Friday, January 23, 2009

President and Mrs. Barack Obama


Like many Americans I experienced a swirl of emotions this past Tuesday while watching the inaugural events of President Barack Obama. And perhaps like many I ruminated on how his adminiatration and example will affect this country for at least the next four years.

Of the many images that stood out for me two in particular are worth mentioning. The first was during the parade when President and Mrs. Obama got out of the limo and walked together hand in hand greeting the crowd. I wondered how the image of an African-American president and his wife walking side by side to lead a nation in one of its greatest times of challenge impacted young black people. I hoped that young men especially took note of the respect and love our President has for his wife. I hope they see that seeking to marry a gifted, wise and intelligent wife is a sign of strength and character, not an signal of weakness. I hope our young brothers (saved and not saved) could envision themselves as embodying leadership not by seeking to dominate our sisters but by acknowledging and thanking God for a wife who will walk by our side (not behind us) as together we tackle the issues of our community, country and world. It was indeed a beautiful sight, one that I am blessed to have watched.

The other was the first dance. If you haven't seen it do yourself a favor: take a few minutes, grab a smooth cup of coffee, look it up on the net and drink it in. It was fabulous. The dance occured at the Neighborhood Ball to the Etta James song 'At Last' performed by Beyonce. Before the dance President Obama spoke to the gathered crowd and highlighted the beauty of his wife. Following that Beyonce dedicated the song and serenaded the first couple as they took command of the dance floor. It was a most tender and touching moment. The image was as striking as their parade walk but for a different reason. Here our president showed the tenderness every man should have for his wife. Coupled with the parade walk the dance demonstrated how men can at the same time draw from the strength, wisdom and intellect of our wives while showing the kind of tender affection reserved for marriage only. I couldn't help but hope that millions of young black youth were viewing that dance and thinking 'so that's what it means to be a man'.

Why did these two images make such an impression on me? I suppose that the older I grow the more I comprehend the power of man of God displaying that godliness in the way he loves and respects his wife. Among evangelicals there's always a great deal of talk about ministry, culture, witness and relevance. We discuss, debate and argue about what the gospel is, the extent of its implications and the wisest and most effective ways to engage the culture (whatever that culture is) with the gospel. Well here's a bit of advice for those seeking to be winesome, witty, with it, relevant and attractive to our culture. And I'm particularly aiming this to our brothers.

Get married.

Find a wife to whom you can pour your love into and show authentic Christ-like leadership by serving her interest, issues and real needs. Establish a relationship in which you cultivate her beauty, gifts, intellect and wisdom and invite the community into your home to see that. Show some young men that though they may not rise to become president there's nothing stopping them (but their own fears and insecurities) from praying for godly wise wife and showing the beauty, order and goodness of the gospel of our Lord. by loving her as He loves His people.

For those of us who are married it's time to put all that theology into practice by learning to authentically love our wives as Christ loves the church. That might mean putting down your latest theology book (sacrilege I know) and actually participating in an activity your wife likes. It will mean shedding the myth that the husband's 'role' in marriage is to tell his wife what to do and makes sure she submits to him. It means humbling ourselves, learning to live selflessly and being the kind of husband that does all he can to genuinely serve the interest of our wives and not wait around for them to serve us. In short it means becoming and living like a man and not a spoiled 8 year old child.

If your lacking examples of this take a look at our President. (even if you didn't vote for him)
And think about the fact that having a brilliant, beautiful, educated and wise wife doesn't in anyway detract from his manhood but actually gives him a platform to show America, black men and the world what true manhood can look like.

To Him Who Loves Us...
pastor lance

10 comments:

John Umland said...

Great word Lance. Thank you.
God is good
jpu

Erin said...

In full agreement! Great post!

Jenny Abrenica said...

True manhood? Really? A man who would have his own grandchildren aborted? (To name just one example). That's what you as a church leader present to American youth as true manhood? Scary. Very, very scary. Just brush that under the rug, huh? Don't you look at the content of his character? Or only the color of his skin?

Dave said...

Good word Pastor Lance. I haven't seen the dance footage yet...I will have to look that up.

Lionel Woods said...

Lance,

Piggybacking but not totally agreeing with Jenny. Here are my thoughts rather they are worth anything is for you to judge.

1. I like Obama. I actually think he will make a great president. However, Jenny brings up some good points. Though I think you were focusing more on his marital aspect.

2. I think if we would raise up more theologically sound and morally upright Pastors who practice hospitality and love their wives it would be a much greater example than Obama. What I mean is this. Those you are closet with, those you can put your hands on will be the most influential in our lives. Though Obama is a man of color representing his nation as the President, he is still a fairytale. The truth is becoming the president is about as likely as a man hitting a bulls eye on a dart board that he dropped from an airplane. But the man that can serve me and I can serve, a man that invites my family into his life that models a Gospel marriage, that will have lasting changes on my life.

3. I don't know if you were saying this but I have to agree with Jenny on the fact that I don't want my child to compromise his faith in order to appease anyone regardless of who that "anyone" is and regardless of the great benefit it will bring to the Kingdom of man. Though I hate to agree (because I like being difficult) Piper was right on his assessment of making Christ a minister of condemnation, not to mention the civil religion of Christianity plagues the African American Community, all you need to do is have watched the "Celeberation of Gospel" where we have LL throwing money off the stage.

Jenny Abrenica said...

Take a look at what Reformed theologian, author Voddie Baucham has to say on the President's recently unveiled agenda. Voddie Baucham's blog is at www.voddiebaucham.org.

Pastor Lance said...

Greetings Jenny and Lionel and thanks for your comments.

One, God has raised up theologically sound, morally upright pastors who do love their wives and practice hospitality. Furthermore many of them are involved in our communities and touch many lives. However that does not diminish the kind of effect President Obama could have on those who still lump all pastors together as liars, swindlers and adulterers and thus dare not step near a church. Maybe we can do a better job of highlighting those godly men who are serving faithfully instead of focusing on the ones who aren’t and then acting as if they are the only ones who represent the faith.
True all will not rise to be president but many can see and learn from his example regarding how he loves his wife and children.

Concerning his stand on abortion that is already very, very well known and documented throughout the evangelical community. And though I’m sure many will fervently disagree with me I do not believe that this renders the man utterly depraved and of no value whatsoever. It’s funny how many within the evangelical church can on the one hand extol and admire those who bought, owned and sold slaves and then defended slavery on theological grounds and at the same time virtually condemn anyone who finds anything good to say about President Obama.

I’m not sure I said anything about children compromising the faith to appease anyone and if I came off that way I’m sorry and ask your forgiveness. The point I wanted to set forth wasn’t that anyone should do anything to especially appease President Obama, but it was simply my hope that many of our youth could learn from the way he relates to his wife.

thanks again for chiming in and enjoy a peaceful week.

Peace
LL

Lionel Woods said...

Lance,

1. I do agree that there are some, but we need more. I think you and I talked about this briefly and I know you were in the process of raising up men who could not afford the theological education and training them right there in your church or even creating a coop, where are you there.

2. I think also that these men must be highlighted and celebrated, because I tell you what. The African American community has not been impacted much by these men, given our abnormal amount of abortions and children born out of wedlock. So I do hope that the Lord would use Mr. Obama as an example of a loving husband.

3. I also agree that Mr. Obama's stance on abortion does not make him so depraved that he can not add value to our nation and even the church. We see throughout the Old Testament that God used men and women to bring about His purpose, even men who compromised (lets look at Solomon and some of the other kings who would not tear down the alters of the false gods, that God used greatly).

4. You know I agree with the fact on slavery not to mention Calvin is highly celebrated and his sins greatly ignored. I smiled as President Obama walked hand in hand with his beautiful wife and as his children were in the audience looking on! Wow who would have thought it. And as the girls mature what respect they will command and set examples for so many African American young women! Not to mention how many young black men and women will say in 4 years when asked what do you want to be and they answer "the president" can actually live a life to accomplish it. Man I gurantee the crime rate will decrease as young men and women learn about Harvard Law School and Ivy League schools. Brother I am estatic.

5. However, I still say that those who will have the greatest impact will come from those who reside in those communities and this responsibility lies at the foot of the Church of Jesus Christ. So though I praise President Barrack and his lovely wife, I want to know what you are doing as you wrestle with Gospel implications on your marriage and as Paul tells Titus "have the older women teach the younger and the older men teach the younger". These are the examples we need, rooted in the scripture through the Spirit.

Anonymous said...

Lionel:
If the fantasy world of rap, sports, and hollywood can influence our youth, why is it such a stretch to think that the "fairytale" world of the Obamas can't?

Jenny:
I don't think Lance is brushing Obama's support of abortion under the rug, nor do I think he is minimizing its heinousness. He is simply pointing out--that by God's common grace--there are things that are good, exemplary, and praiseworthy in this man. If he is not a president who our youth can model, then who might be a better one?

BP

Anonymous said...

Lionel:
Meant to say, "why would it be such a stretch to think that the Obamas CAN?"

BP