Michael Eric Dyson on President Obama and White Panic Part 2

What do you think about the idea of supporting the President, while also critiqueing him and keeping him accountable?  Blind and biased critique or support will never be good, especially in a democracy, right?

Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD

Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well. Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance. His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today. His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action. Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo. Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

6 thoughts on “Michael Eric Dyson on President Obama and White Panic Part 2

  1. How wrong can one smart person be?
    Don’t get me wrong, Dyson is a brilliant man, but when he says that’s the job, deal with it – that’s utter nonsense. No other President inherited such a disastrous state of affairs. He had to return America to the rule of law. He inherited two wars, plus the war on terror. He inherited the largest deficit in history. He inherited an economic meltdown.
    The opposition said he was “palling around with terrorists”, said he was a secret Muslim, said he wasn’t born in America, said he was making America less safe.
    Need I go on?

  2. Brienne,
    The job Obama ran for was a known quantity before he entered the race. So, I heard Dyson say the old equivalent of “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I heard Dyson say the equivalent of – You knew what the job was before you ran – if you weren’t up to it you were the one to step aside. I heard Dyson say – Racism is as real as ever and politics are politics, so fish or cut bait buddy. I also heard Dyson say that he thought Obama WAS up to the job (including all the stuff you described) but for reasons unknown to him Obama wasn’t getting it done.
    I can’t understand what you are trying to say, maybe that we should pity Obama for getting into more than he can handle and the opposition is too great?

  3. The man’s been in office for a year. You expect him to right the wrongs of an entire generation in twelve months, when he has to deal with the Party of No, and moderate Dems who’ve already jumped ship?
    Obama’s President – not God.

  4. OK – I can see I may not be able be able to get in contact with the wavelength you are on in relation to what Dyson is saying. . . Which is only what thousands of people end up paying psychologists hundreds of dollars to finally learn:
    – That we should have a plan and a set of core principles that drive and sustain us when nothing else supports us.
    – That we are ultimately responsible for what we do or don’t do
    – That we can not blame others for our lack of progress.
    – That saying things like “If he, she or they would only… Then I could…” is NOT an excuse for not getting things done.
    Dyson understands this and thus his comment: The job is to be President. Obama ran for it knowing full well and was elected to it – now – Deal with it!

    Brienne, If you were actually asking me for my opinion – No, I don’t expect anything more than I have been seeing – I knew enough about Obama to convince me he wasn’t up to it. But, Dyson thinks he is capable and expects him to produce. I think the Peter principle kicked in long ago but I’m willing to let Dyson have more time to be convinced.
    I don’t hear you addressing that. I hear you being frustrated that a left of center President and congress can’t convince a right of center nation to go their way. I hear you’re frustration that the bad policies enacted and the good money spent on top of bad money already spent have not done diddley to halt unemployment and a stagnant economy. I hear the frustration in your words that a man of hope and change has gone from a 70% approval to 40% in a year (which is the worst any president has ever done) because he can’t win for losing with the less than stellar proposals put forth by his administration and the Democrat congress. I hear you on that – But Dyson expects better.

  5. “The way I see it, Obama is only gonna get one term so he better be determined to get done what he needs to w/o any side stepping.”

    And this, my fellow Americans, is exactly why he will be a one termer – because all he does is side step. He is his own worst enemy – I can’t make him look any worse. He is self defeated. I listened to him blame everyone else in his state of the union address.
    I can’t wait to vote for a housewife more qualified than him next time around.

  6. I realize I can be quite hard on Mr. Obama. Trouble is – I voted for the first of his ilk – Jimmy Carter – and have learned to regret it ever since. That’s why I don’t want to see another like him occupy the oval office or the congress. It would be much better for the country if he would at least adopt a JFK style of economic platform.
    Found the following to be very interesting:
    “A new book by Scott Rasmussen, “In Search of Self-Governance,” has just been released. The pollster and president of Rasmussen Reports makes the case that “Americans don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or the center. The American people want to govern themselves.” “

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