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Trinity Handles Scrutiny with Expertise

By Eli Saslow
Trinity United Church of Christ continues to be a hot topic after Sen. Barack Obama's speech today. Some further tidbits from a recent visit to it:

  • Obama may well have learned how to glad-hand at Sunday services in south Chicago. Each stage of Trinity's service involves physical contact. You are instructed to hug any newcomer and hold hands with those sitting next to you. At one point, services stop altogether for a 15-minute break during which congregants wander through the pews and mingle with strangers. "Nobody comes to Trinity," Pastor Otis Moss III said, "unless they're willing to press the flesh."

  • Speaking of Moss III, Obama's new pastor has had a rocky first few weeks on the job. The son of a respected preacher who befriended Martin Luther King Jr., Moss III came to Trinity a year ago because he wanted to continue the church's tradition of social activism. He's something of a hot prospect on the preaching circuit -- a 38-year-old, handsome former track star with rhythmic sermons -- and he could have taken his talents almost anywhere. He chose Trinity because he had admired Wright since high school.

    "The challenge for me has been, and still is, his iconic status here," Moss III said. "He's been established in this community for 36 years. You are following someone who is a legend in the city of Chicago."

  • Trinity's gigantic reach in Chicago came in particularly handy last week, as the church compiled a volunteer team of public relations professionals and crisis management gurus from their own membership. Last Sunday, a team of church members -- including one who is a professor in the journalism school at Northwestern -- volunteered to print press passes, record interviews and guide media members around the church. About 10 media members sat in a reserved pew in the balcony. And yes, they too were encouraged to "press the flesh" with members of the Trinity congregation.

  • By Web Politics Editor  |  March 18, 2008; 6:37 PM ET
     
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    Comments

    Jeremiah Wright is a good man and a good Christian.

    This link has his the sermons in question in their entirety as well as many others:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TRINITYCHGO

    I defy you to find any racism in his sermons.

    He has been decontextualized with artful splicing, sometimes in the middle of a sentence to join to another word.

    I hope more is coming.

    I don't think the swift-boaters counted on the church having the full video.

    Posted by: johnelliott75 | March 21, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

    All I can say is Judge not Lest Ye Be Judge! All of you Christians should read your Bibles more often. You would see that Jesus said "He who is without SIN cast the first stone". I have never seen such hard heartedness among CHRISTIANS. ESPECIALLY YOUR LEADER RUSH LIMBAUGH, SUCH EVIL. IT MAKES ME SICK TO SEE THAT THERE IS NO FORGIVNESS. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I BET NONE OF YOU HAVE HEARD THE ENTIRE SPEECH, BUT YOU ARE JUDGING. I CHALLENGE ALL OF YOU TO LOG ON TO ROLAND MARTINS BLOG OR WEBSITE AND HEAR THE REAL SPEECH FOR YOURSELVES THEN IF YOU ARE STILL IN THE SAME FRAME OF MIND, AT LEAST IT WILL BE YOUR CHOICE NOT SOMEONE ELSES.

    Posted by: vshabazz2 | March 21, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

    " I have a CRAZY UNCLE " speech. This should be an appropraite title for reference after MLK's "I have a dream" speech.

    Posted by: vs_sv | March 19, 2008 5:55 AM | Report abuse

    Why Scharb, that sounds downright Xenophobic! ;~)

    Arriba-Arriba-Arriba!!!!! :-)

    Posted by: rat-the | March 19, 2008 3:00 AM | Report abuse

    Obama said issues of racism "must be addressed" how is that? by black leaders and black people only? because every time someone white has an opinion or comment about anyone black, especially Saint Obama they are automatically profiled as a racist and accused of playing the race card. How are we ever supposed to "address" issues of race when blacks consider all whites racists? Obama is a hypocrite and a big phony labeling good people like the Clintons and Geraldine Ferraro racist, I will not vote for him now or ever. If Hillary does not get the nomination, I am voting for Nader, leaving the Democratic party and registering as an Independent.

    Posted by: Hillary08 | March 19, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

    rat-the, I don't know how you're so quick to contribute with a snark and a smiley face, but it's more annoying than Speedy Gonzalez.

    Posted by: scharb | March 18, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

    Most Cults have already established Damage Control measures! ;~)

    Posted by: rat-the | March 18, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

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