Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Barack Obama has picked University of North Carolina to win the NCAA basketball championship and that, for me, is the most important aspect of this campaign and Election 2008. It raises a very important question, who really picked the UNC team- was it Obama of his advisor on Sports issues? Even more important, why did he not pick Pittsburgh or University of Connecticut, my own emotional favorites?

For this reason alone, Obama is not getting my imaginary vote and before you accuse me of being a nutcase, I would have you know that my reason for not voting for Obama (if I had a vote) is as good as many other reasons circulating in the Christian blogosphere. Now, being a neutral party and not actually having a dog in this election race has allowed me some pretend detachment and also granted self-affirmed objectivity to my opinions.

A few days ago, Obama made what has been called the speech of his life so far and that is about as far as it goes because majority of those with their minds made up stand unmoved. His supporters, as well as many fair-minded but declared non-supporters agree that the speech was outstanding in content and delivery. Others have however focused on what he said about his grandmother, and still others say that he did not disown his former Pastor enough.

The speech also afforded an opportunity to one prominent Christian blogger to inform or remind us that when you hear a good speech full of great ideas and inspiring thought, look beyond the speaker to the speech writer . The content of the speech, it would appear, is not as important as the who actually penned it.
Well, I guess that is something worth remembering. It is akin to hearing a good sermon which touches your heart and soul and causes you to make drastic changes in your behaviour. When this happens you should look beyond the preacher, a mere messenger, to the actual author of the sermon, the Holy Spirit of God. We preach not ourselves, but Christ crucified, said the Apostle Paul. What else can I say?

That is the only spin I can put on this matter because this blogger is a fine Christian writer and commentator. Maybe, mixing one’s politics and the Christian faith can work in strange ways. Not to say it cannot or should not be done but I take on a great responsibility when I label any foray I have into politics on this blog as the or even a Christian perspective. Woe is me if I allow the unsanctified old nature to play tricks on my reasoning and in the process I cause any offence to the cross of Christ. It is Easter week.

Having said all the above, here is my personal opinion. It reflects my own flawed thinking alone; not that of my wife, children, my employer, my co-bloggers or my cat. Here it is; Obama gave a great speech and I wish I could have written it. Who cares if it was written by an Alien from the former planet of Pluto? Is that the best a Christian writer can do with the content of Obama's speech; that it was not written by him but by one of his speechwriters?

Near the end of the piece linked to, the following verse is quoted
But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2)

I will do well to look carefully into my own heart to see how often I try to use cunning and underhand ways to make my valid and often invalid points. Good thing we have only nine new readers a year on this blog, isn’t it? The University of Connecticut is already out of the basketball championships, upset by San Diego by a single point on Good Friday. Come on Pittsburgh, let us prove Obama wrong. - Robbo

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Anonymous Gaius Columbus said...

Some of this stuff really surprises and disheartens me. If Christians can say some of the things I read on the blog then we are in trouble. Obama's speech was refreshing, honest, and elevating.

I have to admit that when this campaign begun, I started out rooting for Obama partly because I thought it was psychologically healthy for our kids to see a black as president. Those initial reasons have long faded. Now, every time I see Barack in an interview or respond under pressure like he has had to recently, the thing that strikes me is his even demeanor, decency, and intelligence. Purely from a human standpoint, I must confess that I am very impressed by him. It takes both good judgment and steady temperament to be a leader. I think he possesses both. Either way, may God's will be done

March 31, 2008 at 7:31 AM  
Anonymous alien warrior said...

Obama is intelligent, articulate and very well composed. It was inevitable that “race” would become an issue in this campaign because among other things, he is running for, what has been to date, a white man’s job. The now vociferous support he is getting from Blacks is has also come into play. This is completely separate from the Jeremiah Wright fiasco. Obama himself had kept race out of his politicking till now. One almost wants Blacks to quietly root for him if they like him and allow the whites to see beyond race, which really is still a big issue in this country.

Haven in the past attended a black church for 5 years I actually feel for Pastor Wright. I think his sermons have been mischaracterized. Interestingly the best defense I heard for his case came from a White pastor who said something to the effect that you can love your country but still criticize it because the things your country may be doing are not necessarily godly. He actually said that if you compare Jeremiah Wright to his namesake Jeremiah in the Bible you will actually find that Mr. Wright is very moderate in his assertions. Indeed the prophet Jeremiah was asked to speak worse things to Israel. This commentator actually agreed with Mr. Wright's assertions that America has a very dark history that it is ignoring.

Historically the black church has been the bastion of civil rights campaigning in this country; thus periodically you will find sermons like Mr. Wright's which are meant to keep the struggle alive. It’s really not a preaching of civil disobedience but an awakening of a people’s consciences to the wrongs that are still going on to date. I think his only fault is that he was not very tactful in his presentation. Our Lord Jesus was often very tactful in making His points.

Finally, I feel that the Lord is very much in control and Obama can win this election if the Lord so desires. You only need to look at the economy and Iraq and realize that when things start going very wrong people become more objective about who their leaders are. It may be that Obama through no intuition of his own has just chosen the right time to run.

One final point, Obama talks very openly about his faith in Christ- not God, but Christ. That is very interesting and the evangelicals are going to have to decide whether to back him or McCain.

March 31, 2008 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Calorius said...

Very well put, AL. Every once in a while I feel as if you've taken my thoughts and composed and expressed them so well. The only thing I can add regarding Rev Wright is that context also makes a big difference. The same words in one context can be a soulful cry for freedom and justice, and in another context a very inflammatory outburst. Sometimes a very revolutionary speech can actually be the one that controls a crowd and tones them down. I remember my secondary school Literature teacher teaching us about Mark Anthony’s famous speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and explaining the importance of the context/situation and not just the speech.

I haven't read all of J. Wright's sermons, but I can imagine a situation in which someone has to give voice to similar sentiments, and it is usually the "prophets" among us who do. These are the "redemption songs" of Bob Marley, the trial speech of Nelson Mandela, the Gettysburg address of Lincoln, etc. Some good examples are also found in the book of Acts. Sometimes people are charged to the point of mass murder, ready to kill somebody, and one person would seize the moment, make some speech and diffuse all the tension. Like Jesus' "let who has not sinned cast the first stone" speech. At other times, speech is what incites the action. Paul uses this at one time to pit resurrectionists against non-resurrectionists, in order to confuse the crowd and save himself.

Yet the same words, in another context, can incite a crowd to do things that no sane person should do. Sometimes historians even go back and look for exactly what it was in that speech that incited some murderous deeds, but they can't find it. All I’m saying is that Wright's statements should be judged in their context. By the same token, we should be fair when evaluating the statements of many a Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, or even Don Imus, and make adjustments for the context. Example, was Trent Lotte's gaffe a Freudian slip showing racism or just a careless sentiment uttered in the exuberance of a late night party roast.

April 1, 2008 at 9:28 AM  

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