Impact matters more than intention
I think that discussing highly-emotionally charged issues in an asynchronous public forum like the online blogosphere is mostly ineffective. One party describes the pain of the impact from the (alleged) offense, while the other party tries to describe the original intent, all sincere and good. To quote Sam Chand, “The difference between reality and expectation is conflict.” Both sides have unmet expectations. Both sides have different perceptions of reality. Conflict ensues. It’s more than misunderstanding.
I’ll confess that I’m rather new to the impact of public communications by influential leaders. I prefer a world of open book open source unfiltered communications, and am learning to filter and edit based on readers’ response. But realizing that words mean things, and sometimes words can be mean things to the listener even though the speaker didn’t intend it.
I’d be curious how other influential Asian American leaders like Eugene Cho, Dave Gibbons, Charles Lee, Ken Fong, would respond. My guess is that a direct conversation between Mike Foster and Soong-Chan Rah, in a safe private environment, will bring faster resolution than any further color commentary.
[update 11/4] Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite have issued a public statement that “some of our earlier messages … were mixed in with some defensiveness on our part. … we deeply regret anything we did to offend our Christian brothers and sisters in the Asian and Asian-American communities. … that is why are we reaching out this afternoon to hear the concerns and the best way to move forward together in a positive way that corrects past mistakes, respects individual viewpoints and, importantly, advances the ministry for everyone.”