[but] they are rooted in the history of black protest and a Christian theology shared by some African-American churches." I am not
promoting liberation theology but I am suggesting that we would do well to listen to the discordant notes that it plays in the wider Church and then ask, "Why do our brothers and sisters feel this way?"
And, we should further ask, "What is the thoughtful Christian response, the response that seeks reconciliation as a higher goal than politically correct statements?" In my life and theology personal and social reconciliation is a much higher goal than political philosophy and the use of certain offensive language.
This view is rooted in creation and redemption. I believe I am very deficient in my own views on many things and thus I continue to seek to adjust them as I try to learn and grow. I do not see how I can grow by listening only to white political conservatives.
Thus, as I have simply put it, this issue is first and foremost about reconciliation, not about who said what and why Obama is a really racist because his pastor uttered some unseemly and angry words in the larger context of ministry in a black social gospel experience. We’ve been here before and the discouraging thing is that we evangelical white Christians still have a long way to go. This is not to say that some of our black brothers and sisters could not learn to help us, without all the angry condemnations, but someone has to to take a first step for reconciliation to happen and I want to be a peacemaker and a reconciler, not a warrior for the cause. This is at the heart of my life’s calling and the central thesis for the book I am writing: Your Church is Too Small.
For Obama’s part he produced a three-and-a-half minute response on video that has appeared on the Net today. I could not find this video morning and would thus welcome someone informing us all where it can be viewed. I did visit Obama’s campaign site a
nd watched several videos on faith. It seems to me the man believes in the Christ of history. He has also embraced, as many black Democrats have, a social gospel message.
Does this mean that Obama is not a real Christian? This is where I think the problem comes for a large number of white evangelicals. They cannot conceive of a Christian who holds some of the views Barack Obama clearly holds; e.g., abortion, gay marriage, etc. If you read The Audacity of Hope
you will see his views clearly stated in one well-written chapter. He admits his own struggle with these tough moral issues rather candidly but comes down on the wrong side, at least so far as I am concerned.
I will keep on saying this—I profoundly disagree with Obama politically. But I also accept his confession of faith as it is and thus I will treat him as my brother in Christ. Even if he were not a Christian I would still treat him with love and civility because he is made in the image of God. Furthermore, he is not a lawless or God-hating man, but a public servant elected by the people of Illinois. In this case he is my U. S. Senator whether I approve of him or not. (I guess I am old-school here. I can respect people that I simply do not completely agree with. I remember my parents teaching me to respect John F. Kennedy, as our president, even though we did not want him to be president. I also felt the same for Jimmy Carter, who is loathed by many evangelicals who once voted for him. Yet, right or wrong, Carter clearly provides a completely credible profession of faith.) Even if Obama was a non-Christian I would pray for him, show him human respect and try to trim the angry diatribes I hear Christian make against him continually.