Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shoot the messenger or love the messenger? . . That is the question

The audience might mistake the messager (cool) for the message (not cool). Reverand Wright is likeable and shrewd. I wish all men in suits moved around a bit at least every once in a while and I wish all men had passion and I wish all men sang at the lecturn and I wish men entertained and twinkled their eyes when they speak. All women, too. Rather than being stiff and silly and egotistical, I wish all of us could be as silly and carefree as Reverand Wright.

I love the messenger. But I do not love the message. It feels like aggression. I do not enjoy being preached at for what I already believe: I know that difference is magnificence. I would like to celebrate that rather than be preached about it.
I do not enjoy being told I do not love and respect B.B. King
I do not enjoy being told I cannot keep a beat. I love all the beats. I am them; they are me; we are they.
I do not enjoy being told that there is an innate difference between the races. As a minister I expect you to know all the beats of humanity and then some. While I enjoy your showmanship and ability to break barriers of propriety, I care not for the content. I like the style but not the message.

We are the same - the soul knows no color. when you feel joy it is the same joy I feel. When you feel sorrow, it is my sorrow. When you catch the sacredness it is as when I do - that is the human community. It is the same sacredness I feel. When you know God it is as when I do. We are ultimately the same and if what you meant is that we must recognize the differences and appreciate them so that we may reach our humanity, then I agree with you Reverant Wright. but you seem to stop short and revel in the differences. Many of us are past being afraid of differences and we are searching lovingly for our community.

Drop this admonishment about pronunciation. We all crack jokes about Irishmen from Boston and Oilmen from Texas, particularly the Texan from Connecticut and his fake accent. America has done the opposite with Black America: We embrace the oddity of the black language, imitate rappers, fall easily into the rhythms, the kids dig it, and black music has been American music for a century. Even Oprah sounded black when she unveiled her political choice last Autumn. We love the beat. Why parlay in the currency of opposition and division when styles and beats give us so much more than division?

So I do not really mean "don't love the messenger." Actually, I love you. But I don't like the message. The message needs be higher, better, nicer, freer, fun-er. And not all-about-you. Or all-about-me. We're all struggling with what it means to be a human being. We all need to take responsibilty for that, each of us, and to know that this is the spirit of community which is America.

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