Thursday, October 27, 2005

West and Jakes

Qualified I am not to speak to the complicated subject of black Christianity in America. But I can pass on the remarks of those who are.

And so it was standing room only in the PU chapel (which requires quite a few) for the conversation between Cornel West and T.D. Jakes. Here are the millinerd highlights (quotes are as accurate as my note-taking would allow):

To state the obvious, the two men do not agree. Nevertheless due to West's infectious good nature and Jake's evident humility (which was striking) the conversation avoided major disagreements and landed in the common ground of how to help the disenfranchised. But even there the differences emerged.

When the ever poetic West, referring I gathered to blacks who leave the ghetto for safer neighborhoods, mentioned the "bourgeois intoxication" of the "peacocks who strut because they can't fly" who inhabit the "vanilla suburbs," Jake's response:
"I raised 1 million dollars in 45 minutes for Katrina from those peacocks."
When West laid his trump question on the table by asking "What would it take bring T.D. Jakes to confrontation with the powers that be," Jakes responded with a critique of the knee jerk fight-the-power metality:
"Do we want change or do we want credit? Everybody wants to march, and at times that may be effective, but do we want to just march or do we actually want change."
West expressed irritation that people called T.D. Jakes the "next Billy Graham" because for West, Graham was "too cozy with the powers." But Jakes, who has continually dealt with several heads of state, had another interseting reply:
"Why speak into the mike when you can speak into the ear?"
That is, why clamor to be seen as someone who "speaks truth to power" when you can actually build a relationship with those in power and have a real influence?

Finally Jakes said the rules for black America are changing. In many American cities the largest gatherings of blacks are under a white pastor. In the 60's black preachers had to be everything, but now with other black leadership, black senators, etc.
"the preacher can get back to doing the preaching."
Even if you disagree with him however, West is possibly one of the most likable men on the planet, so of course it all ended with a hug.