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In Defense of the Prophetic Voice

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Message Frank Gordon
There has been much made of the Rev. Wright's remarks. Some have said that they are Anti-American, distasteful and worse. I tend to see him from a different perspective however. When I was in seminary we were all told that one of the jobs of the pastor was to be a prophet- not a fortune teller type but one who speaks for God and who speaks the truth to power. The biggest concern that we were told about in this role was that it often conflicted with the role of being a comforter and leader, for if you got too far ahead of the people you would lose them. You had to address the concerns of the people, but you had to do it from a place of truth. This was one of the things that got the Old Testament prophets into trouble. They exposed the sin and wickedness of the ruling class and were persecuted for it. Other were told " Go to a different country and do your muckraking about their problems and leave us alone" or to put it another way "tell us about the evil the other guys do so we can feel good about ourselves and not have to change".  In the Psalms, there is the scene of the messenger of G_D going to the other Powers and condemning them because they did not take care of the poor or give justice to the downtrodden.  In light of this how can we as Americans expect different? Some of the things Rev. Wright said I do not believe. Did the US Government bring cocaine into the US to raise money? I hope not, but considering the connections we had to Noriega I cannot help but wonder. Did the US develop HIV and spread it in the black population? I seriously doubt that too, but in light of Tuskegee syphilis experiments I can understand someone thinking so. A quick visit to non-corporate bookstores, especially those catering to the African American or other ethnic communities will find these questions alive and well and fiercely debated however. Still, there are focusing on the examples, the illustrations of behaviors and attitudes and do not go to the point he was making. The point is a more telling one. America the beautiful is not America the Righteous. Contrary to what many on the Religious Right will try to say, America is NOT the New Jerusalem. We bristle in our guilt when our shortcomings are pointed out to us. It has been said that the job of a minister is to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable. The Reverend Wright was doing his job.


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I am a clinical psychologist with interests in a number of diverse subjects. In private prctice for 15 years I am currently working for DOD to treat active duty members. My educations runs from a BS in mathematics to a PhD in clinical Psychology to (more...)
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In Defense of the Prophetic Voice

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