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Using other people’s material is what lazy pastors do every week.

Back in my seminary days in Chicago I took a class on African American Preaching. Loved it. One of our texts was this book: Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Its Sources.

From the book jacket: “…argues that King’s language and imagery comprised a skilful blending of the oral tradition of the Afro-American folk church and the style of the printed sermons of white, liberal preachers.”

I remember being shocked at how much wasn’t original to him, including I HAVE A DREAM: “the source King raided for this was a speech given to the Republican National convention of 1952, by a black preacher named Archibald Carey.”

In my field we call this Redaction and Source Criticism. Did you know Matthew and Luke drew heavily from Mark? And Mark drew heavily from a Source we only know today as Q. And while I’m at it should I mention the Golden Rule in my beloved Sermon on the Mount wasn’t original to Jesus?

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, Melania Trump hit a home run with her speech however it turns out 50 words were lifted from Mrs. Obama’s 2008 speech. True to form in castigating conservative women, the Left pounced with full-scale cast-the-first-stone-political-plagiarism faux-outrage and foolishness.

Who do we really think has been behind our Teleprompter President?

The Dirty Jobs guy, Mike Rowe, had some interesting comments on his Facebook page which made the news.

I don’t know about common sense, but here’s my analysis of the situation. (I hope to God someone hasn’t already written this.) Regarding the charges of plagiarism, I really don’t know. All I know for sure is that Mrs. Trump is absolutely, positively guilty of standing before the country and reading words she didn’t write as if they were own. I also know that Mrs. Obama is guilty of doing the same thing. Both women – along with their husbands – have stood proudly before a national audience and pretended the words they read originated with them – knowing full well they did not. Let’s consider for a moment, the weird reality of speechwriters in our political discourse. Why do we tolerate them? Why do we permit our leaders to pretend that someone else’s words are theirs? Moreover, why do we allow them to stand before us and act as if they’re NOT reading from a script, when we know damn well they are? Why – in this – “age of authenticity” – do we accept the artifice of a Teleprompter, and all the other pretenses of earnestness that enable candidates to present themselves as something other than who they really are? I always thought the obvious answer was because we’re a lazy and shallow species who value style over substance. But now, it seems I was mistaken. Today, half the country has risen up in righteous indignation because the words of an anonymous speechwriter – words once read by Mrs. Obama as if they were her own – have been co-opted by another anonymous speechwriter, and given to another aspiring First Lady – who also read those same words as if they belonged to her! Did either one of them believe what they read? Beats me. Does anyone even care about such a thing? Who knows? No one is talking about what was said. Only about how they said it. What we know for sure – is that neither one of them wrote the words they spoke. The real question is, do we truly care? Personally, I do. But not as much as I care about the underlying Kabuki that now informs the whole election process.

 

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Barack Obama says fatherhood begins at conception. Big thanks to Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council for putting on YouTube an important follow up question that the media surely won’t be asking.

This speech was given by Sen. Obama at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. Nothing out of the ordinary there, he and Hillary Clinton are speaking in churches every weekend. Hmm. If I were to invite John McCain to speak from my pulpit how long do you suppose it would before the IRS would get complaints? That’s soon to change… September 28th here we come! It’s a new day!

Culture is downstream of politics. Politics is downstream of righteousness. Righteousness is downstream of a relationship and intimacy with God. The church is called to connect people with God and release and equip them to see to it the Kingdom leaven permeates the entire loaf of society. This is the flow, the stream, we read of in Amos 5:24 – “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” We need Amos-like prophets to rise up in America again and cry out for justice for the most vulnerable in our society – the unborn. Martin Luther King Jr. was that voice a generation ago crying for justice for those not considered “fully human” back then.

Whoops. Woke up too early to get to the Kadoka, SD stop here on the twelve-city state Urgency Tour rallying pastors to use their influence to help end abortion in South Dakota. I guess I forgot to consider the time change. But nothing so far has been incidental or accidental or coincidence or without purpose. Waking up too early made me think I’m getting ahead of myself. I do think we are one step ahead of our enemies in the battle. My pro-life blog has more on our tour so far.

The theme of the tour is Urgency and we’ve been reading Martin Luther King Jr’s book “Why We Can’t Wait” in the car. I particularly enjoyed this little section on an “urgency tour” he found himself on. We are in good company.

We were seeking to bring about a great social change which could only be achieved through unified effort. Yet our community was divided. Our goals could never be attained in such an atmosphere. It was decided that we would conduct a whirlwind campaign of meetings with organizations and leaders in the Negro community, to seek to mobilize every key person and group behind our movement. Along with members of my staff, I began addressing a cross section of our people in Birmingham. I spoke to 125 business and professional people… talked to a gathering of 200 ministers… met with many smaller groups, during a hectic one-week schedule… I dealt with the argument of timing. To the ministers I stressed the need for a social gospel to supplement the gospel of individual salvation. I suggested that only a “dry as dust” religion prompts a minister to extol the glories of Heaven while ignoring the social conditions that cause me earthly hell. I pleaded for the projection of strong, firm leadership by the Negro minister… I asked how the Negro would ever gain his freedom without the guidance, support and inspiration of his spiritual leaders. (pg. 54-55)

Did you catch how he said – “I dealt with the argument of timing.” It’s all about timing. Here’s another gem from MLK on the issue of urgency and timing:

“Another consideration had also affected the thinking of some of the Negro leaders in Birmingham. This was the widespread feeling that our action was ill-timed… The words “bad timing” came to be ghosts haunting our every move in Birmingham… Above all they did not realize that it was ridiculous to speak of timing when the clock of history showed that the Negro had already suffered one hundred years of delay.”

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