The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kwame (and Others) Grow Up

Let's talk about the need for Black so-called leaders to get real and be responsible. Kwame Kilpatrick's State of the City Address earlier this week demonstrated once again that he doesn't know the meaning of accountability. Painting his political critics and the purported nutcases who are sending his family hate mail with the same broad brush and continuing to deny his own fundamental culpability for the degeneration of the (already terrible) reputation of the city and of his administration, Kilpatrick attributed all his troubles to the difficulty of being a Black man in America. But considering the fact that he persistently demonstrates the character and tendencies of a prepubescent child, always blaming other people for actions that are singularly his, I don't know how he can even claim to know what it's like to be a grown up, an adult of any color.

Today I asked a black boy who is just beginning the difficult transition that is puberty what it means to him that his voice is changing. He said that it means he is maturing and growing up. Unfortunately, for some people the physical changes that happen as a result of glands and hormones never translate into the emotional, mental, and spiritual transformation that equate to true maturity. I find myself as a minister and a friend giving the same advice to other people that I am trying to embody in myself - Grow Up!

Grow up and take responsibility for your choices and their consequences. Grow up and realize that even if the world did owe you something, you don't have the power to enforce the payment. Grow up and deal with your past honestly so that you have the hope of a healthy present and a possible future. Grow up and learn that just because you want it doesn't mean that you should or will have it - whatever it is. Grow up and acknowledge that much of your life and its contours really are in your hands.

Kwame Kilpatrick the errant mayor did not emerge overnight. Recent events are just the culmination of a history of license. Too many people winked at his excesses for too long. He is not alone or exceptional. He just needs to grow up! And all who view his spiraling free fall should know that while our immaturity and self-gratification may not land us in the news, our selfishness and juvenile behavior are just as destructive in our sphere as his is in his.

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