Reporter: "How often does Obama go to church?"
Wright: "About as often as you do."
There was truth in Wright's outing of Obama as a less-than-regular churchgoer. This is no surprise: Ask the other two candidates for proof of their Sunday attendance and you'll see what I mean. Celebrities in general and politicians in particular might have a better (if still theologically poor) excuse than many of us for not worshiping corporately.
When I visited Trinity to cover the then-young controversy over Africentric theology in early 2007, I was craning my neck, looking for Obama, who I'd read was in town. The man beside me asked what I was doing. "I kind of thought he'd be here," I said. He answered, "To tell you the truth, he isn't here much." I was probably part of the reason celebrityism and church attendance don't go well together: we were looking around for the famous guy when we should have been in church looking for Jesus.
Jeremiah Wright goes to church looking for Jesus. And that's why evangelicals should pay attention to him. This is not to say they should agree with him. But Jeremiah Wright is a serious Christian. He didn't have to be many gifted black intellectuals have gotten off the bus with the church for having been, as it inarguably has, a slave religion. (Wright has argued with Muslim friends that its track record is no better on slavery.) Even within the young tradition of Africentric theology, birthed by James Cone at Union Seminary in the late 1960s, former theologians have left Jesus behind in their effort to embrace the wider black diaspora worldwide. Cone himself worries that exclusive attention to Jesus yields something he calls "Christofascism," by which he seems to mean exclusivity. His brilliant student ...1
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