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my response to YS’s apology March 5, 2007

Posted by peterong in Asian American, Rants, Uncategorized.
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Dear Mark,

it is with heavy heart that we sometimes have to work out these issues. It is part of the process of engaging and sometimes there are collisions. I think that as a broader and more long-term and directed issue is for us to come to terms with the prevailing environment of exclusion and omission of Asian Americans in the broader context.

I hope you consider being a voice to some of these issues and how this has changed your perspective in publishing, ministry and kingdom vision. I appreciate your gesture and don’t want it to end with this episode but rather I invite you to be part of what has happened in the Asian American Christian community…I hope we can talk and learn more from this together…and collide well… and reconcile well…we need each other…more than we think.

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Oh boy…first Pat Robertson…now this… March 3, 2007

Posted by peterong in Asian American, racism, Rants, SHIFT Conference.
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So, just when I thought I got over the whole Pat Robertson, Plastic Surgery and “Oriental” swipe

Here are echoes of Rickshaw Rally which was a horrific vision for VBS which featured a smorgsbord of “oriental” content(the website is still up!) …

here comes another episode but with a glimmer of hope and restoration to this story …well, kind of…there is a book out by Youth Specialties called “Skits that Teach” that has a horrible and just plain sad portrayal of Asians… I got an excerpt from the book from Dr. Soong Chan Rah’s xanga

“Herro, Dis is Wok’s Up Restaurant calling to confirm your order. . . . I think that, yes, you total is 14 dollar 95 cent.”

“Herro? This is Wok’s Up Restaurant again. We have drive and drive, and we can’t find you house. We don’t find you house soon, you pu pu get cold. Pu pu good when it hot.”

(Hostile) “Okay, we drive for long time looking for you house. I tell you, you go outside and I look for you. I am driving a red Rincon (Lincoln) Continental. You pu pu still getting cold. Bye!

“Okay, I drive for long time and I stil not find you house. So I am eating you pu pu! Ruckiry it still warm. I was hungry, so I eat it. Mmmmm . . . this pu pu is good. (Smacks lips a few times) You on my bad rist. You don’t call us anymore. Bye!

I am glad that there was a public apology that was issued by Mark Oestreicher at his blog here. I appreciate his contrition and taking this very seriously.

This pervasive element of “sin of commission” towards Asian American Christians is blatant and so ridiculous that there is no debate…but what is more subtle is “sin of ommission” that I have been thinking of quite a bit since blogging for the Willow Creek SHIFT conference this past week…

As I look through the Willow Creek SHIFT Conference roster, I found that there were not a single Asian American that was represented in the breakout sessions or even in the presenters. As I spoke to one of the organizers they stated that they felt that God brought them the speakers after much prayer and consideration.

I don’t doubt that and want to honor their process…but it makes me pause and wonder…how seriously do they consider the importance of representation of Asian Americans at their conferences…I am sure they consider inclusion from African American and Latino Americans…but did they consider an Asian American representation? Willow Creek are not the only to call out on. But in every major Christian conference (except for Intervarsity‘s venues which express an astounding commitment to the issues of race…just take a look at the sessions at Urbana and you will see such a beautiful and diverse tapestry of ethnic expressions of faith), you will find that it is mostly Caucasian with a handful of Latino and African Americans.

There is language in this…it is stating…Christianity has a face…it is mostly white…but one is to argue that as Asian Americans, we don’t have the kind of leaders that could participate in these conferences as “experts.” To that I have to sigh and say, “really?”

My hope is that there is an acknowledgement of our blind spots in terms of examining white privilege in Christianity…one of the most stirring sermons I have heard about this from Dr. Rah during Wheaton College chapel (you can download it here).

I am not angry…just confused and perplexed…how can we be so easily ignored? So simply looked upon as disposable and/or invisible?