[ View the story "Asian Americans write open letter to evangelical church for 'offensive' stereotypes" on Storify] Asian Americans write open letter to evangelical church for 'offensive' stereotypes Community leaders seek dialogue after recent incidents of racial stereotyping by evangelical organizations.
AJAMStream· Tue, Oct 15 2013 15:08:35
Less than a month later, Warren's Saddleback Church in California hosted a large conference by Exponential, a group that helps establish new churches (also known as church-planting). The conference featured a video that many Asian Americans found offensive.
In the video at Exponential, a pastor jokes about making his church-planting apprentice do menial activities, such as getting him coffee, giving him massages and holding his towel, according to the Rev. Christine Lee, a Korean-American Episcopal priest who attended the conference. The apprentice reacts to the pastor in a parody of the "Karate Kid," the 1984 martial arts film. The pastor begins speaking in a Chinese accent with "typical ‘Oriental’ music" playing in the background, Lee said. They go into a karate segment, and at one point, they bow to each other.sltrib.com
Organizers of the conference have responded to backlash with an apology and a pledge to remove the video from their website and all future conferences.
“Exponential is an aggregator ministry focused on releasing leaders dreams and bringing together more than 75 ministries in collaborative ways. We never want to intentionally be offensive to anyone,” says Exponential Director Todd Wilson. “The point and illustration we were trying to make could and should have been made differently without offending anyone. We know racial stereotypes can be a barrier to the Gospel. Our desire is for the only barrier between people and the Gospel to be the Gospel and not the things we say or do.”blog.exponential.org
The open letter, shown below, also points to a
spanning the past decade in which an incident of racial stereotyping by a church affiliate was followed by an apology to Asian American evangelicals. The signatories of the letter
a desire to break this cycle and "catalyze change within the church" through a series of proposed forums and reviews of church practices regarding the Asian American community.
These incidents and the resulting open letter have ignited a online discussion among Asian Americans about their treatment by the evangelical church. Many have taken to Facebook to share their thoughts on the open letter and stories of stereotyping by the church.
My family went to a Baptist church once that was singing a "Chinese version" of Hes Got the Whole World in His Hands. They were singing in "Chinese accents" and saying "Ching Chong" during one of the parts. They didn't understand why my mom was upset. We left after that and never went back. Yet people still wonder why so many Asian-Americans prefer to go to mostly Asian churches....Danielle Emiko Crymes
The sad part was the church was multiracial- white, black, and Latino. But I'm sure the pastor would have never done a black or Latino version of the song. He probably thought an Asian version was "safe".Danielle Emiko Crymes
The good news is that there are a lot of Christian churches and even Catholic Churches that people can belong too. And anyone can create a church with two or more people too. Don't let racism destroy your Faith.Kilo Oneninenine
I have to respectfully disagree- asians have become the one group where ridicule is perceived to have little repercussion- church going folk aren't immune to this.Michael Woodelf
What do you think about the recent incidents and the open letter? Leave a comment below.