Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Thursday, December 22, 2016

the better man

Somehow through it all Barack Obama has maintained the steady cool that amazes those on the left and infuriates those on the right. Well, almost all on the right.

From The Daily Kos:

Emerging Christian pastor to President Obama: For 8 years, I've watched you be the better man.

With less than one month left until his final day in office, stories of appreciation for President Obama are beginning to flood social/traditional media — and rightfully so. One North Carolina Christian pastor published his token of thanks to President Obama months ahead of the crowd. John Pavlovitz of North Raleigh is becoming more and more well known by liberals and progressives for his outspoken left-leaning blog pieces relaying his disdain for misogynistic and hateful men like Donald Trump and the RW Christian Trump supporters — and Pavlovitz’ gratitude for women like Hillary Rodham Clinton, which went viral.
In this open letter to President Obama, Pavlovitz writes about how history will secure the President’s grand legacy and body of work. After watching President Obama for eight years, Pavlovitz shares his observations. Here are some excerpts from his June piece.
  • I’ve watched the way you’ve absorbed a billion body blows from your critics; brutal words that run far deeper than policy or platform, words composed within poisoned hearts long before you served a single day in office.
  • I’ve watched you bombarded with a daily molotov cocktail of white privilege and hidden or overt racism disguised as objective opposition.
  • I’ve watched your wife and children attacked with a ferocity and malevolence that defy any sense of decency and that have no precedence.
  • I’ve watched your birthplace called into question, your personal faith ridiculed, your very humanity discounted.
  • I’ve watched you endure the incessant, bitter venom of those for whom the color of your skin was always going to be a problem.
  • And through all of it, I’ve watched you be the better man.
Pavlovitz tells President Obama that “In the face of a sustained, spitting, violent, raw-throated hatred, you’ve never responded in kind.” He writes that Obama never allowed himself to be defined by bigotry and never disrespected his critics — by becoming them. This, Pavlovitz says, will be President Obama’s greatest legacy.

The truth is, many of us understand that the Evangelical Right, the NRA, FoxNews, and far too many ordinary folks living here were simply never going to be okay with a man of color leading them and succeeding—and yet you have done both. 
Eight years later, those same people still strain to bait you into reciprocating bitterness and in fulfilling their toxic prophecies of you, while you simply continue to do what you do with nobility, compassion, good humor, and steadfast, unapologetic conviction.
“You live the grace so many Christians invoke but rarely model,” writes Pavlovitz and adds, as a father himself, he realizes his children are always watching him, taking cues from the way he treats people and how he responds to adversity. He knows his children watch how he cares for those in pain, how he handles mistreatment and that his words will always be secondary to his conduct. Pavlovitz writes the President, “This is where I find my deepest gratitude for you in these days,” and says,  “For eight years you have worked for those who have been marginalized, even while so many have sought to marginalize you. “
The pastor adds that he and so many others are trying to live passionately yet with integrity and are committed to standing upon principles and never upon people. He says, “We are seeing the way you’ve done it and are moved to move similarly together.”

So you’ll forgive me if I speak informally right now, and if I use words used often brandished by your critics to undermine the work you’ve done and the life you’ve lived and the character you’ve shown.
Without a trace of irony or sarcasm, let me simply say:
Thanks, Obama.
This. Once again, John Pavlovitz proves there are Christians out there who actually follow the words of Christ, who actually care deeply about others, and who are not afraid to speak out against religious hypocrisy. More, please - and thank you, Pastor Pavlovitz

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