The Common Good

Obama Hung in Effigy at Christian College

This is hard to read. Hard to swallow. Hard to understand ... especially when it happens at a Christian university such as George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon (20 miles southwest of Portland). From numerous respected accounts, I have only heard good things about the university, so I share this news not in any way to condemn the institution, the faculty, or the students.

Early Tuesday morning (September 23), an effigy in the likeness of Senator Barack Obama was found hanging from a tree in front of one of the school buildings. Truly disturbing.

While we ought to genuinely celebrate the historic elements of this presidential election year which includes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Sarah Palin, this horrible news is another reminder that we have a long way to go. Is it simply because they are not like"me" and thus, they must be different ... and thus, the other -- leading to the "otherizing", in this case, of Obama?

Rural or urban, Christian or secular, male or female, young or old, Republican or Democrat ... we still have a long way to go. We have work ahead.

I have nothing insightful to write. I simply want to implore you to be reminded and revitalized by the one who reconciles us and invites us to the work of reconciliation:

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)

Here's the article from Oregon Live:

A likeness of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama was found hanging in the George Fox University quad early Tuesday along with graffiti aimed at minority recipients of a scholarship program, the university president told The Oregonian this morning.

President Robin Baker discussed the incident this morning during the twice-weekly campus service, which was packed. With dozens of Act 6 students and student leaders in front of the stage, he denounced the display and urged students to show that such a display has no place in Christian ideals.

"We absolutely cannot hate those around us and say we love God," he said. "It is not possible."

"Yesterday was not a good example of what it means to follow Jesus," he said.

Quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, the president said the university has long had difficulties recruiting nonwhite students and his dream has been to help create a university that "more broadly represents the kingdom of God."

Eugene ChoEugene Cho, a second-generation Korean-American, is the founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, and the executive director of Q Cafe, an innovative nonprofit neighborhood café and music venue. He and his wife are also launching a grassroots humanitarian organization to fight global poverty. You can stalk him at his blog, eugenecho.wordpress.com.

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