Saturday, March 22, 2008

Aww, the sweet smell of politics

I love politics. It was my college major. Ironically, theology and philosophy was my minor. Nowadays those disciplines all seem to play a crutial role in becoming president of the USA. Even more than politics, I love words.

In the past few months we've seen kitchen sinks thrown about for candidates who were accused of being full of nothing but words, and then a week later the same man was condemned because of someone else's words. It seems that the significance of words vary. According to the messages of some, good words are meaningless and bad combinations of words can hurt you.

I remember sitting in the congregation of Rev. Wright's church for the first time. It was packed and the choir all wore African garb but sang in the traditional black church gospel way. I was comforted by the others around me as they hugged me, grabbed my hands, and gave me warm greetings when they realized it was my first time. It is so easy to feel lost in a large congregation, but this church had a circular design and the pulpit was in the middle of the people.

Rev. Wright approached the pulpit and the very first words that came from his mouth relaxed me. In fact, they brought a smile to my face and immediately settled me. He used simple words and I felt the genuine nature of how he spoke them. It was his honesty in how he spoke that reached me. His words were simple, yes, and they were the first words from his mouth each time he came to the pulpit every Sunday morning.

I was alone in Chicago after being abandoned. It was the aftermath of a failed relationship that left me alone and grieving. I would forget my solitude on Sundays when I walked into the Trinity Church and I easily got lost in the news of the multitude of community programs and outreach spoken about and detailed in the booklet we received - our Sunday bulletin. It was a thick booklet. Half of it was filled with community outreach program information and activities. Reaching out to others was a guided focus and obligation of these Christians. The church is located in the black community, so naturally the outreach was to this community.

For the first time in my life, I was attending a church that actively and effectively served the community in which it resided.

But after a few minutes of flipping through the booklet, Rev Wright would appear at the pulpit with his million dollar smile. It looked warm. It felt warm. He then spoke his typical opening words that never grew old.

I don't know why we haven't had sound bites of that. I can still hear him as he looked around to greet us every Sunday morning. Looking around, smiling, he'd say and then pause with, "I love you."

And I believe him because the expansive church outreach confirms it. And so those simple opening words developed into a sermon of politics, government, God's plan and truths, and the people around me every week. I understood it, I embraced it, and I never lost love for all mankind while listening to it. He led me back to people and never separated me from anyone. He led me back to a community of all people and grounded my walk with the Jesus love concepts.

I miss that church. If you don't understand what he means and how he stands for God, then I offer his words to you, but from me: "I love you." If I had my way then I'd tell you not to ever let anyone tell you that good words are meaningless.

The speech that changed America - Barack in NH

Derrick on Obama - inspirational

Barack in Dallas