Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Knight is Right, Too
In the previous post I argued that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's denunciations of white power and white Christianity were right. In this post, I suggest that some of what Steve Knight observes about the Wright/Obama controversy is right on as well.
Steve blogs over at Knightopia and routinely has insightful posts and keen insight into the complexities of faith and culture. He is the co-founder and co-organizer of the Emergent Cohort in Charlotte, NC. Steve also arranged things for Brian McLaren's stop in Charlotte for his Everything Must Change tour.
On Monday, March 17, Steve and Anthony Smith (a.k.a. the "Postmodern Negro") taped a conversation--in the context of the Wright/Obama controversy--about the implicit whiteness that shapes and forms North American evangelical theology on the one hand, and on the other the imperative for white Christians to read deeply in black theology and literature and culture to understand, for example, why the Rev. Wright said what he said, and made the claims he made. Smith discusses key elements of how many African Americans see the church and the world and explains what an Afrocentric theology actually looks like. Knight discusses white privilege and how it plays out in politics and in the church, and suggests that white folks own up to the history of privilege, what it looks like today, and why a deconstruction of it matters. There's also a discussion of the black Jesus. These are simply a few highlights of the conversation; the entire discussion deserves a good listening.
In sum, Knight offers these thoughts: "The bottom line is: White Christians need to work harder to understand the history and complexity of the black church tradition and the role of prophetic voices (like Rev. Jeremiah Wright)."
I couldn't agree more. Like Wright, Knight is right.
[Update: read the text and watch Obama's Philadelphia "race" speech here, and check out Obama's discussion on the Tuesday episode of ABC's Nightline. Ed Gilbreath offers up some good commentary, as usual.]
[Photo credits here and here.]
Posted by Phil at 9:53 AM