Over at Christianity Today there’s an article titled “Black Power from the Pulpit” about Jeremiah Wright which places him and black liberation theology in the context of the black church and the message of Christianity. It is actually an interview with Thabiti Anyabwile who wrote the book: The Decline of African American Theology. Mr. Anyabwile is a critic of both black liberation theology and the state of many black churches, without being one of the many jingoists we’ve heard from lately who think saying, “they’re racist” constitutes a legitimate critique. He is speaking from a position of understanding and respecting the history and tradition of the black church as well as the struggles of African Americans. Wouldn’t it have been nice if more people who were disturbed by Rev. Wright’s ranting would have turned to someone with this perspective for their critiques rather than the craptastic nonsense we’ve been subjected to?
At any rate, I recommend reading the article, but here are some of my favorite take-away points:
On the way the controversy played out in the media:
Q: Has anything surprised you about the wave of indignation that has followed news of these sermons?
A: I’ve been surprised that so much effort has been made to saddle Obama with the views of his pastor . . . I’ve also been surprised at how deep the ignorance of the African American church and its preaching tradition goes.
It is interesting that some of those who were particularly upset over Wright’s remarks didn’t initially see them as being racial. They seemed to them to simply be anti-American. Continue reading