In my earlier Kung Fu Publishing post I reported on the appropriation and exploitation of Asian culture in the marketing of the book Deadly Viper Character Assassins: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership, published by the Christian publishing house Zondervan. I also posted the apologies of the authors. Now Zondervan has repented.
From Moe Girkins, President and CEO
Hello and thanks for your patience.
On behalf of Zondervan, I apologize for publishing Deadly Viper: Character Assassins. It is our mission to offer products that glorify Jesus Christ. This book’s characterizations and visual representations are offensive to many people despite its otherwise solid message.
There is no need for debate on this subject. We are pulling the book and the curriculum in their current forms from stores permanently.
We have taken the criticism and advice we have received to heart. In order to avoid similar episodes in the future, last week I named Stan Gundry as our Editor-in-Chief of all Zondervan products. He will be responsible for making the necessary changes at Zondervan to prevent editorial mistakes like this going forward. We already have begun a dialogue with Christian colleagues in the Asian-American community to deepen our cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Zondervan is committed to publishing Christian content and resources that uplift God and see humanity in its proper perspective in relation to God. We take seriously our call to provide resources that encourage spiritual growth. And, we know there is more to learn by always listening to our critics as well as our advocates.
It would be unfair to take these actions without expressing our love and support for the authors of this book, Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite. Both gentlemen are gifted writers and passionate about their ministry. We do believe their message is valuable and plan to work with the authors to come up with a better presentation of that message. We will jointly ensure we do our due diligence on the appropriateness of the creative side. This will include reaching out to a broad spectrum of cultural experts.
Finally, I want to personally thank Professor Rah, Ken Fong, Eugene Cho and Kathy Khang for their input and prayers during this discussion. We appreciate everyone’s concern and effort and look forward to working together for God’s kingdom.
Found at Professor Soong-Chan Rah’s blog. Prof. Rah writes:
It reflects a genunine repentant spirit and a deep willingness to hear and to act. I am moved by Zondervan’s willingness to act in this decisive and dramatic manner. Many thanks to the authors Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite and to Moe Girkins, Zondervan’s CEO and the team at Zondervan that have spoken in a decisive manner with a high level of integrity.
“We are pulling the book and the curriculum in their current forms from stores permanently…. We already have begun a dialogue with Christian colleagues in the Asian-American community to deepen our cultural awareness and sensitivity.” This exhibits true Christian contrition and repentance: Instead of wallowing in guilt, they are turning from wrongdoing, striving to put things right, and starting fresh. Good work! :)