Archive for October, 2009

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them…

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

You’ve all seen the video by now of little Tyren Scott,  a fourth grader at a charter school in New Orleans, who got to ask  President Obama the last question at the town hall meeting the President held there in his city.

“Why do people hate you?”

“Ahhhh…” we collectively say to ourselves.

Our hearts break as we listen to a little boy ask the question on the minds of plenty adults and children as they witness the rage that has been directed at President Obama over the last few months.

But what about the President’s answer? How do you rate the President’s answer?

Watching the video, I find myself wondering if His O-ness missed the moment. Oh sure, he tried to explain to the little fellow that it was all politics, and then wanted him to know that he needn’t worry that he  [the president] could take care of himself. I get that. I even get that the President was probably sideswiped by the boy’s question and was so moved by the his genuinely not understanding all that was going on that  His O-ness  fumbled for a moment there on how best to respond knowing that cameras were zooming in on him. I get that.

But still I wonder.

Might there have been a better response to the little boy’s question about hate and American politics? I haven’t yet figured out what I wish the President had said.  I just know that I was looking for something a little more thoughtful.

What else, or what differently, might President Obama have said in response to the little guy’s question, “Why do people hate you?”

Four Women–Take The Time Out

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I was first introduced to Nina Simone’s “Four Women” when I arrived on campus decades ago and heard Ethos choir, the black women’s choir on campus, singing it. “Four Women” was a perfect climax at Ethos concerts which included a repertoire of songs about young love, painful heartache, social injustices, self-determination, and faith in God.

I can still hear upperclassmen Vivian Cherry, Pat Mel, and the others singing with sass and cold hearted clarity “Four Women” which Simone wrote about four popular  stereotypes of black women (”Aunt Sarah,” “Saffronia,” “Sweet Thing” and “Peaches”). The singer recorded the song on her 1966 album “Wild is the Wind.”I love Nina’s version of the song, but I appreciate singers Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves, and Simone (the late singer’s daughter) coming together and reprising Nina’s powerfully important song in tribute to black womanhood.

I post the video on the blog today as a way to introduce “Four Women” to the young women who visit this blog and others of you who are unfamiliar with it, and as a way to call “time out” from all the things in the universe that has us women bent out of shape and at odds with each other.

Enjoy the image of these three powerful divas coming together and paying tribute to a legend and ushering her voice back into our hearts.

Renee wrote in challenging everyone who reads this post to be inspired to compliment four (4) women today, then tell them they have to do the same for (4) different women as well. Let me add that you should include in that number women who are different from you, women you otherwise have next to nothing in common with, because that’s what Nina Simone was after in the song. The lies and stereotypes that we bear and keep us at odds with each other. And since I’ve had to speak strongly to a couple of women this week to set them right about a couple of matters I feel particularly inspired to get going on this challenge.

A Little Levity for Women in Ministry

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Okay, so I don’t feel like being serious or thoughtful or reflective or even spiritual here on the blog today.  After spending over thirty minutes in my closet yesterday anguishing over what to wear to the pulpit to preach in, when I stumbled on this button this morning I howled.

pulpit magnet

You can order the magnet or (if you’re really bold) the tee-shirt:

Congratulations, Mr. President!

Friday, October 9th, 2009

mr. president

As my late father would say, “Well sir.”

Those of us in the U.S. woke to the jaw dropping news this morning  that 9 months into his term, President Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Wow!!

Word is that even the White House, including His O-ness, was shocked and called all hands on deck to decide whether to accept or not. (Read what the president finally had to say about receiving the honor.)

Obama is the third sitting president to win the prestigious award out of Oslow. Woodrow Wilson won the 1919 prize in recognition of his Fourteen Points peace programme and work in achieving inclusion of the Covenant of the League of Nations in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War One. Theodore Roosevelt won the 1906 prize for his role in ending the bloody 1905 war between two of the world’s great powers, Japan and Russia. (Jimmy Carter won in 2002 as ex-president for his work in using his status as an ex-president to intervene and faciliate peaceful solutions to international conflicts.)

In response to criticism to Obama’s selection, saying that nine months into his presidency he has yet to make any significant international achievement, the Norwegian Nobel Committee countered by saying that it was trying “to promote what [Obama] stands for and the positive processes that have started now.”

As hard as it is for some of us to understand this fact: some things just ain’t about you. Whether you’re being nominated for the Nobel Prize or you’re being pummeled to death politically by your opponents.  It ain’t about you. It’s about about the cause, some doggone larger issue, tumbling around in other folk’s head that you, by golly, represent in their minds.

So, move over His and Her O-ness. We’re all stunned. Proud, but scratching our heads too. Not saying you don’t deserve it. Just saying, “Well sir.”

Enjoy it while it lasts. But don’t let your guard down. Experience says, they’ll tear palm branches down from trees one week and hail you as “The One” and turn around and call you an impostor a week later and leave you hanging from a tree.  In the meantime, thank ‘em and figure out how to leverage the award to accomplish some really urgent items on your agenda.

You lose Rio, but you win Oslo. Go figure.

Congratulations, Mr. President!