Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This man can speak!

Having come home from a day of interviewing Superintendent candidates for our school district and then, on the way home, briefly checking in at the church, I arrived and flipped on the TV to hear that there was a great amount of reaction to a speech given today by Presidential candidate Barack Obama on race and politics. I was not able to watch the speech when it was given. I didn't even know he was giving it. However, after returning from Evening Prayer at my church, I sat down and watched it on the Obama web site via a YouTube video, specifically this one:

I am a preacher, someone who has grown up as a white heterosexual man, and have just completed anti-racism training where so much of the history and so many of the problems Obama addressed were highlighted. I served a (largely white) church just outside of Philadelphia when I was a Curate just out of seminary. I just spent today interviewing two finalists for a Superintendent position, a white woman and a black woman, who both spoke of issues of diversity in mostly (90%) white Albany, Oregon. With all those experiences, and as a member of Obama's generation, Generation X, I was more than impressed by his speech, I was stunned and struck speechless.

All I could think of when I finished listening to the speech was "Wow. I wish there was a bishop in our church who could speak as clearly to the legacy of colonialism in the Anglican Communion, the fears and frustrations of GLBT people in our church, the despair of an increasingly marginalized mainline church, and the hopes, dreams, and experiences of liberal and conservative alike, in such a way that the polarization of the church that so much mirrors the polarization in the political arena could begin to be healed." What most impressed me about Barack Obama's speech, was that he talked about the fact that "perfecting our union" was not a zero-sum game where one person's dreams come at the expense of another person's dreams, but a way of binding ourselves together in a common purpose that allows everyone to work against the injustices, inequities, and systemic problems in the world. I'm flat out impressed.

I don't really know what else to say, so I won't say anything else, but I'm already thinking of sermon material...

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