I'm the victim here!

Had a wonderful discussion with a friend of mine the other day about some healthy issues facing our nation. Well, the issues aren't healthy but the discussion was. Follow the progression and stay with me...

>>Rev. Wright's controversial statements - does he hate white people?

Wright said this, wright said that... lots of fun things that I don't think I have any authority to speak on. Has anyone heard a complete sermon of this guy? Can we quote him or are we just thinking he's a hack? Personally, I say a lot of crazy stuff as a pastor too. To pull a quote out of my sermon this past week, "Everyone should have pee-pee pants!" Of course...I did take that out of context and I encourage you to hear the whole sermon at this website. I really think from what I've heard of Rev. Wrights comments, he actually sounds like a Jerry Falwell or Ted Haggert. God's judgment? Nothing new about that. Punishment for sinful living? The difference between oppressing poor folks and taking prayer out of schools can't be that big.

Its not like the guy says the craziest stuff - its just crazy stuff against rich white people.

***Just a disclaimer, if you are a parishioner at RUMC and you plan on running for president, I will continue to choose God over my country until I die. Be prepared for the two to clash on a regular basis. As your pastor and advocate for your political career, I will gladly tell people how much I love America, but will also quickly qualify that with the fact I love God more. Let me re-iterate. I love America. But I love God more. When they mesh, I'll sing God's praises (and America's). But when they don't, I'll pray for God's forgiveness. As my good friend Bob Bentley pointed out recently, give to Caesar what is Caesar's. But when a preacher references your country as a new Rome, its not a good thing (check out the book of Revelation).

So anyway...talking about Rev. Wright, we moved into the natural progression of...

>> Should Obama be president?

I don't think I have anything to add here really, since this conversation with my friend was somewhat private, but its worth mentioning that the convo leaned towards "Hey, if Rev. Wright is Obama's pastor, does that mean Obama have beliefs that are dangerous for a president?" Again...nothing ground breaking, but stay with me. Also interesting considering today's comments to the media. From there? Where else! How Obama got the way he did!

>> Why are black people the way they are? (i.e. why Rev. Wright would be mad at white people and where America is now AND the implied understanding that black people are *generally* poor) Here the argument loses all direction and we break down into gross generalizations. In this maelstrom of petty one-up-manship we do make a connection that wherever there are poor black people there are...you guessed it...

>> Why are poor white people the way they are? By this time, the room is hot with the glow of blazing tongues. My thrusts are being met with well placed parries. Usually, when on the defensive, I can't think quick enough to make good come backs. But by this time I'm on the offensive. We've been talking long enough I feel like I can boil the conversation back into a small statement I can wrap my head around (and also use as a platform). This tactic brings to light why poor people are the way they are.... which is not a question to argue but a statement.

>> The fundamental difference between rich people and poor people is education. While still a gross generalization and not true in every instance, here is where my friend and I found common ground. This is when I realized two things. 1) my friend should be a democrat because they love educating poor people. 2) I'm the victim.

>> Rev. Wright >> Obama >> poor black people >> poor white people >> education = Jack is the victim.

Thats right. I'm the victim of the public educational system in Tallapoosa County. I'm the victim of my parent's personal issues. I'm the victim of crappy tax reform efforts. I'm the victim of the dismantled steel industry in Birmingham. I'm the victim of the war in Iraq (despite the fact I have not lost any personal friends). I'm the victim of our country's policies in the 1980's selling weapons to Osama Bin Laden (later used them against us). I'm the victim of my own sins. I'm the victim whenever a black person hates a white person for being white or a white person hates a black person for being black. (although, truthfully it seems white people have changed this into an accusatory reverse racism thing. Now, we hate black people not because they aren't human but because they are human and we can't understand why they won't let bygones be bygones. shame on them. Anyway...I'm the victim.

The more selfish a person gets the bigger a victim they become. What I don't understand is why we as Christians can't twist this selfishness into better jobs, health care, tax reform, and care for our fellow human. Because in a society, people should take care of people to facilitate society, right? Its really hard to make Maui Jims for yourself. You need laborers to make that gucci bag. But if we can convince folks that those laborers are people (and not just a means to having well manicured lawns) then society becomes better.

Thats right. I'm the victim of your racism and your prejudices and your ability to de-humanize God's creations. Stop it. But probably more importantly, I'm the victim of my complacency and apathy and inability to tell sin no.