In the video link below is a 2004 interview conducted with Juan Williams author, “This Far by Faith.” We discussed the importance of the African American church in America and in the lives of black communities. This topic is especially relevant today in the aftermath and response to the massacre of nine worshipers at the Mother AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 17, 2015.
President Obama delivered one of the greatest presidential eulogies ever made. His words heard around the world were spoken on behalf of his friend Rev. Clementa Pinckney one of nine victims killed by a racist terrorist at Mother AME Church in Charleston ,South Carolina last week.
It’s obvious Barack Obama’s time wasn’t wasted during those sermons he heard over 20 years while attending Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church on Chicago’s South side. Before Wright’s fall from grace he had been regarded as one among black America’s most eloquent preachers. Obama actually drew upon his own considerable knowledge of homiletics as he spoke eloquently on the theme of ” God’s grace” in the grand tradition of Drs.Gardner Taylor, known as the Dean of Black preachers, Martin Luther King-Jr and Adam Clayton Powell Sr.
Like every project he engages, you can bet the POTUS studies the bible and scripture intensely. He has listened to the songs and great hymns of Zion in black worship services, and he genuinely understands their idiom and inflections and moans steeped in the trials of slavery and racial subjugation and the blues. No doubt he’s heard great sermons across the country delivered by white and black clergy. But there is a distinctive resonance and cadence to black sermons and oratory that is undeniably and unabashedly black and American. Barack’s gravitas behind the pulpit is neither fake nor manufactured it’s hard won. He’s obviously studied with intentionality the potency of the African American church as a moral force for social, political and economic empowerment of black people in America.
Seizing the moment he summonsed his vast historical knowledge along with his considerable spiritual and scriptural reservoir which has laid fallow for six long years and set the tone for what may well prove a transformative moment in America’s readiness to deal with its original sin, slavery, Jim Crow and the lingering racism it produced. Obama understands the centrality of the Black church’s historical role and learned lessons from his experience. And I’ve no doubt that he at some point accepted and received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It can’t be readily faked. His eulogy was real and prophetic, a remarkable moment in American history and one that distinguishes him as a child of God.