Shuck and Jive

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Black and Wright

Thanks to Pastor Bob Cornwall for his insights Why Whites are Shocked and Barack Obama and His Pastor regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright the minister of the church Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey attend. Rev. Wright preaches the social gospel that has been shaped by black liberation theology. White folks don't get it. White folks don't get what it means to be black in America.

Here is an ABC News report

And of course right wing nut Sean Hannity interviews Rev. Wright asking one dumb question after another.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright pastors at Trinity United Church of Christ

We have reached another low point when political candidates are identified with the sermons of their ministers (out of context, of course).


  1. John,

    First, thanks for the links!

    Second, you are right, we as Whites don't get it. I remember in seminary, taking a seminar on American Protestant Theology. One of my classmates, an African American, did a paper on Black theology. He made a statement that I found hard to accept -- If you're not black yo can't understand black theology. I pushed him as to why, as we're seeing the reason is context!

    But maybe this will lead to more conversations, but it may also destroy Obama's candidacy.

  2. Thanks, Bob. I had that exact same experience when I took a course on the theology of James Cone. Because it was taught by a white teacher (who was a student of Cone when she got her doctorate at Union), the African-American students, except for two women, refused to take the course.

    I didn't understand. But it was the same message, you can't understand or teach black theology unless you are black.

    Race in America is such an important issue, but when it comes out in the midst of presidential politics, the conversation is less than enlightening shall we say.

    BTW, I think Obama has been handling all of this very well.

  3. I really didn't think Barack needed to "denounce" his minister's comments. I would have been quite satisfied with a simple expression of disagreement. (Frank,y the pastor was partly right, anyway.) By no means does Barack need to be held accountable for everything his pastor says, and by no means should Barack feel obligated to throw his pastor under the bus.

  4. Chris,

    True. In my mind I was thinking of the statement Obama made on ABC where he likened Rev. Wright "to an old uncle who sometimes says things I don't agree with."

    Preachers have got to know it is politics.

  5. Chuck Currie wrote a good post on this topic on the UCC News Blog.

  6. Humm...

    1st, its been part of the plan that Barack would distance himself from his pastor as the election grew near and his chances improved. I don't remember where I read or heard it, but I heard about it over a year ago already.

    2nd, if its true that whites cannot understand blacks or black theology, then by the principle of reciprocity the converse is also true. If you are not white you cannot understand white theology. Or anything white for that matter.

    Are blacks ready to make that concession? I'm not. And I don't believe that by virtue of not being black you cannot therefore understand black culture or theology.

    It is hard to understand across cultural barriers. But not impossible.

    The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is like a foreign culture. It is as foreign to Blacks as it is to Whites, or Asians or Latins or Native Americans or any other ethnic group, liberal or conservative, male or female or eunuch even. We all have this in common. And when we are in Christ those distinctions are at most hold overs from our previous existence.

    It's almost like you have to be born all over again in order to understand it.

  7. It's not about the pastor. If Obama's THEOLOGY is seen for what it is the election is lost. See:

  8. A Christian Prophet Huh?

    You do know that the penalty for false prophesy is stoning, right?

    You do know that J Edgar Hoover is dead, right? And so is Jo MaCarthy? And Nixon?

    We are almost ten years past the Twentieth Century. Your interpretation of Obama's theology is hopelessly archaic. It's time to catch up.

  9. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is like a foreign culture.

    Amen, Jodie.

    So far I haven't read anyone point out another obvious point: if you are African-American, live in Chicago, and are rising up the ladder of black power politics, Rev. Wright's church is the place to go.

    This should not affect Obama's candidacy any more than Bob Jones U and Pat Robertson had negatively affected the races of white candidates who embraced them (very little if at all). But if it does, it would be a sad testimony for the state of our nation.

  10. Bob Jones U and Pat Robertson had negatively affected the races of white candidates who embraced them (very little if at all)


    I am, along with Rachel Maddow, disgusted that the press is so in love with John McCain that they refuse to ask him any tough questions about John Hagee, whose endorsement McCain publicly welcomed, and who believes that the reason that the American government should support the Israeli government (and Likud Party) unconditionally is so that World War III will start, Jesus will return, and all the non-converting Jews will be exterminated.

    But no, we gotta get our knickers in a twist about what Barack's pastor may have said at some point in his career.

  11. A "Christian" "Prophet":

    Let me tell you another story about a group of Marxists who posed as Christians:

    "All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

    Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."

    Acts 2.44-5, 4.32-35 (NRSV)

    Barack Obama is not a Marxist and is not calling for a revolt of the proletariat (if anything, his message is one of unity amongst all Americans of every race and class).

    However, before bashing Marxism as a Christian, it is worth noting that Marx does seem to have lifted the idea of collectivism from the early Christian Church. If you're worried about Barack Obama's theology in this regard in the 21st century, you would have been horrified by Peter's in the 1st.