Tuesday, April 29, 2008

As most preacher's kids can attest, it's hard for us to take seriously the words we hear any preacher say. We've heard them say so much. We've heard the high and holy homilies, right along with the scoldings, the sarcasm, the silliness. We know their clay feet extend all the way up, and that they are nothing like the revered saint on a pedestal as some of their parishioners see them.

There is a Dr. Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde in all of us, but the minister's struggle between the two personas is more pronounced. When he succeeds in giving Dr. Jekyll more time than Mr. Hyde, it can be quite unnerving when Mr. Hyde sabotages the righteous image. This is how I see the current dilemma for Obama's former pastor.

Wright's Mr. Hyde got jealous of the younger church member who was getting so much attention and so many accolades. His Mr. Hyde got greedy when he realized that this younger church member had made millions on a book that was inspired by whom? the older pastor! He listened to the temptations of the green-eyed monster and succumbed. It ain't pretty, but it sometimes happens. The landscape of our mostly Christian nation is littered with the sad remains of ministers who gave into their lower natures. They couldn't quite measure up to God's requirements:

What does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and
to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8)

Obama's former pastor performed many acts of justice and mercy, but just could not be satisfied with a role of humility. His ego longed for the spotlight, the headlines, the attention, so he did what he could to obtain it. He hurt a lot of people in the process, but so far, it doesn't seem to bother him. Maybe one day he will realize the harm he's done. I hope so.

Barack Obama denounced him in no uncertain terms today. It's not easy to turn your back on someone you once admired and respected. It usually doesn't happen unless there has been unbearable heartbreak and disappointment. He even says he's saddened by "the spectacle we saw yesterday." Watching a high-flying hero go down in flames has to be devastating. I know he hoped it wouldn't happen. I think he suspected all along that it might and that's why he has been putting distance between them from the beginning of the campaign. I pray that he and his wife Michelle find peace and a new direction in their spiritual journey.

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