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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

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Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Q&A with Oscar McCloud, Pastor

J. Oscar McCloud

J. Oscar McCloud is Associate Pastor for Administration at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. He is a graduate of Berea College with a B. A. in sociology and psychology, and Union Theological Seminary in New York City with an M.Div. He previously served as General Director, Program Agency, Presbyterian Church (USA), and Executive Director, The Fund for Theological Education. He has been a member of the pastoral staff at Fifth Avenue since 1995. The Rev. Dr. McCloud has announced he will retire in June.

He is the subject of our next Q&A.

How Close should politics and religion be put together.

I believe that whatever concerns humanity is a concern of the Christian religion. Note: I have said “Christian” religion because I cannot make that statement on behalf of all faiths, and I did not want to quibble with you on what you mean by religion. I also believe that the Christian and the Christian community (church) have a prophetic role to fulfill in every society and in every age. Failure of the church to fulfill this prophetic function is to risk becoming irrelevant. I think the church as church and politics as politics must remain separate. The church and the government can and should cooperate where appropriate, however, the church must be extra careful not to be co-opt by the state or nation. Nor should the church ever seek to dictate what the government should do except that its policies and practices must be just and equitable.

What inspired you to become a pastor?

I became a pastor because growing up in the rural South I saw the need for an education clergy. I came to believe very early in my life that God does not like ignorance, and that God desired and deserved the best that human being can offer in response. In some ways I saw “my people” (Moses in Egypt) in need of spiritual and religious leadership in the midst of a situation where they were in danger of become “drunk with the wine of the world” (The Negro National Anthem). I was inspired to become a pastor when I realized the good that could be done for all people through service as a minister of the Word of God.

What did the civil rights movement mean to you?

It was the greatest awakening of the 20th Century for social justice in the USA and world wide. I was the time in America when this nation showed it best side and some segments showed their worse sides. It was a time of hope and expectation when the nation was for a short time tempted to come to terms with centuries of deprivation and discrimination.

What are your first hand experiences from it?

I was a pastor in Raleigh, NC in the early 1960s when the black college students were actively involved sitting in at lunch counters (this had started in Greensboro, NC in 1960). I was involved in the picketing of segregated theaters, restaurant and hotels. During most of the 60s I lived in the South, including Atlanta where I became involved with Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I was present in Washington for the Great March of 1963 and the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. I joined marches in Mississippi and Alabama, including the March from Memphis, TN to Jackson, MS, and in Selma, AL. I could go on and on, but that is enough.

What was your favorite sermon?

This is not an easy question since the hearer is a better judge of my sermons than I, but I would lean toward the following two: “The Only Reliable DNA” and “A Fortune the Stock Market Can’t Match”

What do you do with your free time?

What free time? I prefer warm weather since my favorite hobbies are deep sea fishing and gardening (vegetables). I also like to read, especially mysteries like The Third Twin.

Do you have a favorite moment as a pastor?

When I finish a sermon and am able to put it aside.

I'd like to thank the Rev. Dr. McCloud for his time.

Other Q&As.

Other thoughts on Religion, Science, and Philosophy.


Blogger Unknown said...

Of all your questions, I liked your first question. "How close should relegion and politics be put together?"

For this one question, the right answer is as far as possible but in practice - they are one and the same !

Nice One, Nominal Me

Tuesday, 08 February, 2005  
Blogger Nominal Me said...


Thursday, 10 February, 2005  

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