A month or so ago the media began airing a few different clips of some of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's previous sermons. However, each time they were shown, the context of the sermons was not given, but rather sound bites from them were looped over and over. The purpose of flooding the airwaves with these soundbites was obvious given Barack Obama's relationship with Reverend Wright. Shortly after these clips were brought to the forefront, Obama gave a very powerful speech on race in American. I said in a previous post (and I still feel this way) that although the timing of the speech was dictated by political circumstances, the speech was nonetheless powerful and profound.
As the weeks went by, I grew tired of the media constantly referring to Rev. Wright. However, I admit that I wasn't intentional about learning more about Rev. Wright until recently when I learned that he had recently spoken at three different events: 1) an NAACP address in Detroit 2) a PBS interview with Bill Moyer and 3) a session with the National Press Club in Washington DC. I just finished watching the NAACP address and the PBS interview online (thanks Greg & Joel for the encouragement). I plan on watching the third event tomorrow. After watching these, I am grieved at how the media has portrayed this man. He has been portrayed as a racist, as un-American, and as a leader of some type of cult. I would like to submit that he is none of these. The problem is that too many of us (myself included), too often swallow what the media feeds us. In this case, if we have done this we have done Reverend Wright (& Barack Obama) a huge injustice.
I would encourage my blog readership (which I'm sure numbers in the hundreds:)) to watch these clips and to see if your perspective on Rev. Wright changes especially compared to the slant that we have been given on the news programs and on youtube. Here are the links...
A few thinks stick out that I am still chewing on...
Different does not mean deficient. (I love this phrase)
In the interview he shares that not only do most people not understand the black church, they lack a clear understanding of the history of why the black church came about. (I would argue that the black church will always be misunderstood if disconnected from the historical context in which it was birthed. This misunderstanding only accentuates the division between the white and black church here in this country, and I believe this grieves the heart of God.)
He also had some good insights on the historical mis-use of culture in missions ie - to be Christian means you should dress, talk, and worship the "normal" way - with the "normal" way being the dominant cultural (again different does not mean deficient).
(1) What has been the white church's response to all of this? Have you seen anything on web sites - ie Christianity Today? Have you heard it talked about on Moody radio?
(2) How should we as Christ-ones or Christ followers respond (regardless of our skin tone)?
(3) How do you think God views the American church which to this day (especially in this day) is so clearly divided along racial and political lines? Remember, "Christ died for a diverse bride" - Revelation 5.
(4) What things did you glean from the videos?
(There will be more blogs coming as right now I am full processing the fact that 25 young people have been killed this school year and last weekend there were 30 shootings in Chicago!!)