Saddleback pastor Rick Warren gets reaction from Asian Christians

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Rob Fall's picture

is the most charitable comment I can make.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

What the examples in the article show is that people can and will be "offended" over pretty much anything they want to these days, and will use that "offense" as a bludgeon against others to control them.

Honestly, these days, people expect you to apologize for living, for crying out loud.

Dave Barnhart

Rob Fall's picture

my wife was born and raised in the former Soviet Union.  She and her family came to the States as refugees.  Jackson Varnik worked for Evangelical Christian-Baptists as well as Jews.  Her father spent time in jail for not being a snitch for the KGB.  Neither she nor the tens of thousands of EC-Bs living here in the States would find joking around about Komsomol or any other facet of the Communist Party or its enforcement side the KGB all that amusing.

dcbii wrote:

What the examples in the article show is that people can and will be "offended" over pretty much anything they want to these days, and will use that "offense" as a bludgeon against others to control them.

Honestly, these days, people expect you to apologize for living, for crying out loud.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I can agree with you that some things might not be all that amusing, depending on one's circumstances, experiences, etc. I completely get that.

I think all of us at one point or another are going to be "offended" by the words or actions of another. The point is how we act when we are offended. Obviously, we don't know one another personally, but from your interaction on this site, I seriously doubt that even if someone said something they thought funny about communism, and you or your wife didn't think so, that the reaction would be what Warren is getting from this.

But even as regards the speech itself, I have no doubt that comments I make could easily be over-parsed to be offensive to someone in some way at some time. As a Christian, I will strive to make my communication meet biblical standards. That still won't prevent someone from feeling offended. I would hope they would speak to me privately, and take the charitable interpretation, and give me a chance to show I meant no offense. If the only reaction I would get is that of the "PC police," then I'm unlikely to take it as any kind of biblical admonition.

It seems pretty obvious to me from the article, that no matter what Rick's reaction to the protest would have been, it would be too late to fix from the viewpoint of those protesting. It would just be the crucifixion of Paula Deen all over again. Frankly, I'm sick that our society has come to this.

Dave Barnhart

Rob Fall's picture

make me think Warren and Company are tone deaf:

Two weeks before the Hong Kong church held its first service, Warren posted an image to his personal Facebook account depicting a smiling Chinese woman dressed in what appears to be the uniform of China’s Red Guard, a paramilitary organization founded by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.

“The typical attitude of Saddleback Staff as they start work each day,” Warren wrote beside the image.

What part of the Cultural Revolution don't you understand? The reaction to the post

The post immediately drew outraged comments from Asian readers, who pointed out that the Red Guard were responsible for some of the worst atrocities committed during China’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, including murder, rape, torture and imprisonment.

“It’s like joking about the Holocaust,” one commenter wrote on Warren’s Facebook page.

is understandable.

Let's face it.  The Red Guards and the Cultural Revolution are only a generation plus away in history.  Meaning many Chinese Christians had close relative who suffered (usually fatally) at the hands of the RG.  Sorry, it's not a joking matter.

 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I still see this as oversensitivity.

Note the phrasing -- "a smiling Chinese woman, dressed in what appears to be to uniform of ..." and "The typical attitude of Saddleback staff..."

He referred to her attitude (smiling), not her uniform, what that group's function was, etc., etc. He didn't say anything like "we treat people the way this woman's unit would" or anything like that.

Was it a poor choice of photo? Sure sounds like it. Was his comment akin to joking about the holocaust? Doubtful at best. So no, I don't understand the reaction, except in the sense that everyone reacts that way today for any perceived slight against their group.

I'm sure a picture of a smiling U.S. trooper in Afghanistan could have caused the same reaction amongst the people in the town where Sgt. Bales committed his atrocities. The picture of him that was widely posted in the media was a smiling picture of him in full gear. Certainly in some quarters the entire U.S military is seen in somewhat the same light as any oppressive group. I'm not comparing our military to the people involved in the cultural revolution, but I'm sure there are some that would do so.

It appears that today no one can ever give someone the benefit of the doubt, especially if they are someone like Warren, seen among many non-believers as just another one of those fundamentalist Christians, albeit a famous example, even if most true fundamentalists wouldn't claim him. But the fact of the matter is, someone will always find a reason to be offended, and you can't please everyone.

Dave Barnhart

Rob Fall's picture

I wrote Mr. Warren was tone deaf on the matter.  I have no doubt he and his staff meant it all in a jocular manner.  I also have no doubt I am seeing a cultural train wreck.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

JobK's picture

First off, Jesus Christ said: "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee" in Matthew 17:27. Obviously giving unnecessary offense is something to be avoided whenever possible. As for "perceived slights against their group", did not Paul upbraid Peter over Peter and the Jews slighting the Gentile group? Did Paul demand that the Gentiles just give Peter and the Jerusalem Jews the benefit of the doubt? Of course not. He demanded that the Jews change their offensive behavior. And then look at the epistle to the Romans. A great deal of it was dedicated towards getting the Gentiles and the Jews in the Roman congregation to show each other mutual respect. So, this attitude of yours reflects more conservative, right wing modern politics than what the Bible says, and you reveal that when you made the references th "PC" and "Paula Deen" and make the ridiculous statement "someone will always find a reason to be offended, and you can't please everyone."

Also, you are exhibiting hypocrisy. How? You are offended at their being offended. Because of the right wing stuff that I mentioned earlier, a lot of folks get angry at people who relate having been offended or otherwise put upon. They say "why don't you just grow up, man up, take it, not complain about it" etc. and accuse them of playing victims. Yet these same people will reserve the right feel and act the same if their feelings and interests get trampled. On one level, the "anti-PC" crowd feels that they alone have the right to decide what is "legitimate" and what is victimization, and their standards are (unsurprisingly) what is in the interests of the anti-PC people, and they get angry when others reject their (self-serving) standards and create their own according to their own interests. And on another level, anti-PC types are venting frustration over how the mainstream never takes their feelings of offense as seriously as other groups. The attitude is "if I can't define for you what you should be offended by and what you shouldn't be offended by, and if society isn't going to treat my grievances with the same priority as they treat yours, then I am going to treat your claims of having been offended as being not only illegitimate but actually more harmful than the conduct that offended you." Now that hypocritical, self-serving attitude makes a lot of sense in the right wing echo chamber, but it has no place in Christianity.

I am sorry, but "I don't understand the reaction" is not the standard, especially when you are determined not to understand the reaction because you feel that doing so would undermine your own aggrieved (by minorities, "the PC police" and all their demands and double standards) posture. So "you are not going to take it as a Biblical admonition" when Paul admonished another apostle for the same sort of conduct. You demand that people give the benefit of the doubt, not because the behavior merits being given the benefit of the doubt, but because Paula Deen didn't get the benefit of the doubt. And personally, I find your using "crucifixion" with respect to the still very rich and powerful Paula Deen, who by the way unlike the sinless Christ did in fact along with her brother engage in exceedingly inappropriate behavior with respect to her employees, a fact borne out by her own admission in her own deposition and was moreover was confirmed by multiple witnesses, to be offensive. As a matter of fact, that you find Paula Deen's being criticized in the media and her losing a few million dollars to be more offensive than her years of abusive, vulgar mistreatment of her employees is precisely what I am speaking of. The woman who sued Paula Deen complained about - among other things - being forced to share a small office with Deen's brother in a restaurant that Deen owned and Deen's brother was a manager while Deen's brother viewed pornography for hours every single day, and Paula Deen did nothing about it. That is textbook illegal sexual harassment that courts have ruled against time and time again, not to mention being a vile way to treat someone, and that was merely one of the many things that Deen inflicted on her employees. Yet according to you, what happened to Deen was more offensive than Deen's own wicked behavior. That's conservative "anti-PC" politics, not anything remotely resembling what the Bible says. Instead of claiming that she was being crucified, it is more likely a case of Deen being rewarded for her wickedness just as the Bible says will happen, but your own identity politics - and that is precisely what it is - prevents you from "changing your mind."

Conservative politics is just as worldly and corrupting to a Biblical worldview as liberal politics, and this is a classic example of it. And by the way: 30 million people died in China's cultural revolution, with Christians specifically declared enemies of the state for political and ideological reasons and hunted down, imprisoned, tortured and murdered as a result, just as was the early church in the Roman Empire. (By comparison, 11 million died in the Holocaust. The only reason why we aren't as sensitive to victims of communism as we are to victims of the Holocaust in this country is because of the extreme liberal anti-Christian bias of the media, Hollywood and the education system. While Holocaust studies is a mandated part of every public school curriculum, the communist crimes are covered up, whitewashed and even defended. And while movies about the Holocaust come out almost every year with many of them making lots of money and winning Academy and other awards, the next Hollywood movie about Christians being systematically rounded up and killed in gulags, concentration camps etc. will be the first. There was "China Cry" - made by TBN - and that's it.) I certainly would like to see where the Bible promotes high-handed, thoughtless treatments of those who experienced severe persecution, because I haven't encountered such texts yet. 

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Job,

I'm not saying that as Christians we should ever feel free to offend. What I'm saying is that we should be less "offendable," and yes that is a biblical point of view. Given your reaction, I'm not going to spend a lot of time proving it -- I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader. Let's just say that when Christ was reviled, he reviled not again...

Your own reaction to my use of the word "crucifixion," which has a second meaning in English of "to treat with gross injustice," proves my point. By my simple use of an accepted meaning of an English word, I somehow denigrated Christ's sacrifice. Nothing could be further from the truth, but your response does indeed show the typical politically correct reaction. If you hadn't picked that word, you probably would have picked another of my word choices to try to read something into. You really *can't* please everyone, no matter how careful you are.

Believe it or not, what I wrote was not an attempt to justify Rick Warren (nor was I justifying Paula Deen) -- what I wrote was to decry the reaction what they said generated. People *do* take offense too easily. I find it pretty sick that growing a thick skin is now something wrong, rather than a virtue, and that some think that if we don't offend easily enough, we aren't having any care for others, and that if someone says something careless or not well thought out, they are immediately presumed to be guilty of something heinous.

Dave Barnhart