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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Obama is earning my respect more and more for a number of reasons.  One, in the black community it is taboo (downright dangerous) to question or disagree with the black pastor.   Obama is proving to be a critical thinker; who does not tow the party line.  I have question the black pastor before and suffered some harsh criticisms; yet right is right, and wrong and wrong.  So, I commend Obama for standing up for truth.  Second, Obama has done his homework; Wright has not.  It is unimaginable to say as Wright does that the 911attacks on the US was because “…it engaged in terrorism on other people…” (see New York Times, April 30, 2008).  This simply not true; many in the more radical sects of Islam hate America because of its secularism among other reasons.  And when visible blacks like Wright and others speak it is an embarrassment to me as an African American.  However, I can think for myself (thank you very much)!  Please, Pastor Wright, do your homework or please stop talking!

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Okay I resisted long enough to write this journal.  Several years ago, I remember attending a wedding at a predominantly white church in west county St. Louis, MO.  As I was approaching the church entrance, a seminary professor’s wife say, “Hi, Mike.”  The seminary professor’s wife is white, and Mike is black.  One day while at my former job, a white male seminarian recounted this story.  He told me that his little son saw a black man in a local grocery store and thought he was someone else and called the man by someone else’s name.  This white male seminarian laughed at this case of mistaken identity.  Today, I went to a synagogue to interview a rabbi.  I went to the gift shop as I was waiting on the rabbi.  As I left the gift shop, a white lady said to me, “Hey, (insert the name of a black male worker; I didn’t hear what name she called me).”  When I turned around, she was slightly embarrass and said, “Oh, I am sorry!”

I think these are not only cases of mistaken identity but these three instances are telling of something else: some white people need to get out more and mingle with other members of the many minority groups in our culture and world.  It is almost unavoidable considering our world is now a global world.  We are increasingly becoming a global community.  In my neighborhood alone, there are families from India, a Hispanic family, a family from Russia, white families, and us (a black family).  How can you avoid others who are another race or ethnicity unless it is intentional?

I have been a bit too cynical and critical of late.  So, let me give two illustrations that ‘humanity is not as bad as it can be.’

  1. My wife is not a sports fan; in fact, she takes a book, magazine, or newspaper to our son’s baseball games.  We have a teenager in our neighborhood who plays baseball for a local high school.  High school teams often try to raise money to offset costs, etc.  So, this teenager approaches my wife to ask if she would pledge a certain amount for every foot he hits the baseball.  Initially, my wife pledges 50 cents.  This teenager said to  my wife, “Mrs. Bobo, that will be a bit much, perhaps you should pledge 5 cents instead.”  This young man, who is a fairly good ball player, could have taken advantage of my wife’s lack of knowledge but he took the high road.  I credit his parents who live quite simply.
  2. I often go to FedEx Kinko’s to fax documents or make copies.  And I frequently use my green Visa debit card.  On several occasions I have left the store with my copies or a confirmation that my fax had been transmitted but without my green debit card.  And each time I have called the store to ask if someone turned in my card, each time someone had.   I am relieved each time.

Thank goodness that people are not as bad as they can be!

I read two papers today – the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.  You remember the young man, Sean Bell who was thought to have a gun along with his other two unarmed friends (weapons were never located).  Three New York City armed officers opened fire on Bell and his car mates – 50 rounds worth.  One officer took the time to unload and load; he fired the most shots, 31.  Of course, I don’t know all the facts but isn’t 50 rounds excessive?  Shouldn’t there be some culpability since no weapon was found?  Is something broken here?

 

I noticed a bumper sticker today.  It read, “Pro-faith, pro-family, pro-choice.”  “Faith” is such a vague term today in our religious pluralistic society; it needs particularity.  So, if this person is speaking of Christian faith, then “pro-choice” can not be in the same sentence as “Pro-faith, Pro-family.”  Why? Because Christians know that our choices must be filtered through God’s choices (or will).  When our choices don’t match His choices, that’s when not so good things happen to us.

I spent $60 today filling up my Toyota Highlander.   Several weeks (months) ago, it cost $45.  Before long, I will be paying $80.   I need a raise!

I’ve been thinking about two issues.  One, I am elated that so many are behind Obama – a black man, a African American man.  This is truly a historical time to be living.  Dr. King would be so proud; I imagine he, if interviewed, would say, “This is what I fought and died for; that a man be judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.”  But that brings me to what I have been thinking about.  What if Obama were of a darker hue or skin color – would this make a difference?  I don’t think it would make a difference to the postmodern generation (those born 1984 and beyond) because this generation values and appreciate racial and cultural diversity (however, let me add that some blindly and naively value diversity).  So, if Obama had a darker skin color would the many baby boomers who support him now still support him?

The other thing I have been thinking about is the structure of most protestant churches.  Let me explain.  In most or many churches, a sole senior pastor is the head.  Specifically, as senior pastor, he preaches most of the time.  I often get into ‘spirited discussions’ with my wife about this situation.  Her comment is, “the people want to hear the senior pastor.”  My comeback is, “Is this what the people really need?”  Furthermore, is this what the senior pastor needs?  To the first question, I say, to give people what they want seems to be catering to our consumeristic culture which says, “buy what you prefer or want.”  So, I ask again, “is hearing the senior pastor most Sundays, what the people really need?”  Doesn’t this feed our consumeristic tendencies? To the second question (“is this what the senior pastor needs?”), I respond this way: it appears to me that pride is a real danger of a senior pastor who preaches nearly every Sunday.  As a broken man who is prone to pride or arrogance, if I heard the “news on the street”: “We like hearing pastor Luke preach”, or “I am not going to church if pastor Luke is not preaching” – this will certainly inflate my head.   And positively, a pastor needs rest at times.  It seems to me that rest is a good thing.  So, again, I ask is this what the senior pastor needs?

Caveat: this second “I’ve been thinking” issue could just be my misguided judgment on the matter?  Or maybe I am disgruntled and can not be very objective?

 

  1. I have been thinking about the rising gas prices for obvious reasons (I need gas).  I have heard on the radio and TV that ‘gas prices could top $4/gallon this summer.’  So, I wonder – do gas stations after hearing such news move to fulfill this prophecy?  Or could this be my cynical bent again?
  2. I have been wondering about young (and old) men who were sagging pants; you’ve seen them, their pants hug their behinds rather than their waist.  And this fashion trend has transcended race and one’s socio-economic position/ranking.  So, I wonder since these men must walk in a way to keep their pants up, will this somehow affect their back or will this “new walk” affect them in other ways physiologically?

I just wonder….?

I picked up (or bought) a polo shirt from my alma mater, the University of Kansas, recently.  Originally, I was buying this shirt for my wife.  However, when I returned home she politely informed me that it was a male polo shirt.  So, now the shirt is mine (I didn’t plan it this way).  Now to my curiosity.  With Americans getting bigger, I wonder if clothing manufacturers are adjusting their traditional sizes (S, M, L) to keep pace with our ‘growth’.   I bought a small polo but it fits like a Medium on me.  Historically, a Small polo would be hugging my bulging belly.  I am left wondering: has our clothing manufacturers adjusted their sizes so that a Small is now really a Medium; a Medium is really a Large, etc. to fit growing Americans?  If this is true, is this encouraging Americans to get larger?

TV Personalities.  Now I know why TV personalities have slender facial features.  I was videoed recently for a short clip and the results were scary to me.  My already big cheeks were bigger; my nose profile was exaggerated.   I looked like I had teeth pulled.  Good thing I have not be called to the media profession.

Cell phones.  I have a love-hate relationship with these little gadgets.  I love that I can take care of business while driving and they make great homing devices.  What I mean is if my son is lost, I can call him and ask for his location.  But I also dislike the things.  This is why.  It never fails, I get behind a slow driver and while passing them, I notice the person is talking on his or her cell phone.  It almost appears like the person is unaware of his or her speed and surroundings because the phone call has taken priority.  It’s like taking a call at home and then sitting down to actually engage in the conversation.   Maybe I am asking folks to multi-task while driving but that is a scary proposition too. 

 

Some more random thoughts. 

  1. Bad marketing analysis.  I went to lunch at a St. Louis Bread Company in St. Charles, MO last week.  Some background information will help.  St. Charles is a ‘older town’ (city).  Many of its residents are elderly; people drive slow here.  And the residents are mostly white.  Now, imagine seeing some young African American males with backwards wearing baseball caps and sagging pants.  With clip boards in hand, these same young men presumably wishing to sale something or take a survey approach these elderly white residents and guess what the reaction is?   Automatic, no thank you.  Just imagine if these same young men wore their baseball caps as designed and pulled their pants up; the reaction would have been quite different.
  2. Truancy Officer.  I visited with my grand dad on Saturday, April 5 in Kansas City, KS.  His pastor came by before I left to return to St. Louis.  The pastor spoke of ‘truancy officers’.  What’s that I asked?  Get this: truancy officers worked for the school district in Kansas City, KS; when a student did not show up for school, that student received a house call from a truancy officer.  Attendance improved!  What if we applied the truancy officer concept to St. Louis’ school district or some version of it?