This began as a comment to a post over at Dallas Penn. I felt myself getting a little carried away over there, so I brought it home. Be patient with me......
Before moving here to LaLa, I attended Trinity United Church of Christ. I love and admire Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
I still log on to tucc.org on Sunday mornings to watch the live broadcast, and I've been gone from home for six years! That's how dope this church is to me.
Growing up in Chicago may have given me somewhat of a militant identity. The history of Black folk in The Chi is rich and 'bout it. It is one of the most culturally rich, yet racially and economically segregated cities in our country, and the argument can be made that it is the toughest town around, politically ("vote early and often"). The current Mayor Daley is tough, his father, the cities first Mayor Daley, was rough and tumble. He shut folks down at the ' 68 Democratic National Convention, just because he didn't like what was being said at the podium. The late Mayor Harold Washington was tough, he was our first Black mayor, so that took the strength of Goliath all by itself. My great-uncle, Charles Hayes, born in Cairo, IL, went from being a leader of the meat packer's union to becoming a U.S. Congressman, filling the seat vacated by Harold Washington when he ran for mayor. If you can become a politician in Chicago, you can be a successful anywhere. If you can demonstrate a strong and influential voice in Chicago, you can hold it down anywhere.
With that said, I wish Rev. Wright's introduction to the "national stage" did not come via hatred and harsh scrutiny, but my feathers are not ruffled and my faith is still unshakable. I know his style of preaching well, and like most sermons delivered in a church, his messages are based upon a biblical scripture or religious principle. Like tapestry, he weaves the Word into present life and current events, and I've found myself sitting in awe of his brilliance and swagger time and time again. Is he a firecracker? Damn right. Is his style sometimes brash? No doubt. Is he radical? Some might say so, but I say no. I think he speaks truths that make people uncomfortable. So what? The truth hurts.
Tuesday, Senator Obama shut folks down about Rev with the quiet fierceness of that classic look your mama gives you when you have stepped out of line. It had to come to this, you know? There is only so much negativity one can stand before it becomes necessary to defend oneself and those you love and respect. This pot has been brewing and bubbling for some time now, and before it reached a boiling point, before the lid blew off from the pressure, the issues of race needed to be addressed. I applaud the Senator's bravado. I thank him for taking a stand and "clearing the air", we need to grow, we need to transcend. However, I am a bit pained that he HAD to condemn Pastor Wright's words. But I understand.
We live two lives around here. Our "black" lives and our assimilated lives. We live our "black lives" at church, at home, with our children and extended families, through our "Big Mamas" and "Big Daddies", within our friendships and relationships, our HBCU's, our fraternities and sororities, our music and literature, our political alliances, and through our entertainers and sports figures.
It really trips me out that all of a sudden SOME folks are all up and through the ins and outs of what we do within the confines of our own comfort zones. No one has been too concerned about what we do in our churches, before now. Why bring your news camera now? Jesus has been bringing good news to us every Sunday, where have you been? I haven't seen any overwhelming concern for what goes on in our children's inner-city schools. I don't think people care too much about the high rates of STD's and more specifically HIV/AIDS amongst our women, young and old. It bothers some not, that our boys and men are languishing behind bars nor is there much concern about the reasons they ended up there in the first place. Black and brown crime is only an issue when it comes rollin' down a block where it shouldn't be.
But guess what, we care. The results of the discrimination suffered by blacks run deep like a river. Trust me when I say it hurts. It damages the psyche, casts doubt, and results in anger, yet we always find cause to celebrate and reason to rise above. Rev. Wright exemplifies all of that. I don't feel that he is racist. He is not a "demagogue" or a "hatemonger". He is wise and he has LIVED through some heavy stuff. I don't think he's out of touch; quite the contrary, he's remarkably hip. His views might be a little old school, his vantage point is vast and reflective of his life experiences, past and present. He's a scholar and an intellect. He speaks many languages and can spit some mean lyrics too. He is kind and soulful. And just like other older folks, of any race, he will verbally cut you to the quick so fast that you won't know what hit you.
He is a man, well respected, revered and loved. He means well and has sincere intentions. It appears from those clips, he is not perfect. But who is? When you run up on that perfect person let me know, so I can cross the street.
The church has a You Tube channel, that you can find here. Log on and check out some of Dr. Wright's sermons IN THEIR ENTIRETY. You might learn something, or not. I'll leave that up to you.