Earlier today I was reading an article in the Detroit Free Press about the Obama family searching for a church home. There is plenty of speculation as to where he might go -- whether to a predominantly Black Church or one that is more multi-ethnic (though these are difficult to find). Having left Trinity UCC, I'm sure that the Obama's will look for a church whose pastor's sermons will be less likely to cause him problems. We won't know for a bit longer what he'll choose, and I won't venture to guess -- although I still think that a Disciples congregation like National City Christian Church would be a good fit. For one thing, they've already had a President as a member (Lyndon Baines Johnson).
With that article putting things in perspective, it's interesting to read Laurie Goodstein's article about the circle of pastors that Barack Obama has turned to for pastoral guidance -- since he doesn't currently have a pastor.
The names of these five are interesting for several reasons. Three are black -- Otis Moss, Jr., the father of the current pastor of Obama's former church; T.D. Jakes, the Texas mega-church pastor, and Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist pastor from Houston, who was G.W. Bush's former pastor and confidant (now there's an interesting move). All three are pretty centrist, moderate, pastors -- although Jakes is known for his flamboyant style and prosperity teachings. The other two -- Joel Hunter, a Florida pastor who for a short time was head of the Christian Coalition, and Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, are white.
Although Wallis is known for his social justice focus, in many ways he is a moderate, and is evangelical, and apparently Obama has known Wallis the longest.
What is interesting about this report, if true, is that Obama has chosen to surround him with pastors who are evangelical, centrist, and pretty safe (no Jeremiah Wrights in this bunch).
I think a President should have every right to pick out who he/she will turn to for pastoral care, so I can't and won't criticize his choices. But, I might suggest that he expand this circle just a bit. First of all, it would be helpful to add a woman pastor into the mix. Of course, I'd suggest Sharon Watkins, the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), who preached at the Inaugural Prayer Service -- but there are others. I think he could add in a more theological progressive voice into the mix as well. I don't have anyone in particular to suggest, but there are plenty of us out there who are to the left of this quintet.
Ultimately, the Obama's will choose a church, and that pastor will, I would assume be the one they turn to for pastoral care. For now, it appears this is the group who will guide him.