20 October 2010

"Spiritual parrots"

"Whooping," CNN tells me, "is a celebratory style of black preaching that pastors typically use to close a sermon. Some church scholars compare it to opera; it's that moment the sermon segues into song." Here's what one scholar says about white pastors who whoop:
[Rev. Patrick] Clayborn, the [assistant] homiletics professor [at Methodist Theological School] in Ohio, says the fuel for the whoop grows out of the black perspective, the experience of being among "the least, the last and lost."

"When I see a white preacher do it, it feels like they went and learned it, just like a parrot can imitate the human voice," he says. "They're like spiritual parrots."
Wow! Did you catch his meaning? When white pastors try to preach in the black tradition, it's a pale imitation of the real thing.

White pastors can't be truly, deeply, and honestly spiritual? They shouldn't be allowed to use a traditionally black style of preaching? Turn that sentiment around and you have the same crap that the Daughters of the American Revolution said about Marian Anderson -- not to be too heavy-handed about it, but really. Here, Rev. Clayborn, have a "spiritual parrot":

The converse of Rev. Clayborn's statement would be hard to bring up in polite conversation. It's too bad that the CNN article didn't address it.

Edited to add: Leontyne Price's "O mio babbino caro" kicks Maria Callas's right in the ass.

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