Wednesday, March 26, 2008

if you want my two cents

well, now that holy week is over i still don't have time to write anything, but i decided i would take the time anyway.

so much has been going on in the world, but the thing i would make mention of (in the short time i have to write anything) is the whole fiasco surrounding the sermon soundbite that we've been hearing over and over again.

you know which one i'm talking about don't you?

there are a few things i would say about the whole thing. (and for the sake of this post i'm going to use the terms "pastor" and "preacher" to refer to all religious leaders, not just christian ones.)

the first thing is that the media does a terrible job of portraying any religion and if you form your opinon about one particular preacher, church member, or theology on a 30 soundbite on the news you are going to have the wrong opinion. i don't care who the preacher is, what religion he or she is from, what culture they come from, or what ugly words come out of their mouth. you will get it wrong. period. because i know that there are plenty of things i have said in my preaching that if put into a 30 second soundbite would make me look all kinds of bad.

i've heard lots of christian conservative leaders say far more horrible and offensive things than, "God damn America." and they have gotten far more air time than a 30 second soundbite. in fact some of them are now employed by 24 news stations as experts in religion and politics.

racism and every other ism is just plain bad for everyone. i think i mentioned this before. the only way to deal with isms is to get them out in the open and talk about them honestly. isms will still run people's lives, but at least if we talk about them openly and respectfully (which also means listening) we have a chance of making a difference.

as a pastor i think i have an important message to share. it's part of my job. it is a radical message and will offend people. love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, give to the poor... that's radical and offensive stuff because we are taught to mistrust our neighbor, fight back, and get as much stuff for ourselves as we possibly can. so why is it that the only time religion gets any press is when some clergy person has a gay affair, has a politican as a member of their organization, or issues a religious fatwah?

no one should be told that they should disown their pastor just because of something they said. pastors are human. sometimes we make huge mistakes in judgement, say things we shouldn't say, preach sermons that would have been better left unpreached. but many times we do significant things for people that make a difference in their lives.

no one should be judged based on something that their pastor said. we have our own opinons. i don't share all of mine with everyone, but certainly people can guess things like my political party by some of the things i share out loud on sunday mornings and in meetings and on other ocassions. but they are my opinions and i am not under any notion that everyone who attends my church is going to agree with all my opinions.

in order to hear the good news we also need to name the bad news. this is part of the preaching task. life isn't happy all the time. people are angry, hurt, suffering, and full of resentments. those things have to be put out in the open and named otherwise the good news is meaningless drivel.

and that's all i have time for right now.

God's peace y'all

14 comments:

RickinVa said...

You are so sadly misinformed on this. So very sadly.

This has little to do with media soundbites. It has tons to do with writings, actions and sermons over 20 years that clearly are based in hate-filled rhetoric. There's much more that the media isn't covering on Wright's verbal puking including his embrace of Louis Farrakhan and all that he stands for.

News has just surfaced of a letter written by a Palestinian radical that was published in Pastor Wright's church newsletter (the same edition celebrating Youth Day). In it, this Islamist spoke to the idea that Israel had created ethnic bombs that target only blacks and arabs. It's ridiculous stuff, a clear pattern of behavior that you and your liberal cohorts are ignoring.

Try this little exercise. Find the Wright sermons where he rails against blacks or jews. There are plenty. Replace the word black with white. Replace jews with gays. Only then would you clearly see hatred. I find that so terribly sad.

The message liberals like you are sending is that embracing a certain kind of racism is ok but you abhor other kinds. It's a double standard that makes you look like quite the hypocrite.

I find it typical but sad.

Do your homework on this one Christine. You're much brighter than you're communicating here. You need to seriously see what this Pastor Wright character is all about and then ask yourself why you're defending him. Makes no sense.

None.

RickinVa said...

In my haste, I reversed black and white in one paragraph. It should more obviously read:

Try this little exercise. Find the Wright sermons where he rails against whites or jews. There are plenty. Replace the word white with black. Replace jews with gays. Only then would you clearly see hatred. I find that so terribly sad.

classi_college_dude said...

Unlike rickinva, I'm choosing to see what your real message was and not jump to conclusions for the sake of making a fascist point. You are right, it is unfair to make judgments based on any snippet of information. Apparently, rickinva has taken the time to look for hateful and spiteful things to say against this person so that he could use them to forward his ideas. And I'm glad he did. He does have that right, we should take time to really learn about the issues before we make judgements. Good for him! He has taken the time to find those parts of Wright's past that forward his conservtive fascism and therefore is able to bring them to light and "teach" you.

I, on the otherhand, who have been sadly underinformed (though, I blame the international news on that one seeing as how it's all we get in Rome) on this topic and will not make judgments on Pastor Wright or his message. It is not my place even if I went to his church and was a member of his family.

Thank you for your two cents. They are more widely applicable than I think you are allowing them to be. The gem here is that we must be informed about the issues at hand and not allow the media to make our decisions for us. We must, as rickinva has done, read, look for, explore the issues we are faced with in the world, form conclusions, and realize that when we find something we agree with, to follow that--or, as rikinva has done, use it to try to convert others to our side--however fascist it may be.

Sadly, even in learning more, rickinva has yet to learn the general message of your blog post, which is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. If that opinion (as rickinva seems to think) is underinformed or "misinformed" then we look the fool. But it is still our right to have that opinion. No matter how public your opinion may be made because of your career. Thank you for yours!

classi_college_dude said...

In my haste, I forgot to add that it is surprising that rickinva who is so quite to criticize your view, which was made quite public through your blog, does not seem to be quite to willing to actually voice his opinion except when he can do it to criticize others. He has no blog of his own. How sad for the world (can you read the sarcasm? was it thick enough?). Apparently, he does not wish to have others make comments and possibly prove him wrong...or...what's the word...oh yeah, misinformed.

BostonPobble said...

I love the fact that you are willing to put your two cents in. Your two sense and my buck fifty gives us...a dollar fifty-two...but still. ;)

RickinVa said...

classi_college_dude must be someone's caricature... I guy who abhors judgment while heaping it out in buckets... what a freakin' joke... how sad...

CCD speaks of my hatred and my spiteful words and ignores that coming out of the mouth of a pastor who's been a pastor of our leading presidential candidate for 20+ years... what a freakin' joke... how sad...

He speaks of taking the time to learn the issues before making judgments and then mentions my not having a blog... what shallow idiocy... what a freakin' joke... how sad...

He speaks of not making judgments on Pastor Wright despite the plethora of damning evidence that pleads for judgment, this while heaping it on me absent any evidence to support his charge of fascism... what shallow idiocy... what a freakin' joke... how sad...

He speaks of everyone being entitled to an opinion as if that is the heart of what's being debated in this country when clearly it is not... what's being debated is whether a candidate who preaches unity can be credible while attending a church for 20+ years that preaches anything but unity... what shallow idiocy... what a freakin' joke... how sad...

I welcome all who espouse shallowness and idiocy at http://www.brutallyhonest.org. There they'll be exposed to critical thinking, to alternative viewpoints with substantive opinions, to ideas and suppositions they've probably not heard before because they refuse to go deeper...

Christine, I beg you... for Christ's sake and for the sake of your own integrity, to look deeper into Pastor Wright's words, into what it is that this church embraces, and into how slick Barack Obama really is...

classi_college_dude said...

Funny, we seem to have missed the bigger picture in return for forwarding our own personal agenda. Not surprising.

classi_college_dude said...

forgive me, i forgot to comment on the fact that i am NOT arguing the issues of the country...i am arguing the issues of your blog post. you did not speak on political issues, but on media issues. although, i will admit that everyone being entitled to their own opinion is, sadly, an issue at the polls with our esteemed president taking away many of our liberties in return for the promises of safety which still have yet to be seen.

ah me, but that i just my shallow idiocy thinking that this was a blog and not the polls, election centers, and primetime debates!

RickinVa said...

Funny, we seem to have missed the bigger picture in return for forwarding our own personal agenda. Not surprising.

You are looking in the mirror here are you not?

forgive me, i forgot to comment on the fact that i am NOT arguing the issues of the country...i am arguing the issues of your blog post. you did not speak on political issues, but on media issues. although, i will admit that everyone being entitled to their own opinion is, sadly, an issue at the polls with our esteemed president taking away many of our liberties in return for the promises of safety which still have yet to be seen.

Name a liberty you've lost since Bush was elected. Name one you personally have experienced or one your friends have experienced. Name one. You'll be unable to because in fact this is but a liberal talking point used by the shallow to further an agenda or to manifest Bush Derangement Syndrome.

ah me, but that i just my shallow idiocy thinking that this was a blog and not the polls, election centers, and primetime debates!

Well confession is good for the soul they tell me and recognizing that you've bought into the idiotic is a great first step. And oh by the way... classy is spelled with a 'y' not an 'i'...

classi_college_dude said...

I concede, you've converted me. I am a full-blooded conservative. You've shown me the error of my ways. I know now that being a liberal was such a shallow way to live. I know now that being conservative is the way to go, clearly we rise above every time. We would never criticize someone for being creative and thinking outside of the box. We'd never sink so low as to criticize what someone chose as a username for a blog.

You won't be hearing from me again.

You win.

Congratulations, I hope you can sleep better tonight...knowing that our esteemed leaders can tap our phone lines with no warrant.

2 Dollar Productions said...

In general, nobody should judge any kind of religion based on a 30-second or 2-minute or whatever story on CNN. It's hard to make any kind of reasonable judgement on virtually any topic in that amount of time, and it's best served as a springboard to delving into the issue on your own.

RickinVa said...

The fact is that the 30 second or 2 minute sound-bites ought to motivate someone to look deeper. When one looks deeper at Rev. Wright, when one sees that he embraces Louis Farrakhan, when one sees he's a jew-hater, a white-hater and a hater of blacks who aren't black enough, when one sees that he revels in victimhood, then one understands why many are thinking Obama should've have distanced himself from this bigot long ago.

When one doesn't go deeper, then they continue to defend something for which they are clearly ignorant.

Obama today has stated that had Wright not retired from his church when he had, he and his family would've left the church.

You who defend this pastor should be wondering why that is... either Wright is indeed a bigot or Obama is being politically expedient.... neither of which are honorable...

Oh, and classi_college_dude... I hope we don't hear from you again until you mature some...

CrackerLilo said...

Thank you for sharing this. I wondered about your professional opinion.

You might like this, about politicians' cooptation of extreme pastors. (I couldn't think of a better term.)

And I saw no defense of Wright in your words.

cats said...

WOW! 13 comments! i've reached a first.. and isn't 13 my favorite number?

for the record... i am not defending what he said at all only sharing what i see as hypocracy in the media and the public's opinon on race and preaching.

peace

"and vivian followed."

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