Rev. Wright, Politics, and the Pulpit

I feel compelled to post about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Recently, I was in Chicago and heard him give two lectures in a seminary chapel. Both of these lectures were about racism and reconciliation. They were fantastic lectures and Rev. Wright was thoroughly generous and gracious. He even referenced the clips going around the news and YouTube– this was before it became such huge media frenzy by the way. He was very clear that he regretted some of his comments in those sermons. However, he was very clear that we obviously have a gospel-sized problem here in this country and especially in the church. We are divided. Some of us are more privileged than others due to decades of unfair social and political policies. And the majority of Christians, especially those with the power, have often sat idly by and ignored these problems. Does not the gospel compel us to change our world? Does not the gospel compel us to affect the social and political landscape around us? Wright focused much of his first lecture on what is wrong in the church and the need for the prophetic function of the pastor to challenge this reality (using prophet the way it is most often used in scripture as one who calls out the people and exposes their sin– not in the future-teller sense). and the second lecture was about the pastor as priest who must help bind up the wounds of those in pain and hurt (on all sides) in this political reality.

My friend Travis has posted his own ideas about Rev. Wright and politics in the pulpit. I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing. I hate it when pastors get on some political rant in the pulpit. Nevertheless, I find the gospel deeply political– we declare Jesus as Lord rather than Caesar as Lord. Our citizenship is in heaven not in this earth. We are called to be transformed and to transform– ourselves and our world. I definitely see my friend’s point and agree in a lot of ways. But I also fear that many Christians think faith is a private matter that does not or should not have political and public ramifications.

What are your thoughts? Do politics and gospel go hand-in-hand? Or should politics be banned from the pulpit?


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