drawing the wrong lines

i was in the trucklette an hour ago listening to farai chideya on npr’s news and notes.  she was interviewing a man – didn’t catch his name – who is a member of jeremiah wright’s church and also a professor of theology at the university of chicago.  i’m not implying anything here but i couldn’t find this particular interview on the web site, though they have mp3’s of the segments before and after it.

it seemed to me he was pretty obviously dancing around farai’s questions about reverend wright’s much publicized statements.  he started out with a brief history of how black church came to be and how wright’s “g__ d___ america” statement made sense in that context.  the core of reverend wright’s liberation theology is based on jesus’ quote from isaiah 61:

the spirit of the lord god is upon me, because the lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners

he applies this uniquely to blacks in america.  they are the ones who are brokenhearted, captive, and prisoners and jesus came so they can be set free.

and, i agree.  jesus came to do just what he said.  what i can’t say “amen” to is the line of of distinction about who jesus came for.  i’ve only watched one of jeremiah wright’s sermons online, and it was apparently a particulary angry one.  but it seemed quite clear that the “us” – the ones being set free – are black americans.  and the “them” – the ones causing heartbreak and holding blacks prisoner and captive – are white americans.

which is where i believe reverend wright gets it exactly wrong.    jesus came to create a new people-group.  the new “tribe” has a common ancestor in abraham because, like him, we believe god and god counts our faith as righteousness.  the unifying sign of our faith – the way that faith is worked out day by day – is the love we have for each other.  the only real distinction jesus’ gospel allowed is “in god’s kingdom” or “out”.  any other distinction is, at best, a distraction.

and, speaking of amens; they’re easy to get.  just say something your congregation already agrees with.  something they’ve heard before.  something that makes them comfortable. 

but look at biblical prophets or the words of jesus – they made the congregation decidedly uncomfortable.  they pointed out sin and pled for righteousness.  never do you hear jesus saying “we are good and the other guys; they are bad”.  though it would have got him an “amen”.


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3 Responses to “drawing the wrong lines”

  1. matt Says:

    “Both Hannity and Ingraham have been very vocal and very public in their support for our war efforts and in their support for our troops. Their support has not been just in word, but also in deed and they are both to be highly commended for their unwavering support. But their actions and words are so diametrically opposed to the position of the Catholic Church that I become very confused about allegiances”

    Sean Hannity AND Laura Ingraham Hypocritical on Obama’s Rev

  2. Bekah Says:

    i totally agree (with you, not the implications this silly man has made)
    yes i’m white and no i’m not racist but teachings like this in my opinion are precisely what hold the african american race down. by this time in american history they should be well reconciled with the concept of equality with other races– theyve long since had the same rights and opportunities, if not more than, the white race. i say if not more because as a minority certain concessions have been made in their favor (scholarships, job opportunities, etc) that i believe first of all serve only as a crutch that doesnt boost black culture in thriving in america, but limits it, with the mindset that they must need these concessions, that they are in fact still considered inferior… and consequently in many cases the mindset that they are inferior.

    to teach racism is not the way to equality. By telling the people that, theyre inferior but they’ll be liberated! is robbing them of the liberation they already have and blinding them to the truth of their position. not to mention taking the focus off of the greater movement that every church should be backing full-force, evangelism, the great commission. not reaching for ourselves but reaching out to a lost and dying world.

    teaching like that from anybody, but ESPECIALLY from a pastor, white or black, baptist, methodist, church of christ, assemblies of god, nondenominational, charismatic, traditional, from the bible belt or las vegas, it doesnt matter. if you’re a leader, and more than that a leader in the body of christ, you have no business wasting time on that kind of teaching. make me want to slap you and say, “get over yourself”

  3. identity « fierybones Says:

    […] in relationship to my self, determines my behavior toward them (see: we’re number one, drawing the wrong lines, and inclusion / exclusion).  and how i view that person is determined by two things – the group i […]

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