Thursday, September 04, 2008
TRINITY AND UCC BELIEFS
Trinity United Church of Christ--Obama's church--was the subject of a Chicago Public Radio program. Ben Calhoun quoted Melissa Harris Lacewell, Professor of politics and African American Studies at Princeton. She is apologetic for Jeremiah Wright and the style of worship found in this Afro-Centric church. Lacewell was a "regular at Trinity for years." According to Calhoun Lacewell says:
** Trinity is completely mainstream. You know people sort of driving in to 95th Street in their Lexus and Volve, and then driving out again...really not radical folks. People who own three and four bedroom homes with a half acre of yard around it. Hardly the sort of thing that leads to armed insurrection. She says the church might be more politically active than other churches.
** black and white religious traditions have evolved differently. She says in the coverage of Obama and his church what we're seeing are those religious traditions colliding.
What Lacewell doesn't do is deny what takes place in the church. She doesn't deny that it's racial. She merely tries to make it less shocking.
Here is the home page for Trinity. The first thing I noticed was that they use the Masonic lodge layout for the floor plan.
The About webpage tells us:
We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.
That rather sounds like Michelle Obama's senior thesis--extolling the value of segregation.
The Akiba bookstore presents books on Africentric Theology among other subjects. Take a look at the titles and judge for yourself how open to the white man's culture the worshipers at this church are likely to be.
There are also books teaching how to make money in the bookstore, though not nearly so many of them.
On the Mission webpage we are told:
The fortunate who are among us combine forces with the less fortunate to become agents of change for God who is not pleased with America’s economic mal-distribution!
W.E.B. DuBois indicated that the problem in the 20th century was going to be the problem of the color line. He was absolutely correct. Our job as servants of God is to address that problem and eradicate it in the name of Him who came for the whole world by calling all men, women, boys and girls to Christ.
So the church addresses this by forming a black-exclusive congregation? How does this compute?
In clicking through the church website, I kept trying to imagine what the reaction would be if a white church dedicated itself this exclusively to the white culture. If separate but equal is going to be the mission in the black community, why not have the same mission in the white community? Does anyone think this could withstand the outrage from the black community if it were tried? I guess separate but equal is legitimate only if you are black.
I did more checking on the position held by the United Church of Christ with regard to same sex marriage. The New York Times ran an article on the topic where I discovered that "The United Church of Christ became the first mainline Christian denomination to support same-sex marriage." Now where is that in the Bible again??? The Times article is dated July 5, 2005. One line in the argument for this change that potentially could divide the church struck me as so confused as to be almost amusing:
[Rev. John H. Thomas] said the church strove to have "diversity without division, unity without uniformity." His hope, he said, is that "we will not run from one another, because if we run from one another we run from Christ."
Those who choose to "run" will be those who want to avoid belonging to a church that embraces sin and violates Scripture in its official practices. Hardly running from Christ, but oh it sounds so nice and warm and cozy and convincing for anyone who doesn't take time to think about it. I can hear the lemmings repeating that phrase ad nauseum!
UCC has been a frontrunner on other change issues. According to the Times article:
The United Church of Christ prides itself on being in the forefront of human and civil rights issues. On its Web site, the denomination says it and its predecessors were among the first churches to take a stand against slavery, in 1700, the first to ordain a woman, in 1853, and the first to publish an inclusive-language hymnal, in 1995.
Its slogan, "God is still speaking," is meant to suggest that the Bible is not the sole source of divine instruction, and that Scripture must be interpreted in today's context.
It seems to me that truth in advertising would be better served by naming this the United Church of Relativism.
UCC was a frontrunner in another area, as this Profile - LGBTRAN tells:
The Rev. Dr. William R. Johnson (born June 12, 1946 in Houston, Texas) was the first openly gay person ordained in the United Church of Christ and the first such person ordained in the Christian Church in modern times. The historic ordination took place on June 25, 1972, at the Community United Church of Christ in San Carlos, California.
UCC is quite the progressive church.