To an extent, the Reverend Wright controversy was inevitable. It was only a matter of time. I saw this coming, though the package it arrived in took me greatly by surprise.
I hope we take this opportunity as a means to advance moderate leftist religious and spiritual causes and not let ourselves be unfairly painted by our opposition with a broad brush. Wright does not speak for me and does not speak for my spiritual gathering and my religious allegiance.
I will be completely honest. In my younger years, I felt the seductive power of radicalism, militant politics, and the strident voices of the extreme left. But as I have grown older, I understand that radicals and reactionaries both are deeply troubled people. No one joins a cult because they feel particularly stable and no one lauds extreme political viewpoints because they feel accepted as a member of the mainstream.
Allow me to share my personal story. My late teens and early twenties were full of confusion and feelings of isolation. I felt misunderstood and utterly alone. This is why I once sought audience with the extreme left. So it is that I will never forget my first encounter with the intersection of liberal religion and militant politics. Up until that point I had lived a very sheltered existence very much in keeping with the pervasive and dominant Calvinism of my home state of Alabama. My eyes were opened wide--that is for sure. I had to see for myself and instead of feeling empowered, I felt deeply ambivalent about the path I had stumbled upon.
I understood in an instant why this degree of radical expression flourished for only a brief moment in time. The freedom and liberation promised by extreme leftist politics is deeply deceptive. In my opinion, few people have the self-control to be able to correctly manage free love, polyamory, and a particularly laissez faire attitude towards many things that I had been been taught in my childhood to be intrinsically sinful.
Do pardon as I refer to these past events of life in passing and not in much detail. I feel no compulsion to call out certain people or to point fingers. Those memories are reminders of how I was in a much less self-assured point in my life. I don't disown them, but neither are they a correct reflection of the way I am today.
So it is that now many of us are being forced to confront our riotous youth and the way we were before we had families, husbands, wives, significant others, careers, and positions of responsibility.
The United States of America is, and I doubt this comes as much of a surprise, quite a conservative nation. We are a nation of voyeurs, all of us eager to pry into the lives of other people, but hoping and praying the cameras never turn in our direction. And so it is when we are forced to confront unsettling realities, our discomfort is clearly palpable.