Tough Love: A Message to President Obama

We came across this interesting post by Australian activist Jarrod McKenna over at the God’s Politics blog, which is produced by our good friends at Sojourners. In light of all that’s happening in Washington this week, especially with President Obama’s health-care summit today, we thought we’d post it here in slightly edited form for your reflection.

It’s interesting to see Professor Cornel West, a well-known Obama supporter, offer this strong of a critique (in some ways, it’s an admonishment) of the President and his performance thus far.


A Whiz Kid at Morehouse College

college-dreams150x170.jpgWe still can’t get over the amazing story about a 13-year-old kid who’s currently a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. According to AOL’s Black Voices, young Stephen Stafford has a triple major in pre-med, math, and computer science. He began his college career at age 11, after being home-schooled by his mom.

Though he loves playing video games and drums, he is no typical teenager. His mom said she knew he was ready for college when he started teaching her.


Change Your Seat!

Change Your Seat! for urban faithWhen my usual pew was filled, I was almost panic-stricken as the usher led me to a different section of the church. Little did I know, I needed a change in perspective.

Some years ago, I walked into my church late and could not find a seat in the house. Actually, I could not find “my” seat in the house because all of the seats in my usual section were taken.

I felt uneasy, as I followed the usher to an open seat on the other side of the church. I had been so used to sitting in “my” seat that the thought of parking in a different pew — especially one on the complete opposite side of the church — actually bothered me. It was as if I was in a foreign country.

But as the service progressed, I was suddenly aware of the new level of freedom that I had as I praised and worshiped God in this strange, new location.

At one point, I was the only one standing and worshiping God with my whole body and with the words of my mouth. As I continued to shout praises to His name, others in my new seating area began to worship the Lord with me. Soon, we were swept up in a spirit of worship that seemed to last forever.

After the service, a brother and sister in Christ told me that they were glad that I sat in “their” section because my praise was infectious and they were encouraged by it to forget about their inhibitions and worship God even more. I was inspired by their testimony, and grateful to God for using me to encourage them and others in that section to worship Him with their whole beings.

As I drove home, I realized the Lord had allowed these circumstances to get me to see how silly it was to have “my” seat in church anyway. It’s not a restaurant, a theater, or a football stadium. It’s the house of God, where all are welcome and urged to gather together to praise and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. It is a place where there are no “Big I’s” or “little you’s” because God does not regard a person’s status or outward appearance, but looks at the heart and a person’s commitment to Him. It is a place where the focus should be on exalting the Lord for who He is and all that He has done.

The very next Sunday, I intentionally found a different place to sit and have done so ever since. Sometimes I’ve thought about those people who were encouraged to praise the Lord because I changed my seat. Maybe they got a breakthrough on some problem they were having. Maybe that day ignited a flame in them that the world and troubles could not extinguish. Maybe they were inspired to seek a more meaningful relationship with God. Maybe that Sunday changed their lives in some way. I may never know. But I have wondered, What would’ve happened if I had sat in my old seat instead?

Do you have a favorite spot to sit in church? Are you upset when you can’t sit in “your” seat? I encourage you to break that tradition. It may seem like a simple thing, but I’ve discovered that it’s often the simple things that lead to my most profound moments of growth as a person — as a Christian. Take a chance and let God move in you by moving yourself. When you walk into church this Sunday, make up your mind that you will Change Your Seat!