Christians being all racially insensitive

Brought to light recently by Angry Asian Man.

A couple years ago, Christian publisher Zondervan released a book about radical integrity, character, grace and leadership. The blurb reads:

Integrity is under attack. Character assassins are on the prowl, seeking to ambush people at their points of vulnerability — in their homes, in their churches, in their relationships. Shredded reputations litter the landscape, ruined by just one or two bad choices.

But everyday leaders, from mothers and fathers to preachers and teachers, can fight back and win. This book equips them with comprehensive, no-nonsense self-defense training to protect their most priceless possession: their character. Working in tandem, this book and DVD curriculum initiate a growing movement of men and women who want to finish strong and live with no regrets.

No psychobabble or clinical discussions — just straight talk from two guys who know the opponents and what it takes to beat them. This book will help untarnished leaders stay untarnished and will show the way out for those mired in the ugly consequences of bad decisions.

Through honest, eye-opening reading and eight interactive small group DVD sessions, this book helps cultivate lifestyles of radical integrity and radical grace.

Character. Integrity. Grace. Leadership.

All necessary components of a living and vibrant faith. And from the DVD clips, it looks like Mike and Jud took an approach to the subject that was honest and insightful.

The problem?

The packaging, the marketing, the form in which the content is presented, is SO racially insensitive I don’t even know what to say. (So you can follow the comment conversations here at Deadly Viper, as well as on Sojourners board member Prof. Soong-Chan Rah’s blog.)

Here’s Prof. Rah’s open letter to authors Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite, and publishers Zondervan — it highlights a number of things that are wrong with the marketing approach that was taken.

Now I’m fairly certain that Mike and Jud — and Zondervan — didn’t intend the book and the accompanying materials to be racially insensitive — and I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this — but, well, they are, notwithstanding intention. It does make a difference that the intention was not to cause offense or hurt, but the result remains the same: offense and hurt was caused.

I hope that the resolution of this situation (which is still to be played out) happens so that people can look back at this as an instance of Christians demonstrating humility and unity within the body of Christ, and being examples of apology, repentance, grace, love, and forgiveness. And I hope this experience will be a call to move forward, to grow and mature together.

Justin

Hong Kong | London | California | Washington, DC

Christian | Theologian | Musician | Activist | Sojourner

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