Jeremiah Wright’s Parishoner Speaks

by MullOverThis


In Defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright by A Parishoner
Body: By Patricia Novick, Posted: Mar 23, 2008

CHICAGO — In recent weeks, as a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, I have experienced pain over the characterization of Pastor Jeremiah Wright as a “radical crazy.”

I am a white, middle-class, middle-aged woman. I chose to attend Trinity because of Rev. Wright – because of the breadth and depth of his biblical knowledge and wisdom, because of the love and caring he extended to his congregants, and because of his message of the possibility of a polity connected in love and compassion.

I have attended Trinity for over ten years. With other healthcare professionals, I am a member of the health ministry, which provides important services to the community. I have participated in nine courses at the church, covering biblical history and scripture. In both of those endeavors, I have been respected for my own opinions, questions, concerns and interests.

I am involved in creating health ministries in a range of congregations in cities in the United States. In the course of my work, I proudly announce that I am a member of Trinity UCC. Invariably, someone will come up to me and tell me of their experience hearing pastor Wright speak at their college, university, or seminary, and how inspirational and moving it had been. I have always felt pride at having pastor Wright as my minister, and it always has been enhanced by what I have heard throughout the country. I have glowed in the acknowledgment of the contributions of my pastor.

When I was a Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard, I had the opportunity to listen to many exceptional ministers and theologians speak on important issues. I was never as moved by any of them as I have been by Rev. Wright. I have brought people from many faiths and other countries as guests to church with me at Trinity. They always have been unequivocally amazed and exhilarated by the passion, commitment, and quality of the worship experience of my home church.

I am bringing a group of my friends with me to church in April because they have been inundated by scare emails about my church and what it represents. Since Rev. Wright is now retired, I regret that they will not have the opportunity to hear him and judge for themselves, but I know they will recognize the quality of the community that Rev. Wright built.

I have always felt welcome, at home, a contributor, and contributed-to in my home church. Jeremiah Wright has been one of the great teachers in my life and in the lives of so many people of so many colors. When he preaches in a fiery way from the prophetic tradition of biblical figures like Isaiah and Hosea, he reminds us how one can love one’s country and still deplore its shortcomings. Hosea, as much as he loved Israel and longed for its betterment, nonetheless compared his beloved land to a prostitute. Rev. Wright is not preaching as a political figure who must find accommodation and compromise while moving toward attainable goals – as I know Senator Obama will do if he is elected – he is talking about a different and more exacting standard, God’s expectations of us. All true Christians learn the difference between what is owed to Caesar and what is owed to God.

Senator Obama in his recent speech, “A More Perfect Union,”? at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has lifted the spirits and the sights of tens of millions of Americans in his own way and in his own sphere. His judgment of Rev. Wright as a man who did the same thing within his sphere was and is correct. May God bless all those whose eyes are open to see that, and all those who cannot yet but one day will.


7 Responses to “Jeremiah Wright’s Parishoner Speaks”

  1. I agree, the whole picture has to be taken into consideration to understand the context of Pastor Wright’s message. The snippet that was shown to the media is absolutely inflammatory; however, had we heard the whole sermon would we feel that way? For many of us, we have had many fireside chats on Sunday morning that were meant for the congregation’s ears only. It is because the congregation knows the person behind the words and most likely understands the motive and context. I believe Pastor Wrights comments were for the family, not for the neighbors.

  2. I personally do not like pastors who are so inflammatory across the pulpit, BUT, as you have so eloquently stated, his comments would have to be taken in context.

  3. Here’s the real context: The racial problem in this country is a black behavior problem. There’s lots of earnest discussions about it, and liberals mostly blame “hidden racism,” but this is the essential reality. No liberal will admit this, and that’s why it’s an intellectually bankrupt philosophy. This behavior problem is the reason whites move to suburbs. It’s the reason blacks die so frequently in shootouts. It’s the reason blacks do worse in school, save less, have worse credit, and make neighborhoods less pleasant places to be. Some of this might be endemic, but black America, working with the same raw material, was not always this screwed up.

    Yes, of course, there are many exceptions to this rule. There are decent, humane, polite, Christian, and civilized black people. But they are not so numerous as they should be (or once were) and, most important, they tend to make excuses for their less well behaved brothers and sisters. In positions of leadership, their pandering is immense. Notice Obama asks much of white America–support for affirmative action, understanding of Wright and his raucous church–but only asks blacks to believe that this terrible weight of oppression can be lifted by supporting him and his run-of-the-mill liberal program, uniting with whites to go after evil corporations.

    Jeremiah Wright denies this black behavior problem exists and projects the various deficiencies, disorders, and hatreds of the black community on whites. He has to justify this rampant all-consuming hatred–hatred he foments every Sunday–with something, so he creates and recreates a bogeyman: the legions of white racists who continue to hold down black people. There is much smoke here, but almost no fire.

    Barack says, in effect, Wright’s is a correct analysis of the problem. Blacks at worst exacerbate or contribute to their own racism-caused problems. But he also says there’s hope for change through something he wants us to forget we’ve been trying for thirty years: liberal government programs and white acknowledgement of their current and past racist actions, including such egregious sins as his grandmother being scared of thuggish young black men.

    This is not a patriotic, humane, or sensible approach to the issue. It is, at best, the simulation of a courageous address about race. Obama falls back on the stale diagnosis and stale solutions of LBJ and the Great Society.

  4. Mr. Roach, I would have to take about 5 super-sized protein drinks to begin to have the requisite energy to fully respond to your post. To diminish the racial problem in this country to a “black behavior problem” is ….I’m searching for a word/phrase/terminology that I won’t have to repeal in the future. Although the behavioral problems within the black community are problematic, the causation of which must be addressed with some level of self-responsibility, there is no way on the sunniest day, on the highest mountain, with the freshest pure air that I could ever agree to that. My life experience as an African-American growing up in a middle-class family, in one of the most affluent counties in this country, having received all of my collegiate and doctorate degrees from top-ranked world institutions, while living with an African-American father, brothers, and a huge family prescribe a different analysis. And general statistics–like the real truth about the welfare rolls in the nearest metropolis area near my hometown are disproportionately full of Jews, not African-Americans and Latinos like the transportation ads project–tend to line up with my experience. Behavioral problems along racial or ethnic lines are largely due to class and access. Power and access to money and education is so much more causal than black folks getting up and being behaviorally deficient. Black history proves that whenever we have had liberty without the interference of a Caucasion people who think they know what is best for Black people, and seek to deprive us of equal access, Black people thrive. While this is not an attempt to respond wholeheartedly, please know that affirmative action, whether agreeable or not, never KEPT UNQUALIFIED PEOPLE in position. While a host of my Caucasion or upper-class legacies were up all night studying, and I was watching television or doing my toenails, affirmative action did not ACE my exams while some of the boarding school socialities cried, or tried to jump off the nearest bridge. Most affirmative action babies are qualified and if they are not, they tend not to last. So, because we have so much misperception about the behavior of black people and its effect on the world at large to the point that it causes white people to move to the suburbs (are these some of the white people that were the launching pad for illegal meth labs in white suburbia all across America), we need some policies in place to give power-brokers who have authority to make hiring/firing/educational decisions a mental rest. We don’t need the racially biased analysis of traditionally protected Americans to continue to deprive the young black man who did beat his white neighbor to a pulp because the RACIST white family stopped and menacingly asked him what was he doing in THEIR neighborhood and he feared the white people pretty much like the old white woman thinks a man with braids and a leather jacket is going to steal her pocketbook or rape her (true story), or the brother who happens to be noticed changing lanes without signals more often than non-Black male drivers by state police, from living like any other person should with access to opportunities. I’d say we have hundreds of years of white people mis-supposing behavioral reactions by black boys and men. By the way, the top-ranked defaulters of student loans are doctors and lawyers, led by white males. I’m flooded with recent whimsical news stories, one of a white male surgeon who was sued for leaving a surgery to make sure his paycheck was deposited to cover payments, and of a popular televised plastic surgeon who also had credit concerns. When you show me Blacks with generations of property, trust funds before they are even born, college tuition paid for by the time they hit the crib, professional parents, and then end up in re-hab like so many Caucausoids and privileged people, then we can begin to isolate the behavior factor and its relationship with racism. Thanks, you’ve inspired me to do some research. AND FINALLY, I’D HAVE TO SAY THAT I DO NOT AGREE WITH ANY PULPITEER ASSIGNING THE CONDITIONS OF ITS COMMUNITY TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THE COMMUNITY. The Jeremiah Wright’s and all of that militant stuff is not effective, in my opinion. Inciting a congregation, albeit it with exaggerated or true information does not change anything. Racism exists. Racism is a beast. Encountering racism is one way to really find out how much temperance one has. And, there will probably always be some traditionally racist white people who will now want to be free of their responsibility from all of the benefits they have acquired from historically institutionalized racism, to the credit of their great white ancestors, and continue to live devoid of their current ignorance and arrogance which breeds the superiority and preferred entitlement that too many white people still have. Racism is a reality and I believe the Black community must learn how to live and fight against racism collectively and overcome its intented effect through the greatest victory–personal and community SUCCESS. We can’t look to anyone else to fix our problems, even if they are resultant from hundreds of years of racism.

  5. WOW! The “Roach” has just been exterminated.


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