what Piper said about Asian Americans

I’ve mentioned to several people (in f2f conversations) about John Piper’s remark about Asian Americans during a February 2007 conference called Resolved. Piper is renowned and respected evangelical Reformed pastor, so it should be obvious that these remarks are made with good intentions. But what he meant for good, it possibly comes across as not so good.

Having been at a multicultural church conference yesterday hosted by mainline churches, I noticed the contrasting difference in how mainliners are so much more nuanced and deliberate in navigating cultural differences and addressing systemic issues undergirding racism than those who are theologically right of center (academic speak for ‘conservative evangelicals’). My interim conclusion: the Piper remarks themselves are not so much the controversy, b/c I’ve heard my Asian American ministry colleagues make similar observations about the untapped potential for Asian Americans to thrive in cross cultural contexts abroad. The remarks indicate to me how racism in America remains heatedly volatile and unaddressed in most churches, both practically and systemically. (and as such, who’d want to touch those hot potatoes?)

I don’t have the transcripts (2007 conference audios may be downloaded for free after registration), but here’s Tim Challie’s blog entry about Piper’s Asian American remarks:

He paused here and noted his amazement at the number of Asian-Americans at the conference. I can’t say what percentage they represented, but I would think it was at least 33 percent and possibly more. Reflecting on this, Piper said he believes there may be a calling on these lives that is unique. This may be an Asian-American moment in world missions. His longing is that hundreds of people here will go to the nations. There are only three kinds of Christians in regard to world missions: goers, passionate senders, disobedient. He longs that the effect of Resolved will be that out of this conference will come missionaries like out of Edwards came David Brainerd. “Perhaps,” he said, “this is the moment in world history when the decisive breakthroughs will be granted to the goers with a face different than mine.” After all, the Asian face is hated less around the world. God in His unusual providence in the Muslim world, for example, has arranged that the Western face is satanic while the Asian face is not yet as satanic. Maybe this represents an opportunities for Asian Christians.

How this kind of a remark can be misinterpreted is illustrated by thecuttingtruth:

Thus, in John Piper’s eyes, I am no longer the satanic Fu Manchu (“he had menace in every twitch of his finger, a threat in every twitch of his eyebrow, terror in each split-second of his slanted eyes”). Instead, I am the passive, good-boy Charlie Chan, a refined, intellectual of Christian wisdom, on the side of law and virtue, beloved by the whole world, an amorphous mass of goodwill with a beautific face.

And he relayed how this kind of remark can be racist, if such comments were made about African-Americans:

  • to clump African-Americans with Africans betrayed ignorance;
  • to clump people together into roughshod categories based on the color of their skin was the beginnings of racism;
  • to claim that the black man or woman was not the target of racism but, rather, was “hated less around the world” was plain stupidity; and inter alia
  • my insinuation about the black face was offensive and reeked of racist stereotyping.

thecuttingtruth did listen to the message audio for full context, and further explains that the problem is one of over-generalization and stereotyping:

The fact that Piper stereotyped Asian-Americans in a complimentary light (that came with the trumpet blast of a spiritual challenge!) does not take away from the fact that he made a generalization based on race. That is the beginning of racism. The first baby steps of rancid stereotypes often come with the conception of complimentary generalizations based on race. … Another problem I had with his message was that when he initially started talking about Asian-Americans as missionaries, he only mentioned Asian countries as the mission fields they should go to. (Only after he talked about the demon-face, did he mention the Middle East). Clearly, it seems to Piper that Asian-Americans should only go to Asia for missions. While Asian Americans may have significant linguistic and cultural advantages in being sent as missionaries to Asia, this portion of Piper’s exhortation came across as a “Go back to your own country!” kind of call.

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  1. DJ – Profound as always. Wow you Asian people sure write good 😉

    Yeah, things like this are very dangerous because: one, folks will say “What? It was positive!” or “Wow, you are being so sensitive.” These are the kinds of seemingly innocent perspectives that lead to injustice both institutional and individual. I think a posture of hope driven by righteous indignation – as opposed to a denial-laden pollyanna – perspective around issues of race, gender, etc is the approach to have when it comes to issues such as these.

  2. cyrus says:

    I’ve been thinking about those remarks for awhile now. great post.

  3. joe says:

    “Perhaps,” he said, “this is the moment in world history when the decisive breakthroughs will be granted to the goers with a face different than mine.”

    hmm.. this sounds rather pretentious and presumptuous. His thinking seems to assume that “decisive breakthroughs” in “world history” regarding missions were for some time, goers with a “white” face. It excludes the present day facts of Korea being a top overseas missions sender (for awhile now), as well as China’s ridiculously rapid church-planting movement, along with their radical plan to evangelize their way back to Jerusalem. I could be reading into what Piper’s said.. but it sounds like he assumes missions breakthroughs were relegated to caucasians.

    i’m sure Piper meant no harm.. but his statement seems to have been an overflow of certain presumptions regarding the history of world missions.

  4. Ed G. says:

    DJ – Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I hadn’t heard about Piper’s remarks, so I’m coming to this one late. Now I suddenly feel compelled to search my own recent history to determine whether I’ve spoken, written, or even thought something that was hurtful to my Asian American brothers and sisters.

    As an African American who has spent a lot of time living on the margins of white evangelicalism, I’ve been on the receiving end of remarks or gestures from my white bretheren that might be considered racist at worst, insensitive at best. But lately I wonder if I’ve become too desensitized to some of the potentially hurtful or insulting words or gestures that are flung about by some in the evangelical majority. What’s worst, I wonder if I’m sometimes contributing to that ignorance without knowing it.

    Anyway, here’s the thing. Where do we take it from here? Obviously, Piper was not conscious of how loaded and insulting his words would be to some of his listeners. Is it enough to just discuss it in a forum like this one, or is more required? I’m asking this humbly, as someone who has been both the offended and the offender. What do we need to take away from this? How can we take the conversation to the next level in a way that will show grace to the offender and open the door for healing and understanding?

  5. Ben Pun says:

    Thanks for pointing this out DJ. But I don’t find anything offensive in Piper’s remarks, as an Asian-American. I don’t think he was making any generalizations about Asians only that we do not bring the baggage of the dislike of the west in the eastern world because we are not white. Isn’t this true? I think we as minorities can overreact to things like this. While I was outraged at the skit guys racist skit, I don’t think this is anything like that at all. I do agree that “conservative” Christians are in general less nuanced when speaking of race, but I don’t think this is a very good example of that.

  6. Ben Pun says:

    sorry, one more thing. When I went with a youth group to do missions at an Native American reservation, we were told that we had an advantage as an asian-american group, because we were not white. Many native americans have a negative reaction to white americans because of history. I didn’t see that remark as racist at all, but true. I think Piper’s comments are the same.

  7. Ken Carlson says:

    I read some of the earlier comments on Piper’s talk, but I didn’t respond at that time because I am not Asian. DJ, your balanced response has encouraged me to speak out. I have not listened to Piper’s talk, but based on your quotation of the relevant portion, it seem to me that he is thinking as a missions strategist. There are some places in the world in which an Asian face is more welcome than a white one. As people who have hearts for the kingdom, we need to realize that different sorts of people will be more effective in evangelizing different areas.

    I don’t see how anyone can find racism in this, unless it is the racism that causes people in some areas to reject the message of white (or Asian, or black) missionaries. The only stereotyping that I see is in what some are saying about Piper. It’s almost like they are thinking “All white people are like that, so what he must really be thinking is. . .” (Sorry to be so blunt, but that’s how I see it.) That’s not to deny that there is plenty of anti-Asian racism in America, but not everyone is a racist. I don’t see any evidence that Piper’s comments were motivated by racism.

    My own church has had a long term ministry to a group of native Americans, and as Ben said I have been told that an Asian face makes it easier to reach them with the Gospel. There are also some cultural similarities that make useful bridges for relationship building. Let’s take advantage of that opportunity!

  8. John Lee says:

    Being Korean-American, and also having gone on mission trips to Native American reserves in Western and Eastern Canada, I agree with Ben and Ken (hey, that rhymes!) that being Asian does have a certain advantage in some mission contexts. Perhaps, if anything, Piper should have used a specific example to supplement his point, instead of just making a sweeping generalization. It’s funny because when I went on a 2-month mission trip to Vancouver Island with NAIM (North America Indigenous Ministries, http://www.naim.ca), I was paired with a Caucasian brother from Moody, and they loved us both equally – the only real difference was that the kids kept on calling me “Chinaman” and “Jackie Chan”! And, again, I’m Korean! Haha…

  9. djchuang says:

    Ben, Ken, et al: again, the motives or the intentions of Pastor John Piper are not in question so much as the construction of the sentences that conveyed an overgeneralization that is offensive to some Asian Americans and others who are sensitive to racial subtexts.

    So while the remarks may not overtly offend every listener, the Piper remarks do give us an opportunity to explore how better to use words to describe the phenomena that it seems that many Asian Americans are being well received in other cultures overseas, and that maybe God is orchestrating this kind of an opportunity.

    This is also an opportunity to ask a related question: why are Christian conferences like Resolved filled with male Anglo faces in keynote sessions, and what would it train up and equip non-Anglo faces to teach the Bible for a mainstream audience?

  10. Wow. Glad John Piper made those statements!
    I think it’s clear he had no ill intentions. It’s clear almost everyone will be gracious to give him the benefit of the doubt. For those overly sensitive, in His love I implore you to get a life! (Just kidding!!! No need to flame me!). I often find those hyper-sensitive brethren are just as quick to make insensitive,
    anti-anti-racist remarks (a la Jesse Jackson’s “Hymie town.”) Some erudition is in order.

    One nuance I learned from Dr. Gary Parrett (GCTS) a while back is the difference between stereotype and sociotype (wikipedia it if you must). John Piper used a sociotype to describe AA’s. He astutely recognizes AA’s potential and is more vocal about it than other well-known Anglo speakers.

    On that note, we’d have more AA speakers in such Anglo conferences if the organizers of such would recognize qualified AA speakers are worthy to be at their table of fellowship. But I might be less inclined to attend… 😉 (LOL!! Just kidding!!!!!!).

  11. djchuang says:

    CJ, thanks for your comments. Again, what’s not in question is Piper’s intentions, at least from me.

    Rather than expecting the overly sensitive to desensitize, why not put the encouragement and impetus on those who are supposedly respected public communicators to be more sensitive instead of being so insensitive? Let us all raise our sensitivity in these cross-cultural and racial diversity matters, instead of allow insensitivity to continue reigning the day?

    And, perhaps, a better way to recognize the Asian American potential is to give them a platform on stage of mainstream conferences instead of keeping them behind the scenes and in the audience seats.

  12. DJ – I agree. Part of the development of institutional racism is that most of the injustice that arises is not intentional, but part of the blindness that happens when corporate bodies forget that even in Christian fellowship, we are sinners. I would not say that he was racist or intentional, just blind to the ramifications and underlying assumptions about what he said.

  13. Ken Carlson says:

    Bruce – Do you really think that what Piper said was insensitive? Is he really responsible for every possible way his words might be construed? If there is no evidence that his underlying assumptions were racist, is he responsible for how those with other underlying assumptions might misconstrue his words?

  14. Ken – Yes and no. Complexities of power come into play when it is a White male say things versus say another Asian American. If nothing else there are underlying cultural blind spots and American-centric perspectives that he is showing and for that he should rethink his generalizing. Since he went global in his comments he should understand Asian to Asian interaction in the Philippines, Korea, Japan, etc. While I would agree that is come places – sure white folks are more demonized – but in others NOT being Japanese or Chinese might be also helpful.

    In terms of being “responsible” for what other people hear, isn’t that the burden that we each hold every time we proclaim the word? Being under a microscope is never fun, but one of the things that we own as preachers. While i do appreciate any preachers prophetic voice, if there are times where that push and challenge might be off-based isn’t it also pastoral to rethink and shift or at least to own the fact that words might not have had the intended effect?

    Please keep in mind that I don’t know him. Didn’t hear the comments in the first person. But in the context of a Multicultural event it sounds like a missed opportunity.

  15. Ken Carlson says:

    Bruce – Thanks for your kind response. I realize that neither of us were there, so we only have a partial picture of what took place. Suppose that Piper was your friend, and he had asked for your input before he shared his remarks. How would you have advised him to modify his statement? What specifically would you have changed? I think that your answer answer to that question would help me to better understand your point.

    As to being responsible for what other people here, I think that that is true only to a certain point. We are obligated to communicate as clearly as we are able, and to anticipate likely points of misunderstanding. But sometimes in spite of our best efforts people will seriously misunderstand us. Sometimes their own assumptions will cause them to “read in” meanings that have no basis in our actual words. In such a case I’m not sure that the speaker is at fault, since it is impossible to guarantee that no one could possibly misunderstand what we say. After all, some people even misunderstood Jesus.

  16. Dee says:

    I think your post is pretty misguided. You are telling people that Piper’s intentions isn’t the thing to be focused upon but upon this kind of passive racism. But what is more to the point is whether Piper has a valid point or not. He was saying that Muslim people consider Asian people less threatening. You have to address this question and not any implied apparent racism in his comment. The answer is that yes Muslims on the whole do not associate Asian people with anti-Western sentiment. That was all that Piper was saying.

    Certainly there is passive racism and I have been the target of that as an Asian American. But this isn’t the issue here. Deal with the issue and the point and not any suggested sub-text that you are reading into. Blogs are dangerous when they start to target people, misconstrue quotes and create controversy where there should be none.

  17. DJ – Wow, clearly you have touched on an important area of interest/concern. What a gift you are in bringing together voices that may not otherwise cross.

    Ken – I have posted a response here [http://www.reyes-chow.com/2007/07/intention-vs-in.html]. Actually I have had friends ask me about things they were thinking about saying and I always warn that not matter what, someone will misunderstand their intent. The thing to think about is that they asked because they understood their power and privilege. And not that I represented the “Asian Voice” but iw as able to help them discern whether or not their words were way off or uninformed. If I were to offer Piper some comments, I would encourage him to offer some disclaimers that showed that he had thought of some of the issues. For instance, “I do not fully understand the historical and culture realities of Japanese and Filipino interactions, but . . .” or I would push him to think about whether this was a place for him to venture in the first place. I could have predicted this kind of fallout.

  18. daniel so says:

    DJ — Thanks for voicing these important thoughts. Sorry for jumping in a bit late here, but the recent kidnapping of the 23 South Korean people in Afghanistan makes Piper’s words sound even worse. I don’t know if they were targeted specifically because they had “Asian faces” but it seems pretty clear that simply having an Asian face does not give a person unfettered access to other nations.

    I think what bothers me most about discussing these issues with some white people is their inability to see from another person’s perspective. I’ve had people try to brush off serious concerns with, “Well, I didn’t mean that so get over it already.” It is difficult to communicate to such people that their worldview is *not* normative for everyone.

    If the conference attendance really was one-third Asian American people, then it is remarkable that they do not try to find AA speakers for the main stage. This is not about filling quotas or tokenism; it just makes sense that the leadership up front reflects the overall picture of the conference. Maybe the leadership team at such conferences isn’t networked in enough with AA circles; maybe it’s too much of a hassle to deal with racial, ethnic & cultural diversity; whatever the reason, I hope that more AA speakers are invited to the table for these kinds of events.

  19. Ken Carlson says:

    Bruce – Sorry I haven’t gotten back here for a few days. I’ve been busy. I think that your suggestion of a simple disclaimer is an excellent one. Even though I have served in a Chinese church for a long time, I still try to include a disclaimer whenever I say something about Chinese culture because in fact there are still a lot of things that I don’t completely understand.

    I’ll take a look at the post on your blog.

  20. Bo says:

    I agree with Daniel #18. The recent hostage situation in Afghanistan demonstrates that Piper’s words to AA were misinformed and inaccurate. NY Times story on 7/21: “With an estimated 12,000 Christian volunteers abroad, South Korea is one of the world’s largest sources of missionary activities. But their presence is not always welcome, especially in Muslim countries. Last August, more than 1,000 South Koreans came to Kabul to attend a peace march. But most were quickly ordered to leave when Afghans accused them of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, and the government concluded that their presence was a security threat.” Now Koreans may be known for aggressive proselytizing, but Muslims are also aware that South Korea and Japan have supported US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and have sent troops there. I.e., Asians are associated with anti-western sentiment and they are considered a threat (contra Dee #16). This NY Times story also notes that South Korea will pull their troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

  21. JRJ says:

    I’m chiming in really late, but let me first say that I am an AA ministering in Asia. Given the current political climate of where I serve, and since this is a public site, I kindly ask that the withholding of my full name be respected.

    I don’t understand what’s so offensive about Piper’s exhortation, even if it’s to be understood as “Go back to your own country” as thecuttingtruth takes it. I’m curious to know just how many AAs have, in fact, gone back to the countries of their ethnic ancestry. In the organization I serve with, it’s not many.

    Take China, for instance. Isn’t it possible, and I believe quite likely, that in God’s sovereign plan, when China expelled all foreign missionaries in 1954, He intended for Chinese from Taiwan and Hong Kong (not under P.R.China’s authority and where most ethnically Chinese immigrants in the US come from) to immigrate to America, have their next generation be raised up in churches, and send them “back to [their] own country” so that the Chinese would hear?

    Asian-Americans in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. could break down walls that exist because of the difference in appearance between the stereotypical (in their mind) white Christian and the natives. I say “could” because, as it stands, I don’t think there are enough AAs “going back” to provide enough evidence for a trend.

    It seems that AAs are more concerned about where else God might be leading them as opposed to their countries of ethnic origin. Being an AA myself, I used to think “I want to do what other, non-AAs do.” Some (not all) AAs want to find an identity in something that doesn’t fit the stereotypical AA mold. Some Christians do the same. Isn’t it possible that God is asking us to embrace how He’s made us and embrace (of course, what I speculate to be) His plan?

    Thanks for the opportunity to be heard.

  22. stan says:

    Man, I think we gotta cut the man some slack.

    >

    The guy’s a mission strategist, he’s all about focusing on maximizing the glory for God. He’s not Dr. Phil, or a self-help guru, he’s a sword for God in the spiritual fight. If you force a guy to start being a ‘politician’ or study up on how to be PC to each oversensitive American minority or regional group, how to appease the people, instead of studying up on how to reach unreached people groups, you really hamstring a singly focused guy like he is.

    I really think the overly sensitive do need to desensitize, especially if they’re Christian. They need to stop thinking ‘me, my race, and I’ and start focusing on God and his purpose for his people.

    I know you don’t think this, but it seems a few of our Asian brothers think if we make enough of a stink about this, that we can shame him in changing his ways. After all he doesn’t want us to stop buying his books and he doesn’t want the conferences to stop calling him to speak, right? I really doubt this. He serves God, not himself, and not man. We should respect that. Not hinder it. I am glad that most of the posts here can see past a man’s seeming shortcomings and focus on what he is trying to accomplish for the church.

    >

    I have met quite a few Causcasian Americans fairly commited to reaching China. And I always wonder why? Did they get called specifically? Is it just because they see the need is so great? Sometimes I wonder, from the strategic and practical perspective, why don’t they try reaching causcasian ethnic groups. It makes a lot more sense. You don’t stand out like a sore thumb, etc. So Asians reaching Asians make sense. If you are a general guiding a war, you have to look strategically to where a particular battalion will do the most good. In WWII did the German’s train Japanese spies in English so they could infiltrate the Allies? No, they trained white dudes. It’s strategy, not racism.

  23. Lee says:

    Stan,

    Yes, ministry is a type of warfare, and Piper is a type of general. However, Piper is not only a “mission-strategist” (whatever that may mean), but also a pastor. A pastor is more than a general and the warfare is not all about converts and geographical expansion (i.e., ignorance, racism, bigotry, et al. are included in this warfare). Pastors are not only mission focused, but SENSITIVE to the rest of the flock. If there is a stray sheep that needs special attention, the pastor is called to be “impractical” and hold up the rest of the traffic to tend to the wounds of the few. In fact, pastors should imitate Christ in cultivating their “Dr. Phil” side just as much as their “Gladiator” side.

    Plus, even on a practical level, think about the many times human rights were abused for the sake of “the greater good” like national security (e.g., Japanese American internment). Stan, your perspective does have a place, and sometimes it is much needed, but PASTOR Piper is just exactly that, a pastor. Pastor’s are not just accomplishing a mission objective (in the military sense), but participating as witnesses to the redemptive/reconciliatory work of God in Christ from Creation to New Creation.

  24. Stan says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I see your point and feel it sometimes when my generally wise-cracking pastor sometimes passionately screams at us during his sermons. : ) I am saying to him in my head “Couldn’t you tone it down? I think you’re losing us here.”

    To answer your second point, I really hope this innocent speech does not lead to human rights abuse or anything negative reinforcements of stereotypes. But I feel strongly that the original blog attacks are so out of place and un-Christ-like. I liken it to the Pharisees criticizing Jesus and his disciples for picking grain on Sabbath.

    I think when Piper spoke it was to not to his flock but to people seeking to live with the same “resolve” as that 18th century Christian visionary Jonathan Edwards.(www.resolved.org/) He went in with the understanding that this group had their heads focused to find out how we can better reach the world and not just to get a spiritual pick me up. (i.e. it’s all about God, it’s not about me.)

    A pastor can wear many hats right? As a Christian I can understand him taking off his flock shepherding hat and putting on his missions strategist hat that afternoon.( If you do a little research into his books like “Don’t Waste Your Life” you might understand why I am so forgiving. He is super passionate for Christ and in your face. Don’t let his title fool you. He is more missionary, than pastor. That is his strength, what he is admired for, why he gets asked to speak at these conferences, but strong wills can rub some people the wrong way.

    I’ve taken a class called “Perspectives on World Christian Movement” class. It’s a marvelous class that all Christians would benefit from. And anyone whose taken this course would have no problem shunting aside self-centered questions of “should I be insulted?” and just embracing his contagious longing to reached the unreached. This class exposed me to many missionaries and mission strategists who really focus their lives more on these foreign worldviews and frankly they aren’t so sensitive about the worldview of you or I.

    When he opened his mouth he was only suggesting a path for mission strategy, not a way of thinking in general about race. Those offended are reading too much into his words. This speech was not intended for people who care more about finding something to blog about than about God’s number one agenda.

    HIs big point was the European and American (caucasion) face has been poking about the third world so much —- colonizing, evangelising, whatever else….It is not welcome in many cultures. Lot of cultures distrust America and whites. Just facts. If I an Asian made this point to a group of white missionaries, I doubt they would yell “generalizing” or “stereotyping”.

    It is still possible for whites to befriend Muslims, but much harder. And they stick out like a sore thumb. And he is suggesting IF other races/colors MIGHT seem less offensive to a particular people group, it might be easier for them to get the work done.

    I heartily agree with one of the comments above that with the hostage crisis with the Korean missionaries in the Mideast, that the Asian face will also raise a red flag in SOME countries. And even in Sudan, the atheist Chinese setting up business there have left a bad taste in the locals’ mouths. But still Asians have not been screwing around in other cultures as long as the whites and might be better tolerated. And there may still be dozens(hundreds?) of people groups that may not have ever seen an Asian in the flesh. This strategy can apply not only to Asians, but any non-white Christian. American Indians have reached out to Mongolians with success, because the Mongolians themselves pointed out their similarities. Sophisticated Americans may call this generalization, but most of the world doesn’t think like us and John Piper knows this and that’s where a comment like this comes from that understanding.

    And I am sure Piper understands that the color of your face in no way guarantees or disqualifies your success in the mission field. Your faith, your heart, your personality, your training, your support all comes to bear.

  25. Lee says:

    I don’t see how your argument justifies the sending of Asians/non-Whites at all. You are saying that since “whites” created an inhospitable atmosphere for missions, the Asians/non-Whites should bear the cost and send their own. If there is any sense of justice here, I would think (if I accepted your presuppositions for missions strategy, which I don’t) the “whites” should take responsibility for their mistakes send their own martyrs in direct proportion to the amount of damage they have done in the first place. Of course the Christian worldview calls for grace and an ethic of “turning the other cheek.” Hence, this is nonsense. Either way, I still cannot agree with your premises, nor your conclusion.

  26. Stan says:

    >

    Lee: No, that wasn’t at all what I meant. Many apologies if that’s how it came out. I (or Piper) am not trying to point fingers or find justice or determine who should take more responsibility for the current state of affairs in certain countries. It’s not even about turning the other cheek so much, because this is not supposed to be personal.
    I am not trying to “justify” sending Asians/non-whites at all…..I don’t need to….that should be plain to all Christians…that all believers whatever their race have a responsibility to fufill the Great Commision.

    We, believers of all colors and nationalities are in this together. We are all called to be part of the work, but we need to objectively access the situation for each people God wants us to reach and figure out who/what would be the more ideal tool to carry out a particular job. Sometimes it might be a blond blue eyed male dentist from Kentucky or it might be a black woman school teacher from Belize. It is a strategic call. Finding the right person for the job. Not discrimination.

    BTW NONE of what I’ve expressed above are my original premises, nor are they necessarily John Piper’s as Mr. Chuang mentioned earlier that he has heard Asian colleagues in ministry voice similar observations about the potential of Asians in the mission field.

    If you want to share your church’s view on missions, the Great Commission, ideas on how to reach countries that are openly hostile to a particular race or nationality, please email me at visualpun(a t) netzero. net. … since this is turning into a one on one discussion rather than direct comments about the blog entry. If not, take care and God bless.

  27. Lee says:

    I understand what you are trying say, and I agree that some geographical locations are less hostile to certain “faces.” I also agree with your descriptive analysis of the current state of affairs. I just have problems with sweeping statements that simplify the situation into just following the “Great Commission” while using language like “tools” to speak of living, breathing, colorful people. It tends to flatten out individuality into an abstract concept sweeping centuries of unnecessary bloodshed, inter-generational conflict, and cultural desecration. And just because Asian strategists make the same mistake, doesn’t make it right. Not to mention that fact that most Asians have been taught in seminaries which draw heavily from Continental/Anglo-American methodologies.

    Maybe it’s time for Continental/Anglo-American dominated seminaries to step down from their ivory towers as “senders” and become “goers” as they learn from the wisdom of the people they wish to “convert” into bond-servants of Christ. Maybe it’s not about sending less-offensive faces to Asia in hopes of inculcating them with theology/hermeneutics steeped in Eurocentric-traditions, but about sending misinformed “senders” into Asian dominated seminaries to become sensitive “goers” for the “Great Commission.” God bless.

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