- Choose your church affiliation carefully. What your church believes says a lot about you, whether you accept it all or not. And if you can't accept what your church believes why are you there?
- A church's pulpit is the rudder of the ship. Especially if the occupant is charismatic and/or eloquent. What's proclaimed there has more effect on the direction the church takes than any other single factor. Which means...
- Listen carefully to what a pastor says and doesn't say. Out of the heart, Jesus said, our mouths speak. Maybe more importantly, observe closely how he lives. And do all this BEFORE making the choice to align with a church.
- Do your homework before you sign on the dotted line. Ask to see the church's beliefs spelled out. Find out what the church's purpose and vision are. You can't ask too many questions up front, because if you don't, you could be shocked later.
- What is the "social gospel"? (I've heard Rev. Wright say several times he preaches a "social gospel"). I don't know it all, but my research in the Bible (the guideline for Christian churches) shows that there is only one Gospel. And it's not about race or politics or economics. It is centered on the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Check out Galatians 1:8-9.
- Hate preached from a church's pulpit has no place, whether it be from a red, yellow, black, white or brown perspective. It doesn't matter if it's coming from the right or the left. Sure, there is a time for anger, but not hatred toward any man or group of men.
- In this country, no one is forced to join a religious group or to stay in one they've joined. But joining and staying is tantamount to agreement.
- The saying, "Put your money where your mouth is" is true. If I give financially to support any charity, church, organization, I'm putting my stamp of approval on it. Conversely, if I can't in good conscience give to the church I attend, I need to move on.
- As Americans we have the right of free speech. As a Christian I surrender my "rights" as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. So my speech should be always tempered with grace. Mix that with our natural human weaknesses and emotions and it's easier said than done.
I'm sorry, Mr. Obama, that I didn't post this 20 years ago. Perhaps it could have spared you a lot of your present pain.
[Links added for those of you who commented you either 'lived under a rock' or 'in a hospital',]