Your Blog Steward

My photo
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An African-American President

Barack Obama ended his acceptance speech for the presidency of the United States of America this evening with the benediction that "God Bless America!" To be fair, Obama is such a confident orator (if I had his skills I could have been a preacher) that he probably didn't use the exclamation point...for him it was just a period.
But here it is, the point at which we as Americans get to see how well we do at living out our diversity. I don't really worry too much about that from Obama, as he is probably pretty use to it, but some of us do not have a lot of practice. I wonder if we will use race as the reason for why we do not trust Obama on a decision of his? I wonder if we will use race to critique his style, his family, or his demeanor? One thing I have learned from my African and Asian students over the years is that race is part of a person, but it is not everything of a person...as President-Elect Obama has shown in his drive for the Presidency of the USA, where change and ideas, not race, are his calling cards.
In some ways the USA gets to catch up with the Christian understanding of equality in front of Jesus Christ. Christians have as our calling to live free, without prejudice or bias, for all people who are freed in the cross of Christ. (At one time the Apostle Paul said there is no "male or female, slave or free, Jew or Greek.") Of course, the irony of ironies is that for some the USA is a "Christian nation," but they have never lived out that part of their Christianity which celebrates the freedom at the expense of self-protection. (One of the often unspoken fears about diversity is the apparent threat its makes to our self-security. Diversity does not threaten anyone's self, but it appears that way to some.)
So, with President-Elect Obama we get to live out a world where the freedom we have in Christ becomes the blessing we share with others. It is possible, although I'm not 100% convinced, that P-E Obama understands how God "blesses" America. If he's like me, he guesses that the blessing comes when Americans bless the world...not attack it, denigrate it, disrespect it, or trivialize it...but when we become a positive force for the life God has given the world in Jesus Christ. When we surrender so that others may live, others may receive blessing, when we carry a cross so that our lives show a greater world than we have ever imagined...well, then maybe God "blesses" America...and just maybe our faith is not in vain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thing is, to me president elect Obama isn't a color. I don't define a president, or town, or a neighbor as a 'color'.

For me the election was about voting for the person with whom I could most agree with.

I hope that our country can move forward on 'hope'.

Obama was not my choice......but only because I am not comfortable with his previous affiliations, Reverend Wrigth being one of those, Bill Ayers, another. I am also not comfortable with Obama's discontent with this country's Constitution. Those are just a few things........

but my entire point of this post was that focusing on a president's color is not, to me, 'right'.