Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Threatening sermons

Check out the Once Upon a Time… blog's take on the Obama-Jeremiah Wright media frenzy. In brief the blog points out that Rush Limbaugh in particular, and white society in general, considers Rev. Wright's theology improper because it differs from the bland, unthreatening Christianity they are used to. Of course, if you believe the Bible, Jesus was anything but unthreatening towards the rich and powerful of his day. According to the Gospels he was such a rabble-rouser, stirring up the people with anger towards the ruling classes, that he was executed as a subversive. Christianity only became bland and unthreatening to the rich and powerful when it was co-opted by the rulers and made the state religion. Rev. Wright's brand of Christianity only seems strange and unchristian to white America because we are used to a theology that was crafted to serve the interests of the ruling classes, a message very different from the one Jesus delivers in the Gospels.

Of course, the ideas each of us have about what Jesus was really like and really stood for are like mirrors – they reflect our own beliefs and points of view back at us. Social and political revolutionaries see Jesus as one of them. People who feel well-served by the exiting order and are invested in it feel sure that Jesus would be on the side of law and order.

My take on it is that if a sermon of Rev. Wright, someone who is well respected by many educated and intelligent people in his community including Barack Obama, seems strange and foreign to you then this could become a learning opportunity. There are communities of Americans you need to learn more about.

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