|As I See It? 7-10
Saturday, June 7, 2008
By Rev. Nathan Dixon
As I begin this article, I think it is safe to begin with the famous quote from A Tale of Two Cities, We live in a day and time when we are experiencing,” ... best of times and the worst of times.”
We are experiencing the best of times as we sit back and watch history taking place for the African-American community as Senator Barack Obama emerges as an able and qualified candidate for the White House; and yet we are experiencing the worst of times as we sit back and watch the prophetic preaching of the African-American church attacked by Hannity & Colmes of FOX News, Oprah Winfrey, media pundits, and by African-Americans themselves.
I pause to address, respond to, and defend all that has been said, and is being said
about a man that I know, love, and have looked up to for many years, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois.
Now, I'm not here to debate over or whether presidential candidate Barack Obama was wrong or right for denouncing the statements made by his friend and pastor, The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, as did presidential candidate John McCain of John Hagee; but rather in a
real sense, I am here to speak truth to the person (Rev. Wright) and to defend prophetic preaching in the pulpit.
I've known the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright now for more than fifteen years. I grew up a few blocks from his church. I've had many
opportunities to sit at his feet; and while in seminary I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to be in his preaching class, where I learned about prophetic preaching, so much more about liberation
theology, and where I really got to know the man close up. I've heard him speak five languages fluently, I've seen how great a musician he is, I received his sermons monthly through a subscription at Trinity United Church of Christ; I'm even privileged to receive a Christmas card every year from he and his lovely family.
My heart was truly saddened, when Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, was attacked by so many for doing what he's done so well, so many years. Let me echo what many have said; but many of you have not heard...Rev. Wright is a noble man. A man who served his country as a Marine, a man who gave scholarship after scholarship to students to attend seminary, a man who placed a Free South Africa sign on the front lawn of his church before many on the South Side of Chicago knew that South Africa was not free, and a man who preached Sunday after Sunday the prophetic Word of the Lord!
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., is not bigoted, he is not Anti-American, he is not hateful; but one of the most loving and loyal people I know. Why is it that when he criticizes America, makes challenges to America, it is seen as hateful and Anti-Semitic; but when John Hagee, Rod Parsley, the late Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, and so many others are critical of America it is not seen as hateful.
For people like Sean Hannity to call Liberation Theology racist and un-American is ludicrous, when he's never read a book by James Cone,
Dwight Hopkins, Linda Thomas, Gayraud Wilmore, and so many others.
I join Rev. Wright in saying this is an immoral war. I've said from the pulpit many times that America needs to repent of her sins, and that America has to take responsibility for her actions around the world. The gospel message is not only a message of unity of peace; but also a message against the ills of the communities in which we live. The gospel message is a message of liberation.
Now is not the time for the church to abandon Dr. Wright and for people to say that he needs to close his mouth, for he's costing Obama the race; for what God has for Obama....it is for Obama. But now is the time for us to be prophetic in our preaching, in our teaching, and in our everyday living.
Now is the time for us to celebrate that single mother who is raising her children; but still has not lost her swagger! Now is the time for us to celebrate grandparents, who have raised their children, but now raising their children's children, not allowing them to be lost to foster care! Now is the time for us to realize that soldiers are dying at a rapid rate, and families are left behind needing to be ministered to! Now is not the time for the church or its parishioners to give up; but let us all hold to God's unchanging hand, knowing that we shall be victorious!
Let us be in prayer for the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright and his family, and let us be in prayer for one another as we run this race together!
Rev. Nathan A. Dixon is the pastor at Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 3500 W. Holmes Road in Lansing, MI.