Cornel West addressed a number of issues that put a nice bookend on my first journal entry regarding religion and Christianity. West said, “we need to talk publicly about the courage to love…that’s what I love about the black movement.” And that’s what I love about the Emerging Church. I’ll keep going. West also said he was “just trying to tell the truth, in love.” This was in reference to President Clinton, I believe, and a point that West disagreed with Clinton on. Wow, what a revolutionary way of reacting to something with which you disagree. Or is it revolutionary?
I also liked West’s comment that “American Christianity is a market form of Christianity…that’s why Easter Sunday they’re full, but on Good Friday they’re empty. ‘I’m gonna show up whenever the winner shows up!’” It’s a mindset that in a culture where everything is handed to the middle class and we are all collectively richer than most of the rest of the world, we only want things that help us. Hence marketplace Christianity—great analogy! Churches in other parts of the world view their faith in a much different way—many Americans can’t see that because they’ve never seen a church or a culture outside of “their America.”
Last, West’s comment that the gay community is forced to deal with the insecurities of the straight community was a good analysis—too many people judge others when they don’t even know someone with a given trait, experience, etc.—including homosexuals. I know a number of pastors whose views have changed on the topic of homosexuality when their child came out. Regardless of how they viewed homosexuality, they still loved their child because he/she was their child. That’s a great way of thinking that should be carbon-copied across American culture.
West highlights a comment from Checkov: “Keep loving, keep serving…it’s not about winning overnight…it’s about the legacy you want to leave.” Any social movement should look to Checkov’s comment for motivation. One day, every one of us will leave this Earth. The only thing we leave behind will be the relationships that we have built, the difference we have made and the people we have helped. As we wrestle with questions and converse with those around us, our worldview can only be expanded. When our worldview expands, we grow and become better able to communicate with those around us.