to mike foster and jud wilhite, and the leaders of zondervan publishing

Join us in continual prayer for this entire situation (personal thoughts and reflections). We believe we can and will emerge from this – wiser, deeper, and more unified as the body of Christ.

Below is a letter we sent out this morning to our brothers, Mike and Jud, and the leaders of Zondervan Publishing. It is signed by the folks that have in conversation with the authors and publisher but we write the letter on behalf of many. As such, please feel free to sign your name and other personal info you want to share (city, church, etc.)


To Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite, and the leaders of Zondervan Publishing,

When we received Moe Girkins’ statement regarding Zondervan’s response to the Deadly Vipers controversy, we felt a deep sense of gratitude and admiration towards all of you, for your courage and conviction in the face of a difficult and challenging situation. We know that it must have taken many hours of discussion amongst numerous parties to reach this conclusion. While the outcome is one we were hoping to see, at the same time we recognize that the costs to make this choice were high, both for the authors, Mike and Jud, as well as for Zondervan Publishing. The fact that you have not only chosen to take this step but to also use this situation as the catalyst for change within the organization speaks to the integrity of Zondervan’s leadership. The personal sacrifices that Mike and Jud were willing to bear in the midst of this decision speaks to their character and demonstrates that these are two pastors who practice what they preach and write.

Thank you for being willing to hear the voices of all those, Asian American and others, who expressed their concerns. We know that it could not have been easy at times to weather the criticisms. Nonetheless, your willingness to understand the issues, to take responsibility for the errors, and to act so swiftly and decisively in order to rectify the situation gives us great hope for the future, hope that the body of Christ can indeed demonstrate the power of reconciliation and be a witness to the world in how we resolve our differences.

We are also heartened to see the changes that have already taken place at the corporate level within Zondervan to reduce the chance that a similar controversy will occur in the future. We know that Stan Gundry has been working hard behind the scenes to bring resolution to this situation, and we want to offer him whatever assistance we can to help him in his new role. Please do not hesitate to call on us if we can support Zondervan’s efforts in deepening its cultural sensitivity and awareness.

To Mike and Jud, we can only imagine the personal toll this situation has taken on you. We have heard from numerous people who deeply admire your work and who attest to the impact that your ministry has in the church today, and we hope and trust that God will continue to bless your work, especially given the integrity you have shown in this matter. As you seek to begin the task of recasting your message in new ways, please let us know if we can help you in that process. We know there is much to preserve in the hard work you have done to this point in creating the content and community for Deadly Vipers, and we want to see your excellent ideas and your growing following converge in similar vehicles as before (book, website, blog, etc.), or more. Our hope and sincere prayer for you both is that this controversy and its resolution will in no way diminish your work and ministry, but broaden and deepen it.

Lastly, we hope and pray that the conversations and relationships that have begun in the wake of this controversy will not cease, but continue in renewed forms as we collectively seek to build and strengthen bridges amongst different members of the body of Christ. True reconciliation is not a one-time achievement but a lifelong, intentional pursuit. May this be just the beginning of all our continued efforts to deepen our understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of God’s people.

Sincerely in Christ,

Eugene Cho, Quest Church
Ken Fong, Evergreen Baptist Church of LA
Helen Lee, Author
Kathy Khang, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary
Nikki Toyama-Szeto, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship


234 Replies to “to mike foster and jud wilhite, and the leaders of zondervan publishing”

  1. Eugene–thanks for everything you did to further reconciliation in this process. Appreciate your service to the body of Christ through your comments and your desire to pursue both justice and reconciliation.

  2. Yes! I truly hope that the conversation continues. I pray that both Zondervan, the authors, the AA Christian community and the Christian community at large would continue wrestling with these issues of race and faith. I also wonder if the issues of gender will be addressed in future renderings of DV? I pray that would be so.

  3. Couldn’t have said it any better. I hope that we can build upon this rather than leave this as a milestone in the past.

    Josh Ho, Vanderbilt U. IV-AACF, Nashville TN

  4. This is really an awesome outcome–an example of how the kingdom of God is supposed to work! Thanks all of you for your integrity and grace!

    Jeannette Conver
    Assistant Pastor of Spiritual Formation
    Kent Covenant Church

  5. Such a great example being bold in speaking a hard truth but doing so in such a humble and gracious manner. Thanks PE and everyone who has been involved in the discussion. If we can’t handle our own internal conflict as the Body, then what nerve have we to think that we will be able to be a prophetic voice to all the conflict in our world? Thanks for showing us how it’s done.

    Tony Nabors, Seattle, WA

  6. While I think it is an extraordinary step by the Jud and Mike and Zondervan to take the actions that they did, I do not acknowledge that this was somehow handled in really a Christ-like way.

    This was not handled in a manner that would suggest that the body of Christ sorted it out amongst themselves. The fact that this matter was all over the blog and all over facebook does not lend credibility to that argument. It was very public complaint, viewable by anyone with a search engine or facebook account.

    And it is a tragedy that Deadly Viper will no longer be available. I do sympathize with those who were offended by the motif of the book. However, there are greater examples of displays of racial sensitivities than a book about character and integrity.

    Racism does exist but more often than not it is perpetuated and strengthened because we make it an issue. And this was an example of that. Every race can take issue with something in society. For me, being a caucasian male, I constantly notice that bad guys, crooked cops, and the intruders in the alarm security commercials are all white.

    I respect you greatly for how God has used you and the strength He gives you daily, and honestly you have inspired me but I cannot say that I am happy with this decision. Would you be posting with news if Zondervan had gone against you?

    1. Adam,

      I’m white, and I think you’re reaching a bit with your examples. How many non white Cops do you see in real life? I don’t know about you, but I rarely see anything but white cops in real life. Besides, wasn’t Denzel a bad cop in Training Day? He’s not white.

      You constantly notice bad guys that are white? You must be watching a very small sample size of movies and tv shows if that’s all you notice.

      The intruder in the security commercial example is just laughable. How often do you see one of those commercials? Come on man, you’re reaching, and you know it.

  7. That is amazing, praise the Lord. I hope people can see that this is a beginning, not an ending. May our actions follow closely with our words. We are praying!!!

    Hannah Lee, MA Crosscultural Studies
    Fuller Theological Seminary
    Pasadena, CA

    BA Asian American Studies/Education
    University of California, Los Angeles

  8. Adam,

    I totally get what you’re saying. But I’m also glad that Eugene and the other guys were able to accomplish this. The body of Christ should be above using silly caricatures of other cultures for the sake of selling a product. The world does this all the time, but Scriptures tell us to think and wage war differently and to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

    But I bet that if Mike & Jud used a cowboy theme – they wouldn’t have received the same kind of pressure because cowboys are usually thought of as white…and Mike & Jud are white…so why would the cowboy community take offense? Catch my drift?

    I remember watching a few episodes of King of the Hill. It was like watching a train wreck…it was awful, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it because it was just so funny how they made fun of another culture for the sake of entertainment. (Which is NOT what Deadly Assassins was doing.) But when I found out that the next door neighbor family was an immigrant South East Asian family…the show stopped being funny to me. That’s because I’m a South East Asian immigrant. Anyway.

    Maybe Mike & Jud can reinvent with a cowboy theme. =) j/k

    Much grace needed by all and for all. We’re all on the same side.

    Christ be glorified – His Church be unified!

  9. Adam>”Racism does exist but more often than not it is perpetuated and strengthened because we make it an issue. And this was an example of that. Every race can take issue with something in society. For me, being a caucasian male, I constantly notice that bad guys, crooked cops, and the intruders in the alarm security commercials are all white.”

    Hey Adam, thanks for sharing your views in a respectful manner… so forgive me if I have firmly disagree and offer a different perspective.

    Racism will NOT go away and be solved by not talking about. The idea that a corporate and personal sin like racism magically disappears in practicing silence is as illogical as assuming issues like domestic violence or anti-Semitism are solved by silence. Sin thrives when we sweep under the rug or ignore it.

    If the body of Christ doesn’t have the courage and grace to speak prophetically against the evil of racism, who does?

    As for your example of “being a caucasian male, I constantly notice that bad guys, crooked cops, and the intruders in the alarm security commercials are all white”, yes that’s a negative image. However, considering how numerous the positive images are of white men, the negative impact is fairly insignificant. Just look at mainstream TV or music.

    White men are everything from:

    -Lovable and quirky boss
    -Funny dad
    -Intelligent co-worker
    -HONEST cop
    -Courageous FBI agent
    -Talented Surgeon
    -Romantic husband / boyfriend
    -Dashing corporate executive

    Non-white men rarely appear in the above… much less Asian American men (who seem relegated to the same roles of martial arts guy, gangster, nerd, sidekick).

    And finally, this comment:

    >”Every race can take issue with something in society.”

    Any injustice is an injustice. I don’t think trivializing the issue by saying “every race can take issue” is productive, because everybody knows there’s certain advantages to belonging to certain racial and gender groups. Black men are more likely to go to jail, white men make more money than white women, etc. The statistics don’t lie.

  10. “Black men are more likely to go to jail,”

    And of course, that has everything to do with racism and nothing to do with personal responsibility…

  11. Susie>I’ll just quote Tim Wise.

    “Or consider criminal justice. Although data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that whites are equally or more likely than blacks or Latinos to use drugs, it is people of color (blacks and Latinos mostly) who comprise about 90 percent of the persons incarcerated for a drug possession offense. Despite the fact that white men are more likely to be caught with drugs in our car (on those occasions when we are searched), black men remain about four times more likely than white men to be searched in the first place, according to Justice Department findings. That’s privilege for the dominant group.

    That’s the point: privilege is the flipside of discrimination. If people of color face discrimination, in housing, employment and elsewhere, then the rest of us are receiving a de facto subsidy, a privilege, an advantage in those realms of daily life. There can be no down without an up, in other words.” -Tim Wise

  12. Intensity is needed to bring forth the truth. Thank you Prof Rah, Pastor Eugene and everyone for using the intensity and voices (pens, computers…) you have been given, without neglecting to share the grace of Christ given to us. Thank you to Foster, Wilhite and Zondervan for trusting God to provide the resources – which are all God’s, anyway – to take responsibility and do what’s necessary. May we all learn to serve Christ and one another better through your examples!
    Ann Farley-Rolle’
    Centennial, CO

  13. @ Gar,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the truth about our society.

    @ Adam,
    Unintentional racism is still racism. One might not be a racist individual, but still able to say/portray racist images/remarks. We all need to be aware of what is hurtful, insensitive, and racist so that we can stop both intentional and unintentional racism. I am glad that the controversy over Deadly Vipers was broadcast because it teaches us as well as the book’s authors to be more aware of racism.

  14. I want to list what started all of this just to illustrate how petty I believe it to be. On Professor Rah’s blog, he writes:

    “Recently, I received my copy of the Zondervan catalog. In one of the circulars, there was an advertisement for a book called Deadly Viper Character Assassins: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership.

    “So the ‘Kung Fu’ part got my attention, as well as the dragon on the cover and the Chinese characters. I guess I was hoping against hope that it was the story of an Asian-American Christian rather than another example of Asian culture being pimped out to sell products.”

    First of all, before I share my thoughts, let me share this: I produced porn for 9 years. XXXChurch, co-founded by Mike Foster with Craig Gross, came along 5 years into it and spent the next 4 years loving me out of it. I’m now enrolled in a seminary program and I’ve spoken to more than 4 million people from around the world about what God has done in my life. I’m glad Mike and Craig spent their time evangelizing instead of looking for reasons to be offended by other evangelists.

    Which is probably what some will do when they read my thoughts. Sorry if I’m not “politically correct”. Jesus used to tell his disciples they were idiots when they were idiots. He didn’t baby them. I insist on not babying anybody either.

    Now… my thoughts are this: I think the good professor had too much time on his hands and is looking for something with which to find offense. Did he bother reading the material before beginning his crying?

    As I’ve said on Facebook and in comments on Prof. Rah’s blog (and others), Kung Fu isn’t even exclusively Asian anymore. In my area, I don’t even know of a martial arts dojo of any sort that has an Asian “Sensei”. Because of the lack of Asians in the dojo, should Asian “characters” be removed? Shall we insist that all martial arts instructors be Asian?

    Where shall the offense end?

    Shall I take offense should Professor Rah ever write a book and illustrate it with an American Football (perhaps something like, “TACKLE Temptations and SCORE TOUCHDOWNS in your Spiritual Life”) or be offended if he wants to write a book on how to “Shoot Down Sinful Desires” should he illustrate said book with an F-16 (after all, we all know the relationship of the American-born Wright brothers and flying). He better not write about “How Not to Spiritually Strike Out” and put a baseball/bat on the cover! God forbid! I might through a hissy fit with his publisher!

    C’mon, Christians! Give up the right to be so easily offended. Especially if you’re a Christian in a position of leadership. Your skin should be MUCH thicker than that.

    An entire ministry and multiple families have been drastically affected by your pettiness. Way to go!

    1. wow. Im trying to keep myself from ripping you a new one in the name of Jesus… but instead i asked Jesus, and He gave me permission to tell you you’re an idiot.

      Im sorry man if i sound less than loving in my response to you.. but at this hour i am incapable of tolerating Bullsh!t, and when i read your comment above, all i see is Bullsh!t.

      You are picking at a reference to the word Kung Fu, when there is so much more substance behind the hurt… the hurting from the book’s marketing is done.. right now what is hurting me and most of those offended are the true colors exhibited by fellow christians; unable or unwilling to show compassion and understanding.

      Sir.. you’ve got a stereotype of your own that you’re going to fight for the rest of your life…

      pornographers = filth = lacking morals = tainted forever = bad people

      in the eyes of some, as a pornographer, you have committed a sin on par with murder… corrupted the lives a countless men who watch it and women performing it.

      as a christian brother, i believe in the Lord’s ability to redeem a man…

      much of society, maybe not.

      i hope you know that your sins will effect your son’s life.

      the family of the girl that your beautiful son will want to marry one day may judge you wrongly and label your son ‘dirty’ for your past sins.

      is your skin thick enough to deal with that?

      i have no business outlining to you, the stereotypes and the underlying themes that objectify our cultures and reduce us to goofy images and sales pitchy words… unless you genuinely want to know, but your lack of sensitivity speaks volumes.

      so touche… if i let insensitivity take over – pornographers are corrupt,liars, and dirty even by anglo american society’s standards. you are no more reformed than the alcoholic claiming sobriety after skipping on one after dinner drink.

      i have just taken the very thing that molds your identity, your road to redemption and salvation, and have reduced it to words and imagery.

      but who cares, you’ve got thick skin.

      1. Jin,

        I absolutely DO have the skin to take all of that. All of those things are to be expected. I am not going to start writing letters are crying about it when people say such things. I do, however, like to ask a question: Have you ever consumed porn? Don’t answer publicly ’cause you’ll probably lie about it. Only you know the true answer. But if it is yes, and the stats say that’s a 95% probability, you and I are in the same boat… the same circle of “supply and demand”. Because without consumers like you I never would have made the money producing it. There’s no escaping that guilt for ANY of us.

        But about the book…

        Do you realize it’s been two years that Mike’s book has been in circulation? Why do you think it’s only now, and by someone who hasn’t read/been involved in his ministry, that someone is throwing such a fit? It’s because for those who saw the ministry in action, not one of them thought Mike was disrespecting a culture. It takes a large leap to get THERE. You’re reachin’.

        1. brother, as i’ve said in another response to you, i think its safe to say Christians are no less immune to the temptations of pornography than non-believers, myself included… but i think youre reachin when you suggest that those who watch pornography are somehow just as ‘guilty’ as those making it. i think common sense would argue that as a pornographer you were motivated by many other things, money, power, notoriaty, which makes it more corruptive. but you are new creation, right?

          re: the book

          just b/c it was around for 2 years doesnt make it any less wrong. it just means that for 2 years, it never really emerged outside of its WASP target. and no one cared. i guess they got ‘lucky’ that the book got more press and got into the hands of people that cared.

          but my understanding is that these talks with the authors have been going on for a long time even prior to it hitting the blogshpere.

          1. but i think youre reachin when you suggest that those who watch pornography are somehow just as ‘guilty’ as those making it.

            I totally disagree. Does God put levels on sin? My point remains: without “demand” there’d be no incentive to create the “supply”. None are less guilty, regardless of how one chooses to rationalize their own level of involvment.

            1. c’mon dude! i doubt you’d be preaching the message you are (as you say in your website) had you just been a consumer of porn. You know there is something extraordinary about your story as a reformed pornographer… by suggesting your sin is the same as that of someone watching it negates your backstory. you would be no more special than i, my man.

              But in your heart of hearts, you know your sin is extraordinary in the eyes of society, you know what you did was descpicable and to be reformed from something so extraordinarily descpicable makes your ministry much more intriguing. its the shock value that you count in when you speak and minister. i saw your videos and your website.

              if your story was ‘i used to watch porn and now i don’t…’ no one would listen to you man.

              no… God has said that a sin is a sin. in his eyes you will be judged the same for whatever sin…

              but you and i both know, on this earth, there are sins that more acceptable than others… killing someone is much worse than stealing money. stealing money is worse than calling someone a bad word. you get the point im sure.

              1. Certainly man puts “levels” on sin, but we won’t stand in front of man for eternal judgment, now will we? “Man” is guilty of lots of foolish things.

                And by no means do I think I’m extraordinary in any way. I think God uses me to simply reveal how cheap we’re selling out by revealing how fake porn actually is, replacing fantasy with ugly reality.

    2. Donnie, great thoughts and appreciate your honesty. I know that Mike and Jud would never have intentionally made any type of promotions that hurt would hurt/shame/guilt/etc anybody. I can understand your pain and RIGHTFUL anger for thinking that this was an “Asian Mans” agenda. I speak to you as an Asian-American male and can say this with confidence, it’s not.

      I’m sorry that Mike and Jud used poor decision making in regards to their marketing scheme. I’ve read the book, I love the book, it has helped me. But the way they have marketed the book recently is offensive to some Asian Americans. That doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong for you, it only means that it is offense to some. For those some, we MUST respect their rights as a fellow human being.

      I truly hope and pray that Mike and Jud will re-birth DV again. It is a great ministry. I ALSO hope that this situation will teach ALL of us how to love and respect one another in a better way.

      with love from an Asian brother,

    3. Donnie, great thoughts and appreciate your honesty. I know that Mike and Jud would never have intentionally made any type of promotions that hurt would hurt/shame/guilt/etc anybody. I can understand your pain and RIGHTFUL anger for thinking that this was an “Asian Mans” agenda. I speak to you as an Asian-American male and can say this with confidence, it’s not.

      I’m sorry that Mike and Jud used poor decision making in regards to their marketing scheme. I’ve read the book, I love the book, it has helped me. But the way they have marketed the book recently is offensive to some Asian Americans. That doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong for you, it only means that it is offensive to some. For those some, we MUST respect their rights as a fellow human being.

      I truly hope and pray that Mike and Jud will re-birth DV again. It is a great ministry. I ALSO hope that this situation will teach ALL of us how to love and respect one another in a better way.

      with love from an Asian brother,

  15. @Donny
    Hey man, it sounds like this whole issue has been hard for the authors and ministries that have been involved. And it sounds like it has been hard for you to watch the affect that has resulted from that. I understand how you feel that men (whom it sounds like you deeply respect and have had a large part in helping you step out of a very dark thing)who you care for have been seemingly singled out and rebuked, for something that you precieve as unimportant or irrelevent. Although I don’t agree with the way that it happened (over the internet) and i may not understand all of the cultural things that go behind it, I do hear that it was very damaging to several of my brothers and sisters in the asian-american community. And even though I am white, i know that racism can be just as damaging, violent, and dark as pornography (if not more so). I have friends who have suffered violently and I myself have suffered from violent racism. So in the same manner if a friend of yours was dabbling in pornography would you not try and call him out on it and try and help him to find his way out of the darkness? (Granted I hope you wouldn’t do it over blog or facebook.) All this to say, I hope that Christians can find a way to dialogue on a larger scale. An important part of that dialougue is understanding. Now I don’t understand all of the things that you have gone through, but I do understand that it was hard. In the same way I may not understand this situation but if a brother or sister tells me that it is damaging and difficult to them then it is probably damaging and difficult for them. In the same manner being rebuked is difficult, it is not easy, as I’m sure you know. The fact that it happened so publicly is tragic, but at the same moment let us have grace for one another. Part of this letter is reaching out to their ministry and trying to repair some of the damage that has been done. It was not the intent of these leaders to publicly humiliate the authors of “Deadly Vipers.” As I beleive it wasn’t the intent of the authors to be culturally and racially insensitive.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony, it can’t be easy for you, but it is good to hear how the ministry of one of these authors has affected your life. I hope that they continue to do good work and that their ministry grows. It is so needed.

    Please have some understanding for Donny. As he is watching people he cares about go through a difficult albeit informative time. It sounds to me like this has been a very difficult thing for you as well. Anger is understandable, but we are called to react with so much more. Finding ways to dialogue in love and edification rather than reducing to judgement is so important for us to do. If we can’t do it in blogging amongst ourselves how could we ever have these converstaions with the larger world? Now I’m not excusing what Donny said, but at the same time, I think it is important for us to really take the time to listen where people are coming from before we respond while still feeling like we want to “rip their heads off”

    Good letter, I hope that there can be a good and loving dialogue that comes from this. The body of Christ needs unity so badly.

    1. i take your comments to heart… its not my desire to exhibit my frustrations on this blog… face to face would be much more rewarding and fruitful for me… but i cannot speak on this subject like its someone else’s problem. It is a personal issue for me, as well as for many many here and elsewhere. the sad thing is that the comments being made are inflammatory at best… the is no willingness nor compassion being extended.

      most(not all) of those objecting to the books pulling are not asking for understanding… they are simply making sarcastic comments designed to break down.. nothing edifying at all.

      what is important here is that this conversation is taking place amongst Christians… thats the part that gets me. How can we all believe in the same God who’s heart has been conveyed time and time again in the Living Word, as a heart wanting his people to be united, in diversity from all walks to life, as ONE body of Christ… and say such hurtful things? I have lost faith in my fellow Christians b/c of this.

      When i engaged this conversation a few days ago, i was not compelled by the issue regarding the book, but by the arrogant nature in which my fellow believers were attacking other believers.

      I take full responsibility for my comments.. but i cannot censor myself for the purpose of harmony. my role here is to firmly rebuke what i feel is wrong. i will not pussy-foot around an issue that is obviously ugly and painful.

      to those of you i engage in conversation, there is no ill will, but i hope that if you can dish it out.. that you can certainly take it.

      Individuals like Donny, engage this topic without any personal investment… its someone elses problem that they’re speaking on and they’re just annoyed by it. My heart is to repackage it in ways that are personal to them, and i apologize if that looks judgemental. that is not my heart.

      this needs to be talked about and discussed.. its not pretty but necessary.

      again lukedaniel.. i appreciate your encouragement.

  16. Hey everyone:

    So, let’s be civil and respectful. Many of us share a collective faith in Christ.

    Do no forget that.

    Here’s my challenge to everyone: Don’t write something you wouldn’t share with someone FACE to FACE.

    The anonymity of the internet doesn’t give us license to say whatever.

    1. Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I’d say anything I wrote face to face.

      And for the record: I’m not in the least bit offended by what Jin said. I respect him for being so blatant, actually. I think the world needs much less political correctness and much more “say what you mean”, know what I mean? I have obviously never met him, but I’d give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the following assumption: we could probably be sitting face to face at a coffee shop having the discussion that we’ve had here without either of us getting physical with the other person, right Jin? And I would leave such a conversation without long term hard feelings.

      Communication is too often muddied by “trying not to hurt someone’s feelings”. Heck, the matter being discussed is a perfect example.

      1. @eugene and donny: i think we can be both engage in a heated conversation without have hard feelings against each other nor getting physical. 😉

        @donny – I think you expected that there would be some push-back to your comments friend.

        as i’ve said.. if want to truly know why this is such an issue, there can be constructive conversation… i can dig that.

        but comments like yours that basically chalk our grievances up to idiocy, oversensitivity, and reduce it to just plain bitching is wrong.

        Are you open to understanding the why’s behind this dialogue?

  17. @Donny,

    You’re doing great. Thanks for engaging in the conversation.

    @everyone else,

    The story of DV doesn’t end here. It can’t end here. We don’t want it to end here.

    I want the book to be re-published and believe the publishers will honor that. I want the website to re-emerge and I want Mike and Jud’s ministry to continue to flourish.

    We’re being foolish if we think their ministry is now at an end.

    They are brothers in Christ and great leaders. This is an opportunity for all us to engage well with those that look to us for ‘leadership’ and I remain committed to their larger ministry and look forward to that.

    1. I think it would be great if @eugene and those that signed the letter put up some of their own money to help Mike and Jud re-release DV in a new format.

      They all seem to agree that the content was great. They shouldn’t have a problem with contributing or raising some funds to help them get the content released in a less offensive format.

      I had a boss that said, “Don’t come in here telling me about everything that’s wrong, unless you are willing to jump in and do something about it.”

      So, guys…its time for you to jump in and get some money together. Let’s show the rest of the world that Christians really do act differently when they are offended.

      What a great testament to our Faith if those same persons helped Zondervan, Mike, and Jud by offsetting some of the cost!

  18. 1) A few years ago I was in a school-wide meeting — we had broken into small groups — where a Vietnamese woman who had been a cook at a local h.s. related how an African American girl had called her a “Chinese bitch”. This woman said this wasn’t the first time an incidence like this had happened; she had some deep wounds and resentment toward the African American community because, at least in our school district, political correctness rules the day and little is ever done when certain minority groups are the bullies/perpatrators of verbal and other harrassment.

    2). Last year, on a field trip going in the bus, a group of African American fifth-grade girls started to “slant” their eyes and sing some very nasty songs about “Chinese people” – which are what all Asians are, correct?! There happened to be a Japanese-American student on the bus, and my daughter is Chinese, so of course they were verbally reprimanded.

    3). Ethiopians students I knew in the Chicago-area during the 1990s said they would cross to the other side of the street when they saw African American hanging out on a street corner because the Ethiopians would inevitably be harrassed — not least because they generally happen to be very hard working and diligent students.

    I could go on with the anecdotes. The point is, I’d love to see a Professor Rah write a follow up book about the racism that exists between minority groups and how it affects their psyche. It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the middle of the room that much of Christendom doesn’t want to touch for fear of being too politically incorrect.

  19. Interesting stuff…

    I really appreciate this whole conversation given our current multi-cultural context. I am sure the situation could have been handled better in some ways by all involved, but over all, I feel like it has been handled with quite a lot of maturity and grace.

    @ Eugene (and others like him), don’t give up! I used to be just like Donny. (I actually come from the same town as him.) It wasn’t that I had any problems with minorities, quite the opposite. My parents were pretty forward leaning about racial issues, I had an African-American girlfriend at one point which they never commented at, my parents never really made any issues about race at all…

    Which is actually part of the problem. I grew up thinking racism was not a problem. And it wasn’t for me, but because it was never discussed, and because I grew up in an extremely conservative town (both theologically and politically), I had absolutely no grid for systemic racism. It took years for me to begin to realize that talking about systemic racism wasn’t a) a sneaky way of saying I hate minorities and b) it is the pervasive reality for most minority groups in america, and that from their perspective, systemic racism is just as hard to deal with as personal hatred.

    It took a willingness to be humbled, and to begin to appreciate the words of Jesus to ‘go the extra mile’ and take the burden of others upon myself, before I began to even reexamine my worldview in this area. I had a fairly severe bout with rebellion during which I became fairly politically libertarian (liberalism is just too popular amongst young people these days 😉 ), and for me to move beyond that required the work of the Spirit. It also took a few patient voices, who were unflappable in the face of my pointed questions and challenges.

    I used to make the exact same arguments Donny and others make. “It isn’t racism because it wasn’t intended that way, so don’t be so sensitive, and it will all be okay.” But when I consider Paul’s body metaphor for the Church, I begin to realize that my brothers pain should be my own, and the fact that I don’t feel that pain signifies something wrong with my perceptions; something wrong with my commitment to, and intimacy with, Christ and His Body.

    So again, to Eugene and friends, I am sorry that you get to be the racial guinea pigs who are called to continually educate ignorant (but well meaning) white suburbanites, but know that your prayers, and your graceful but firmly prophetic confrontation, is effective. Even more, know this, what you are fighting for is worth it, what you are fighting for is a Bride with a white dress, one that is not soiled by division and ethnocentrism; it is worth it my friends.

    1. This would be all fine and dandy, but if you peruse other blogs of “Mike supporters” you’ll find posts by Asians who AREN’T offended…

      I’m sorry, but it’s not necessary to be concerned about what might or might not offend every single person on the planet. The only way to accomplish THAT would be to sit in a padded room, alone.

    1. Hi Donny,

      I appreciate the way you’ve been engaging in the conversation, and though I may not agree with all that you say, I am glad that people are talking about this.

      One specific thing about the book is that the cover uses Chinese characters that mean “ninja, warrior, assassin.” The target audience of the book are English speakers and most of them will not be able to read these characters. For those who can read the characters, it is hurtful to see yet another example of Asian culture being primarily represented with the ninja/kung fu theme.

      Growing up as a Filipino-American in Texas, there were many times I was made fun of by my white classmates asking me if I knew kung fu and speaking nonsense made-up chinese language while making kung fu hand motions to provoke me. This among many other reasons is why I am offended when Asian culture is stereotyped as martial arts related.

      As for the difference between Deadly Viper and Kung Fu Panda, I will not attempt to differentiate the content because I don’t believe it’s a fair comparison. Here’s the main difference:

      Deadly Viper was published by Zondervan, a Christian company that says their mission is to “glorify Jesus Christ and promote biblical principles.” as well as respect and consider “the personal and professional worth and dignity of others” on it’s website.

      Kung Fu Panda, on the other hand, was created by Dreamworks, an entertainment company that strives to “produce high-quality family entertainment” and “tell great stories that are fun and comedic.” Dreamworks makes no claim that they are trying to follow any bibilcal principles nor be sensitive to racial stereotypes.

      Sources: and Company Overview Page.

      1. 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.

        1. Donny;

          I think your testimony shows that you did not grow up to be a healthy adult. You may have repressed the effect that your “otherness”had on you…but your life proves the point being gently and patiently made by the others on this blog.

          That kind of ostracizing behavior hurts and damages people.

          You are evidence.

  20. @Donny,

    Glad to hear that God is doing some great things through your life and story.

    Please post something on your blog and you can host your own conversation there. I’m sure there are folks that would be willing to join you there. Sounds like you’ve got lots of things you want to share and I’d rather we try to keep this thread open for others to chime in as well.

    Peace brother.

    1. No disrespect, Eugene, but you opened this post up to public comment. Since I disagree with you, you ask that I take my comments to my own blog? You feel okay making a public discussion about the work of a great ministry as long as those who comment see things your way, is that it?

      1. Donny,
        Eugene and others on this blog have given you plenty of space to disagree and make your point – in two languages, I might add.

        You disagree with many on this thread, and you clearly disagree with the way things went down. We get it. You’ve made that abundantly clear.

        You think I’m holding onto childhood teasing issues. I disagree.

        You think that because Mike & Jud have Asian supporters my argument is moot. I have non-Asian supporters as well. Does that negate your opinion?

        Let’s agree that you and many of us here disagree. Eugene has graciously allowed this thread to continue in hopes of moving the conversation forward. You wrote in a comment above that your opinion is that this argument is petty.

        Then why are you still here?

        1. Why am I still here? Because SOMEONE needs to point out that petty, childish hurt feelings have interfered with a work of God. He was doing great things through a great ministry. Things that are bigger than ANY of the hurt feelings some claim to have. A mature Christian needs to realize when it’s time to give up their right to be offended. There’s plenty of evidence that this is such a case. I’d like to see Eugene and the professor admit they were petty and overreacted. A ministry has been shut down. Mike supported his family doing God’s work and that has been taken from him (great timing with the holidays too, I might add). Why? Because people CHOSE to take offense? I’m sorry, but that is just WRONG and most likely downright sinful.

          1. You’ve pointed out “petty, childish hurt feelings” repeatedly, son. Are you so oblivious to this that you will continue to be a clanging gong?

            Where’s the love in your soul?

  21. In scanning all of these comments here, I can’t help but to feel that it is Mike and Jud’s responsibility to explain why they were wrong. All they did by shutting down their website was to pour fuel on the fire of Asian-hating. We didn’t ask for this. We didn’t start it. Mike and Jud were the ones who mocked us (unintentionally, sure). They started this but now they’ve just disappeared.

    They need to get back online to regain whatever integrity they have left

      1. Brother, can I suggest to you that the pride I see in your dealings here is really at issue. I heard a guy once tell the story of the Pharisee and Publican who prayed in the Synagogue…chapter 2. The Publican went away righteous, got his life straight, then shared his testimony, perhaps to millions, like you. They responded well, he felt pretty good about his “Honesty and up front-ness” He then ran into the Pharisee who had gone away not righteous, who had fallen into hard times, had lost his wife, and didn’t know what to do. He saw this pathetic, broken man, and lifted his eyes to heaven, and said to God: ” I thank you that I am not like this sinner…”

        When you say to another person to ignore what is hurting them, and then talk as you have, it is clear that you thank God you are not like these thin skinned sinners.

  22. @Donny,

    Just one question.

    Are you open at all to changing your mind about this issue?

    Maybe you think that some who support the pulling of the book are also unwilling to change their minds but I know some of them and would say that most of them would be the first to concede (or at least carefully consider the point) when they learn that they were perhaps not completely informed on a certain issue and were speaking/thinking/living out of a degree of unawareness.

    I understand that the DV book shares good principles and that it’s helped people live out a fruitful, redeemed life, and I get that it’s hard to understand why it was pulled since it was doing all this good.

    But can you also perhaps consider how that good came at the expense of tremendous hurt – hurt that is not in accord with the Kingdom of God that we are all trying to grow and live out?

    No one wants great teaching and character building work to go away. We just don’t want that good to come at the expense of hurting a segment of the Body of Christ that is just as much a part of God’s kingdom as anyone else.

    1. Tremendous hurt? Puh-leaze! Name one specific person who has read the book and is “tremendously hurt”. Save the drama. Save the whining. Toughen ip, Christian! A book title and the use of characters on a cover that the “tremendously hurt” probably can’t read anyway is no justification to shut down a ministry and take away the livlihood of a family (with children I might add). I hope Mike doesn’t have to tell his kids that Santa gave their presents to the “tremendously hurt”… which had likely never heard of him or his book until recently.

      Today I’m ashamed to call myself a Christian if this type of thing is what it includes. Thin skinned whiners? No thanks!

      1. Well, I guess that answers my question.

        Donny, I really love and appreciate the sympathy you hold for the situation that Mike and Jud find themselves in. That is a reality that can get overlooked and so I thank you for pointing that out. We do need to continue to hold Mike and Jud and their ministry in prayer and love.

        That said, if you’re only here to talk about that side of this situation and are unwilling to consider that there are those in the Asian-American community (and other persons of color and other white persons) who also have legitimate concerns, then what are we doing here? Where’s the discussion in that?

        It’s my understanding that Pastor Eugene keeps the comments open in the hopes of fostering dialogue – dialogue that can lead to mutual understanding. I’m not saying that we all need to come away agreeing on one side or another on this or any other issue that gets discussed, but if you only want to express one side of what happened and not the other then…well then I don’t know what to say. I don’t know that there is anything more to say.

        I admire your honesty and I understand your frustrations with today’s climate of political correctness. Race, privilege, reconciliation, stereotyping, marginalization, othering – these are all issues that need to be discussed because there is a lot of frustration and misunderstanding around them. And sometimes the specter of being politically incorrect sometimes keeps that discussion from happening.

        However, it needs to be a discussion. Both sides of any issue have to come to the table open to the possibility that they have something to learn from the person on the other side of the table. If that doesn’t happen then it’s not a discussion, it’s a shouting match.

        I hope that I’ve been able to show that I’m doing my best to see and understand your point of view. And again, I’d like to ask (although in a slightly different way), are you willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, some people have legitimate hurts and concerns regarding this book that needed to be addressed?

  23. @donny,

    brother, their ministry isn’t shut down. it’ll continue.

    we’re eager to see the new book republished. the DV website coming down wasn’t our request. they took it down themselves and a new website, People of the Second Chance, will re-emerge in the new year and i’m excited to see that.

    God is magnificent. His work cannot be curtailed. it’ll continue.

    i asked you to write a post on your blog because you wrote 14,238 consecutive comments…

    1. Sorry if all the comments have bothered you…you just have a lot of cheerleaders I wanted to address.

      And God’s work can indeed be interfered with by men. You’ve read the Bible, no? It’s full of examples of this happening.

      You didn’t use the specific words “shut your site down” but don’t kid yourself: that’s exactly what you asked.

  24. Hi Donny (and everyone). Donny- I truly appreciate your story and the fact that you want to speak boldly and directly about how you feel but sometimes (as Randall questioned) that can cause us to close our ears in the process. Race is an issue for white brothers like you and I to slow down and just listen at times. Maybe now is a perfect time for you to try that. You will certainly have opinions and perhaps even conclusions and expressing them is your right but again I urge you not to do it if it costs you the ability to listen. I promise you: we have something to learn from our Asian American brothers and sisters on this issue.

    1. Ian,

      Race is NOT the issue here, however. Some may choose to TRY to make that the case, and in this time where everybody has to walk on eggshells, fearing being labeled a racist, I can see why some choose to bow down at the feet of those who start to hint at such things.

      The evidence that this isn’t a racial issue? There are plenty of Asian people supporting Mike and maintaining that they were in no way offended. If this was racial that would not be the case, and absolute solidarity would be what we witness.

      Sure, we have something to learn from just about anybody. But perhaps, in this case, our Asian American brothers and sisters have something to learn as well.

      I’m not going to go all cliché and start saying things like, “I have a lot of Asian friends…” but I’ll tell you this: I live in California, one of the most racially diverse states in our union.

      As for speaking boldly: somebody has to. Plenty of people are discussing this behind the scenes where they’re not subjected to being labeled should someone find offense with their opinions. That’s not me, my friend. I refuse to speak behind someone’s back what I can’t say directly to their face. If I did that I’d feel hypocritical, weak and untrue to myself. And, sure, initially that might close some ears. Temporarily. But I am confident we’re all intelligent individuals here, and once the irritation settles off a little, a rational brain might start considering the message relayed.

  25. That’s faulty logic, Donny. It IS a race issue for those who are offended and you will almost never find absolute solidarity on any issue so I would dump that as your standard for legitimacy. That’s like referencing a poll and saying “if 100% of Americans don’t agree, then it’s not a legitimate/moral issue.” In that case, everyone has to dump their political convictions. Christ was a revolutionary; he was THE only person saying and doing what he was saying and doing, and went against the established religious institutions (majority) and their followers who clearly disagreed. Does that mean Christ was wrong? What one day is a truth spoken by just a few can some day become the wisdom adopted by many.

    1. Add to my “faulty logic” the comments I’ve already made previously regarding Kung Fu. In case you haven’t read them, I’ll repeat a few:

      Regardless of where it originated, Kung Fu in the USA is NOT specifically Asian. Kung Fu instructors come in all races, including white people. My son is not in Kung Fu (he is in Judo/Jui Jitsu) but not a single one of his “sensei’s” happen to be Asian. There is no race monopoly on martial arts in this country. People have to CHOOSE to be offended by Kung Fu illustrating Mike’s book.

  26. I’m sorry that Deadly Viper has come to an end. I’m even more sorry that a “brother-in-Christ” would make such a big deal over *nothing* in the name of political correctness; that is what it is, plain and simple, and if you think it’s about anything else, you’re simply fooling yourself. Some guy (I don’t care who he is) got his panties in a bunch because he feels mistreated somehow, and now a great ministry that has impacted the lives of so many had to be shut down. It’s sad, really.

    1. I don’t think anyone is happy about how this all happened.

      Granted, many people benefited from the principles in the book. No one is disputing that.

      However, if those benefits come at the cost of perpetuating the stereotyping and marginalization of others then I would say that it needs to be redone.

      That’s the bit that seems to keep getting lost here.

      Everyone wants good, solid, Biblical teaching. No one is against that.

      But can’t we also agree that we want that teaching to be delivered in a way that benefits ALL the people of God? Or at least in a way that doesn’t (intentionally or not) hurt a segment of the Body of Christ?

  27. Eugene,

    I keep wanting to post something here – but every time I try to write, it just comes out in a way that would be very unhelpful. I guess I just want to say that I’m sorry so many here have doubted your motivation (and of the others involved.) I wish they could have been in the staff meeting last week when you got the news from Zondervan. I remember seeing your genuine concern for the authors, and the good hopes you voiced for the future.

    And, reading all the comments has made me realize that I never want to piss of Jess, Randall, Jin, et al. They would take me down.

    1. He can show all the genuine concern in the world after everything has gone down. That doesn’t negate the fact that a ministry has come to an end and a family has been financially affected. Did you realize it wasn’t that long ago Mike filed for bankruptcy? He made this public so I’m not saying something he wants unknown. How would you feel if you were on your way to recovery, doing a great work of God that was supporting your family, and then someone’s hurt feelings come along and remove all that right before a financially challenging holiday?

      In my opinion, what Eugene and the good Professor need to do now is write a letter apologizing for jumping to conclusions before researching the book, the website, the movement, etc… and to admit that sometimes people are way too touchy/sensitive, their own reactions being a prime example.

  28. Donny,

    A couple things…

    Obviously you really want to talk about this! Which, in my opinion, is good. I don’t agree with many of the things that you’ve said, but your honesty and willingness to put your stance out there is quite refreshing. =)

    I would welcome your participating on my blog, appropriately entitled, “Mixin’ It Up” … I called it that because I really enjoy talking about these kinds of issues, and I don’t mind the heat it might create.

    Secondly… I would encourage you change your argument paradigm.

    It seems like, based on what I’ve read of your comments on this matter, that you think that either Mike and Jud are right and Eugene and Prof Rah are wrong, or vice versa.

    But life is not a zero-sum game.

    Mike and Jud are, were, and continue to be right about some things.

    Eugene and Professor Rah are, were, and continue to be right about other things.

    You can argue what you want about what specific things any of them are right or wrong about. That’s your prerogative.

    But please continue to be specific and argue about specific things.

    Thirdly, and speaking of being specific, you’re drawing a distinction between kung fu the ACTIVITY and the Asian martial arts culture that it came from, when you make the claim that kung fu is no longer Asian.

    The claim you seem to be making is that kung fu the martial art is no longer practiced exclusively by Asians, but that claim doesn’t negate its origin, which is quite obviously rooted in Asian culture (I would be more specific but I don’t know enough about it).

    1. Since I’ve repeatedly address similar comments, I’ll just reply to this part of your post:

      The claim you seem to be making is that kung fu the martial art is no longer practiced exclusively by Asians, but that claim doesn’t negate its origin, which is quite obviously rooted in Asian culture

      …which brings us back around to my examples of sports born right here in this country, as Martial arts and sports are quite similar. Scroll up if you haven’t already read the example I mention.

      Regardless of where something originates, one must consider what those things mean NOW.

      And you are right, I DO want to talk about this. Because nobody should be able to take something out of context, allow their feelings to be hurt (because of their own error for taking out of context) and then allow their hurt feelings to result in the work of an unrelated person being torn down. It’s time to stop acting like victims all the time and start acting like mature Christian adults.

        1. There’s no better way to “get attention” than to play the part of a victim. And people sure do love their attention, don’t they?

          A mature Christian would put aside the impulse to find a reason to play the victim, and realize nobody was victimized here.

            1. Oh, I dunno… someone who has time to reply to some of them, perhaps?

              Pardon me, I forgot I’m involved in a discussion that was started when a certain Professor went off half-cocked about a book he had yet to read. I guess I should expect half-cocked replies.

  29. As I reminder I’d like to mention that I still await specific names of people who have been “tremendously hurt” because Mike’s book references Kung Fu and uses “Asian symbols”.

    Oh… and just for the sake of my own curiosity I’d also like to ask how many of those complaining about the “symbols”… can actually read them. Just wonderin’…

    1. According to your definition of “tremendously hurt,” no one but Mike and Jud were hurt.

      The point we’re trying to make is that yours is not the only definition of “tremendously hurt” that exists.

      Many of the people here have acknowledged the harm that has come to Mike and Jud and Zondervan as a result of this. Are you open to the thought that other forms of tremendous harm were done to others as well?

      1. I keep asking for examples of how people were hurt, Randall. Please list names of people. Otherwise we’re just talking about anonymous hypothetical people.

        Do you know anyone that had to stay home from work after finding out Mike used Chinese symbols on the cover of his book? Any kids that didn’t want to go to school ’cause someone might walk up to them and ask them to read the characters? Anything like that to use as an example? I’d like to know. I own a copy of the book and I can’t seem to find anything that’s going to negatively affect anybody’s life. Please, please, tell me where to find all of these people who were directly hurt by this book.

    2. …and YOU think we’re petty for complaining about racial stereotypes… dude.. you’re asking for names?!?! comedic.

      do the names boy alley and teh boy alley ring a bell?

      they are gay men… from the looks of it, webmasters. are they webmasters of a gay porn site?

      You write about how they are judged and persecuted by Christians… how are they judged? are they called sinners and judged based on STEREOTYPES?

      It must pain you to see them judged, characterized, made fun of, by other Christians who hold unjust stereotypes of the kind of people they must be… enough for you to defend them and proclaim your support for them as a ‘representative of a true Christian.’

      i bet they:

      1. are sexually promiscuous
      2. talk with a lisp
      3. walk like girls
      4. have limp wrists
      5. are all fashion designers or hair dressers

      teh boy alley seems like a fairly outspoken contributer to pro-gay organizations fighting for gay rights and trying to fight unjust persecution from those with ‘Christian values’ or anyone judging them based on preconceived ideas.

      not going the engage the ‘are gays sinners?’ topic here.. but you seem rather compassionate to their fight.

      but you respect the fact that teh boy alley supports his cause, dont you?

      “I have a lot of love and respect for this man. He has raised a lot of money for charity. He’s a sensitive person who is very funny. He seems to have a heart of gold. But, understandably, he feels gay people are persecuted by Christians”

      wow, the Donny from 2006 sounds so different from the 2009 Donny.

      I swear you would’ve said ‘stop whining, you oversensitive idiots’

      oh btw.. did you know that gay men are stereotyped to be “whining bitches”

      for the record, my thoughts on homosexuality is not like the ‘typical’ Christian, i think you and i find common ground there. however, thats where it ends.

      1. Yes, I want names. “Teh boy alley” is a specific person who has been verbally attacked by Christians.

        I’m waiting to find out specific people who Mike and Jud have attacked. I’m looking at their book right now and I just can’t seem to find anybody singled out. And I bet a lot of the people complaining about these Chinese characters here on the cover can’t even read them. This is a really nice book. Sturdy. Good quality. GREAT lessons. I’m having a hard time finding stereotypes here, so I’m hoping you can point me to a specific person who had their day ruined from picking up and reading this book. Perhaps they’ll be able to make me understand…

  30. I would like to thank Donny Pauling for modeling a mature Christian adult today.

    Thank you for modeling such Christlikeness, brother. You’ve inspired me. 🙂

  31. ah geez… things are certainly interesting here!!! I don’t know much about the content of the materials, but certainly share in the sadness that what appeared to be solid content was packaged in such a way as to be dismissive of East Asian culture and peoples. Certainly I am not happy for the authors who I am sure had nothing but good intention and who have apparently done a lot of good work by the grace of God in people’s lives.

    Donny – for all his, uhhh… bluntness, does raise an important point, or several. It is a difficult thing for believers to walk circumspectly and to live at peace with everyone. It is not easy to walk the line between brotherly admonition and rebuke and simply bowing to political correctness that is a pale substitute for the real thing.

    All of the back and forth about who did what and who watched porn and who produced it is irrelevant. If the Lord judged iniquities, who could stand? Clearly none of us.

    So, yeah, the whole thing could probably have been handled better. And yeah there are some who do not understand quite why the DV materials presentation was offensive. If the materials were actually based on the virtues taught in martial arts I somehow doubt that the reaction would have been so strong, but instead, it was just random cultural symbology thrown together to make something look “cool,” which is not something that bothers you much if you belong to the most powerfully dominant economic and political culture in the world, but which feels really different when all it seems you’re ever allowed to be is a accessory decoration.

  32. @Donny

    You’ve asked many times for specific examples of “tremendous hurt.”

    If your definition of “tremendous hurt” is the following:
    >>>Do you know anyone that had to stay home from work after finding out Mike used Chinese symbols on the cover of his book? Any kids that didn’t want to go to school ’cause someone might walk up to them and ask them to read the characters? Anything like that to use as an example?
    then no, I can’t point out any specific examples.

    Again, my question would be, is that the only definition of tremendous hurt? What’s the basis for defining hurt that way?

    If you’re looking for other examples of hurt, I’d direct you to the comments on Prof Rah’s blog or comments on some of the other posts on Pastor Eugene’s blog. Tons of examples there.

    However, I suspect that those do not fit into your definition of tremendous hurt.

    And therein lies the rub.

    My fear is that you will walk away from this conversation at some point and say, “see, no one was able to show me how tremendous hurt occurred because of this book and so this book got taken down just a bunch of thin-skinned, whiny people complained loud enough.”

    My point, again, is that there are many kinds and forms of hurt.

    Many here have acknowledged the hurt that this situation has caused Mike and Jud and other Christians who have benefited from their book. Granted, over and over and over again. That is tremendous hurt that has occurred.

    However, I don’t hear any sort of acknowledgement from you regarding the form that tremendous hurt may take for other people – people with a very different experience of life than you may have had such that their idea (and experience of) tremendous hurt may be very different from yours. The examples are out there and myriad IF you are willing to expand your definition of tremendous hurt.

    If you aren’t willing to do that, then what are we doing in these comments?

  33. Wow. Checking the blog and the comments have deteriorated into some juvenile stuff.

    Let’s try to have a constructive dialogue or I’ll go ahead and close the comments.

    Remember, we are all still part of the body of Christ.

  34. Since it appears that commenters insist *I* be the one to change my position, rather than admit the pettiness of their complaints, there’s really no point sticking around.

    I receive comments via email. Should Eugene decide to apologize for taking part in such a petty affair I’ll gladly return to thank him for his courage.

    G’night, all.

    1. And maybe you should do some homework and read through past blogs that have addressed the many questions that you’ve brought up. There have been many eloquent and none angry responses, so it might behoove you to peruse through that first before you try and continue to fight this battle (when you obviously don’t have all the context and understanding). And I wonder if Mike and Jud come out and explain thoroughly why they’ve responded in the way they have, whether you’d be more willing to listen to why this actually was a big deal.

      Lastly, just because you have some Asians who don’t understand what the big deal is, doesn’t mean that it was okay to utilize and misrepresent a whole people group’s culture for the purpose of selling more books. Just because there were many women who didn’t think it was proper to allot them the right to vote, doesn’t mean that it was okay to keep restricting them that right. That goes the same for blacks who weren’t allowed to vote. That goes the same for slaves who might’ve been afraid of freedom, and any other people group who’ve been marginalized but don’t either know it or don’t want to shake things up by speaking out about it. I don’t think anyone disagrees with you of the sad results that Mike and Jud’s ministry is put on hold til they re-brand themselves. But just because it’s sad doesn’t negate the fact that what they did wasn’t right. You’re such an admirer of their work and the impact it’s made on your life, perhaps you should continually model after them and try to see why they’ve responded the way that they have. They could have easily continued to market their book and continue with their brand, as the Rickshaw Rally bible study series did. As you clearly pointed out, their ministry would not have been affected as it’s obvious they were able to go two whole years and sell many products. So maybe you should stop and try to ask why they were willing to hear out their Asian brothers and sisters in Christ. They modeled integrity, maybe it’s another lesson that can impact your life until the next season starts.

  35. I’m just not sure what to think of all this. Is it right? Is it wrong? I just don’t know.

    I would ask this and would like a sound Biblical answer. How much of our ancestry / heritage is really tied up in the kingdom of God?

    In the plan of life, does it really even matter who we are or what our past was, or what our ancestors may have accomplished (in the name of tradition?)

    I mean, it sounds to me that some are fighting so hard for an identity that was established by man instead of the one established by Christ. I may be wrong though.

  36. Great question, Danny.

    In a sermon that Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah preached recently at Quest, he highlighted the way that Genesis 11 (tower of Babel) and Revelations 7 (” great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb”) serve as bookends to the Bible. In the Revelations passage, John clearly says that a wide variety of people approach the throne. They come with their distinctiveness intact.

    And this bit doesn’t come from Dr. Rah, but another preacher (the amazing Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil) I heard recently talked about how the sin that God was condemning at the Tower of Babel was the sin of conformity. By rooting themselves in one place (Genesis 11:2), they were disobeying God’s commandment to fill the earth in Genesis 1:28.

    Another way to look at this from the Bible is to think about how Christ’s resurrected body still bore the scars of crucifixion. From that, I think the case can be made that even in the resurrection, we will still be who God made us to be in all of our uniqueness.

    Lastly, in Romans 1:20, Paul says that God is revealed not only through his Word but also through his creation. And if there’s one thing about God that’s clear through the world that he made, it’s that God loves variety and diversity. He never made one kind of anything. If God saw fit to create with that kind of abundant, wild variation, I can’t help but think that it will carry over to the New Creation.

    Just a few ideas.

    Good question.

  37. And to add to Danny’s questions, this thought:

    It might be appropriate to expect someone like Eugene Cho (a maturing Christian leader) to have thick skin and get over himself. If he were insulted by someone in a private setting, for instance, we might hope that he simply ignore their comment, or address it with deference. This is assuming that all personal interaction happens in a vacuum…

    …should Eugene Cho, being what he is, sit by and watch other maturing Christian leaders (unintentionally) insult a whole marginalized sub-culture? Many of whom are non-Christian? Many of whom will see this (unintentional) insult as an indicator of Christian values?

    This is simply not the context for ‘thick skin,’ as what these voices are crying out about is not their own pain! They are pointing to social and systemic injustice; DV is simply the tip of the iceberg, but it is connected to the iceberg.

    It is for this reason people like Donny have a hard time with what is going on, they don’t see the iceberg of racial inequality, or if they do, they don’t understand that the small bit of what they see in DV is actually connected to the whole…

    Asking Pastor Cho to ‘toughen up’ is like asking people to ‘stop whining’ about sexual exploitation because its ‘just a little pornography.’ NO! Its not a little porn, because its actually part of a bigger problem that includes little boys and girls being sold into a life of repeated rape and violence.

    As Christians we should have thick skin, for our own suffering, surely we don’t think Christ wants us to ignore the suffering of others? …it is precisely for this reason that people have made such a big deal out of this issue.

    1. “As Christians we should have thick skin, for our own suffering, surely we don’t think Christ wants us to ignore the suffering of others? …it is precisely for this reason that people have made such a big deal out of this issue.”


  38. Anyone who has not read the book should have nothing to say about it! Those who have not read it are not entitled to an opinion (as it pertains to this situation) about a book you have not read! There is no “tip of the iceberg” in this this book! There is nothing insensitive about it! The Asian theme only pertains to the style of the book! Why is it that everything has to have a racial component to it!?!?!? GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!!!!

    1. Let me ask u…

      For the sake of conversation, why do u think DV decided to use ‘asian culture’ to market their book.

      Have u seen any of the videos? If not go to YouTube. Then u can check out the white ninjas and the fake Antonio banderas asian accent narrator.

      You’re right, why does everything have to have a racial/cultural component?

      Would like ur thoughts

  39. People like Donny are the perfect example of why I think Mike and Jud took the easy way out and by doing so did the less edifying thing for the Church. There are a lot of Christians brothers and sisters out there just like Donny who still have no clue why this whole deal was a problem. Mike and Jud are the only people who can get through to people like Donny, they held a great teaching moment in their hands (and I believe they still do!) but they chose and are still choosing to stay on the sideline.

  40. You know what?

    Donny, Phil, and every person who has a problem with the DV shut down should just go to Mike and Jud directly. Just contact them! Email, call, write, address your blog to Mike and Jud. Ask them to explain their actions. How dare they apologize for doing nothing wrong? What kind of integrity are they showing by caving to PC pressures? Why didn’t they stand up and fight these cry-babies? How could they let satan win over the church?

    Have Mike and Jud explain themselves.

  41. Tony, the issue isn’t with Mike and Jud. The issue is with the pansies who have to play the race card, or the “culturally insensitive”, political correctness game. This Rah guy made an issue out of nothing, and many (who may or may not have read the book) are buying into it claiming that he “has a point”. He has no point! The only point he wants to make are that the “white authors” are using Asian culture to market a book. So what. Does Rah own the Asian culture? No. Is the book demeaning in *any* way? Absolutely not. It was a style chosen for the book, end of story.

    1. I don’t know if you read through the comments on this thread but you are making the same point as Donny was making and you’ll likely receive the same comments.

      One question: are you willing to consider the idea that maybe the stylistic and marketing elements of this book actually are demeaning? Asked another way, are you here to dialogue about this issue in a way that is open to mutual understanding or are you here to state your position – a position you are unwilling to waver from?

      I’m not asking you to change your mind but I am asking if you are willing to try and understand a perspective that differs from your own.

      1. If I can jump in here, and not to start an argument with anyone, but my answer to your question would be “no”. I know both Mike and Jud personally, and I can tell you that without a doubt there was nothing demeaning about any of it. The lent itself to a design with a great edge, and the chosen theme fit perfectly with it.

        I am “unwilling to waver from” my position because I know the facts, and they aren’t what is being expressed by the original complaint. I understand where Phil and Donny are coming from, and they are correct in this matter; at least when it comes to the motives of the book.

        1. scott,

          let me chime in. i haven’t read all the comments. life goes on in other places of the universe.

          i really don’t know of many people that question the motives and intent of mike & jud. i don’t question their motives and intent. i disagree with people that state that they were using asian culture to make money or sell the book.

          they had an idea. they thought it was brilliant and edgy. mike is a marketing dude and he knows what he’s doing. he thought it was cool, edgy, hip, and whatever other words you want to use.

          is it possible that people make mistakes? is it possible that they made a mistake. you don’t see it. but others (who live within the larger umbrella of the asian culture) and face the constant stereotypes of asian caricatures are saying:

          “listen, this hurts…and even if the intent wasn’t to be hurtful or malicious, it hurts.”

          only the idiots are calling mike and jud racists. and in those cases, i have rebuked them for the carelessness and harm of those words.

          but can the book be offensive? can the marketing be offensive? were some of their latter choices of marketing careless? can others re-interpret what they did so carefully and be reckless with it?

          am i part of the body of Christ? are others who are sharing their voices parts of the body of Christ?

          this is what people are asking.

    2. Phil, do you realize that you are basically saying that Mike and Jud caved in to a bunch of “pansies”? That they shut down the work of the Kingdom to cater to political correctness? Do you realize how offensive that is to Godly men like Mike and Jud?

  42. so…

    after all this…

    this is what redemption can do

    People of the Second Chance

    this will be more powerful. this is how you do it when you’re given another go at it.

    in fact, go to

    and join their fan page and take a look at a video called JUDGED

    why? b/c it will show you how people are hurt by the very sterotypes that are placed on them. Whether or not we’re talking about broader stereotypes (asian cultures) or specific ones (occupational, etc) the pain comes from the way these ‘ideas’ dehumanize people… strips them of their individuality… and in some cases marginalizes them.

    whether i am made fun of b/c im ‘supposed to have’ a small penis, squinty eyes and an ugly accent, or its the former stripper who will always be labeled a slut… its all the same to me. people get hurt.

    if you can’t understand that, that means you haven’t experienced it, and trust me.. you will.

    To Donny – something tells me you’re still reading this 😉 and Phil, watch the video. I’d like to think you’d have some compassion for those who’ve been JUDGED, but perhaps you both will walk away going ‘Pansies, get over it’

  43. I’ve seen the video, and I think it’s great. I do have compassion for those like that, what I take issue with, again, is the game that’s being played by those who were “deeply offended” over the “obvious mocking of Asian culture”. That, IMO, is a load of crap serving nothing else but to reinforce the “entitlement” attitude that is so common: “This offends my people, my culture, my beliefs, so I want you to change it (or give me something)”!

        1. Phil, i really do mean ‘happy thanksgiving’ but i won’t leave you hanging…

          im not judging you… im stating fact.. whatever you’d like to extrapolate from that, please do.

          its made apparent many times in the Bible that God calls us to be people of compassion. people who understand or strive to understand the burdens and struggles of others, AND, when necessary to fight for others.

          You suggested by your comment, that you are willing to have compassion for everyone else, EXCEPT those asians who are hurt by the NEGATIVE stereotypes.

          the DV video here,, clearly has cheesy ‘asian’ music in the background with a ninja portrayed by a whiteman, and some guy narrating it in a stupid fake asian accent. at the very least, the fact that some stupid voice actor with a fake asian accent is used to give the video a more sinister feel is offensive.

          would you ever come up to me and speak to me in a fake asian accent?

          you’re smarter than that, i hope.

  44. Eugene, I can’t help but jump back in.

    There will ALWAYS be people who are offended by almost ANYTHING, and as long as intelligent people walk this planet there will always be those to whom arguments like this make sense, as well as those to whom they do not make sense.

    The right solution to THIS particular problem? Those who don’t like the marketing DON’T BUY THE BOOK OR VIEW THE VIDEOS! That’s a simple, effective solution.

    Why is it okay for a man such as the good Professor to be reading through a catalog one day, see something he doesn’t like (or understand – cause he chooses not to take the time to do so) and influence the termination of a successful program? What gives him the right to decide marketing strategy is offensive to Asians, when two years of co-laboring with several Asians on Mike’s part proves that isn’t true?

    Irene, you and I both know why the actions were taken. Don’t kid yourself that it was anything other than pressure to be politically correct.

    1. So if Mike and Jud come out and tell you to stop causing more hurt with your flippant words and to stop trying to defend something that was wrong, would you be more willing to listen? Would you still think it was nothing but pressure to be politically correct? Their readiness to come to the table and listen/talk and better understand, they greatly displayed Christ’s spirit and showed more integrity than any of their content could teach. It seems that you’re unwilling to give them the credit they deserve for showing Christ’s love, compassion and care for their brothers and sisters in Christ and being true men of Second Chance.

    2. you say Mike is your friend.

      have you seen the video that he made?

      if he is genuine of his regret over something he did… enough to convey it thru a video like that.. is it your place to be so abrasive in defending him and work?

      what are you fighting for here?

  45. I’ll simply say this.

    Donny, Phil, if you only want to state your position and are unwilling to hear ours then…well, then I think we all know where you stand.

    You believe that some in the Asian-American community got tremendously worked up over the way Asian imagery and culture were used in the DV book (we made too big a deal over a trivial issue) and so we raised an uproar and complained so loudly that Mike, Jud, and Zondervan pulled the book. Those Asian-Americans are all celebrating now that the book is gone and we completely dismiss the loss that Mike, Jud, and readers of DV have suffered.

    Does that sum up your position with some degree of accuracy? That’s my understanding from what I’ve read. Please correct me if I’ve misrepresented your position.

    I’m wondering if you can state what you think my concerns are.

    Again, my desire is for some degree of mutual understanding. I’ve tried to understand your point of view and I’m wondering if you’ve tried to understand mine.

    1. It’s not that I’m unwilling to hear the other side of the discussion, I am and I understand what you’re saying; I simply don’t agree with it. It seems as though everything has to have a “political” component to it these days, and this just adds to it. If this Rah guy is so sensitive about exploitation of Asian culture, has he ever watch the show “Iron Chef” on the Food Network? If that’s not exploitation and exageration of Asian culture, then what is? Why did he not go after the network as well if he’s so concerned? Sure, the guy on it is Asian, but I’m sure *all* the people who produce, direct, and write the show are not, nor are all the members of the network who own the show. Would they be held to the same fire as Mike and Jud? Probably not, because Rah wouldn’t have a chance taking on a large network; but a small ministry, on the other hand……………

      1. “It’s not that I’m unwilling to hear the other side of the discussion, I am and I understand what you’re saying; I simply don’t agree with it.”

        What is he saying as you understand it? Cause I feel like Randall summed up what you are saying very well, but from what you wrote I don’t think you really understand what he is saying.

      2. “…I understand what you’re saying; I simply don’t agree with it. It seems as though everything has to have a “political” component to it these days, and this just adds to it.”

        I don’t think I put forward that idea in any of my comments. If I did (and I may have but I don’t think so) then I misspoke or didn’t communicate well. If you can point that instance out to me I can rephrase to better communicate what I was trying to get across.

        Can you maybe rephrase what you think that I’m saying?

      3. Sure, “Iron Chef” (I assume you mean the American version, not the original Japanese TV show), can be offensive. But “Iron Chef” is neither a Christian production or a Christian book about leadership / integrity. DV is. And for many Asian American Christians, the offense is particularly sharp because it comes from within the Christian family. Not without.

        Or are you making a statement that secular entertainment be held to a higher standard than a Christian ministry?

  46. I have really appreciated this discussion. I want to thank Phil, Donny and others for their insight. It has really made me think about my voice in the conversation of racism and marginilized people. Donny you said you wanted names. I can’t give you names of people who were tremendously hurt by this specific topic, but what I can give you is a bit of my story and how racism has affected my life. Yes I am a white male, but I have experienced racism. It is racism that is the issue here. The issue with the book is that even though it was a christian ministry it decided to use imagery in such a way that contributed to the marginalization and stereotyping of their brothers and sisters. Now I haven’t finished the post yet (as I got the idea for it just now), but I will be posting it in a few days (As I am in a third world country right now and electricity and internet are shotty at best) I hope it will be up by then.

    If you are interested you should be able to find it by clicking my name. If not thank you anyway for helping me to see that more people need to be talking about racism, it’s roots, and how it affects us daily. Including white people.

    @Eugene thanks for this discussion, sorry for plugging my blog, but I’ve just been inspired.

    @Randall, Jin, Darwin, and others, thanks for your input as well.

  47. i doubt any of you would walk up to an asian brother or sister and speak in some stupid fake asian accent like this,

    why? b/c you know there is something inherently wrong about it.

    if you did that to me, you’d have problem on your hands.

    so why is it ok to put it in a video meant to address a serious issue targeting people experiencing serious problems? it isnt some freakin comedy sketch.

    we must think of these things in real perspectives.

    1. Jin,

      The creators of movies like The Karate Kid would never walk up to someone and speak in “some stupid fake Asian accent” either. But they’d ask Pat Morita to do so for their movie. If you were analyze their reasons I’d bet you’d also find the same exact things motivated that video.

      In fact, I haven’t asked Mike but I’d be willing to bet the creative team behind Deadly Viper was probably motivated by some of the movies we’ve all grown up with: movies we’ve laughed at (because the accent and acting is so “fake”, yet still cool).

      As a “white guy” (things aren’t always as they appear, however) I can tell you that my take on such things is always positive. Regardless of how poorly the acting, martial arts themed movies almost always come across to me as positive messages. My personal “stereotype” of Asian culture has always been: much better, morally, than American Culture.

      1. “The creators of movies like The Karate Kid would never walk up to someone and speak in “some stupid fake Asian accent” either. But they’d ask Pat Morita to do so for their movie. If you were analyze their reasons I’d bet you’d also find the same exact things motivated that video.”

        I’m sorry but could you unpack that a bit?

        Why did the movie makers ask Pat Morita, who speaks perfect English, to set aside his true voice and speak with a feigned “Asian accent?” Related, why did the video makers record the voiceover with an Asian accent?

        I have my own ideas about where those moves are coming from but I’d like to hear your take on it.


          1. No, I’m at a dead end. I don’t understand, please help me out here. I don’t see why he couldn’t just speak using his everyday voice. It still would have been a great movie. Maybe even a better one.

            1. But he didn’t, did he? Were the creators of the movie being disrespectful to the Asian community by having him speak as he did? Was there something “inherently wrong” with them having him “act” in a movie in the manner in which he acted?

              1. You’re asking if the creators of the movie were being disrespectful by asking him to speak with an “accent.”

                I’m still asking why they asked him to do that in the first place.

                I don’t understand.

            2. You’re asking if the creators of the movie were being disrespectful by asking him to speak with an “accent.”

              I’m still asking why they asked him to do that in the first place.

              I don’t understand.

      2. if you’d understand that the stereotypes of asian american men is what pigeonholed pat into doing roles like that you’d be answering your own question man.

        Pat morita is an japanese american actor who did speak perfect english and was a member of this american society just like the rest of us… but he needed a paycheck too, and as was then and is for the most part now, asian men still play the comedic relief or the martial artist.

        the fact that Mr. Miyagi’s accent was fake is moot man. Pat’s portrayal of a japanese man with a broken accent is nothing new and IT CONTRIBUTES TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE MOVIE.

        NO ONE IS DENYING THAT SOME ASIAN PEOPLE SPEAK WITH BROKEN ACCENTS. it exists… but the DV video uses it unnecessarily and embelishes it to an insulting degree. ITS NOT NECESSARY TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE CONTENT.

        like i said man… you ever come up to me doing that, and we WILL dance. and YOU KNOW IT, so stop rationalizing it.

        1. Jin,

          I understand the stereotypes very well.

          My point is this: you’re taking things wrong. YOU, as an intelligent human, have the power of discernment.

          I sometimes speak to my 9 year old son using words and accents he used as a child. It warms my heart to do so. I remember those beautiful toddler days. When I talk to him like that he KNOWS I am not making fun of him, and that I’m cherishing his life. SOME parents, however, DO make fun of their kids. For those who do, it would be wrong for them to speak to their child in the manner I speak to mine. It all comes down to INTENT and discernment.

          It’s quite clear to me that when the DV team uses the music, language, accent, etc as they did it was one of honor. They are trying to teach values and morals. The way they used this material was honorable. If anything, they’re attempting to create those good ol’ fashioned movies where the Asian guy was the one who came out in the end displaying the most honor, courage, and ethics.

          If a white supremacist were to create a video like that we would know their intent. If perfect-english-speaking-Japanese-man Pat Morita speaks that way we KNOW he is in no way intending to disrespect his own culture, and it therefore should not be offensive.

          You and I KNOW the intent of the DV creative team. Have you, Eugene, the Professor, or any other person ever blogged about The Karate Kid or Kung Fu Panda? If not, why not?

          1. homie.. come and ‘honor’ my language in front of me.

            and i know you just didn’t compare ‘baby talk’ to using a fake asian accent… so i’ll extend you some grace.

            DV team should’ve known better. PERIOD. but they didn’t. and AGAIN i say. im reconciled with the DV guys already.. they made it, were rebuked, understood, agreed, and moved on.

            you on the other hand…. you’re still arguing it.

            the difference between you and me is… i’m fighting for a cause and justifying a cause, you are fighting for yourself and justifying yourself.

            ur a contrarian… Randall, I, and many others have appeased you long enough.

            you don’t want to know more b/c you know it all.

            move on man.

            1. homie.. come and ‘honor’ my language in front of me.

              Have I once threatened you?

              A Joke:
              Don’t threaten me! I’ll have you know, I know Kung Fu (and a couple other Chinese words).

              Did that joke offend you? I sure hope not. If it did, the world you would like to exist is one where everybody has to walk on eggshells. What a sad world that would be.

  48. A repeat of a comment I left on Professor Rah’s blog in response to his “praise” of People of the Second Chance:

    Professor Rah,

    Will your praise of this new direction be lip service only, or can we expect to see Mike and Jud speaking soon at your seminary? A man powerful enough to lead a movement that gets a book pulled from publication can certainly influence the fruition of such an event, no?

    And I’ll repeat a similar question to Eugene:

    Do you now plan to have Mike and Jud out to speak for your church? I think I’ll be “offended” if you don’t (last line was “tongue in cheek”, by the way).

    Honestly, though, it’d be nice to see you reach back by doing something like that. I’m sure you can make it happen.

    As can all the others who have taken a strong stand against “deadly viper”… show us that you really DO care about the personal costs to Mike and Jud by paying their standard speaking fees, supporting their new ministry at your church.

    In other words, put your money where your mouths have been.

    1. I wish I could contribute financially but I’m a grad student and my budget is razor thin as it is.

      The question that I want to ask is, why do you feel that you can dictate the terms of reconciliation in this situation? I get the feeling that unless Pastor Eugene and Dr. Rah act in accord with your idea of proper response then they are disingenuous.

      And related to some of the discussion above…

      “Since it appears that commenters insist *I* be the one to change my position, rather than admit the pettiness of their complaints, there’s really no point sticking around.”

      I never asked you to change your position. I don’t think anyone has asked that. What has been asked is, are you willing to consider the idea that what may appear to you to be “petty complaints” come out of a tremendous hurt that may differ from your definition of tremendous hurt?

      1. It’s so easy to say that a person feels bad for the position Mike and Jud have been put in. Words are cheap. It would go a long way to back those words up with actions. I’m not hopeful this will be the case, however. Call me cynical. 😉

        1. Dodge.

          The question that I want to ask is, why do you feel that you can dictate the terms of reconciliation in this situation? I get the feeling that unless Pastor Eugene and Dr. Rah act in accord with your idea of proper response then they are disingenuous.

        2. @Donny:

          You’re back. You should try to be a man of your word. 🙂

          Hey, we are the body of Christ. Mike and Jud are brothers. We’ve reached out to them and look forward to sharing a beer in the near future.

          Don’t be offended if we don’t share all the details with you.

          1. Yes, I am back. I came back yesterday. Do a CTRL-F search for the sentence that starts with Eugene, I can’t help but jump back in.

            As for “keeping my word” I never promised to stay away. In fact, my exact words were:

            Since it appears that commenters insist *I* be the one to change my position, rather than admit the pettiness of their complaints, there’s really no point sticking around.

            I receive comments via email. Should Eugene decide to apologize for taking part in such a petty affair I’ll gladly return to thank him for his courage.

            G’night, all.

            I’m “offended” that you are insinuating I’m not keeping my word. If I were as touchy as some seem to be I just might jump to the conclusion that you feel that way because of my race/culture/whatever (yeah, I meant that facetiously).

            I doubt you’ll show your support of Mike/Jud and have them speak to your church community. Words are cheap. Actions are courageous. Do you have the courage to back yours up?

            1. The question that I want to ask is, why do you feel that you can dictate the terms of reconciliation in this situation?

              No one is happy with the way things went down. I know that I’m not.

              There is movement behind the scenes from many of the parties involved to reconcile this situation. They are still in the works and cannot be disclosed at this time.

              But again:
              The question that I want to ask is, why do you feel that you can dictate the terms of reconciliation in this situation?

  49. @Donny. brother, you got to grow up and be a mature christian adult and set a good example for your congregation in how to deal with anger, frustration, and reconciliation. be what you said you want all of us to be, “Mature Christian adult.”

      1. Did I need to bring my lack of character to the attention of my friends on twitter and facebook (twitter updates my facebook status)? No, I didn’t. The reason I do so is because I own my words. People who have me out to speak can read them and know in advance who I am. I’m not hiding it, as I feel it’s hypocritical to pretend to be what we’re not the moment we step inside a church building or are on a social even with our “brothers and sisters in Christ”.

        If there ever comes a time when I regret the things I’ve said here, I’ll publicly apologize on my blog. But what good is an apology if it’s not meant? And at this point I don’t at all feel sorry for the things I’ve posted. I honestly don’t feel sorry for my attitude in posting this stuff, either. Sure, I know I SHOULD, but I DON’T. What has happened to Mike and Jud is very very wrong. In every way.

        We happen to live in a country where freedom of expression is championed. The same liberties that protect minorities are the same liberties that protect what Mike and Jud created. Not one of us believes they intended to offend anybody, but IF that would have been the case they’d have every right to do so. It was wrong to pressure the book out of distribution. It was entirely unAmerican to have done that. It was not ethical. It as not Christlike in any way, shape or form.

        I doubt the ego of those involved will allow them to back up their “I feel bad for Mike and Jud” words with actions. “We’ll have a beer together” doesn’t cut it.

        1. “The question that I want to ask is, why do you feel that you can dictate the terms of reconciliation in this situation?”

          and from earlier:

          “Again, my question would be, is that the only definition of tremendous hurt? What’s the basis for defining hurt that way?”

          You have a definition of what’s American and unAmerican. You have a definition of tremendous hurt. You have a definition of what reconciliation looks like.

          All my questions point to this one.

          Why are your definitions the only ones that are valid?

          1. Why are your definitions the only ones that are valid?

            I’m starting to lose my faith in you, Randall. I’ve assumed to this point that you’re intelligent enough to reverse the question you’re asking. I guess I need to do it for you. I’ll type slow so we can all keep up.

            Why are the definitions of those who complained about DV the only ones who are valid?

            You see, those who found offense can just as easily leave the book on the shelf. Or avoid a conference where Mike is speaking. Or… any number of things.

            But, no, they have decided that they are offended, and have decided to raise such a stink about it that a book was removed from publication.

            They have every right to be offended. They have every right to avoid supporting DV in any way. But it is PATHETIC that they forced THEIR opinion of offense on the rest of us.

            1. “But it is PATHETIC that they forced THEIR opinion of offense on the rest of us.”

              …and aren’t you forcing your opinion of offense on us?

              Again, the question. Why is your opinion of offense the only one you’re willing to entertain?

            2. Oh, and please don’t assume intelligence on my part. I don’t understand but want to and that’s why I keep asking questions – often the same question over and over again.

              Thanks for your patience.

            3. as i said above

              we’ve reconciled with the DV guys already.. they made it, were rebuked, understood, agreed, and moved on.

              you on the other hand…. you’re still arguing it.

              the difference between you and me is… i’m fighting for a cause and justifying a cause, you are fighting for yourself and justifying yourself.

              ur a contrarian… Randall, I, and many others have appeased you long enough.

              you don’t want to know more b/c you know it all.

              move on man.

              Randor, lets curtain call this yish brother.

              1. It sounds like you’re just as stuck on your opinion as others are theirs. You aren’t fighting for a cause, your jumping on the bandwagon because it’s the PC thing to do and you know it. There is no “cause”, it all stems from some guy getting his panties in a bunch over nothing.

                Let me ask you this, if one of the authors of the book were Asian, would it make a difference?

              2. “It sounds like you’re just as stuck on your opinion as others are theirs. You aren’t fighting for a cause, your jumping on the bandwagon because it’s the PC thing to do and you know it.”

                Again, I plead ignorance. I don’t know where you got this idea of me, I don’t think I’ve expressed that idea and if I have, then please help me by pointing it out to me because I don’t want to communicate that.

                I certainly have an opinion but am open to changing it which is why I keep asking the questions i do.

                Thanks for continuing to help me with this. Please don’t give up on me.

      1. Of course.

        I know it may sound, from my comments, that I’m a harsh, opinionated guy stuck in his own beliefs who is not “showing compassion” (as others have stated). The truth is, I do have compassion on everyone, but I have a hard time with those who are whining and complaining because they got their feelings hurt, and who feel that they have a “right” (because of political correctness, social justice, cultural sensitivity, whatever you want to call it) to go and destroy something good because they may disagree with it, or may not like it. To me, that’s being petty and shallow.

        The FACT is, the book was written to help others using a style that has always been cool. Numerous people of Asian decent were consulted to be sure nothing could be considered demeaning, all agreed that it was fine and not mocking the culture in any way. They went to print with it, it was successful. Someone got uptight and complained, others jumped on the bandwagon (because that’s what we do now), and it was shut down. Those are the FACTS.

        1. I hope I haven’t suggested that you’re harsh or uncompassionate. If I have, I sincerely apologize.

          However, I would like to push back a bit on this bit.

          ” I do have compassion on everyone, but I have a hard time with those who are whining and complaining because they got their feelings hurt. . .”

          Can I gently offer the idea that as much as you don’t understand them and as much as you feel that they are making something large out of nothing, would you extend a bit of your compassion to them anyway and, just for the sake of argument, try to believe them when they say that the hurt that compelled them to speak up on this issue comes out of something genuine and real?

          If you think all this happened just because a few people thought they had a “right” to do something and targeted this book for nothing more than maintaining political correctness, then I’m not sure you really understand where they’re coming from and what they’re trying to communicate.

          Your defense of Mike and Jud and fans of DV comes out of your deep sense of justice and the Body of Christ although some may not recognize that. I’ve seen that in you and I thank you for speaking up.

          However, I also know that those who spoke up about their concerns about DV also did so out of a deep devotion to the cause of Christ. It didn’t arise out of a sprit of mere political correctness or a flippant desire to try and take down a book just to see if they could. They were also working out of a deep sense of justice and the Body of Christ.

          I wouldn’t be here trying to sort out both sides of this if I didn’t believe that we are ALL trying to live out the calling of Christ in this broken, fallen world. We do the best we can but we do it imperfectly even when we’re trying to do good. We all have planks in our eyes as we point out other people’s splinters. And my plank is HUGE.

          1. I understand what you are saying, but at the same time, you left out the last half of my statement, and that’s what I’m getting at, my ultimate point. It’s not the hurt feelings I take issue with; we all get bent one way or another because of some things, but that does not give us “a “right” (because of political correctness, social justice, cultural sensitivity, whatever you want to call it) to go and destroy something good because they may disagree with it, or may not like it.”

            If it came down to a group of people feeling demeaned because of a style (and that’s what it is in this case), where does it stop? If we’re going to take it that far, what about the current popular clothing styles that feature Asian characters and designs? Should Asian people be the only one’s allowed to wear them? I know that’s stretching things, but not only is it a culture, it’s a style as well.

            1. Thank you, that really helps me understand your position better. I can see now that you’ve said things along those lines in various forms throughout the comments section and so I thank you for helping me by boiling them down for me here.

              As for your first paragraph, I don’t think anyone wanted to destroy their ministry. They just wanted it to move forward in a way that didn’t perpetuate harmful stereotypes and images.

              Which leads me into your second paragraph. I would submit that “people feeling demeaned because of a style” stops when there are a variety of stories and images that inform who Asian-Americans out in the public sphere. T-shirts featuring martial arts imagery and Asian typography continue to be problematic not in and of themselves but because they continue to perpetuate a single idea of what it is to be Asian in America.

              I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you and others in this conversation but alas, I must bow out and get back to my grad school readings and papers.

              I’d like to leave this conversation by pointing to a link to a talk that describes why it is problematic when a people group is described in a singular way.

              Thanks to everyone. I wish you God’s peace and his wild, abundant love.

              Here’s the link:

              1. Randall,

                That’s an amazing video and probably one of the most helpful descriptions of these issues that I’ve heard. It really puts things in perspective and I love the idea of seeing beyond a “single story”.

                I realize you’re off to studying, but I can’t help but add this:

                I can’t speak for every white person, but it’s my perception that in “general” (whatever that means!) the story I have of Asian Americans is more than the images on a tshirt. I’m not saying I know the full story, but it’s at least not singular (at least I don’t think it is!).

                I think that’s been part of the hang up for me in trying to figure this whole situation out. To use the language of the video (somewhere around 11 minutes in), can I submit that Asian culture is perhaps more “powerful” than some might feel? Again, this isn’t to deny a “dominant white culture”. I just mean to say that, although I may not understand the whole breadth and depth of Asian culture, it’s not as flat or as singular as some of the comments seem to suggest? Maybe that’s why there is some pushback because of the book being pulled?

                I guess I say this because when I read some of the comments I think “of course Asian culture is more than martial arts or kung fu”. It’s nowhere near my only perception of the culture.

                Anyway, this is my observation and I could be off base. I just thought it might be helpful to add to the discussion. Hopefully growth, learning and a change of perspective can happen with everyone involved.

                I hope you get some down time from studying this weekend and can enjoy the holiday!

                God bless,


  50. First, the comments coming at Eugene about leaving the country and other racist garbage is simply unacceptable. If you’re one of the folks who e-mailed it to him, you should be ashamed of yourselves and do us all a favor and go away until you can stop the racist crap.

    Now, I’m sure this will not endear me to some folks here, but the critics of DV have not acted completely in a manner that was Christ-like in this situation. They have valid concerns and the discussion is something that is completely warranted but I’ve seen comments from Eugene and others who’ve commented in this thread that are little more than “shut up, white person.”

    When these kinds of things are done in public as was done in this case you cannot then turn around and say ‘well, we’re reconciled with the DV people and that’s all that matters’ because you’ve offended more than just the DV people by bringing in some cases private communications into the public arena.

    You cannot even hope to bring about reconciliation if one group is making nothing but demands and showing no humility at all when their actions do not reflect the actions of Christ.

    I read a post from Prof. Rah where he acknowledged he didn’t act in the best manner in this situation. Some of the posts of Eugene and others come across as causing more division than attempts at reconciliation or trying to have conversations of understanding. Saying “we know we could have handled this situation and our concerns a little bit better” could go a long way to eliminating some of the backlash that’s coming toward Eugene and others.

    Honestly…had some of the critics of DV not peppered their comments with references to the skin color of the DV folks and those defending them…a lot of this backlash wouldn’t be happening either. You can discuss the problems of racial divides in the church without pointing to someone of any color and saying it somehow disqualifies them as a person. If we’re all equal in Christ, then because I’m white shouldn’t matter any more than Eugene not being white.

    Some of the critics of DV and defenders of Eugene need to realize that many people who back DV “get it” when it comes to your complaints…we have serious problems with the way you acted, posted and handled it.

    At the end of the day, there’s a lot of hurt and lot of need for reconciliation. I just know that until ALL sides of this stop bringing up the skin color of the person they’re trying to talk to perhaps we can really start moving forward to reconciliation.

    1. “They have valid concerns and the discussion is something that is completely warranted but I’ve seen comments from Eugene and others who’ve commented in this thread that are little more than “shut up, white person.””

      Which comment has Pastor Eugene ever made that equates to “shut up, white person”? I challenge you to cite and quote it.

      The ironic thing is that while you’re decrying personal attacks against Pastor Eugene, you’re attacking him yourself in your post.

      These personal attacks leveled at Pastor E and Prof. Rah are really saddening, especially from folks claiming to be our Christian brothers. They’ve opened up their blogs for dialogue and discussion, and instead, they suffer the indignity of baseless attacks about their “race card agendas” and accusations about being media fame-hogs. It makes me really wonder what the DV ministry was about.

      I’ve already comments from several non-Christian Asian American friends about this controversy, and sadly, it reinforces their prejudices that Christianity is a white-dominated, racist religion that co-opts people of color into maintaining the status quo.

      It pains me to think how the witness of the American Christian community to the largely unreached Asian American community is stained by the continuing fall-out of this.

      1. Typo should say, “I’ve already HEARD comments from several non-Christian Asian American friends about this controversy, and sadly, it reinforces their prejudices that Christianity is a white-dominated, racist religion that co-opts people of color into maintaining the status quo.”

          1. Maybe they don’t leave written comments on blogs, but the comments have been made to me in personal conversations with friends who follow news from sites like AngryAsianMan. Pastor Eugene’s blog also read by friends of mine who are Korean American but not Christian.

            But I guess it’s inconceivable to you that non-Christian Asian Americans actually read what Christian Asian American write sometimes?

    2. I really don’t want to deal with this in this manner anymore. But I want to clarify. Despite all my statements of affirmation for Mike and Jud, despite all my personal and public apologies for the mistakes I have made, I am still getting hate e-mail and nasty blog posts. So I must disagree that this backlash is “warranted” or that it is the fault of those that have “raised a ruckus”. This anger has got to stop. Mike and Jud are adults. They are godly men who made their own choice. They were not coerced. Ask them to clarify instead of the name calling that I am hearing. This has got to stop. Is this really good for the body of Christ?

      1. Profrah, you keep missing something when you say, “Despite all my statements of affirmation for Mike and Jud, despite all my personal and public apologies for the mistakes I have made…”

        Here’s what you’re missing: words don’t replace what was taken from them. If you were to put your proverbial money where your proverbial mouth is and ask them to, say, come speak at your seminary thereby SHOWING support for their “new” direction, THAT would be actions that are tangible. But you don’t.

        There have been many people who have said the things you’ve said (ask Mike and Jud to clarify)… you’re assuming we haven’t. I’ve talked to Mike several times during the course of this discussion. That’s really all I have to say about that ’cause it’s not my place to share his thoughts.

        But what I’ll say to you is this: you’re an intelligent man. Step outside yourself and put yourself in their place and THEN tell me they were not coerced. After all of your crying and riling up the troops to join you in your tear-party WHAT CHOICE DID THEY HAVE? That might not “officially” be coercion, but my brother, that’s exactly what it was.

        So, again, congratulations for tearing down a great ministry based on your own decision to look for cultural insensitivity where there WAS NONE. What you look for, you will find. I hope you don’t next go looking near anybody close to me.

        1. Donny, I ask this in all seriousness because I have been increasingly disturbed with the tone of many of your and others’ postings. Was the very last line of your post, a threat?

          1. I am not offended that you asked whether or not my line was a threat. I just re-read it after receiving your comment via email and can definitely see how it could possibly be taken that way. But know this: I don’t threaten people. I detest violence (and anonymous comments or emails of threats that you’ve indicated receiving). I own all of my words. So the answer to your question is, “Not at all, Professor. I was saying that I hope you don’t go looking for ‘cultural insensitivy’ in the work of anybody close to me, because I really don’t want to see you destroy anybody else.”

            Your apologies are all fine and dandy, but the truth remains: you saw a book in a catalog, decided to take offense, launched a campaign, and have now shut down a ministry that was financially supporting families, and right at Christmas time I might add. Small children WILL be affected, this I know for a fact.

            My last line indicates that I hope you don’t choose to harm any more of the people close to me. That remains a real possibility because you still seem to think your actions are justified and that Mike’s book was offensive. Your website and this one naturally have lots of “cheerleaders” in your corner, which is to be expected being as they are, well, YOUR websites. But if you’ve read through all the comments I’m sure you see plenty of folks disagree with you. Your “hurt” doesn’t trump their opinions. If we all lived our lives based on avoiding what might offended this person or that person… we’d all do absolutely nothing.

            So I ask this in all seriousness, Professor: Do you NOT see the fact that you have a right to be offended, but NOT the RIGHT to demand that ANYTHING be changed in the creative work of another person? Do you not celebrate the freedom of expression this country affords us? How do you justify to yourself the fact that although many people (including numerous people of Asian decent) are NOT offended by the content of Mike’s book, YOUR offense was taken to a level that you influence “policy” for everybody else? Why not just allow the product to sit on the shelf, not purchased nor promoted by you? Did some chip on your shoulder influence your lack of discernment and context? And now that you’ve seen what has happened, do you intend in any way to make up for the loss your actions caused by personally making a push to have these two men (who in lip service you’ve declared to be great men of God doing a great work) speak at your educational establishment and/or encourage churches to have them out?

            I have never questioned whether or not you are a Christian, brother in Christ, or any of those things. I don’t harbour feelings of hatred. But you are called to the same “higher standard” that you’ve proclaimed these two men to be. That higher standard requires that you do more than pay lip service. You have a position that allows you to now help fuel this “new” ministry that would never have come unless you’d interfered in a work God was already obviously using. Are you going to live up to your responsibilities now?

      2. Also, I realize you “really don’t want to deal with this in this manner anymore“, but Professor, your actions were very strong. A very strong response is warranted. That’s the reason I have responded in the way I have. Believe me, private emails and text messages indicate many others would do so, too, if they weren’t afraid of the response. People are afraid of being labeled racists or “culturally insensitive”. People feel they have a lot to lose. I get that.

        I’m honestly concerned with the consequences I’ll face in the future because of this. Some might label me, but I know who I am and what I’m NOT (I’m in no way culturally insensitive nor a racist, but I’m sure there will be some who now label me that way).

        But SOMEBODY has to stand up to attitudes like those you and Eugene have used to justify all of this mess. You can’t go on unquestioned, using your race as a justification to “put it to ’em” anytime YOU (emphasis on YOU) feel offended. It’s not okay to do that, Professor. And I’m hoping that you’ll remember this incident for the rest of your life.

        I am NOT questioning whether or not racism or cultural insensitivity exists. But I’d bet you’d see it a lot less if you took the time to put some serious thought into this fact: some of the bad things in this world, that you might relate to race, happen just because we’re a fallen people. Don’t just “go there” everytime. That’s a crutch, Prof.

        I’ll be so bold as to say this: I bet white men experience more “racism” in this country in this day in this time than any other group. When a well qualified man sees a job go to a minority that is not nearly as qualified, because HE is white and the other man is not, that is NOT affirmative action. That is RACISM. His RACE kept him from getting the job. Will you stand up for that man in as vocal a manner as you’ve been on this great book? You probably know many that fit into a similar scenario.

        I usually don’t go on this long. But neither you nor Eugene have admitted in ANY way that you just MIGHT have been wrong here, although that’s quite clear to many people. I go on because I don’t want you to do it again without at LEAST giving it a lot more brain power first.

        1. You are not only embarrassing yourself, but you’re now embarrassing alot of white folks out here.

          Please. For the Love of God and all that is good…Stop.

          Stop. Please.

          1. Pam,

            I’m sure it felt great to say that to me. I hope so, anyway.

            You don’t know me, I don’t know you, but I GUARANTEE you that if you were to look into my inbox, if you were to look at the private messages I’ve received, you’d know the names of some of those who have sent “thank you for speaking up” messages. In fact, I’d bet everything I own on it.

        2. Donny, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are wanting to learn and wanting to hear answers to your questions. There are some things I cannot answer for you. But I want to raise a few things for your consideration. Honestly, I think many have tried to give you direct answers and you have ignored their statements. I know you want folks to see your POV, but in that process, you seem to be ignoring the fact that others might have a different POV. I understand that you don’t get all of this. None of us do. But certainly we can try to move further along the process.

          Your version of the story makes it sound like only one or two people (you seem to be targeting Eugene Cho and myself) were upset and had the ability to get the material pulled. This weblink ( shows a whole mess of blog posts on the topic. Almost everyone on those blogs found the material to be offensive. Not all the voices are Asian-American. Yes, there are some Asian-Americans who did not find the material offensive but this does not negate the voices of many others who did find the material offensive.

          This is the power of white privilege. To say, “I’ll listen to these voices (that agree with me) and reject these voices that don’t agree with me”. You are choosing to ignore the many, many voices that have raised objections to this material. Maybe you don’t respect these voices or feel that these voices are irrelevant. Well then, how about the following:
          From the Catalyst blog, which would be a key proponent of the material and a place where the material actually first debuted, they state: “I recognize the offense & concerns as valid.” Mike and Jud’s OWN words: “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. They have also publicly stated: “unfortunately those efforts were mixed in with some defensiveness on our part.” And “we deeply regret anything we did to offend our Christian brothers and sisters in the Asian and Asian-American communities. After all, those brothers and sisters are part of the bigger community we all most cherish — the Christian community.”
          The offense has been admitted by Mike and Jud themselves.

          At this point you have a choice. I’m going to cite a response that appeared on my blog in response to your posting:
          It seems to me that those of you who are now lashing out at Dr. Rah really face 2 possible choices:
          (1) Assume that the apology and corrective actions by Zondervan, Foster, and Wilhite are insincere, in which case you must question why you’re defending the leadership integrity of men who would cave in and lie to protect their public image; or
          (2) Assume that their apologies and actions are sincere, in which case your own attitudes are in radical defiance of their leadership and you must question why your understanding of integrity is so different from theirs.
          I don’t envy your dilemma. Neither choice is petty or painless. Grace and peace to you as you wrestle with their implications.

          I have the highest respect for Mike and Jud and their ministry. I think they took a major misstep with the marketing campaign of this material. I don’t know how many more times I need to say that I affirm their ministry and look forward to their future contributions to the kingdom (If it’s okay with you, I’d rather not make any public invitations when their new website has not officially debuted and when we’re still building relationship and trust. That kind of action would be motivated by publicity rather than the possibility of an ongoing relationship. I would rather make these inquiries in private).

          Finally, I would echo Mike and Jud’s words in the following statement: “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.”
          There are ongoing conversations on multiple levels. Your commentary and your personal attacks are not helping facilitate the potential of these ongoing discussions.

  51. Dear Eugene,
    I have believed that you are a Christian blogger who rises above the extremes of the Left and the Right. I would ask you now what you think of a book published by Zondervan entitled Living Water, written by Brother Yun. He is a Chines Christian who was severely persecuted for his faith and now lives it by proclaiming the Gospel to all who have ears to ear. It’s an excellent book and I think Zondervan deserves credit for publishing it. I’d challenge you to do a book review, whether you like the book or not.

  52. Ironically, it would have been better for Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite if they had been objectified in the Deadly Viper controversy, but it appears they were mistakenly made the subject of the discussion.

    If I understand all this correctly (and for the record, I am an ancillary vested person in this story, click here to read my own post re: all this), they touched a very sensitive nerve that (not only) the Asian American community has experienced in a “white captivity” culture—one that they have been grappling to put words to.

    The tragedy is that rather than making the subject a conversation around cultivating sensitivity to humanizing all people regardless of race, culture or ethnicity, the tone and the target of these wounds were aimed at two guys who were actually contributing to a conversation towards integrity, character and the affirmation of human dignity for all persons.

    I am a huge fan of Prof Rah and think his message needs to get out further to provoke a more grounded sense of our Christian identity as it relates to the shifting (actually, shifted) demographic in the mosaic of who actually makes up our Christian majority. But I am also a huge fan of what the Deadly Viper project was advocating for, not only in its content, but how the message of integrity, character and grace was embodied in the lives of Mike and Jud. It is sad how two important messages collided and the fallout that has been an unintended consequence of this collision.

    Let’s hope that everyone who made hurtful or accusatory statements about Mike and Jud, reconsider the content and tone of those unfair allegations. Much of the content I’ve read in the comment sections on blogs regarding all this has been unhelpful assumptions. These assumptions have only aggravated a sensitive conversation that needs to be played out. However, this important conversation should be held around more harmful eruptions of cultural insensitivity (i.e. the “Rickshaw Rally”) that somehow are left immune to the controversy Deadly Vipers unintentionally invited.

    Let’s also remember that Mike and Jud should not be the targets of this dialogue. If people want to pick fights here, there are plenty of other legitimate instances of racial insensitivity that are more important and appropriate instances that can be focused on.

    A positive outcome from all this would be an overwhelming level of support for Mike and Jud as the move away from the packaging of Deadly Vipers to their People of a Second Chance movement. A platform they have created for others that now needs to be extended to them, especially by those who have been so accusatory in the ways they’ve dismantled an important voice of renewal for our shared humanity.

    The essence of how I hope all this comes across speaks to the crucial need to humanize all people—the Asian American community and Mike and Jud. I think there’s a way that Prof Rah’s (and other’s) concerns can be, and need to be validated, but not at the expense of Mike and Jud—otherwise, the same thing that Deadly Vipers has been accused of will be done to them by those who are most concerned.

    Overall, I believe this has been a sad eruption of anger around an important issue that seems to have been misdirected at two guys who have given themselves to a much-needed message of hope. I think resistance to “white captivity,” or the imposition of any dominant consciousness of our Christian expression needs to be fought against, but not at the expense of the reputation and content of men whose message resonates with this struggle from a different perspective.

    *If you’d like to discuss this or comment on these thoughts please leave them here (*

    1. Chris,
      With all due respect, there are assumptions running in all directions here and on Soong-Chan Rah’s blog. Right now I would argue that the targets are Eugene and Soong-Chan…and overly-sensitive, politically-correct Asian Americans.

      May I ask whom are you referring to when you write of “those who have been so accusatory in the ways they’ve dismantled an important voice of renewal for our shared humanity”?

      And while I can’t imagine the personal impact on Mike and Jud, I’m not sure what you mean by dismantled. Their material is going to be repackaged and their new website has launched. Their twitter following is bigger than ever, and their Facebook fan page is buzzing.

      Dismantled? Some of that stuff had to go, Chris. I’m not going to back down on that. There are better ways to communicate radical integrity and grace than with videos with gongs and images of pink cupcakes=girly. Deadly Viper Character Assassins – “Who are these kung fu killers? They are blood thirsty hit-men lurking in the shadows…(p.9)” – they are Asian ninjas who had to be removed. The photo of the Asian woman wearing a strapless top showing off her midriff holding a samurai sword as the backdrop to a quote about sexual temptation and infidelity (p.106) had to be dismantled.

      I agree with you. This has been sad. I feel like I’ve been told and questioned over and over again. Aren’t these things minor in comparison to the good that has come out of it? And then I’m being asked to consider how great a loss they have taken personally, and I don’t want to dismiss that pain, but then apparently my pain doesn’t count because my ministry hasn’t had as much good come out of it?

      At the heart of it all, I want to see His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I do believe we are all working and praying for the same thing. I believe in second chances and I believe Mike and Jud are living into that. I can only hope the same will be extended to those of us who are being told to stop playing victim and then to pay up.

      1. hey kathy,

        i will clarify in saying that my post wasn’t so much to be read about the content of DV as it was about the authors. i agree that some of the content had to go.

        and it continues to be really sad that prof rah, eugene cho and mike & jud are all moving targets here. i do feel like the personal attacks on prof rah, eugene cho and mike & jud only convolute the conversation and may miss the whole point of why this is a necessary dialogue to engage in.

        what makes all this a bit tricky for me is that i am friends with jud, mike and prof rah. i love and respect all them with a tremendous sense of admiration. i believe in the best of who they are, while recognizing that we are all very human as well. given the reactions and responses they have all provoked in this larger conversation, i would hate to see any of them diminished.

        what’s sad here is that it seems mike & jud have become the symbol of a much larger problem within our christian identity and consciousness. it seems most churches, missional communities, faith-based non-profits, colleges and universities, christian publishers and conference organizers play into the illusion that the dynamic and makeup of who we are as christians will be perpetually homogenized. as a whole we have done a terrible job of celebrating unity while cultivating ecumenical, ethnic, racial, cultural and socio-economically diverse communities—communities that bear witness to hope.

        i’m afraid that all the energy and attention that is being aimed and mike & jud and prof rah takes away from the point that we need to be aiming all this energy at the homogenized churches in our communities that broker the power of how christian communities are formed; our energy needs to be aimed at demanding and expecting a wider range of voices that christian publishers invest in; our energy needs to be aimed at ensuring the conferences we attend include a cadre of speakers who represent the collective voice of our community—more women, catholics, orthodox and certainly much more ethnic, racial and cultural diversity.

        it would seem much more constructive and productive to aim all this energy and attention at the major publishers, conferences, churches and denominations, collges and universities, and other christian institutions that fortify cultural insensitivity by maintaining and retaining homogenized realities. it is sad that the best we can do is pick a fight with a book rather than struggling for real change that reflects the real scope of the problem.

        i hope that’s fair, and i hope that it’s something we can all come together around.

        if a book has provoked this much time, energy and attention (not to mention the shere number of words generated in the blogosphere), then how can we finds ways to harness all this this energy and aim it a the larger targets that keep us all under the thumb of white captivity?

    1. When you were making a point to bring up skin color of Mike & Jud or when you commented on Jenni Clayville’s blog asking if her church was “mostly anglo” it came across to me as if your view was that whites couldn’t understand and thus shouldn’t be a part of it. May not have been your intent…but as someone who had not read your writings before this that’s how it appeared.

      1. jason:

        ahhh. i’m not quite sure how you took my comment on her blog -> “shut up, white person.”

        goodness gracious but i’ll try to respond to that, brother.

        it’s all context. after i asked that question, i asked what she would do if half of her church came to her sharing their PAIN – even if she personally was not PAINED by it (which is cool).

        read the comment again. and if you still read it as me saying ‘shut up, white person’ – i’ll head over to her blog and apologize to her and her readers.

        peace brother.

        1. I talked to Jenni and it’s all cool now. When I see anyone of any race dragging the race of a critic into the mix my alarm bells go off…most of the time someone doesn’t call me a white person without a derogatory meaning behind it. So even asking if a church is anglo set off the alarm bells.

          Peace to you brother.

          1. i guess it’s all context.

            because asking that question is a normal question. like, is it urban/suburban? homogeneous or diverse?

            but in light of the context, it’s easy to misconstrue.

            but to make it very clear to you: i was nowhere close to intending ‘shut up, white person.’

            but i was trying to say, “will you please try to listen to these voices that are saying the materials are hurtful and perpetuate stereotypes.”

            advent. He is coming.

  53. Eugene – to me the issue is more about which White person you are more willing to listen to. I’d say that you resonate more with a Jim Wallis than a Chuck Colson or a Ron Sider, because you and Wallis both focus more on issues of poverty and racism, while Colson and especially Sider take a broader approach and would say that abortion, traditional marriage and overall cultural depravity are equally important issues of justice and righteousness. And that’s why they both signed the Manhattan Declaration, which I’m sure those on the Religious Left wouldn’t be caught dead doing so for fear of alienating their support base.

    1. danderson….wow so now you’re trying to switch this into a left vs. right battle?!?!? I would encourage you to head over to the Quest Web site and listen to the sermons by Eugene.

      For the record, I’m a white male who is pretty conservative, I attend the church Eugene pastors and to watch this become an attack on him and fellow workers in this ministry is just wrong and asinine. If you and the rest of the group that has come over here with noble intent to defend DV would actually go through the posts and dialog from Prof Rah and Eugene will find they never attacked Mike and Jud. Just the perpetuation of racial stereotypes that should not be part of Christian Culture.

      Those of us from a European/white heritage will never know what it is like for our Asian American brothers and sisters who have had to endure discrimination and harassment. I have seen people bring up secular examples of the co-opting of Asian stereotypes and culture and why didn’t the raise a stink on that…really that is the best you all can come up with? It was thing when the world which is in sin does it, but when your family (the church) attacks or perpetrates the co-opting it is an injustice and needs to be dealt with. That is what happened.

      I wonder what this conversation would of been like if they would of used say African American Culture or stereotypes or Hispanic for that matter. But I don’t think that would ever happen why, we know that is wrong. But for whatever reason we think we can do that with Asian Culture. Prof Rah said something very interesting about pop culture utilization of Asian Males in particular, they are viewed as Threats (Assassins, Ninja killers, Triad Members, etc.) or Pets (the Geeky Sidekick, the loyal companion, etc.) again it is dehumanizing.

      When I was growing up in the 70s I had a couple of Asian friends, and we played World War II we made them be the bad guys and we called them the “Japs”. When we played Vietnam of course again they were the North, etc., etc. I can’t imagine what that did to my friends self-esteem. We thought we were having fun, we meant no malice, we intended no harm. Were we wrong? Yes on so many levels and for that on behalf of myself and my white brethren I apologize and seek racial reconciliation and forgiveness.

      1. Oh geez, Jeff… “those of us from a European/white heritage will never know what it is like to endure discrimination and harassment? Are you kidding me? I am going to copy and paste part of a comment I left over on Professor Rah’s blog:

        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.

        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… (and include Eugene in that last sentence since we’re back over on his blog).

      1. Eugene,
        I apologize if you felt that I went “out of bounds.” It’s only that I believe that the power of the Gospel not only includes fighting poverty, racism and other injustices, but also the sanctity of all life and the sanctity of marriage.

        As a one time Covenanter myself, I appreciate your perspective and holistic approach to the Gospel.

        1. danderson. no need to apologize. it wasn’t out of bounds. i just didn’t get the comment and its relevance to the thread.

          i think it’s difficult for one to assess my perspective of the GOSPEL based on this post or even this blog unless you’ve read every single post.

          and fwiw, i absolutely agree that the Gospel includes the celebration and sanctity of all life – womb to tomb.

          thanks brother.

  54. Eugene,

    In the beginning of this “controversy,” I’ll be honest and share with you that I didn’t understand why you and others were upset about the stereotypes. Over the last couple weeks after reading nearly every comment, I now understand why you have reason to be concerned.

    The comments alone give me great concern about white privilege. It is so subtle that hardly anyone can admit they live with that privilege and thus, unable to see what you are trying to point out.

    God’s blessings.

  55. Offended by a book? Before you were “saved” if indeed that is the case you were offended coming out of the womb; by God, the world , even your self. Grow up my Asian friends worry about making disciples. It kills me you ivory tower people simply have no perspective on christian culture to which you now belong or I’m assuming you belong… the book of James was written to a group of Jesus followers who were undergoing the most extreme types of abuse including racism and you guys want to burn book about integrity that actually forwards the Gospel? It’s laughable.

    For the record I’m Irish with red hair… I learned early from Christ not to care about the lucky charms guy, drunk jokes or everyone calling me “Richie.”

    Laughable! The good Prof. sounds like he needs a good out-reach to be involved with…

    Hollywood pastor

  56. I said I was done commenting but it’s early in the morning for me and I can still have a productive day and so I’ll just leave this thought:

    Even IF (and that’s a huge if) the people who were offended by the DV book were just “thin skinned whiners” (not your words, j.r. but quoted from a commenter above) or “ivory tower people [who] simply have no perspective on christian culture to which you now belong or I’m assuming you belong…” IF it this were indeed the facts of who these people are then what’s the Christ-like thing to do in response?

    I suppose there are many ways to answer that but I wonder if, like the Good Samaritan, one life-giving, glory-bound response would be to see that their concerns are touching something dear and close to them – something you may not understand, something that seems trivial to you, but obviously has a strikingly different effect on them – and then to offer them a hand, offering them healing. And the only way to heal is to listen to what they say is paining them. You may not understand their hurt but to just dismiss their pain is just adding to it.

    Here’s what I learned from Christ. Don’t throw stones, not even at sinners. Why? Well, maybe because we’re all sinners and if all we ever do is hurl rocks at one another then all we’ll have is wound upon wound upon wound.

    I can only speak for myself here but in the comments that I’ve left, I did my best not to cast stones at people I didn’t understand and/or agree with. I asked questions and tried to see their side. It was my hope that by showing that I wanted to learn what was paining them that maybe they’d be open to learn about what was paining me. Because this is a shared pain – a wound that has wounded all involved and so can only be healed as all involved tend to it together. And I’m speaking now not of the book specifically, but the larger issue of race in America.

    And I get that some don’t think that this “book burning” was about race…but is that another stone I see ready to be thrown?

    And to return to where I started. Even IF (and again, that’s a huge “if”) this book were taken down by thin-skinned, ivory tower types, then is saying, “get over it” or “you’re making a big deal out of nothing” or “you should be ashamed to call yourself a christian,” a Christ-like response?

    I can only speak for myself here but in the comments I’ve left, I tried to not throw my own stones (though it was tempting at times). I tried my best to understand those I didn’t understand. And I learned a lot. But when I asked if they were willing to understand me, I got a rock in return.

    And it hurt every time.

    But my hands are still up in surrender and my ears are still open to understand and I’m still wondering if anyone wants to know what my wounds are about.

    1. Randall, what you seem to be missing is the simple fact that you (collectively or personally) aren’t the center of the universe and THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU! All of us have been hurt by words or actions of others. There’s not a person in this world who is immune to it. I’ve already sharedmy personal stories about having things thrown at me, being called a white nigger because of my hair, missing out on a career because I was incorrectly labeled as Hispanic… I could tell you all sorts of horror stories from my past… things that hurt. Like I said before, a guy doesn’t end up a porn producer because he’s followed a perfect yellow brick road of “white privilege” (a term the good professor likes using).

      The point is that YOUR hurt should NOT bring down a ministry. There are plenty of Asians who have no problem with the way Mike chose to market his book. His life should not be turned upside down because a minority of a minority decides to take offense.

      You have every right to be hurt by anything you choose. You have every right to boycott Mike’s book and avoid his speaking gigs. You DO NOT have the right to force your opinions on him. That is just plain wrong. If it makes you better to voice your pain, do so. I’ll read it. But that WILL NOT change the fact that it is WRONG to impede on Mike’s creative freedom of expression.

  57. For goodness sakes, Donny.

    You don’t get it. So, listen and learn. The materials and marketing is offensive, unedifying, and harmful. It does damage to the larger body of Christ. That’s the point.

    It’s not about you. It’s not about Mike and Jud. I agree with you.

  58. JR – I’m not surprised by your lack of cultural understanding with the picture of a stereo-type caricature of an African American as “pimp” on your website….

    Donny – Every example that you have shared about you being discriminated against is from the secular world, and yes I agree it is by the fact it is a broken and sinful system….but DV is part of the church, part of the family of God that inflected the hurt, that is one of the reasons that it needed to be dealt with.

    I see that JR and Donny are both affiliated with XXXChurch in some way, yet XXXChurch has distanced itself from DV in the Christianity Today article. Donny you have become bitter because you view that this has taken down a ministry, but really it has pruned a ministry while painful it will allow it to grow much greater and bear better fruit.

    If Donny this is the lesson of what integrity means from the DV community, I find we have very different ideas on how integrity is shown.

  59. J.R. I believe your intentions are “…YOU’RE” because I do not own a donkey….

    BTW – If God can use Jackass then I’m in good company ; ) Numbers 22:28-30

  60. Hey watch the use of 😉 , it offends me… looks too much like a few Asian friends of mine, how dare you utilize a key board that way. Why couldn’t you have used… 🙂 or }) or how about {) I mean come on man have a little respect. As far as my you’re mistake you better not be Asian and pointing out my mistake actin all smarter than me.

  61. I’m not Asian, I’m a fat balding white guy who happens to be Sheparded by Eugene Cho.

    I get that fact that you want to be hip and edgy but there has to be a better way than marginalizing entire people groups and/or cultures in the process….

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