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Mo

Please, please tell me you are joking.

Justin Case

I don't think you're joking...but I do think you'd have a less glowing view of the Rev. if you were to hear/read more of him.

I wholeheartedly agree with the notion that a pastor should not be a “yes man” for his/her government. While the “separation of church and state” is too often cited as a reason to keep religious talk out of the public square, there is a real danger in going the other way and confusing or blending faith and nationalism. So, the way Reverend Wright carves his own path and is unapologetic about it is admirable. I, myself, have been a critic and activist, even burning a flag at one point (not as a protest against the U.S. but rather as a criticism of those who make patriotism a religion).

That said, from the perspective of church leadership, Rev. Wright’s penchant for Afro-centrism is troubling (http://www.tucc.org/black_value_system.html and http://www.tucc.org/talking_points.htm). It is one thing to be ethnically or racially focused in a community organization, but a Christian church needs to model diversity to the extent that is possible. Granted, there are some churches that focus on immigrants and create a welcoming place where individuals can worship and grow in their own language. That’s a whole other topic, but I believe it can have its place. Beyond that, though, balkanization diminishes the Church.

Kevin

You captured the essence of what I admired about Wright's perspective. I'm choosing not to get on the media's "can you believe that guy" bus. He's got some wacky views and some sane views and a delivery style that irritates some people. He's dealt a blow to Obama's campaign and doesn't seem to care and that bothers some people.

The bottomline of my post is what I stand behind--pastors are not beholden to politicians or governments, even those who occasionally attend their churches. Speaking honestly about failures of U.S. governmental policy is not anti-Christian, anti-American or unloving. This nation is an empire and empires get things wrong sometimes. Pastors must sometimes fulfill a prophetic role and say unpopular things in such situations. Wright seems wired more as a prophet than a pastor in my view.

And I whole-heartedly agree that the U.S. should finally issue a formal apology (that word sounds so pathetic in the face of the offense) for slavery and the subsequent wicked racial policies enacted in slavery's wake. The South Africans figured this out. The U.S. has not. It should. The primary reason we don't is simple--the government would open itself to lawsuits and lawsuits cost money.

I'm not going to Trinity UCC any time soon. I don't know of any UCC churches that get the gospel right. But, I can usually find value and be redirected by listening to people that fall outside of my usual crowd. Jeremiah Wright falls outside of my usual crowd. It seems to me that listening is something we could all be a little better at.

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