Tag Archives: obama

Cornell West @ St. Sabina

10 Feb


this man is one of the most brilliant, most hilarious, most disconcerting speakers I’ve ever heard.

cornell west. google him.

Certainly the Kingdoms Collide

4 Nov

What Happens When They Do? | assembled thoughts on the day

It’s November 4th, 2008, and there are billions of people in the world who know exactly what that means.

Presidential election, U.S.A.

Woo hoo.

That woo hoo is both real and sarcastic, because while I agree with a majority of Obama’s takes on current issues in the U.S., I also recognize a required disconnect from a worldly political system. My faith is not in a man who calls himself president of any nation.

Some stop there and use faith as an excuse to abstain from real, political issues — those things that are strangling some Americans, and unjustly feeding others.

So how do we engage a political system in which we place no sustaining hope? A position of authority to which we don’t really bow? A country to which we don’t necessarily pledge our allegiance?

What’s a servant to do when his two kingdoms collide?

These questions appear all over the global village, in the form of blogs (like this one), message boards, books, discussion groups, political forums, classrooms, and church services. Greg Boyd’s Myth of a Christian Nation has some great ideas, as does Shane Claiborne’s Jesus For President.

But in reality, when we take our eyes off the page and look at our broken world, what we read and what we see don’t match up.

This says this, but what I see is that.
A sentence doesn’t always help us make sense out of a situation.
A chapter can’t always take away confusion, the overwhelming sense of “What now?”

We need practical advice. What does serving God and serving the people of America look like?

Recently, I heard it described this way:

“No matter who wins, the church has work to do.”

This implies a resolute faith, one that understand political systems and gives them credit for their ability to further peace, justice, and hope, but reserves its true hope for what we, the church, can do. We need to pick up the pieces of the broken system, glue the puzzle back together, and see a picture bigger than a 2-dimensional photo of a prosperous nation.

We need to see a world embodying Shalom.

In practical terms: if McCain wins, we’ll need to fight hard against war-mongering, racism, consumerism, and a free-trade ideology that perpetuates under-developing nations, as well as loudly call for better environmental practices and regulations. If Obama we need to fight against universalist ideology that says “anything goes,” humanism and atheism, and we need to keep him accountable to the promises he’s made to the poor, to the uncared-for, to those without health care.

Most of the things we’ll need to fight for and against are the same things Christians have fought for and against for centuries. Because in the course of a day the world will change.

But it won’t change much.
Greed won’t be replaced with love.
War won’t be replaced by peace.

We can’t be foolish enough to think either candidate is the Messiah or the anti-Christ.

Too easily we “do our duty” on November 4th, and the next day campaign promises are forgotten and news about the president and his policies begins to retreat from the public sphere.

Tonight, we can celebrate, or we can mourn.

But we better not become resigned.

It’s we who can change things. Make a difference in the lives of the poor. Give care to the uncared-for. Make a commitment to peace. Live sustainable lifestyles.

It’s that truth that I’m banking on.

Four years of committed Christian living — peacemaking, loving, and neighboring — I’d vote for that.

(note: i borrowed unashamedly from numerous authors I’ve read in recent years, as well as conversations with my brother, some of my former professors, my wife, and my Mission Year team to write this piece. thanks to all that continue to challenge and inspire me)


3 Nov

Things are heating up in the Windy City with the election only days away. There’s been a record turnout at the polls already, and lines are expected to be overwhelmingly long on Tuesday.
This has already been a campaign season for the history books, but tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday Chicago will be transformed into a madhouse, a city swimming in tangible anticipation. That the Democratic candidate is in town, his old stomping ground, only adds to the chaos.
We’ll be attending a pre-election day rally at our church Monday night, where our very own Reverend Dr. Marshall Elijah Hatch will no doubt shake the stained glass windows from their casings with an impassioned address to the congregation.
Then on Tuesday, after we vote, we’ll anxiously await the time to swarm Michigan Avenue with the hope we’ve held since Obama announced his campaign slogan. The city will roil as thousands come like tsunami on the shores of Lake Michigan to the official after-party of the race for the position of Leader of the Free World.
Do we place any real hope or faith in the man from Chicago’s south side? Not really. The president is as chained as the men in Guantanamo Bay; he can’t change as much as he and we would like. America is heading into a new era, and Barack Obama can’t set us on a new course. He may be able to steer us in to quieter waters for a time, but where we sail is a mystery to the politicians, professors, painters, and prophets of our time.
It’s not a day for faith in politics. But we believe enough to vote, and when Chicago turns into a city-wide block party, we’ll be there.