Jesus, Community Organizer – New Extra Large Size!

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Ex 20:7)

(Originally posted 11 September 2007)

The American political arena has been treated to yet one more attempt to lift one candidate to Messiah status while associating the other with an incompetent, indecisive, murderer. Donna Brazile, repeating a meme initiated by a Washington Post blogger, gave voice to the line “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

To correct the record, Jesus Christ was God. He is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all humankind, as they will believe in Him. Jesus was in no way a community organizer in the model of Saul Alinsky, the mentor emeritus of community organizing. The Chicago stre

et agitator following Alinsky’s methods seeks to embed in the minds of the troubled that their condition is not their responsibility, it is the work of some oppressor above them. The organizer will invest as much effort as necessary to make the poor victims so angry with their perceived oppression that they rise up in direct action against those who hold them down. “Militant mass action…fueled by righteous anger.” as described by Dennis Jacobsen.

The Jesus of the Bible, on the other hand, commands a different loyalty. He speaks first of aligning oneself with the Father and His kingdom and then, in a reflection of the love of that kingdom, working to serve others in love. No mass violence; instead turning the other cheek also. Christ’s notion of social justice is to overcome by love and trust in the work of God, not radical mass action. Given the warning of the commandments above, perhaps we should be a bit more temperate in our allusions of a political figure to the Savior of humankind.

Update: It appears that Susan Sarandon received her lines a little bit late! She was parroting this decidedly unbiblical scripted dialogue yesterday AFTER Rep. Cohen delivered the line. Somebody’s head is going to roll for not delivering her script on time. Review here what biblical scholar Sarandon has to teach about Jesus.

STOP THE PRESSES!! The fourth estate senior spokespersons are just now getting their talking points about the similarity between the Savior of All Humankind and the community agitator. Tom Brokaw, the erudite theologian of record, demonstrated physical proof yesterday in the form of this recently unearthed coin of the future realm:

Aren’t there any grown ups in this group of people?

Obama’s Racist America

Barack Obama is obsessed with race.

He has rarely allowed a major speaking opportunity go by without bringing up and refreshing the meme that all of those who oppose him are racists. Over and over he reminds America and the world that he’s different from the other candidates, that people are going to fear him, and even, that he does not look like the faces on our currency. Putting his megalomania aside for a second (what, precisely has he done for us to consider his face for inclusion on the next new dollar bill?), what reason does Mr. Obama give for these propositions that he voices?

Because he’s black.

Barack Obama, supposedly the post-racial candidate, is obsessed with his race. He is using it to both bludgeon the battlefield into shape and to silence his critics. By cravenly attributing the choice for an alternate candidate to his skin color alone, Obama labels non-support as racial opposition. This silences criticism of his lack of experience, his socialist tendencies, or even his constant assertion of victimhood because the critic fears being named a racist. In tandem with his appropriation of the history of such giants as Martin Luther King, this kind of fantastic rhetoric cheapens the entire history of race relations in this country.

The trouble for Obama comes when those who will not vote for him are being slapped with the racist label while they look at the company of true racists that he surrounds himself with and wonder why he cannot also identify them.  Reverend Wright, for example, espouses a theology that treats all whites (based on their skin color) as an amorphous mass of evil. Dear Mr. Obama, when pigment content is the identifier of those who are targeted for vitriol, that is racism.

I believe, when Mr. Obama clambers down from his elitist tower to tramp amongst the hoi polloi, he is going to discover an America that has long moved past the sharp racial divisions that he wants to draw across her people. When he gave his “famous” speech about race several weeks ago, he stated that we needed to start a conversation about race. Perhaps the news has not penetrated the walls that he surrounds himself with but America long ago commenced this conversation with great results. Certainly he will encounter pockets of bigotry and outright racism which, being the logician that he has demonstrated, will be proof positive for him that ALL people are racist. Sadly, this is human nature and we will not be able to eradicate it until the new heavens and new earth are formed. Until then, to continue to utilize race and racism as an antagonist rant against those who don’t support his candidacy is not only unbecoming a presidential candidate but it will run the risk of reversing some of the racial progress that has occurred in this country.

The Wheels on the bus go bump, bump, bump!

As the candidate for misjudger-in-chief demonstrates his lack of character and incredibly poor judgement, he tosses yet another associate, Mr. Jim Johnson, under the already crowded Obama express bus. Mr. Obama will want to exercise caution however, when that day comes in the future when he must attempt to disengage himself from Ayers and Dorn, given their explosive history. This kind of judgement and character represents the best the United States of America has to offer?

No more room under the bus!

Senator Obama provided yet another glimpse of his true character (or lack thereof) as he threw his entire church under the bus the weekend in a desparate act of political expediency. It’s getting quite crowded under there as, in the past few weeks, he has thrown his grandmother and pastor beneath the wheels of his juggernaut towards the monarchy presidency. Is this character of a leader? What voter believes that he would not cast them aside with equal vigor the moment that they or their interest group becomes a burden to his grand ambitions?


Black Power & Black Theology Part II

[Part I here]

Black power takes a myriad of forms throughout society in politics, culture, and education. As a theologian, James Cone goes on to explain the nature of Black power in the Church. As we learn to expect, in his mind there is a Black church and a White church. As we saw earlier, the process of the slave liberating himself from the devastating dehumanization and forcing the oppressor to recognize his God given image is the heart of Black power. Mr Cone states bluntly, “I contend that such a spirit is not merely compatible with Christianity; in America in the latter twentieth century it is Christianity.” He extends the liberation vocabulary to the Church as a whole, saying that the Church is composed of those called by God to share in his liberating activity. There are three activities that mark the modern (NT) Church: preaching (kerygma), service (diakonia), and fellowship (koinonia). Each is a weapon against white racism from both the Black and White perspective. From the viewpoint of the formerly oppressed, the preaching of the gospel is a message of freedom. Freedom from racism – Christ has conquered it; Freedom from oppression – Christ has freed you; Freedom from dwelling in one’s current circumstances – the Christ has set you free. It is, Cone says, the message of Black Power.

The White church fails in its Gospel mission in the latter two aspects of being the Church, service and fellowship. It fails to render services of liberation to the previously enslaved or to be the manifestation of the new society. Cone points to the failure of the White church to reach out in reconciliation (contra his earlier proclamation that Black power meant having nothing to do with Whites and their church) or to engage in true, equality-based fellowship. He sees the failure of the White church to radically follow Christ in obedience as unique to them (again, contra to his exclamation that many blacks have failed to grasp their freedom from enslavement.) In fact, to finally warn blacks away from engagement with the White church, the Antichrist is identified as the white Christian body.

The in one most evil.

Is there hope then for a change in the White church that might lead to reconciliation between the races? Cone responds in the affirmative and with cautious theological support. In order for this chasm to be bridged, the White church must be willing to turn to a radical obedience of Christ and die. Whites must be willing to die to self and old ideas of the superiority and righteousness. They must be willing to die to their own status and follow Christ into radical identification with the poor and the oppressed, so much so that they themselves feel crack of the oppressor’s whip on their own backs. The whites who want reconciliation must be willing to join the others proclaiming Black Power. He must be both the agent of and the object of liberation.

Black theology is actively integrated with life as opposed to the overly scholastic theology of the greater White church. It is an encompassing worldview that instructs the follower in how to interact with a fallen world that appears to actively work against the black man’s liberation. Cone sees (in 1969) that the White church refuses to participate in this reconciling era and in that refusal, little hope for the future of black-white relations.

Punished With a Child

That he wouldn’t want his daughter “punished with a child” should she become pregnant as a teenager is Senator Obama’s latest revelatory extemporaneous statement. I commented on the insight that this gives the voters about the Senator’s pro-choice agenda yesterday but as I have pondered this statement further, it shines a light on a greater cultural issue that we must address if we want to avoid the further degradation of society that threatens to engulf us. Aside from the moral issue of referring to the unborn child as a “punishment” we must examine the mind-set that cultivates the idea. It is nothing less than the complete abdication of personal responsibility to simple solutions meant to mollify any lingering sense of accountability for the decisions we make.

To be punished succeeds a choice that one has made to run afoul of a societal or legal construct. I speed and run stop lights, I get a ticket or lose my license. I cheat on an exam and get caught, I fail the class or get expelled from school. Though some will disagree even with these examples, most of who exist in the modern world accept that the regulations implicit in the examples are in place for the common good. A segment of our society however, sees certain behaviors as beyond the reach of cultural standards. Using the example provided for us by Senator Obama, there are those among us who believe that sexual activity should be entirely free from consequence though it is well known that impregnation can be a direct result of intercourse. Instead of insisting on accepting the personal responsibility for engaging in sexual intercourse, there is a cultural movement to insist that a woman must be free to eradicate the baby and remain free from consequence of her decisions.

This notion of the complete eradication of personal responsibility in favor of seemingly easy and cost free solutions has wheedled its way throughout our culture. Students protest expectations that they read, speak, and write correctly because their earlier educational devotion did not prepare them adequately for a rigorous challenge. They demand that the coursework be made easier so that they can continue to receive the value-diminished excellent marks that they have come to expect. Any teacher that stands up for the integrity of scholastic requirements is deemed unfair and their teaching status challenged. And on and on it goes. This demand for a life replete with freedom of choices without consequence extends into every area of life until one day we arrive at a utopian society in which all problems brought about by our choices are fixed by an external authority.

There are many in our society, Senator Obama included, who envision this external authority as the government or, in stickier situation, para-governmental organizations such as the abortion industry. They would ‘free’ us from those moral constraints which have served humankind throughout history but are anathema to an ‘enlightened’ culture. Why have consequences when the solutions are so easy? Get pregnant by exercising your ‘choice’ to engage in sexual intercourse? Kill the fetus and move on! Problem solved. Make a bad decision in any aspect of life, no worries, someone else will fix the problem. This all sounds inviting until we realize that whatever behavior we reward (by removing the consequence) we naturally get more of and so the cycle deepens. As we accept this cycle, we revert to a kind of childhood where mommy and daddy fix our mistakes for us. When we live in this kind of environment, Mom and Dad define the limits of our liberty in return for this benefit. Are we willing to continue to return to a governmental mommy and daddy?

Thank God for My Punishment

Obama provides us with further insight into how he views the unborn and their convenient disposal, referring to an unplanned pregnancy as a punishment. In referencing his own daughters and the possibility that despite his teaching on morals and standards, he stated that they should not be punished with a child. We can further extrapolate from his favorable stand on unfettered access to abortion that this punishment could only be mitigated by the extinguishing of the human life and the disposal of the unborn fetus.

My apologies Mr. Obama but a child, whether born or unborn, is not a punishment. You may view it as a consequence of engaging in sexual activity, but in no way should a child ever be referred to as a punishment. Perhaps those values and morals that you teach your daughters should be that Pro-Choice can mean something more than the free ability to dispose of a life; it can also be the choice not to engage in an activity that has specific and predictable biological consequences. I’ll be interested to see in the coming days how you finesse this staff. Perhaps the next time you are in church, you can ask about Psalm 139.

I’m eternally grateful for my punishment.