Dear Father Pfleger, go “rogue.” Like Jesus, touch once again the untouchable. Speak to those societal outcasts who lie dying in the gutters of life, rejected, despised and forgotten, even by the church. Go rogue.
Speak. Lift up your voice once again and shout. Let it resound like a trumpet across this Windy City, where children are fitted for coffins and emblazoned on glossy funeral programs with premature eulogies.
Cry aloud and spare not in this transgressed city of segregation, where public school miseducation consigns native Black sons and daughters to poverty and hopelessness. Speak hope.
Speak truth. Seek justice. Uplift. Compel. Preach. For we need you. Now, more than ever. Violence, injustice and poverty rage.
Speak again. Let your voice resound as the moral conscience of DuSable’s now glistening metropolis on the edge of losing her soul. Speak truth to power. Comfort the afflicted. And afflict the comfortable. Remind us once again of who and whose we are, and of the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ’s love and hope.
Stand — as you have for decades — for even the least of these. As a good shepherd, preach an accessible social gospel — one not submersed in elitism or pomp and circumstance but in Christ’s deep love for the church. The Church that is a body of believers — the people. Not glorious Gothic edifices, stained glass and steeples.
Be that piercing voice again, crying in the wilderness as our nation stands pronouncedly between choosing love or hate, right or wrong, and chaos or a more perfect fate.
Return again to being a resolute righteous voice in these times amid this sometimes seemingly incurable virus called racism as the innocent blood of Black folk slain by police brutality cries out from their graves.
Amid the carnage of Black souls murdered by Black killers — and the relative diminutive outcry compared to that over the taking of Black lives by white police. Amid the glaring absence of Black Lives Matter protestors when Black children are murdered in the hood mostly by young Black men in the hood.
Speak again. For you have always stood with us. For us.
Boldly you have taken up the mantle and marched for our cause, from the “Cold Coast” to the Gold Coast, standing unflinchingly when it mattered most.
You have always stood. Unwavering in your commitment, even if, unbeknownst to us, while standing through your own river of salted tears and anguished soul on but a grain of faith.
It must have been faith that has sustained you over these last five months, faith and the prayers of the Faith Community of St. Sabina.
Faith, prayer and grace in the midst of this ordeal when you were forbidden even to speak, to defend your name against the allegations, your character and reputation, even amid a newspaper headline inquiring whether you were “going rogue.”
A reputation built over a life of protecting the innocent, the abused and the forgotten. Character built — moral brick by moral brick — over time. And glaring dedication to community, justice, freedom and equality that we still cannot find.
You have stood in the face of racial hatred, amid an incessant storm of backlash, and even threats on your own life. You stand here in the Chi, a tangible symbol of the hands, feet and heart of Christ.
And even in my own wilderness of great disappointment with the church, of anger, bitterness and brokenness over the hurt and abuse I experienced in the church I so love, your example of truth, love and faithfulness have helped heal those wounds.
So don’t stop, dear brother. Welcome back.
Cry aloud and spare not. And please, go rogue.
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