The Day After

Absolutely true story:

Was attending Easter services yesterday and the minister — who happens to be white — was preaching on the subject of the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's ministry and world view and how depressing this all was to him. He wondered why so few had so little interest in the totality of Wright's message and ministry. Race is relevant to the story because the minister went on to preach about how he had previously pastored a predominately black church (and when he said predominately he meant that the only other white person in the congregation was married to him) and how uncomfortable this was at times for everyone — how his congregation had looked to the church as a place that was "theirs," one of the few places they could own, lead, and relax without fear of being judged or diminished by the rest of the world — and that accepting him as pastor meant for some, a loss of this. And as for him, he reported that he was often on eggshells, worrying if something he said unwittingly caused offense, or if his own life experiences did not offer the kind of framework his members needed and desired for spiritual sustenance.

His point: that change, even good change, causes discomfort, fear, and anxiety. Jesus, even upon his Resurrection, had to urge his followers not to be afraid. Even this marvelous rebirth, this miracle, caused such fear along with joy.

And then this happened ...

In the middle of the sermon ... a commotion in the choir. Even though we are only a few rows from the front we cannot see what is going on ... the minister stops his sermon to ask for a doctor.

A young African American woman wearing dreadlocks rushes to offer aid ... an older middle aged, balding white man soon follows to help the woman, an elderly white woman who has fainted or collapsed. Together they discretely spirit her to the back as the congregation offers prayers for her and for those who are attending to her.

It occurs to me only later ... a young African American woman, a middle aged white man, an elderly white woman ... who would have thought they would all come together in this way, in this hour, for this purpose, in this place?

They say that 11 am Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week in this country ... and that's probably still true ... (we go to early service, but you take my point) ... but sometimes change happens ...

Know that I am not preaching, proselytizing, or anything of that sort ... but in the wake of all we discussed last week ...

PS... Douglas here, Tell Me More producer (sitting in for Lee) ...

If you haven't already, check out our show today. We have an update on the racially-charged stories we've been following in Jena, Tx., and Baltimore, Md.

Washington Post Magazine writer Gene Weingarten tells us why he spent 24 hours watching pundits ... on 6 televisions, 2 radios and his laptop!

American Library Association President Loriene Roy recommends books for Women's History Month.

We hear from an opponent of the reduction in crack cocaine sentences. The minister explains why he believes his community will suffer.

And Minnesota Congressman Jim Ramstad tells us how his personal experience with addiction led him to sponsor a bill that would increase access to mental health care.

- Douglas

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I fear the statement that Sunday is the most segregated day shows some of the segregation in and of itself.
After all, how many Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or any people of other religions came to help.
I'd be rather surprised if the answer was any -- because they don't go to church (synagogue, mosque, temple) etc., any more on Sunday than any other day.

Sent by Benjamin Goldstein | 10:19 PM | 3-24-2008

I just had a question for the "right reverend" who was on your show this morning, 03/24/2008, stating his apparent disdain for the drug offenders who have served over a decade in prison and might be released one or two years early: since he is so against them returning to the only place many of them know, what would the "reverend" suggest be done with these people? Should they remain incarcerated, in a system that is not doing anything to rehabilitate them in any way so that they will be equipped to be productive in society once they are released?

Instead of being so unChrist-like in his attitude towards them, perhaps the good reverend can begin a program at his church or in the community he spoke of that will assist in job skills training and/or education for these young men and women who felt they had no other job opportunities when they engaged in the activities that led them to prison in the first place.

Sent by Mrs. Ellis | 1:25 PM | 3-26-2008

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