Despite the ramblings of ordained brain-dead dolts like Shirley Caesar, this past presidential election was historic for several reasons – mainly because there is a black man (well, half black but you infer the reverence) in the White House.

And although I am a premiere oppugnant about pastors discussing their political preference in the pulpit, I understand the private gala affairs black pastors everywhere held in their homes watching the BarackStar accept his nomination before the throngs in Chicago.

obama-hypeYou see, before they were men of the cloth – they were men, black men, many of which can remember the plight of the Civil Rights Movement. All of which are susceptible to believing the hype amidst pomp and circumstance in this election.

So when I read quotes like this in this riveting New York Times story, I empathetically and understandably grant the levity:

“It’s ushered in a new generation of leadership,” said Mr. Brawley, 40, the incoming pastor of Saint Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn. “It symbolizes the Moses generation passing the baton to the Joshua generation. So the Obama presidency presents us with both an opportunity and a challenge.

Of course it’s a challenge because it’s a mass changing of the guard. There are millions of pairs of shoes to fill. Civil rights heroes from the pulpit (affection aside for the most annoying) like Jackson, Sharpton, Calvin Butts and Floyd Flake are about to close a friggin’ thick chapter in a book entitled, “We are still oppressed.”

And now their collection of racially fueled sermons are growing irrelevant, it’s time they give white pastors a shot at reaching across the aisle, so to speak.

“It will open them up for more dialogue with white churches,” he said, “and it will open up white churches for more dialogue with them. You will have a generation of black ministers who want to embrace the reconciliation embodied by Obama. They haven’t been hurt so badly by racial segregation that they can’t reach out with a little more openness and a little less fear than I might have.”

“Generation of black ministers” is code for “old crumudgeons who are not quite bitter to ignore any attempt reputable white pastors may have at serving a colorless, genderless, hate-less God.”

The hate of the 60s cuts deep from some folk, but to generalize all people on account of the sins of a few is just as sinful as committing those sins on account of skin tone in the first place.

Obama being in office will do a lot for – and against – this country depending on who you ask about change. However, the one thing his face will do for future pastors is give hope to many spiritual leaders who believe progress in this country starts and stops by how you look.

“The onus is now on the black church to use the iconic example of President Obama to challenge our own ranks,” he put it. “We have a president who looks like us. The question is, how much do we look like him?”


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