Reconsidering Rickshaw Rally
Raising awareness about Lifeway's "Rickshaw Rally" VBS curriculum

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LifeWay Christian Resources' 2004 Vacation Bible School, Rickshaw Rally is Asian-themed curriculum that uses stereotypically offensive concepts and imagery with the intention of teaching children about Jesus Christ. The theme (illustrated on the "Rickshaw Rally" website) mixes various stereotypical "Oriental" images of rickshaws, chopsticks, takeout boxes, kimonos, and karate uniforms.

While LifeWay's attempt at incorporating diversity into their curriculum is admirable and appreciated, the resulting product is grossly misguided and inappropriate. It's devastating and disturbing to know that there are children in many different churches across the US whose first exposure to Asian culture will be this stereotypical, racially offensive material.

Take Action
Be sure to visit the "Rickshaw Rally" website and view the VBS material for yourself. If you feel strongly that this theme is offensive, harmful and inappropriate, please join us and take action.

Please feel free to cut and paste the sample e-mail to register your complaint (or write your own) to Lifeway. Also be sure to inform others about this.

To Lifeway Church Resources

I'm writing to officially protest the racially offensive VBS material published by Lifeway Church Resources.

Christians are called to stand against injustice and I am appalled at the racial injustice that is being perpetrated by Lifeway. The use of stereotypical music, images, and themes shows an insensitivity and blatant disregard for the unique range of culture found in the Asian community. To consider that this racist material may be the first exposure for many young children is a chilling and disturbing thought.

I respectfully ask that the "Rickshaw Rally" VBS curriculum be immediately pulled from Lifeway Resources.

Your Name

Send your e-mails to:

Jerry Vogel
Director of VBS Curriculum
[email protected]

Louis Hanks
Director of Publications
[email protected]

If you would like to call Lifeway to register your protest, their administrative office number is: (615) 251-2000. You can also contact their customer service:

LifeWay Church Resources
c/o Your VBS
MSN 136
One LifeWay Plaza
Nashville, TN 37234-0136
Phone: 1-800-458-2772
[email protected]

Here is the letter LifeWay is sending to those who email them regarding "Rickshaw Rally":

Dear Christian Friends,

We are writing in response to your concerns related to LifeWay's VBS for 2004. Please know that this material was developed in a sincere and honest attempt to provide for boys and girls, youth and adults a fun-filled spiritual adventure to learn about God's Son, Jesus. Each year since 1997 our VBS material has been developed around a theme that serves as the exciting vehicle in which to travel to present the gospel.

We in no way ever intended for this year's Rickshaw Rally to be offensive. In the fall of 2001, we gathered folks from around the country to help us plan for this significant event in many churches. We included pastors, ministers of education, VBS directors, children's ministers, lay church members and state convention personnel. The Far East theme was chosen by this group because of the colorful and exciting possibilities that it held, not to mention the opportunity to remind boys and girls in America that all cultures need to learn about Jesus.

While producing the material, we included folks who have served in Asian countries as missionaries and have also consulted people who are native Japanese. Some of our editorial team have actually visited Japan so that we would be as true to the culture as possible. We have not included anything in our materials other than the wonderful and fun elements of the Japanese culture that we have discovered on our own or delved into through research.

Our desire is in no way to stereotype but to lift up another culture for boys and girls who may never be able to go on such an exciting adventure. We have heard many, many affirming reports from churches who are already in the midst of gathering decorations and information to make this their best VBS ever. Please accept our sincere apologies if we have done anything to offend, realizing that this was never our intent or plan. We value all ethnicities and our only goal is to help introduce boys and girls to Jesus. Please be assured that as we begin development of future VBS themes we will take all of your input into consideration.


Jerry Vogel
Director, Childhood Ministry Publishing

Mary Katharine Hunt
VBS Division Project Manager

Jerry Vogel
Director, Childhood Ministry Publishing
LifeWay Church Resources
[email protected]

If you have further questions or comments about this effort, please contact:

Rev. Soong-Chan Rah
Senior Pastor
Cambridge Community Fellowship Church
P.O. Box 390029
234 Franklin St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
[email protected]

Angry Asian Man
[email protected]

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