Archive for the ‘Renita Weems’ Category

What A Year! What a Year!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008


It was the best of times and the worst of times for fire-breathing, justice loving, loud mouth, nappy head, community organizing, Spirit conscious, passionate, opinionated, thinking women of faith. Whew! The year’s momentous events gave us lots to talk about, marvel over,  yell and scream at each other about, pray for, disagree about, organize for and against, be grateful for, be pissed about, mutter under our breaths over, laugh about, dance about, and give God thanks for.

There were days I couldn’t wait to get to the blog to weigh in on a topic. There were other days when I’d rather cut a vein than face the computer and think up something  to blog about. Some discussions here on the blog got so heated, contentious, and snarky, well, let’s just say that it’s a good thing it all took place in blogosphere instead of face-to-face, across the kitchen table. Those who couldn’t take the heat stomped away vowing never to return. Others slumped back and took the “high road” of righeous silence.  While the rest of us stayed in to hash it out, not caring whether we ever agreed or saw things the other’s way, just content to have somewhere to say what was on our minds. On other occasions and on other topics close to our hearts as women, we were each others’ confidants, cheerleaders, prayer partners, soul sisters, and ace boon coons.

Thought I’d list my Top Ten favorite discussions from this past year (not in any particular order).

  1. The discussion that ensued as a result of the post I did on the mother daughter conflict between writer Rebecca Walker and her larger-than-life writer mother Alice Walker, and the daughter’s tell all accounts about Mommie Dearest and her maternal flaws.
  2. My rant about black women’s up-in-arms outrage over the sexist and misogynistic attacks against Michelle Obama and their teeth-sucking, hypocritical  silence when similar attacks were directed at Hillary Clinton.
  3. “Them Baptists” was my tirade against the Southern Baptist church and misogynism that gets cloaked under talk about biblical authority so as to protect itself from scrutiny and de-construction.
  4. All of us in blogosphere have the 2008 Elections to thank for sharpening our writing, our thinking, and our understanding of American politics, American culture, and American religion. Click on anything in the archive about Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin and you’ll find sparks. You’ll also find out why Americans love to evoke the First Amendment when their insensitive, ill conceived comments get backed up against the wall.
  5.  Prop 8, homophobia, and the black church is a favorite because it gave me a chance to think out loud, theologize on the run, and stand back and see for myself what I believe and where I stand as a Christian, minister, and biblical scholar on the topic of homosexuality.
  6. Hey, why we’re at it, let’s not forget our discussion of abortion, Sarah Palin, and all things Evangelical (that’s Evangelical with a capital “E,” mind you).
  7. Jessica’s “Sunday Morning Confession” guest blogpiece on not being able to endure Sunday Morning church services anymore kicked up a lot of dust on the blog and caused sparks to fly.
  8. Women mentoring women is a topic that never fails to get my goat, as they say. And I want to thank the Young ‘uns who read this blog for coming on with hands on the hips and getting us Ancient  Ones straight on where we have failed them. Cough. Cough.
  9. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back.  I love the blogpiece I wrote in defense of Silda Spitzer, Carlita Kilpatrick, and wives who stay with cheating husbands. That one is for big girls. Pour the wine. Hmmm…I really gotta get going  writing a book about love and the loss of innocence. I really wax eloquent when I’m on that topic.
  10. And then there’s the discussion about Barack Obama, Rick Warren, and who’s a Christian and who’s not that had everyone’s religious drawers in knots. We will have occasion to revisit this topic again in January, I’m sure.

Blogging has taken up a lot of my time. Special thanks my friends who have done without my friendship on occasion and my family who has had to do without my ministrations because they love someone who is blogger. The husband that lives in my house just shakes his head and makes up the bed himself. The teenager who lives in my house can’t figure out why anyone would sit before a computer and voluntarily write anything that causes them to anguish over grammar, punctuation, syntax, or organize their  thoughts before blurting them out.

Writers are only as good as what they read. You all know my love for books.  But I must come clean here at the end of the year and give a shout out to blogs and bloggers that keep me informed and whose lively writing, deep passion, searing intelligence, sharp wit, and/or infuriating points of view frequently give me just the jolt I need to think my own thoughts on whatever blog topic it is that I’m tackling on a given day. A soul sister shout out to: Aunt Jemima’s Revenge,Callahan Thinks, Anderson@Large, Womanist Musings, Sojourner’s PlaceThe Kitchen Table, Professor Kim, The Black Snob, HuffingtonReport, and Progressive Revival (where I have a blog column). (Lord, who have I forgotten to include on this blogroll?)

Finally, despite the time blogging has gobbled up, I’ve learned a lot from readers and appreciate the virtual friends,  the sho’ nuff colleagues, and the flesh-and-blood devoted and not-so-devoted blog readers  I’ve gained over the year. Heck, I’m even grateful to those of you who drop by to let me know that you disagree adamantly with my views, my right to speak, and my very being. You have helped make me the headstrong, clear thinking, confident women of faith I am today.

Thanks and Happy New Year to everyone.

And now I close with a song I’ve been dying to post here on the blog even though it has absolutely nothing to do with anything we’ve been talking about lately. But you all know how much I love me some “heartbreak” ballads. Big girl music. It’s the kind of record a woman plays on the last night of the year for the last time, just before turning the page to a new chapter on her life.


(I’ll be back on Monday, January 5th. I’m off to cook my black-eye peas and  candied yams before the New York comes in, and then off to Watch Night service to see the New Year in with the rest of the saints!)

Wright or Wrong?: My Take

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I give up trying to get anything productive done today. I haven’t been able to focus for all the emails and phone calls from the media requesting comments on the latest Jeremiah Wright/ Barack Obama spectacle. I may as well let my blog readers in on the discussions I’ve been having with family, friends, and interviewers over the last couple of days.

What do you make of the latest round of speeches Jeremiah Wright has given over the last few days, forcing Barack Obama to come back out and put even more distance between himself and his former pastor?

What we see is that despite its signature wall of separation between church-state, America continues to be a place where religion and politics are deeply entwined. We are curious about the religious beliefs of our politicians because we think a person’s religious beliefs say a lot (or ought to say something) about the way that person treats people and does politics.

But more to the point, what we see here is how both religion and politics have the potential to drive wedges between families, friends, and members of the same faith and political groups.

What are we to make of the timing of Jeremiah Wright’s latest round of media appearances?

First, when would have been a better time for Wright to come out and start speaking again? Invitations to speak for the NAACP are issued months ahead, and booking the National Press Club is not something granted you just because you asked. Meaning, these engagement have probably been on the books for awhile. Besides, I know Jeremiah Wright is a minister, but do we really think Wright had the prophetic gift of foreseeing Obama losing Pennsylvania far enough in advance to choose this as the ideal time for reminding the American public of his history with Barack Obama?

What do you make of the rumor that someone in Hillary Clinton’s camp hired Jeremiah Wright for the National Press Club speech?

I love conspiracy theories too. But, are you kidding? You obviously don’t know Jeremiah Wright. And neither does Hillary Clinton know Jeremiah Wright, if it’s true. Haven’t you noticed? Jeremiah Wright is just as apt to rip into a Clinton as he is to rip into the U.S. gov’t.

Is Jeremiah Wright doing this to get back at Barack Obama?

Why does everything have to be about Barack Obama? Can it be that the only thing on Jeremiah Wright’s mind is clearing his name and not leaving to Obama to define who he is which Obama sought to do last month when he cast Wright as the eccentric uncle everyone has in their family? Perhaps Wright sees this as an opportunity to use the spotlight on him to shed  broader light on the black church.Wright Obama

Did you get the feeling from watching Jeremiah Wright speak there at the National Press Club that this was all about male ego?

All about male ego? No. Is male ego at work somewhere in all that’s going on? Yes. What else is new? When has male ego not been a driving force in politics and religion?

Here we have this historic chance to get a Black man in the White House, certainly Jeremiah Wright understands the importance of this moment, knows the consequences his comments are likely to have on Obama’s campaign, and wouldn’t want to blow the chance for a former member of his congregation to become President of the United States.

Is that a question or a statement? Both men have made it clear. One is a politician and the other is a preacher. Both seem prepared to do what he has to do to get his message out there. 

Am I hearing Obama’s supporters saying:  “Don’t blow it for Obama. Keep all the colorful relatives in the attic until after the election”? If it is, it doesn’t work that way. If 90% of black voters are behind Barack Obama, as his supporters like to claim, then Obama can’t court black votes and expect black people to shut up and remain on their best behavior just so he an make a good impression on others. Besides, I thought Obama is the candidate who’s trying to bring the races together and sow seeds of reconciliation. Well, here comes Uncle Jeremiah to the reunion. Make them love and embrace Uncle Jeremiah, and you’ve done something.

Do you think this latest Wright/Obama spectacle has hurt Obama’s bid for the White House?

That depends. This latest drama will not cause black people to desert Barack Obama. Black people are smart enough to see through the drama. Now, will it turn white voters off from voting for Barack Obama? I don’t know. I’m not a white voter. I’ll venture an educated guess and say that I suspect that it will turn off some white voters. Correction: I suspect that it will turn off a lot of white voters. (Teh heh. Teh heh.) But will it turn off enough white voters to sink Obama’s campaign? That remains to be seen in the coming weeks. But I will say this: if the only way white voters feel comfortable voting for Obama is if he distances himself from fiery, brash, radical thinking black men of his past, like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, then Barack Obama may win the White House, but he’ll be forever a loser in the eyes of his own people (the black ones anyway).

Do you agree that Wright is the one under fire, not the black church.

Both are under fire.

Here’s something we can all agree on: Jeremiah Wright is no Joel Oesteen, that’s for sure.  Jeremiah Wright’s fiery, defiant, idiosyncratic personality notwithstanding, ignorance about the black church, about black liberation preaching, and about black preaching abound in this whole political spectacle. The black church is under fire if the only kind of black preacher that white America will tolerate as pastor to its aspiring black presidential candidate is one who does not criticize America from the pulpit, does not comment on white privilege in her or his sermons, and is humble and remorseful when s/he has been clobbered by the media – then the black church is definitely part of what’s under fire in this drama.

Which brings me to my last point.
The worst thing that can happen is for black people to let the media make us choose between Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. We must hold on to both men recognizing that both are fighting powers beyond their control and navigating and negotiating them the best way they know how. Though neither has been faultless in the way he has projected himself, both men represent styles of leadership, masculinity, and oratory that we’ve come to appreciate in the black community and which we shouldn’t have to choose between because we need both. Barack Obama: calm, measured, deliberate, and idealistic, and Jeremiah Wright: fiery, brash, defiant, and pragmatic.

Now, if you don’t mind I’ll go back to reading the biography on Hillary Clinton that I started last evening.