Wednesday, May 07, 2008

more on church and Rev. Wright

Carol over at Tribal Church has written a really interesting and powerful reflection on religion and race in America--I recommend it highly!
While I won't say that my post a few days ago about the purpose of church comes anywhere close to her piece, I will say that I think they are part of the same broader conversation. Please go read what she has to say.


  1. Carol, has a very interseting perspective. It would be very meaningful if I were to experience it. However, I still am not sure how it relates to Rev Wright. Yes, she disavows things he has said. But there is a difference between what we say personally and what we say publically. Much of what he says comes from pure emotion, unfettered by reason or fact. Maybe this may be acceptable in the context Carol describes, but not in public discourse and certainly not on a public stage.


  2. Rick,

    I think that was part of her point--that Wright comes from a long tradition where one could speak freely in church (which has, in this instance, been turned into a much more public stage than it had ever been before) and that his public speeches of the last two weeks have, while wrong on many levels, come from that same context. I am hopeful that we can speak from our own contexts and experiences and not have them decried as unacceptable simply because they are not the majority experience.

    I am also hopeful that we might spend some time thinking about the claims Wright has made that we are so willing to brush off as "unfettered by reason or fact" because I suspect there are a number of people who agree with him--these things don't come out of nowhere--and it is our responsibility as part of the majority culture to know the facts and to be able to engage responsibly. So when Wright says "AIDS was engineered by the government to kill the black man" we need to be able to say "well, I don't think there is really evidence of that, but you are right that the government ignored the crisis for many years because it appeared to only be affecting the black population and we had a racist (though not overtly) administration in power." For example.

    But all in all I think Carol's post is really about whether we as a country can engage in a responsible discussion of race relations, and her answer is, essentially, no--because we are not willing to acknowledge the context of the race problem. We in majority culture consider it to be history, dead and gone. But in minority culture (fast becoming the majority) it's not seen that way. Only when we recognize that and are willing to engage with something we feel disconnected from will there be any progress.

    This was the longest comment ever. Sorry.