Dear Pastor Warren Re: Twitter, FB and your offensive and no longer there post

Kathy Khang
8:06 PM (14 hours ago)

to pastorrick
Dear Pastor Warren,

I am one of the bloggers that helped spread the word about your choice of image to represent your staff’s attitude Monday morning. If you did not see my post on your twitter feed or on your FB thread, here is a link:
I see that you have removed the entire thread, image included, from your FB page and Twitter feed. I also see that you have responded to Sam Tsang, who originally alerted me to your post.
May I ask why you chose to remove the entire thread on both social media sites instead of issuing some sort of apology to those who were clearly trying to communicate with you?
Also, I would like to understand why you didn’t chose to remove the image and apologize right away but instead wrote “People often miss irony on the Internet. It’s a joke people! If you take this seriously you really shouldn’t be following me! Did you know that, using Hebrew ironic humor, Jesus inserted several laugh lines – jokes- in the Sermon on the Mount? The self-righteous missed them all while the disciples were undoubtedly giggling!”
I can only assume that was actually you, which then leads me to another question. Why did you write to Sam Tseng and tell him you removed it as soon as you found out it was offensive. The photo wasn’t removed yesterday, when things started rumbling on your FB page. Or, perhaps that wasn’t actually you writing that rather hurtful response. Then you should make that very clear and have that person apologize, IMO.
Why did not you not address all of your FB followers who then followed with similar responses and tell them that you had made a mistake? Why not apologize on your platform where the offense occurred?
Believe it or not, I have had similar experiences like this before. I actually would have appreciated, and would still recommend, those offending posts remain up as fuller, more complete picture of the lesson learned, communicated to others who may also need to learn the same lesson.
Thank you for your time, and I do hope to hear from you.
Kathy Khang


  1. Larissa September 25, 2013

    I think the real lesson is that humility and the grace to say “I am sorry” without defense or self-justification is a rare, rare thing.

    • Kathy Khang September 25, 2013

      It is, but I see it more often from my children. I have so much to learn from my children.

  2. Linda September 26, 2013

    Thanks for bringing the whole thing to your readers’ attention. I have written an email to Pastor Rick as well and asked for a public apology on Facebook too. Not sure if my email actually got to him since he had his staff sorting through email while he was on leave. He has just posted an apology on Facebook, alluding to “a picture”, but not mentioning what it was, which left a lot of his followers who didn’t see the picture (or who didn’t care) confused and supporting him, saying that he didn’t need to apologize. I know what he was apologizing for, and I accept his apology, but I bemoan how he has lost a really good teaching moment to show what it means to learn how to be culturally sensitive, especially since he’s launching Saddleback HK next week. Love to hear what you think.

  3. T.r. Mak September 27, 2013

    Dear Kathy,

    I hope you don’t mind but since I don’t have a blog, I would like to post this letter to Rick Warren on your site. I have also posted it on Saddleback Church’s Facebook wall, but since he has been deleting from his own Facebook wall opposition comments and comments asking him to apologize, I would like to post this letter on a few blogs, if allowed.

    I’m a Chinese Christian living in Hong Kong, and I would like to express my sentiments from the point of view of someone who is about to have Saddleback Church open in our city.


    Dear Pastor Rick Warren,

    Since you will be establishing your church in Hong Kong, I as a Chinese person living in that city would like to let you know how we feel about your actions this week.

    Your initial post of the Red Guard image was a foolish gaffe, but I had given you the benefit of the doubt by treating it as a mistake made out of momentary bad judgement. I decided to overlook it despite the unearthing of your previous speech regarding Maoist ideals, which indicated you probably understood the connotations of associating the Cultural Revolution with your staff’s work ethic ( Of course, countless Christians were persecuted and killed in that same revolution, but perhaps you were not really implying that Christian persecution is a true characterization of the typical attitude of your staff, nor that you celebrate such acts. As for myself, I have also made awkward cultural jokes before that weren’t funny but were actually inappropriate. We all have. It is regrettable.

    However, what made me feel very sick was the condescending and seemingly dismissive attitude from you and your supporters, as evidenced by the responses of the ‘you need to learn to take a joke’ nature. This is compounded by the fact that Saddleback is planting a church here and hoping to draw the very people you offended and brushed off. Yes, Christians in Hong Kong also felt great offense at your insensitivity. We may not blog in English or we may not run blogs with a massive audience/following like Eugene Cho, but we do have feelings.

    Your brush-offs – and what I felt was a disrespectful attitude – made me realize that we Christians in Hong Kong don’t want that kind of leadership here. Neither would we want to be around a body part of Christ who feels that another part of the same body can be ignored, on the basis that we Asians are perceived as just being whiny, easily offended or thin-skinned. In fact, there were even accusations from your supporters that we were ‘being unloving by holding a grudge’ (posted on your Facebook wall), and one of your own replies inferred that we were being ‘self-righteous’. The truth is, we felt we raised legitimate concerns about your attitude and responses in the handling of the whole matter.

    For a dialogue on why the opinions of Asian Americans – and soon, Asians in Hong Kong – matter as a part of your congregation and on a larger scale, the current church scene, please refer to Tim Tseng’s blog post here: We understand that you want Christians in Hong Kong (yes, the ones whom you hope will be attending your church in order to bring non-Christians to Saddleback HK so that it will grow) to feel welcome at Saddleback when it opens here, on the basis that they are also a part of the body of Christ. We hope you – and your supporters – will not suddenly disown that part of the body when we express our concern and opinions, alongside our Chinese-American counterparts. If you do so, it is my guess, but it’s likely the non-Christians probably won’t want to come to your church here.

    I, for one, was curious about Saddleback coming to Hong Kong even though I already have a church I am attending. In fact, I signed up to attend your wife Kay Warren’s seminar in Hong Kong, though it was canceled because of the personal family tragedy that occurred just shortly before the scheduled date. I wanted to hear what your wife was going to say on behalf of your ministry and why it would have any relation to Hong Kong. Now, I don’t intend to change churches, but we often refer people to local English-speaking churches, as we know of a great many expats and travelers that come to Hong Kong (I assume these are your target audiences for Saddleback Hong Kong). After this fiasco, I most certainly would not recommend Saddleback because the leadership has proven itself most unwise.

    That is the sad but true effects of your actions. It turns people away from your ministry. For you to have said such things, refuse to engage in meaningful dialogue, remain reticent on the matter, and then go on to promote your new church here is akin to feeding us spiritual food with one hand and slapping us with the other. We’re Chinese, but that doesn’t mean we’re in need of charity or stupid. We, too, need the gospel spread to us, but we can tell when someone is being disrespectful, even if our voice is very small. As Chinese people, we don’t always get confrontational. Our way of showing our loss of respect is to disengage. That is an Asian cultural nuance. It means that we stay quiet in some ways (I don’t have a blog nor will I be contacting any reporters at this present stage), but it also means we won’t be going to your church, nor will we recommend others to your church.

    Perhaps it sounds like we are being passive aggressive by disengaging here and quietly withdrawing any kind of support for Saddleback, but so far, bloggers like Sam Tseng, Kathy Khang et al. have by no means cut off dialogue with you. They have tried to engage you. But your silence is causing greater offense. I quote Sam Tsang in the article in Religion News Service: “But [Rick Warren’s] silence is as hurtful as his link he posted today, as if to tell us to ‘get over it because we’re moving on.’ (

    I am not a famous blogger nor do I have any sort of big influence in Christian circles in Hong Kong. But I do believe I am speaking on behalf of many ordinary Christians here in Hong Kong to say that we do not want to offer our support, endorsement, or positive opinion of Saddleback Church in Hong Kong or elsewhere, until we see that you make a genuine attempt at reconciliation in this whole matter.

    I have noted that you have deleted negative comments or comments asking for your apology regarding this matter from your Facebook page, including my comments and my friend’s comments posted yesterday. I will be taking a screenshot of this comment upon Saddleback Hong Kong’s Facebook page and posting this letter as a comment on other blogs too. We hope that you will not continue to handle this matter by censorship so that your supporters or other visitors to your page will have only a certain perception of you.

    Yours sincerely,

    A. Mak.

    • Angie Mak October 1, 2013

      Thanks, Kathy.

  4. […] not approaching him through a private channel. Khang then attempted to do exactly as Warren said: she sent an email to Warren ‘directly.’ It was met with a generic, indirect response. This suggests that ‘private’ is indeed a […]


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