people’s feelings. Only God can.

    Dewde,
    You got a big grin out of me on that one. I suppose what I was saying could be interpreted that way but that takes it down to an interpersonal level and at that point, (with the example you’ve used), you’d likely be owed an apology as well. (But fortunately, you’re NOT an ‘institution’, you’re just a ‘dewde’, right? ^_^)

    The Deadly Viper book situation was indeed about an institution–Zondervan that should have had the sense to tell two guys Mike & Jud (interpersonal level) that their book theme idea might be whack. Just like someone should have told Samsung that this commercial is whack. Do we need to use the “r” word? Maybe. Maybe not. But I think we can all agree there is a degree of poor taste in action.

    [As is the knee-jerk reaction to shut down an ENTIRE website rather than revamp it…but I’ve hijacked this blog enough.]

    • dewde says:

      LOL yes. Sometimes I pretend to be an institution, but the reality is that indeed, I am, just one dewde.

      I’m glad you cleared that up. I question if your position, about me being owed an apology in that situation, would is the consensus among the AA community. In the heat of the debate in the comments of this and several other blogs, white privilege and institutional racism were common rebuttals. Which is ironic, of course, because the specific people that used those terms were often using stereotypes in order to make a case against reinforcing stereotypes. “If you can not see how hurtful this is, it is because of your white privilege.”

      For me it was a real eye opener. I was like… double-tee-eff dudes! How dare you stereotype me because I’m WHITE!! THAT’S JUST WRONG! HOW CAN YOU ASSUME THAT I’M RACIST AND BLIND TO IT BASED ON MY SKIN COLO…

      oh.

      Stereotypes *do* hurt. I see that now. They do invoke emotion. I was reminded in a very real and tangible way.

      I still believe it is a logical fallacy to perpetuate a stereotype in order to defend perpetuating a stereotype. But I have a better understanding about why emotions cranked up so fast.

      In any event… they turned the lights back on over at http://deadlyviper.org only now they have taken one of the chapters in the Deadly Viper book, basically the summary chapter at the end… and made it the sole focus.

      They’re calling it People of a Second Chance.

      peace | dewde
      “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future” – Warren Buffet

      • dewde says:

        What I meant was, “I still believe it is a logical fallacy to perpetuate a stereotype in order to defend not perpetuating stereotypes.

      • t-hype says:

        I’m glad you cleared that up. I question if your position, about me being owed an apology in that situation, would is the consensus among the AA community.

        Sorry Dewde, I don’t think consensus can ever exist between more than two people. I think the more than two people agreement is called ‘putting on a united front.’ lol.

        I wasn’t gonna comment any more but you mentioned the new website title and man, that warms my heart. That’s what Biblical leadership is about…A Second Chance.

        Just went to the Facebook page and showed some love!

      • Irene Cho says:

        Thanks for the update Dewde! I’m flipping back and forth from being encouraged and discouraged from all the harsh and hurtful statements. But this is great news and I’m thankful that Mike and Jud are continually showing what their ministry is really about and what it truly means to be living out a life that Christ calls us to.

  7. Um, T… there is no other option but to shut down the website. The theme entirely fit exactly what others are complaining about. Removing those things that were claimed “offensive” would have left what is there now: nothing at all. It’s been up for 2 years, Mike has been touring the entire country utilizing it, and nobody has ever complained… until the good professor saw the book title in a CATALOG and WITHOUT READING THE MATERIAL decided to start complaining. Once he opened his mouth, it’s my opinion ego wouldn’t let him take it back. Some of Mike’s biggest supporters happen to be Asian (do a google search for blogs that link to Deadly Viper) and none of them had complained. It took someone who’d never heard of him before, and who had no clue what his ministry was about, to take him down.

    Poor taste? Absolutely. But not on Mike’s part…

    • dewde says:

      I saw a blog post from 2ish years ago where some Asians complained and even emailed Mike and Jud about it. Hope you know I’m not trying to pick a fit or nothin and I plan on manhugging you (with leg-wrap) at some point in the future when you kids come back to ATL.

      peace | dewde

    • DF says:

      Donny:

      I can understand a few of Deadly Viper proponents’ points:

      1) The book helped some people.

      2) Some Asians weren’t offended by it.

      3) The book has been out for some time.

      In answer to 1), I’ll say that a number of people undoubtedly were buoyed by the advice and experience shared by the DV:CA authors. However, no one is able to count the number of people who were turned away, not by Foster and Wilhite’s message, but by their packaging. Just because such disaffecteds aren’t reporting to a polling station doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

      There were and are some very negative reactions to DV:CA from the non-christian Asian sphere. To ignore these reactions is to dismiss an obvious weakness in our own Christian testimony. Our witness is intimately tied to our perception of justice.

      “It is my opinion that the sooner people stop thinking of themselves as victims simply because they’re in the minority the sooner EVERYONE can move on.”

      This is an unfortunate mindset exhibited by many non-victims. I do not believe that anyone only counts numbers and says “poor me, more of them than us.” Case in point: South Africa. Whites were the clear minority, yet it was the black majority that was clearly oppressed. The relevance was not held in a numerical figure, rather it is expressed as a difference in power.

      The injustices we minorities battle in this country is not a matter of the victims’ mentality (thinking of myself as a victim or not). Indeed, I would argue that a victim’s mentality is wholely irrelevant. Injustice is not intitiated in the mind of the victim. Rather injustice exists first as the intentions and judgements of the perpetrator. Let’s say A’s last act on earth was to murder a suicidal B. When A gets to heaven, what do you think God is more likely to say:

      1) I’m dissappointed that you wontanly killed someone made in my image.

      2) S’cool, homeboy was just about to off himself anyways.

      When you’re a minority and you’re denied a job because of the color of your skin, that’s injustice. It doesn’t matter whether that job equated to a career imperative or a casual attempt to earn extra spending cash. When someone implies that one of my sisters would make a good prostitute because she’s attractive and Asian, that’s wrong. It doesn’t matter whether she goes home and cries, replies with a sharp retort, or just keeps walking. Injustice is a product of the mind of the perpetrator, not the victim. It does not cease simply because the victim wishes it so.

      I’d also encourage you to see racism, not primarily as a loss to an individual, but as a loss to the community. A racist act does three things. One, it makes it much more difficult for us to be in community because it destroys the trust and bond we have for each other. Secondly, it harms the perpetrator because that person is reducing the inherent dignity of the Imago Dei to something dirty and undesirable. Finally it minimizes and ostracizes the intended victim, among other things. Of these three, the the first is the greatest harm. If I’m the subject of a racial epithet, I might brush an offender off as ignorant and misguided. He might look at me as an “illegal” and go on about his business, perfectly self-righteous and satisified in his accomplishments. But community is broken. Community cannot “shake it off.” The two of us cannot have fellowship while the slight exists, unanswered, unreconciled. The Body of Christ is broken and hurts when we assault each other, even if the individaul parts are successful in disconnecting themselves from the immediate pain.

      As far as 2), yes, there is always a diversity of opinion. But if some Asians weren’t offended by the presentation of DV:CA what will we say of whites and other minorities who were offended? Do only Asians who aren’t offended by white appropriation of Asian culture count towards the overall figure of legitimacy?

      With regard to 3) There is no statute of limitations on the disruption within the body caused by racial inequality (regardless of whether that equality is propagated by malicious intent or not). The fact that this book, in its current form, has been circulating for upwards of 2 years now is more of a comment on the lax editorship and screening process at Zondervan than some form of tacit approval by the Asian American community. As both sides accurately deduced during the Cold War, if you shoot enough warheads, one will eventually get through. The harm this book does to our community didn’t only occur at the release party and cease thereafter. It continued to propagate throughout its life cycle, which hopefully is now at an end. In effect, some are choosing to view DV:CA like being bitten by a deadly viper and surviving, with the viper having moved on two years ago. No so. Allowing DV:CA to remain in circulation is like having that deadly viper permanently attached to our carotid for the 2+ years, dripping poison into the Body every day.

      “the good professor saw the book title in a CATALOG and WITHOUT READING THE MATERIAL decided to start complaining. Once he opened his mouth, it’s my opinion ego wouldn’t let him take it back.”

      I’m going to point something out here that might not be very comfortable for you, but I feel it needs to be said. Professor Rah quoted published passages from the book and videos which were available online. These were made available legitimately either by the authors themselves or released by Zondervan. Obviously, the authors and Zondervan believed that such materials were worthy of release and did so in an effort to affect an audience. Since these samples were available before the book was released and made available without a disclaimer requiring an audience to complete the book first before viewing, these materials stand to be judged in their own right.

      I also must point out that while you may have read, in person, DV:CA you state nowhere that you have met Soong-Chan Rah, in person. So if you wish to call out Professor Rah on the basis of his having judged DV:CA by bits-and-pieces available online, you are also subject to the same standards: you are judging Professor Rah only by the bits-of-pieces of statements yo,u yourself, have read online. I can assure you that the entirety of Professor Rah is not contained merely within a few blog pages. If Professor Rah is guilty of overjudgement because of his reactions to on-line material re: DV:CA (published by the authors themselves), you may also find yourself guilty of the same overjudgement of Professor Rah, having based your verdict of his character and motivations purely on a few online-statements rather than reading/meeting him in person and in whole.

      This is particularly poignant when considering that, in contrast to Professor Rah, you have taken it upon yourself to publicly question his motivations, casting them in the light of service to “ego.” This is a very base accusation for which I have seen no evidence for, either in Professor Rah’s statements or your own. Please note that while you are required to cite no evidince, and are entitled to your opinions, you are responsible for the negative effects those opinions have, perhaps more with regard to your own reputation than Professor Rah’s.

      I have both read DV:CA in its entirety (bought a used copy) and met Professor Rah in person. As much as I know both, I can say that I detect no malicious or ego driven intent on the part of either publication or professor.

      I believe that Foster and Wilhite’s material is imminently divisible from its current asian-esque packaging. Their tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of pride, lust, hyper-activity, etc are not applicable only to Asians, or martial artists, or even martial arts media fans exclusively. In fact, the places where Foster and Wilhite commit their most egregious cultural errors are parts of the book where they let the marketing and packing overtake wisdom drawn from their own life lessons. Soy Sauce and Siracha have nothing to do with honest conversation (Page 50). Asian women should not be seen as avatars of, or opportunities for, infidelity (Page 106). Put succinctly, when Foster and Wilhite get off the map of their own personal experience, it’s no wonder they get lost and make wrong turns. If only they had simply stuck to their own lives and lessons…

      I would encourage you to see the Professor Rah’s and others’ critiques of Deadly Viper: Character Assassins not as the death of Foster and Wilhite’s message, but rather a refining and purifying step that will allow their words to be heard and well-received by and even wider audience.

      • profrah says:

        Thanks DF. You have an extraordinary gift of articulation and cogent presentation.

        Another point of clarification on point 3 that affirms your point. The book was picked up by Zondervan this year. It had been published privately and had been circulating privately. In the Zondervan catalog, the book was listed as “NEW”. Many did not know of the book’s existence until recently because it just hit the major book market.

      • Since you’ve gone here:

        When you’re a minority and you’re denied a job because of the color of your skin, that’s injustice. It doesn’t matter whether that job equated to a career imperative or a casual attempt to earn extra spending cash. When someone implies that one of my sisters would make a good prostitute because she’s attractive and Asian, that’s wrong. It doesn’t matter whether she goes home and cries, replies with a sharp retort, or just keeps walking. Injustice is a product of the mind of the perpetrator, not the victim. It does not cease simply because the victim wishes it so.

        I’ll share something I haven’t shared yet:

        That whole “denied a job because of the color of your skin” thing? It goes both ways. Asians, or any other minority, do NOT hold a corner market on that. I was PERSONALLY affected by it. Here’s how: out of High School I was accepted into West Point, the United States Military Academy. My dream was to attend one of our military academies. Right before it was time to head off my invitation was revoked because they noticed I was white. They’d had me listed as Hispanic, an assumption they’d made based on the fact that I’m bi-lingual (english/spanish). I was told their quotas couldn’t be messed with that year and I’d have to start over again, delaying entry by a year. I chose not to start over.

        My case is NOT unique. My best friend works as a Mechanic at one of Walmart’s distribution centers. When it’s time for promotions, minorities ALWAYS have the upper hand. On his crew is a man who received his position due to the color of his skin (not white). MUCH better qualified people applied for the same job. This man has absolutely no clue how to do his job, so he drives around on a fork lift all day long doing nothing, yet nobody challenges him about it because… he’s a minority. His work load is picked up by the rest of his team.

        A relative owns a business in the construction industry. Time after time, contracts are lost to less qualified companies because they are owned by a minority.

        These types of scenarios are quite common, so please, let’s stop finding reasons to cry. We all have them. Until your post I had left these things out of it. Your post is indicative of EXACTLY what I’m talking about: a state of mind. You’ve lost the battle by buying into victim-hood status. Not one of the “discriminations” you mention are a result of being a minority. The root ’cause of every one of those things is clear: fallen man.

        You could have finished the sentence about your sister like this:

        When someone implies that one of my sisters would make a good prostitute because she’s attractive, that’s wrong.

        The “and Asian” part is irrelevant. When I produced porn I hired attractive Asians, Hispanics, white girls, black girls… ATTRACTIVE didn’t need a race added behind it. If you see it that way it’s because your mind is enslaved. If you’re always looking for racism you’re going to find it, because what you look for you will definitely find. If you’d like to verify that to be true take the time to stop wallowing in self pity and talk to people you consider “in the majority”. Act like you’re doing a documentary or something. Ask them to share their stories. And since they’re not a minority the things they share, which are so similar to stories you likely personally know, won’t be able to be chalked up to racism. It’ll become clear the problem is fallen mankind.

        When I was called a white nigger while walking to school, and apple cores thrown at me… was it because I was some new breed of minority?

        Again, what you look for you will find.

        And so we return back to Professor Rah and this book…

  8. Kathy Khang says:

    Well, good morning, Donny.
    Some of Soong-Chan’s biggest supporters happen to be non-Asian American. He was not alone with his concerns by any means. Do their voices and opinions not matter?

    Mike and Jud spoke with us by phone a few weeks ago and communicated this in a joint post:
    ?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.”

    Are you saying that Mike & Jud didn’t mean to apologize?

    Their statement on the DVCA website reads as follows:
    To our Friends and Family:
    Due to an unfortunate conflict that arose around our use of Asian American themes, we have decided to close this chapter of Deadly Viper Character Assassins. This decision has been a very difficult one for us and one that we did not take lightly.
    For the past 2 years we have had the honor to be part of an incredible movement of advocating for radical integrity and grace. We have been deeply humbled hearing your stories of how Deadly Viper has impacted your life, family, and relationships.
    We and our team will continue to commit our lives to the message of integrity, grace, and most of all becoming People Of The Second Chance.
    We thank you for your prayers, support, and kindness through this season.
    We love you.
    Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite

    Are you now saying that Mike and Jud are lying in their statement? That it wasn’t their decision to close down the site but that one person took them down? If you don’t agree with the offensiveness of the material, you should be talking with Mike and Jud about their mistake in judgment instead of trying to pin this on one person. They have communicated it was their decision. Take it back to them, Donny.

    I’ve read the material. They can rework the basic premise of the book. People of the Second Chance, right.

  9. Melody Hanson says:

    Reading, and then skimming the discussion here. As a woman, albeit white so I have had tons of privilege, all I know is that we must continue to speak up for those that are oppressed and discriminated against. I say this as a woman who has experienced injustice, but also because it’s right. Jesus is the one that over and over again spoke up for women and those who were subjugated in his time and culture.

    Equating “mean kids” in childhood with racist or sexist behaviors in our institutions, our communications, our rules and laws, our willingness to hire, or rent to, or date, or support our kids marrying, or have as president of our nation or our Christian colleges, or pastor our church, …. It’s just not possible to compare the two. I’m sorry but it is absurd.

    This isn’t about hurt feelings and by putting it that way you trivialize it and make it difficult to have a conversation about it. Before you get annoyed because we [women] (insert Asian Americans, or African Americans, or any minority) are offended, you must understand certain things are just wrong.

    I wrote recently on my blog: “For me it starts with questioning why people, but Christians especially, cause one another pain so needlessly? And especially why do we cause pain for those that are different from us? Why are Christians so dogmatic, so closed-minded, judgmental, so unwilling to change, so proud, and so damn selfish? This is a serious generalization, but I cannot stand the reputations that Christians have right now in the media and in many secular contexts. We look so stupid. I cannot stand the way many, many Christians behave, it’s embarrassing!

    We, above all, as followers of Christ are instructed to love, as Jesus loved (Remember the poor, the meek, the widow, the prisoner.)

    If a person is in pain, whose fault is it? I’m especially cognizant of this question because I have three kids very close in age and my husband and I are constantly being called upon to administer justice. (i.e. break up fights.) Is it:
    a) their own fault for being too sensitive or getting hurt?
    b) the fault of the person who caused the pain in the past, so it’s pushing buttons and causing additional anguish, or
    c) the fault of the person who caused the pain this time?

    I suspect though, as we try to figure out who did what to whom and why, that we are asking the wrong questions. Someone was hurt and pain occurred. Where do we go from here? How to make it right? How to create conversation and learn? Respond with compassion, and empathy, and love?

    These are the things I try to work through with my children and these are the things we should focus on now, as it relates to very difficult painful experiences.

    Let’s be real. Racism exists. Homophobia is very real. And I can affirm SEXISM IS REAL though I genuinely wish it were not so. And it causes minorities, gays and women pain, sometimes deeply. It creates scarring because it is repeatedly happening.

    And yet we live with it. We learn to get along. Sometimes we even smile and act polite; we don’t want to offended all the time. Occasionally, we get angry. And so we live with the pain of repeated offenses, getting along, and leaning on those who are the lightning rods for us, like Dr. Soong Chan Rah (and Kathy Khang.) I applaud him for speaking up and although I do not know him personally, if you read what he has said and done, one can only respond with thank you and I will pray for peace in your life.

    Justice is the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness, or equity. It isn’t political correct. It is right.

    • Melody,

      If you think women and minorities are the only ones to experience such things, I’d say you’re frankly naïve. Some of us simply choose not to cry about them over and over again. Do you think a guy like me, who was raised a Pastor’s son, becomes a porn producer because all has been great in life? Is that what a healthy person with a great upbringing becomes? I can say, straight to your face and without blinking my eyes, that minorities and women do not have the corner on human-inflicted suffering. And retaliation in any form is not right. Let’s not sugar coat it either: many white men are facing retaliation right now – payback for what others feel has been done. I could list example after example, even some that have been very recently shared with me in private (because I have the guts to speak out publicly instead of cowering in the corner of political correctness) but I won’t violate that privacy.

      When you say, “Racism is real” I’d like to remind you that racism doesn’t only go one way. As what appears to be a white man to everybody else (things aren’t always what they seem, by the way), I’ve encountered it. On buses. On subways. While walking down the streets. I’ve never doled out racism to “minorities”, but many have done so to me – and expect to get away with it hiding behind their “minority” status. That’s not okay, either.

      BUT… I don’t try to shut down ministries and get books pulled from the shelves. And no matter whether or not Professor Rah directly asked for that, what he DID ask for left no other options.

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