Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brite Divinity School to Honor Rev. Jeremiah Wright

by Barbara W. Sowell

“If Brite does not rescind this invitation to Jeremiah Wright, I will be compelled by conscience to repudiate my Theology degree from Brite Divinity School.”

On the heels of Obama’s race speech yesterday I learned on national TV that Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Texas is still planning on presenting an award to Rev. Jeremiah Wright at the Black Church Awards Banquet for his 40-year ministry linking divine justice and social justice. Brite will host the fourth annual State of the Black Church Summit and Awards Banquet on March 29.

What is a ministry that links divine justice and social justice? Basically it’s short for Marxist born and bred Liberation Theology. Cutting out all the nuanced obfuscations of leftist Theological language and political correctness, Liberation Theology sees Jesus as the Divine Revolutionary leader intent on bringing social justice into this world. It’s a theology that calls for God’s Kingdom here on earth; not something to be attained in the hereafter. And if necessary, God’s Kingdom must be brought forth here and now on earth by any means necessary - even including violent revolution. I leave it to your imagination as to what country and which people must be dealt with!

It is imperative that traditional Christians from all denominations reach out to the young “middle class Christians” that are clueless as to what kind of heresy Brite and other seminaries are spreading. Here’s a typical response from a properly indoctrinated Marxist Brite graduate who is probably coming to pastor a church near you. Note that the blogger doesn’t have comments enabled.

“Today I'm proud to be a graduate of Brite Divinity School, which has affirmed its decision to recognize Jeremiah Wright's ministry at this month's State of the Black Church awards banquet.I don't know that God would damn America, as Rev. Wright suggested God ought, but the Holy One surely grieves the nation's racist history and the blood-stained wealth that continues to influence its cultures, politics, and educational institutions.Recognizing the need to interpret Wright's statements with context, audience, and rhetorical intent in mind, Brite has made a courageous and just decision. . . .”

He doesn’t know if God will damn America???

Today, Ariel Alexovich of the New York Times politics blog wrote “Open Caucus: On Race and Delegates”. Here’s an excerpt about Brite.

“ . . .I heard on the news today that the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University was bestowing an award to Rev. Wright this spring. How could this be? The answer is to explore the relationship between the evangelical left and the hard secular left and the interaction between the two. The Obamas were comfortable at Trinity United Church of Christ because the message and theology from Mr. Wright were consistent with the historical world view in which both were academically immersed in the Ivy League.

While the core tenet of the evangelical left is pacifism, the core thrusts of the secular left are distributional justice and social equality. These themes complement each other, and the evangelical and secular Left mutually reinforce each other’s respective positions. . .”

The only correction I would make to Alexovich’s statement above is that Brite Divinity School is not an evangelical school. It is a Mainline Christian seminary!!! During the time that I attended Brite the majority of the students were from the United Methodist and Disciples of Christ denominations.

For more information on Black Liberation Theology please read Obama’s Marxist Liberation Theology Church

Those who have followed my writing about Leftist Heresy in my blog, Faultline USA, are familiar with my stories of surviving and graduating as a traditional Christian from an extremely liberal mainline Christian seminary. I have always refrained from mentioning the name of the seminary because my intent was not to disparage any one institution but to inform other Christians about the dangers of heretical leftist Christianity. Today, however, I am so disgusted that I am revealing the hotbed of radical leftist “Christianity” seminary where I earned my degree. And I am coming forward with a public call for action.

If Brite does not immediately rescind this invitation to Jeremiah Wright, I will be compelled by my conscience to repudiate my Theology degree from Brite Divinity School. I am calling on all Brite alumni, who share my disgust with Brite for this appallingly stupid and racially divisive decision, to join with me in a public demand that Brite must IIMMEDIATELY RESCIND THIS INVITATIN TO JEREMIAH WRIGHT!

Sam Hodges from the Dallas Morning News quoted from a Brite statement affirming their decision:

“ . . .According to a statement posted Monday on its Web site, Brite affirmed its decision "after careful review" and "understanding the sincere concerns many have voiced in response to recent media reports."

The statement continues:

"Contrary to media claims that Wright preaches racial hatred, church leaders who have observed his ministry describe him as a faithful preacher of the gospel who has ministered in a context radically different from that of many middle class Americans." . . .

TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said Monday that "TCU supports the right of free speech even when the opinions expressed are controversial. That is what a university is about. But giving an award is another matter, and in this specific case in light of Reverend Wright's recently discovered remarks, TCU would not give such an award." . . .

Although Brite is on the TCU campus, it's a separate school with its own officers and board. Dr. Williams emphasized that the decision to honor Dr. Wright was Brite's alone. . .”

Yes, I will agree that Wright’s preaching is radically different from that of many middle class Americans, and we all must remember that context is everything to multicultural moral relativists! But America can no longer afford a double standard of multiple contexts when it comes to racially charged inflammatory speech. We are now living in “a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems,” and according to Obama that demands a context of unity! Ministers, no matter how much good they might have done, and no matter what the racial context, can no longer get a free pass for Anti-American, anti-Jewish or anti-White racist speech!!! Universities can no longer hide behind “the right of free speech” lie that rewards leftist anarchists and Anti-American traitors while silencing the voices and limiting the access of traditional Americans!

To the most progressive President of Brite Divinity School, D. Newell Williams, and to Chancellor Boschini of Texas Christian University, I am reminding them of Obama’s speech Tuesday morning regarding Jeremiah Wright’s words. This is from the transcript which can be found here.

“ . . .I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all. . . .”

Follow the comments on the Daily Skiff, the TCU student newspaper at Divinity school to present award to minister despite controversial remarks

If you’d like to share your thoughts with the President of Brite Divinity School, D. Newell Williams, or with Texas Christian University Chancellor Boschini, here is their contact info.

President of Brite Divinity School, D. Newell Williams n.williams(at)

TCU Chancellor Boschini v.boschini(at)

Join the Christians Against Leftist Heresy blogroll sponsored by Faultline USA

Latest Update Monday, March 24th: An Outraged Active Democrat Tells Brite Divinity School Off

Digg it!


  1. Excellent piece and I cannot blame you for taking this position. Anyone that presents Wright with any time of award, especially a place like this.... is no better than Wright himself.

  2. Terrific, bold and uncompromising piece Barb. We are proud of you. I just cross posted the entire article to Radarsite

    If anyone wonders what you're talking about when you refer to the leftist takeover of our mainstream churches, this should certainly clarify the issue, and hopefully set off some loud alarm bells before it's just too late.

    You have been right at the forefront of this battle, Barb, and we admire your courage and tenaciousness.

    Good work, my friend.

  3. Up at WUA Barb! Spreading the word.

  4. I posted the article at Right Truth as you requested.

    Barb, I heard that a Texas school was giving an award to Jeremiah Wright, but I missed what school. Amazing that YOUR divinity school (or any divinity school) would do this. It is a slap in the face to all Christians and to America.

    This man, Jeremiah Wright, is nothing more than an evil racist.

    I attended Wayland Baptist University (also in Texas) and Southern Baptist Seminary. I would fall over from shock if either of those schools honored this man.

    Debbie Hamilton
    Right Truth

  5. Susan, Roger, and Debbie: Thanks to you all - my good friends, in the blogosphere. Brite Divinity School MUST rescind this invitation to Wright immediately. Failure to do so will seriously damage the reputation of Texas Christian University as well as Brite. One thing we can thank Obama for is that he opened up the issue of race and addressed the issue of racial anger. No longer can universities live by a double standard for what constitutes divisive racial speech. There is a news update I’ll be sending out tonight. Again Thank you so very much for sharing this vital story.

  6. Barbara-

    Liberation theology is NOT born out of marxist thought, but out of the deeply democratic tradition born from the American experiment and the Enlighteenment ideal that all persons are equal.

    You shouldn't fear liberation theology. In fact, as a Christian you should recognize that Christ's message is for Here and Now as well as security in the afterlife.

    I understand your frustration, but as a current student at Brite, I encourage you to embrace our current endeavor to honor Dr. Wright. His ministry has served thousands. Furthermore, we should all remember that "all have fallen short of the Kingdom."

    As Christian leaders, none of us are perfect. Thus, you may condemn the message, but do not condemn the messenger. Reactionary anger is what Dr. Wright is experiencing, and following your own pathos, asssaulting this man now is no more Christian than his perceived racism. But to end on a sidenote, he is NOT a racist.

  7. A quote from Dr. James Cone, Rev. Wright's mentor and formulator of Black liberation theology might be in order.

    ""Black theology cannot accept a view of God which does not represent God as being for oppressed blacks and thus against white oppressors. Living in a world of white oppressors, blacks have no time for a neutral God. The brutalities are too great and the pain too severe, and this means we must know where God is and what God is doing in the revolution. There is no use for a God who loves white oppressors the same as oppressed blacks. We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject God's love." [A Black Theology of Liberation, p. 70]

    Contrast this to, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28.

    What kind of Christianity is Brite teaching/honoring?


  8. Are you really going to give back your degree? I bet that's got them shaking!

  9. Anonymous, I think you need to dig out your theology texts here because you may be parsing words. Here are just a few snippets of “out of context” facts for your to ponder. Try to remember that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . .it just might be a Duck.

    Source: Christian Theology, Alister E. McGrath, Editor

    Liberation Theology has drawn appreciably on Marxist insight although the movement has never referred to itself as Marxist.

    The origins of Black Liberation Theology go back to the 1960’s Based on the idea that the Black community need to liberate itself from “white theological oppression.”

    Until the late 1970’s “the primary importance of Black liberation theology centered on the use of violence to achieve justice, and the nature of Christian love.” p118-120

    Source: Black Theology, a documentary history, volume one 1966-1979, James H. Cone & Gayraud S. Wilmore

    According to Theologian Cornel West’s essay “Black Theology and Marxist Thought” , Black Theology and Marxist thought share three characteristics. (1) Both adhere to a similar methodology, (2) both link liberation to the future socioeconomic conditions of the downtrodden, and most importantly (3) both put forward trenchant critiques f liberal capitalist America.”

    Ok agreed, no Liberation Theologist will ever claim to be Marxist. But I've sure been hearing a lot of Marxist quacking!

  10. To all the anonymous posters my apologies. My last response was to anonymous #1. Anonymous #2, thank you for that excellent quote from from Dr. James Cone, Rev. Wright's mentor. Anonymous #3, to repudiate it means,“to refuse to acknowledge, ratify, or recognize as valid.”

  11. I am shocked and embarrassed to be associated with the school. I'm saddened that the school is endorsing such hate speech by giving Wright an award. I don't care what Newell Williams said in his remarks about Brite not endorsing what he said. Well, actually, by giving him this award, especially on the heels of this controversy is tantamount to endorsing hate speech. When will Brite learn that hate speech fosters hate.

  12. After actually listening to, and reading some of, Wright’s speeches, I do not think he is anti American. Pointing out some of the dark side of the country is not being anti American. Being born in the South in the 1950’s I can vaguely remember the tail end of the Jim Crow laws. If thinking they were wrong makes me a liberal Christian, than I am proud to be a liberal Christian.

    I agree with the earlier comment that Christ’s Kingdome is in the afterlife, however he did say do unto others as you would have them do unto you (or something like that).

  13. Okay...quit with the fake rage. I think it is very obvious Jeremiah Wright was not some hate monger...I doubt he would have so many followers if that was all he had to offer, Oprah use to attend this church and nobody can say she is a horrible person..there has been no indication that his congregation are haters either. I am not impressed with all the people taking a couple of sound bites and saying that is the sum of the whole man and then saying it is the some of the whole congregation...that amounts to hypocracy of the highest level.

  14. “The government gives them the drugs then builds bigger prisons, and passes a three strike law, and then wants us to sing God bless America No!, No!, No! Not God bless America, God Damn America! That’s in the bible, for killing innocent people, God Damn America for treating its citizens as less than equal, That’s less than human . . .God Damn America . . .”

    Hummm No Anti-Americanism there? Not to mention a great example by a Christian minister!

    “And they will not only attack you if you try to point out what’s going on, in White America, US of KKKA “

    Hummm. No racism there?

    Referring to Black Republicans "“They live below the sea level, they live below the level of Clarance, Colin, and Condemnesia . . .”

    Hummm No racial slurs there?

    Anonymous, If that's what you believe then you must also believe that Obama was lying when he said,

    “ . . .I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. . .But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam."

    So which is it???

  15. This is what happens when people post anonymously. You can't respond to the right one without numbering them. And even then it gets confusing for your readers. If you don't want to use your real name, can't you just make one up?

    I just posted my response to the Wright debate on Radarsite. And if anyone is thinking about posting nasty comments there, I'm not as nice as Barb, I'll just delete them.
    Also -- one of those anon. commenters sounded just like that pathetic idiot Raoul, didn't they?

  16. Magnificent post on Radar site Roger! You have done a wonderful job of sifting through the arguments and have masterfully summarized the “great storms brewing.” I’m off to post about your post now!

  17. For those interested in using the Wright episode to dismiss Obama: don't bother.

    For those interested in evaluating Wright and his church more fairly, as maybe you would hope others would do unto you, go here:

    In particular, about "Black Liberation Theology" :

    Here's a site that shows a collection of Wright videos including non-inflammatory ones, and reactions to them by McCain and Mike Huckabee:

  18. And the central text for black liberation theology can be found in Chapter 4 of Luke's gospel, where Jesus outlines the purpose of his ministry.

    "Jesus says my mission is to eradicate poverty and to bring about freedom and liberation for the oppressed," Hopkins says. "And most Christian pastors in America skip over that part of the book."

    Hopkins attends Trinity United Church of Christ, where Rev. Wright just retired as pastor. In the now-famous sermon from 2003, Wright said black people's troubles are a result of racism that still exists in America, crying out, "No, no, no, not God bless America! God damn America — that's in the Bible — for killing innocent people."

    "According to Hopkins, that was theological wordplay — because the word "damn" is straight out of the Bible and has a specific meaning in the original Hebrew.

    "It means a sacred condemnation by God to a wayward nation who has strayed from issues of justice, strayed from issues of peace, strayed from issues of reconciliation," Hopkins says.

  19. Response to Friday's Anonymous #1
    Anonymous –We are delighted that you included links to Trinity church insiders. I visited the Truth about Trinity blog and found exactly what I might have expected. More racial hatred. Thanks for confirming it for us! Here’s an excerpt.

    Tim Wise : Of National Lies and Racial Amnesia
    I've been following Tim since I was a youth. Again he demonstrates a white man who's actually taken the time to look at racial issues through an academic lens. He needs to visit trinity. Trinitarians would totally love him!

    But here we are, in 2008, fuming at the words of Pastor Jeremiah Wright, of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago--occasionally Barack Obama's pastor, and the man whom Obama credits with having brought him to Christianity--for merely reminding us of those evils about which we have remained so quiet, so dismissive, so unconcerned. It is not the crime that bothers us, but the remembrance of it, the unwillingness to let it go--these last words being the first ones uttered by most whites it seems whenever anyone, least of all an "angry black man" like Jeremiah Wright, foists upon us the bill of particulars for several centuries of white supremacy. . .

    Hummm Seems to me that "most whites" might say that this is racial stereotyping if even from a "white man".

  20. Answer to Anonymous #2

    You wrote:
    "Jesus says my mission is to eradicate poverty and to bring about freedom and liberation for the oppressed," Hopkins says. "And most Christian pastors in America skip over that part of the book."

    The words “eradicate poverty” and “liberation for the oppressed,” are two political catch phrases usually associated with a radical social gospel that seeks to place the Christian duty to minister to the poor in the hands of government.

    Here’s a quote from a Star-Telegram article that was published today.

    “ . . .Among some of Wright's more provocative doctrines are his claims that Jesus is black; that merging Marxism with the Gospel may show the way to a better tomorrow; and that the white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation.”

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. Anonymous # 2 isn’t too bright. Let me try to explain it to you, anonymous #2. If you can’t defend your leftist theological mind set, and/or the quotation you provided earlier, you don’t get to come back and trash this blog. You get dumped! Bye

  23. I've been wondering where Rev. Wright has been through all of this. Why hasn't he spoken up to defend himself and to apologize? I've spent some time reading about him, and I'm fairly certain that his several outrageous statements are not all there is to the man. I certainly wouldn't throw the first stone! But I hope that Brite Divinity doesn't rescind the award, because presumably Rev. Wright would have to come out of the darkness to accept it. I want to hear what he has to say for himself.

  24. If you wish to hear a defense of Wright, go here:

    On this same page are numerous other clips of Wright's Sermons.

    Also now beginning to circulate on the web are fuller versions of the excerpted controversial snippets.

    One of them, the Sept 11, 2001 sermon, famous for the sound byte "America's chickens' have come home to roost" is actually about a completely different topic. There are longer versions of it available, and, the longer versions probably do more justice by showing both the over-the-top tone, and esoteric learning this man possesses.

  25. Jack. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I also believe that there is far more to Rev. Jeremiah Wright than just his many, many, inflammatory statements. Unfortunately, his statements were anti-American and racist and were soundly condemned by Obama. Now either Obama was not completely truthful, or he actually believes what he said. And if Obama is condemning Wright’s statements, why is Brite still willing to honor him, when other high-profile men and women have been destroyed for far less???

    The answer Brite offers in its statement is CONTEXT – a “context radically different from that of many middle class Americans. “

    Well Jack, that’s just wrong. Hate speech is hate speech no matter what the racial CONTEXT. If Obama wants to unite this country, this kind of racist speech can no longer hide behind CONTEXT or be rewarded by any genuine Christian institution of learning.

    You and I might like to hear what Wright has to say for himself, but the Bright honors banquet isn’t the proper venue.

  26. Anonymous. Thank you for providing the link to the YouTube video which I just viewed. I can understand how your church feels so hurt for all the good it has done. It’s a sad truth that when someone gets caught spewing Anti-Americanism or racist statements, no one talks about all the good he/she has done. “Just a sound bite” I think the sound bite recipient two weeks ago was Geraldine Ferraro. “Just a sound bite.” Did I place that in the proper “CONTEXT”? Friend, it appears that all it takes is “Just a soundbite.” Here’s another poultry euphemism for you. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

  27. Hi, Barbara. I clearly hear your outrage and--dare I say?--pain at Brite's decision and how you experienced the place as a student.

    Could you tell me what you mean when you refer to "traditional Christians" in this post and on your blog in general?

    I want to better understand your point of the view and the context from which you are writing.

  28. When I’m referring to “Traditional” Christianity I am speaking of and to those Christians of various denominations who place a high value on that which has been handed down throughout the centuries; those narrow and universally accepted points of Christian faith as found in the Apostles creed, as opposed to relatively new and radically politicized “isms” that attempt to merge theology with a more secularized world-view.

  29. I think that if you don't repudiate Brite, they most certainly should repudiate you, because Christians don't judge, they leave that to God.

    Christians also know that all men, women, pastors, priest, ministers fall short of the Glory of God, otherwise the Catholic Church would be out of business based on the number of priests that have molested young boys.

    I'll leave you with these words:
    She said “Christians trust in the Lord Jesus Christ they do not trust in man. Christians receive salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, they do not receive salvation through man.” No matter what church you walk into you will find men, women, ministers and pastors all who fall short of the Glory of God, but we remember this … man is merely the vessel through whom God speaks and operates, so it is quite possible for a man of God to speak God’s words, but yet fall short of the Glory of God. When you go to church, you are going to hear God’s word and to praise God. You are not going to church to praise the man who is delivering the message of God.

    The pastor of my church has many shortcomings. It is possible for me to go to Church and hear and discern God’s message, while at the same time looking past, but praying for the weaknesses and faults of my pastor. There are many things that my pastor has said that I don’t believe or agree with, and frankly are not the word of God. But that does not stop me from going to church to listen to his sermons, because I never know, God might speak through him that day.

  30. Thanks for putting some "meat" on the phrase "Traditional Christians."

    I guess I think of creeds like that as historically situated, shaped by the secular worldviews and political processes by which their language was negotiated, and interpreted today from within particualr historical and cultural settings.

    They are traditional, yes, but not fixed or universal--their language "points toward" shared elements of shared Christian faith but their meaning and content varies from age to age (if not congregation to congregation!).

    So . . . if a denomination is non-creedal (i.e., the Disciples of Christ, who have "no creed but Christ"), does that mean they cannot be "Traditional Christians."

    I tend to ask Disciples: "Whose Christ? Which understanding of who Christ is and what Christ's work might be?"

  31. Deirdre, my dear, Christians must judge actions, not the state of a soul, which only God can know. Try looking up “discernment.” Be careful how you write, because it sounds like you are making quite a few judgments about things you don’t know. For example, you are judging the Catholic church pretty harshly.

    I do commend you on your ability to look past your pastor’s failings and not fall victim to words that are “not the word of God,” or that could lead you astray. That’s a gift of God’s grace. May God bless you and yours this Easter season.

  32. Anonymous, glad to be of service. So often I’m writing to and with other “Traditional” Christians of varied denominations, and we tend to know each other’s works and what the ”traditional” shortcut means.

    I think your key here is: “their language "points toward" shared elements of shared Christian faith but their meaning and content varies from age to age.” So I might make another shortcut here and say that the variance of meaning and content, from age to age, has less variance for traditional Christians.

    As for the Disciples of Christ, that’s pretty much up to them, individually, as-well-as denominationally. I would say that in more recent years the DOC has become far, far more liberal, and far less traditional than once was the case.

  33. I would like to bear witness to what has happened to the DOC in recent years. In the late 60's, I began searching for a different kind of church from the one in which I was raised, because I felt that it was too narrow in its doctrine. Then I found the DOC and I loved the concept of "No creed but Christ". I found it amazing that, although many members might have had such strong and differing views on so many aspects of Christianity, they were still strongly unified in their overall concept of Christ’s message. However, in those days, that simple creed was understood in a different way. It was clearly understood that “No creed but Christ” meant doctrinal freedom, but it did not exempt individuals from moral responsibility. As time has gone by, the DOC has become so "progressive" that it seems that any need for individual morality or responsibility has become almost meaningless. This change has trickled down to the membership from seminaries like Brite, who in efforts to push the envelope on academic freedom, and in their desire to be recognized academically as being on par with other liberal mainline seminaries, appear to have forgotten why they are there. The current Brite academicians don’t seem to understand that if you don’t stand for morality on obvious issues, you become more and more meaningless over time, and your membership continues to dwindle away, year after year.

  34. Wow! You said a mouthful, Gene. You are obviously on top of what has been going on for several decades in not only the DOC, but also in all of the mainline denominations. perhaps to differing extents.
    You see, Gene, it’s a very complex issue because first you have to redefine and expand the definition of “morality.” [Snark] Morality, even for Christians, has to be seen within a cultural “context.”

    But that’s not easy either. Because you have to redefine and expand what qualifies as “culture.” It’s not just race or ethnicity, or regional differences, because there is no one cultural community for any race etc. For example, there’s “no typical white person”, now, is there?

    When I was in Brite, almost ten years ago, I learned that there was no such thing as “family values.” After all, what kind of family are we talking about? You see, Gene, you have to first redefine and expand the definition of “family.” And as it turns out, just about anything qualifies today as a family. So, you have to be able to see that family values differ, even among Christians, because families differ, especially within differing cultural contexts. So, how could there be such a thing as “family values”? Obviously there isn’t – at least for progressive Christians. Well, I could go on but, obviously, you get my point.

    The “progressive” formula is quite simple. Try to be all things to all people, a blank slate, and never say that anything is ever wrong, (unless it’s anything said or done by a middle-class conservative or right-winger). Make your people feel like victims, and then just audaciously offer hope for change. It’s never necessary to define “change,” because, after all, change has to be seen within many differing contexts. And . . .
    See how easy it is to be a progressive, secularized, “Christian” ,multicultural nitwit, or politician?

  35. Thanks for the ongoing conversation, Barbara.

    Your use of "Traditional Christians" seems to refer to those who understand the church from a "Christendom" perspective (what I would call "the imperial church").

    I am unsettled by your statement that "the variance of meaning and content, from age to age, has less variance for traditional Christians" than for others.

    The statement uses a totalizing and ahistorical rhetorical strategy to erase the many, varied expressions of Christianity and understandings of its theological commitments.

    Your use of that strategy might not be intentional; I don't know.

    But to me, universalizing statements of that sort reflect the the institutional and cultural solipsism that allows Christianity to become a colonizing religion. A part of the church's colonial history is the tendency to persecute those who speak truth to power.

    As someone writing from the margin of many overlapping communities, I perceive the church universal to be a wonderfully diverse community. Theological diversity--including that represented and articulated by Rev. Wright--is a part of that unity of differences, and I celebrate that.

  36. Anonymous, as we continue this discussion, I hope we can dispense with too much theological speak as this blog is primarily a political blog, and as you well know, such talk is likely to put many readers into a stupor. So, if there are any readers that desire to join or follow this discussion, that are not necessarily theologically inclined, but wish to gain or share some small insight, let’s define our terms, and keep our comments brief.

    Now your use of the denigrating term, “imperial church,” would most likely be unsettling to most traditional Christians. I believe that all Christians would agree that the church has had a dark history with regard to the political subjugation of peoples throughout the centuries. But the church has also had a glorious history with regard to the ongoing development of our faith and the enrichment of cultures throughout the world. I believe, however, that when traditional Christians are talking about meaning and content, they are focusing less on the political/historical and more on the spiritual/eternal.

    The statement I made concerning variance was a shortcut and was not intended to be a theologically succinct statement. Traditional Christianity recognizes that there are, of course, varied cultural expressions of Christianity, but also recognizes the church universal. In other words it’s both diverse and universal. So yes, the church universal is a wonderfully diverse community but traditional Christianity would expect some level of uniformity within that diversity, so that the church, itself, might be recognizable and discernable as uniquely Christian.

    I can understand your fears of universalizing statements as leading to a “colonizing religion,” but I wonder if you might expand upon that in a few brief statements. For example, how should Christians spread the word of God to those who haven’t met Christ and who, most likely, are of a different culture? What are the limits of Christian diversity, or are there any theological limits?

    With regard to Rev. Wright’s statements that many white people find offensive and, yes, racist, I found his 9/11 speech interesting in that he spoke forcefully against our desire as Americans for “payback,” yet in focusing upon the negative historical past, he was giving plenty of “payback” to those of us who are not people of color.

  37. More on Rev. Jeremiah Wright

  38. It starts with striving to have a teachable spirit, Barbara. For me, that entails humility as expressed in Philippians 2.

    Personally, becoming humble and teachable means that I need to try to set aside (or to "bracket") my privilege and assume Christ is *already* present in all situations if I can learn to see him.

    Becoming a "little Christ" to others (in the sense in which Luther used the phrase) means that I need to let them teach me how Christ is already present in their lives.

    (Usually, I find Christ's presence at the point of someone's suffering. And if I can identify how I contribute to their suffering--well, then I'm well on my way to "sharing the mind of Christ.")

    It's difficult to do, to be sure. And it becomes more difficult every time I conflate North American norms with the gospel. (That's what I mean by "colonizing.")

    But that's something I can't help doing; I'm a sinful creature whose idolatry of my own way of seeing/being will always get in the way being attentive to the ways of God. I keep working on that.

    Thanks for inviting me to be less theological and more political. That's not the sort of conversation with you that I would find helpful or meaningful, though.

    And I'm not sure HOW to do that with you; my tentative impression, based on the identity you've constructed through your blog, is that your politics IS your theology.

    I say that not to "gig" you, but to clarify how I experience you in this setting.

    Finally, I'm sorry you find the term "imperial church" denigrating.

    I don't intend it that way; I intend it as an accurate description of how I experience certain forms of Christian expression.

  39. What does thathavetodo with the tax lien information at:

  40. Joseph:
    Sorry I didn’t immediately respond but it was Easter and I wasn’t working. The link you provided is very interesting, but I did notice that it is copyright protected so I can’t excerpt any of it here. It looks like the link is implying that Kenny Lewis of Kenny’s Ribs sold some land (parcel# 31-07-404-016) to Rev. Jeremiah Wright for $300K and that Wright sold the land to Trinity church for $10 million at an interest rate 2% over the prevailing interest rate at the time. The land was to be used for Planned Unit Developmemt. I can’t comment on the veracity of the information. Here’s the link for internet sleuths

  41. Anonymous
    I assume that I am responding to the same “anonymous” who is “writing from the margin of many overlapping communities.” I also assume that you are responding to my question,“. . .how should Christians spread the word of God to those who haven’t met Christ and who, most likely, are of a different culture?”

    Let me grant that as Christians we all should strive to have “a teachable spirit” and to proceed with “humility.” Now what exactly does the phrase “to set aside (or to "bracket") my privilege” mean? If you are referring to yourself, as someone “writing from the margin of many overlapping communities”, what kind of “privilege” are you setting aside?

    I may not have made my question clear enough, because you are answering me as to how you, personally, would respond to another’s suffering on a one-to-one basis in spreading the word of God.
    The question I should have asked is how do we as Christians, on a larger level, proceed to spread the word of God to differing cultures? What kind of assumptions do we make and policies do we set?

    You wrote,” It's difficult to do, to be sure. And it becomes more difficult every time I conflate North American norms with the gospel. (That's what I mean by "colonizing.")”

    Let’s grant, for the sake of argument, that it is impossible to completely remove yourself from your culture, any more than a scientist can remove his expectations from an experiment. My questions are (1) What “North American norms” do you find unacceptable to the universal church that have been fused with the gospel? (2) Assuming that nothing exists within a vacuum, what cultural norms would you use in replacement?

    You wrote, “Thanks for inviting me to be less theological and more political. That's not the sort of conversation with you that I would find helpful or meaningful, though. And I'm not sure HOW to do that with you; my tentative impression, based on the identity you've constructed through your blog, is that your politics IS your theology.”

    That’s amusing. Of course you meant to “gig” me. But since you want to divorce spreading the word of God from your culture/our culture/any culture, and you don’t wish to speak in terms of politics, should I assume that you would prefer to remain transcendent?

    Let’s hear it for Kook-aid drinkers and cloud dancers!

  42. Barbara:

    Yes, it's the same Anonymous. But it's probably time to end our conversation.

    I find it difficult to stay in dialogue with people who adopt a disrespectful tone toward me (the phrase "Kook-aid drinkers and cloud dancers" borders on insulting) and assume they understand my motives better than I do ("Of course you meant to gig me").

    My error, I think, was offering feedback about how I experience you without checking whether you want (or are willing to receive) that sort of feedback. I apologize.

  43. Note to anonymous poster who is “striving to have a teachable spirit” with “humility”. You failed! Bye

  44. Barb -- You are a perfect lady who always treats people with the utmost respect and consideration. If some people have a problem with the extremely civil manner in which you hold these discussions, then it is their problem, not yours. Those of us who have the pleasure of knowing you know how true this is.
    To me, your patience with some of these people is truly remarkable, and something I could never pull off. Especially when you're dealing with Anonymous #1, and Anonymous # 2, 3, and 4.
    Keep up the good fight. We support you 100%.

  45. Blessings on the journey, Barbara.

  46. Thank you so much Roger for your very kind comments. They are greatly appreciated. I know that many blogs don’t allow anonymous comments but the nature of this post, dealing with racism, is so sensitive that some people don’t feel safe revealing their identities, so I’ve made allowances.

    Anonymous, thank you for the blessing and may I return that blessing to you as well.

  47. The proponents of apartheid in South Africa condemned the theology of Nelson Mandela (and the ANC) because is was supposedly Marxist based. The conservative Roman Catholic establishement in Latin America felt the same about liberation theology because it too, they claimed, was rooted in communism. And black liberation theology in the US has fared no better because, like all other freedom theologies, it too was--and continues to be--seen as an enemy of traditional American values. So, what's so new about the Rev. Wright phenomenon?

  48. Conservative and liberal theologians speak the same language but they live in different dimensions and use different dictionaries. To the former, liberation theology means that we restructure our lives according to God's will in order to be freed from the shackles of sin (whatver that means). This is their sine qua non of salvation. The cessation of oppression is not a weighty matter in their theology. To the liberals, on the other hand, it is; in fact, it is their sine qua non of salvation. And if the oppressors do not desist in their oppression of the weak, then it is the spiritual and moral fiat of the oppressed to see that they do--here and now. These two groups will never understand each other.