For my 200th post, I thought I’d do something of a little more substance that of late. As most of my friends and readers can tell, I am a supporter of Barack Obama in this year’s presidential race. I’ve waited until the Jeremiah Wright thing has sort of calmed down to say something because I’ve been thinking and my recent travels to Atlanta have given me a different perspective on peaceful co-existence.
First, let me give some credit to Jason Byassee’s post over at ChristianityToday.com. Basically, there is truth in what Wright says, and it’s no different than when Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell said that 911 was brought on by America’s sins or that Katrina was a result of the sins of New Orleans. Wright is a member of the body of Christ and a look at his record of ministry reveals a person who believes in the same Jesus that I believe in and who has done his best to train and equip his people to build the kingdom on the earth in their context. Postmodern Negro made the excellent observation that when we say “orthodox” theology we’re really talking about white, western theology. Why is Euro-centric theology better than Afro-centric? Wright preaches an unabashedly Afro-centric theology and while I may not 100% agree with him, it’s a voice I need to hear.
There are lots of voices we need to hear. The ones we need to hear most are the ones we most want to shut out. I am most guilty of this. I like to surround myself with the soothing voices of moderate and progressive theologians and I usually don’t abide dissenters. The great thing about this country is that we are allowed to disagree. There have been times when governments have passed laws against sedition and they have been vociferously opposed and overturned. What comes of the suppression of opposition is our current situation – an administration that labels anyone who questions their tactics as terrorist sympathizers and who has the audacity to believe that the American people aren’t worthy of open dialogue.
Let’s not continue to make that mistake as individuals, as a church and as a nation. Let’s have confidence enough in who we are and what we believe to peacefully and respectfully disagree. Let’s listen to candidates thoughtfully rather than circulating slanderous e-mail forwards that have no basis in fact. Let’s find the truth in the voices of others and stand together on that common ground.