Talk:Trinity United Church of Christ

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Tensions with UCC?[edit]

In this column, conservative commentator Rich Lowry (who's obviously not a reliable source for questions of fact) claims that "The national United Church of Christ denomination considered distancing itself from the Wright-led church." Is this true? Can anyone find an actual reliable source discussing this, and/or giving more details of what he's talking about? This could represent the grumblings of a few conservative Congregationalists, or an actual concern expressed by the denomination at some point. If it's the former, it's not noteworthy, but if it's the latter (and we can find a reliable source discussing it) it should probably be mentioned in the article. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 08:00, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

He is twisting his history to fits his agenda (surprised?). Speller is the authoritative written history on Trinity. What this NY Post Screed is referring to is what is mentioned in the section Trinity_United_Church_of_Christ,_Chicago#Change. Ewenss (talk) 13:53, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Not surprised at all, but Lowry makes it sound like there was some organizational resistance to the changes at Trinity at the denominational level, rather than just a few dissatisfied parishioners. Does Speller mention anything like that? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 20:01, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps initially, I'll check into histories of Congregationalism (or feel free!), but in either case, Lowry is making a dead, even racist point, because he would be arguing that blacks in the 70s should have rejected cultural identity and merely held on to the notion of assimilating with whites and engaged in self-directed black cultural genocide as the path to full civil rights. The United Church of Christ brought in W. Sterling Cary, quoted in this article, to revamp and lead the denomination's efforts among blacks. It might be interesting to include Lowry's radical view, if this is what he is really saying. Ewenss (talk) 07:02, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's what Lowry is intending to say — or, at least, his criticism isn't coherent enough to draw that conclusion. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 07:48, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Kurtz outlines the direct tension between TUCC and the mainstream United Church of Christ leadership in 1978. Trilemma (talk) 01:14, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


Note that I have not added anything from avowedly political publications, (like National Review on the right or Mother Jones on the left), because it is not appropriate to cite such pieces in history sections. I have cited only scholarly works. Please do only the same, lest this article become little more than a pissing match between partisan sources and who can fit in more for "their side". Ewenss (talk) 20:28, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Respected, mainstream magazines are perfectly fine for inclusion. Stanley Kurtz is an author who has published scholarly in similar material. Your attempt appears to be governed by political motivations. Trilemma (talk) 22:27, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
National Review is no more "mainstream" than Mother Jones. They are both avowedly partisan sources. Neither, nor similar, has any place in a history section of an article. Ewenss (talk) 23:16, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, I disagree with the current use of Julia Speller, who is a biased member of TUCC. Trilemma (talk) 23:17, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
It's from a dissertation published by the Univ of Chicago and it was reviewed by a committee of 7 or 8 people from multiple viewpoints. If I need to describe the layers of difference between a dissertation like that by someone who was able to do the research because she had an insider stance, and an article by an avowed partisan who has no PhD in the history of religion and who published in an avowed partisan publication like National Review, this is going to go nowhere. Ewenss (talk) 23:32, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
It is still that scholar's opinion and should be treated as such. Furthermore, there is nothing in wikipedia's guidelines against using a source like the National Review. It is entirely in keeping with wikipedia policy. Trilemma (talk) 23:37, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
All you are doing is completely proving that you've not read the material, yet you are here willing to say what it says. Also, if you look at policy very closely, it favors peer reviewed material and material from academic publishers, especially for things like history, and National Review is a partisan source and is known as such and makes itself known as such.[1] Sorry, that does not fly. Also, the "unbalanced" and "NPOV" is hogwash, unless you consider that to mean "does not contain material from an avowedly political source that should never be included in a history about something (except about itself)." There are no NPOV or balance issues in the history section because there is no material there from an avowedly politically partisan publication, and the article should stay that way because avowedly politically partisan publications are not the way to write a history. And note, too, that Speller wrote years before any of this politically motivated affair. Ewenss (talk) 23:49, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
It is still that woman's opinion, and there is still nothing in wikipedia policy against using sources like the National Review (or the New Republic, or the Atlantic Monthly, etc.). Your other edits also violate NPOV, as I outlined below. Trilemma (talk) 01:13, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
You still show only that you have not even read the material you are trying to talk about. If you'll read it you will see why it is not "opinion" to say that Wright was very well aware of the social context in Chicago at the time of his arrival in 1972. Also, the first two items you mentioned below is material I did not add. On pieces from partisans publishing in partisan publications--yes, they are included in sections about partisan views of partisans, not histories. If Kurtz wants to publish a real history instead of a political commentary, he knows how to go about doing that, and its not in an avowedly partisan publication. Ewenss (talk) 01:28, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Your rejection of the National Review is outside the bounds of wikipedia policy. This is established. Unless you can point to a specific policy that forbids the use of the National Review, one of the most respected magazines in the country, then you are out of line. Furthermore, the assertion that Wright, "while rejecting its philosophies of separation and black superiority—an idea around which a larger Christian theological movement had been forming, as evidenced by a full-page New York Times ad entitled "Black Power" run in November 1967 by the National Committee of Negro Churchmen, and Black Theology and Black Power published in 1969 by James H. Cone." is an opinion. Others disagree with this, because it is one persons assertion and interpretation. Kurtz's article does thorough research on this. I suggest you read it and stop editing out material not to your liking.
You have continued to revert the text concerning my second point. You did not originally put them in, but you continue to leave them in place. Trilemma (talk) 01:57, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

"In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers. As a rule of thumb, the greater the degree of scrutiny involved in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the evidence and arguments of a particular work, the more reliable it is. Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history." (WP:V).

That kills National Review as a reliable source for history (except about itself and its own, of course), as it is an avowedly partisan source. In the quote you added from Kurtz, he takes Speller's dissertation (p 162) where she discusses three seperate periods where congregants departed after Wright's 1972 arrival, and why. In the 1983 incident where 22 members left, the one that Kurtz superimposes his political spin upon, I find it telling that he conveniently omits that 5 of those members returned, and the church gained 725 members that year. Gee, why would Kurtz do that? His partisan political commentary piece belongs in a section framed as partisan political commentary, not history. Ewenss (talk) 02:38, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry but that does not "kill" the national review. Once again, I asked for a policy that specifically excludes the National Review. You provided a policy that encourages peer-reviewed journals. You know as well as I do that the difference between encouraging and excluding is huge. Have you actually read Kurtz's article? It is a researched article that could with ease appear in a scholarly publication. As it is, he published it in the National Review, one of the most respected magazines in America.
Furthermore, you are showing political motivation in the latter part of your post. The point is that the church was transformed in membership. That 5 members returned means that the overwhelming pre-existing body left and stayed away. The church added new members, yes, and dramatically increased its membership, as it shifted toward a more radical message, which Kurtz, who holds a doctorate in anthropology, contends represented a Marxist attack on American society. You have no right to exclude opinions that you disagree with. Trilemma (talk) 02:46, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, please directly address this: You have at least on one occasion [2] reverted edits made in regards to my second complaint. You have been evading this issue. Are you going to continue to revert these edits, or may I restore my original edit to the depiction of Wright's HIV conspiracy and praise of Louis Farrakhan quotes? Trilemma (talk) 02:53, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I've yet to read the entire Kurtz piece because the May 5 issue is the latest on EBSCO, but will read it in full very carefully as soon as its available to me, probably next week. Despite your framing of National Review, it remains an avowedly political partisan publication of avowedly partisan political commentary and is thus a questionable source and relies heavily on personal opinions. That's not the stuff for history sections. I'd side equally as strong against such material in a history section if it were coming from Mother Jones, I assure you. Email me. Ewenss (talk) 02:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Until there are additional voices in regards to the National Review, I'd like to concentrate on the other issues of the article, which don't deal with source inclusion but rather wording choices. Trilemma (talk) 03:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
What I suggest you might do is study material from peer reviewed journals and academic presses to see if you find support for Kurtz's claim that Trinity's theological meme was a "Marxist attack on America". Do that and this debate will be moot. I think you'll find, however, that Trinity's theological meme was instead a Christian response to the Islamification of Chicago blacks--to turn that tide, and to turn the attention of blacks back to Christianity--as the article currently points out. Ewenss (talk) 03:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The purpose of the article isn't to present one viewpoint deemed most appropriate by one editor. In discussing the history of the church it is very relevant to note different opinions concerning its theology and growth. Wikipedia policy does not exclude non-academic sources (for what it's worth, by the way, you know as well as I do that the National Review can be found through many academic search engines, as I personally gathered lines for quotation from such a one). By the way, I accessed the very article from which you paraphrased. Please don't assume things.
You will find in Kurtz's piece a starting place with the theology of Cone, whose work is demonstratively Marxist. Going off this, Kurtz argues that Wright adopted this ideology in his church. You may not agree with this claim; you have every right not to. You do not have the right to exclude this argument, however, nor do you have the right to include material that you deem correct.
I am once again asking you about specific semantics of the article. If you do not reply, I will go ahead tomorrow and make the necessary changes. If you subsequently revert them again, I will take the case to arbitration. Trilemma (talk) 04:05, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
What you need to do is find support for what you are saying from a source other than one that is so political slanted by definition and all will be fine, no? If Kurtz is right, it will exist and you can find it. CyberAnth (talk) 04:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

If you have Speller's dissertation, as you say, what's the first word on page 164?

Kurtz as a starting place with Cone? You're totally kidding me, right?

Look at his publications and actual expertise. Nothing there about what he wrote about in National Review. Nor in his list of recent publications, which are partisan pieces and not scholarship, like the piece you are trying to get into this article as scholarly history.

If you want a starting place with Cone, read Cone, and place him in historical and theological context from some materials from here. The last thing anyone wants is a primer on Cone from a novice on the subject writing in a publications of avowedly partisan political commentary. As historian Jacob Burckhardt once said, "Beware the terrible simplifiers". It takes literal years of sustained study to really understand certain topics, and black theologies is one of them.

Ewenss (talk) 05:16, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

NPOV language[edit]

Several points of NPOV language that I am noticing continuing to pop up:

  • "His critics" makes it sound like only partisan republicans or Hillary Clinton supporters pressed Obama. This is a misrepresentation of the scale and nature of the questions and questioners surrounding the issue.
  • "Origins of AIDS" gives legitimacy to an AIDS conspiracy theory. It would be akin to having an article mention "debate about the truth of the Holocaust." Wikipedia does not exist to legitimize conspiracy theories.
  • Several times, people place interpretations of history and motivation as facts. This is not acceptable. Interpretations and suggestions need to be represented as such. Trilemma (talk) 22:33, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Further semantic bias':
  • In addressing Martin E. Marty's claims, the term "explains." This infers an irrefutable factual backing of his statements, which is incorrect. A neutral term should be used. Trilemma (talk) 04:10, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
All sources are not equal, and all statements about a matter are not equal. You don't treat Joe Smoe journalist who heard about all this stuff for the first time a few months ago with a "says" and a Marty with an equal "says". That implies that Joe Smoe and Marty are equal in their authority to speak to the matter, which is obviously false on its face. As a professor emeritus of religion at the Univ of Chicago, and as someone who has studied Trinity extensively and many related matters, and overseen scores of doctoral students from Trinity (including Julia Speller), Marty by nature of that literal lifetime of study of this subject can speak more authoritatively to it than perhaps any other. "Explains" implies that he is, from that lifetime of study and experience on this topic, explicating to people (nearly all to whom these concepts about black culture are concepts they are not studied in in depth) what Trinity itself means by the motto. That's his purpose in writing here. You certainly don't say that this is his "posit", which implies a newby's initial theory about something! The use of "says" or "states" or "asserts" or "explains" or "argues" or "replies" or "counters" or "foresees" or "reminds" or "stipulates" or "decries" or "chides", etc., should be determined by determining the Purpose and Tone of the author in the source, and not by some editorial decision to falsely remove all that and "equalize" all sources. All this is simply sound information literacy (warning: that article is a mess) and high-level reading skills that anyone should have learned in college. What's Kurtz's purpose in writing his piece? It is clearly told you here--it is political through and through. That simply is not scholarship in the discipline of history but political commentary from an avowedly politically partisan stance. We thus treat it exactly as such, lest the entire article turn into what I described here. Ewenss (talk) 05:38, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

History section and Daimerej[edit]

Daimerej, I'm guessing that you're Ewness on a different computer. You can not continue to expect to edit out those opinions who you disagree with. The purpose is to give balance. We have already established that there is nothing preventing non-academic sources from being used. If you persist in disruptive edits, particularly with this new lack of communication, then I will seek mediation. Trilemma (talk) 12:46, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

It does not belong in a section about history but one on political commentary because National Review is not a reliable source for history by its own definition. Same with material from Mother Jones. May I suggest beginning a section on political commentary about the church after the section "Trinity in comparative perspective". (talk) 22:05, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

The problem is that it is NOT political commentary. It is an account of history. If you find a critique of Kurtz's article, then you could post a summary of its points. If it's from Mother Jones, so be it. Trilemma (talk) 22:26, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
It is incontrovertibly political commentary. All of this has been argued at length above. You have only denied the arguments, not addressed them. (talk) 23:05, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
It states historical facts that you are attempting to remove. This is unacceptable. Trilemma (talk) 03:08, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I did an earlier edit from IP I have to say this is an extremely well done article; I wish wiki had more like this. From what I can see, it is you that is the one attempting to remove historical facts example here. There has been an attempt here to keep the sources from scholarly history yet you keep wanting to add from stuff that no one doubts is a very POV politics source and that is not a history source. In your contribs I see you trying to "win" by removing dissent to what you're trying to do, which smells like politics POV pushing. My two cents. Tucu (talk) 07:31, 21 May 2008 (UTC)


The third paragraph that Ewness/Cyberanth/Daimerej/Tucu keeps adding in is full of NPOV. Some specific points: 1) "Scholarship" misleads people into thinking that there is an overwhelming body of scholarship on the subject, when in fact you are drawing on essentially one person, Speller, a member of the church. If you want to keep that quote, you ought to rephrase it to something like, "Julia Speller, (credentials) and church member, contends that the church...." Furthermore, that bit of 'corresponds to their leanings" is nonsense NPOV; I'll be editing that out once I'm out of 3RR territory. You need to refrain from such edits if you expect to be a successful editor. Trilemma (talk) 13:05, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Whatever the hell you are talking about - I am trying to bring some peace here and all you seem intent on is troublemaking. Tucu (talk) 13:17, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
If it is not just Speller then list all of the scholars and their works that directly attest to what you are talking about. You're also not addressing the other blatantly NPOV edits you are attempting to insist on maintaining. Trilemma (talk) 16:10, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Forgive me if I am making an assumption here but not many whites are knowledgable about black history and theology. They just don't grow up with it. It may help you to think about the Protestant Reformation a moment, something more understandable. As a Christian movement, the Protestant Reformation was a response to the Catholic Church and its problems during the day. That pattern is so of all Christian movements--none began in a vaccum, and all arose to attempt to solve immediate problems of their time. Africentric Christianity is no different. It is an entire Christian movement that emerged starting in the late 60s, and of which Trinity UCC in the early 70s was (and still is) a part. Africentric Christianity of those days rose as a reaction/response against Black Islam and Black natitonalism, as a way to compete for and gain converts from among blacks who were being swept up with the movements, and not just in Chicago but everywhere large populations of blacks were found. Africentric Christianity adopted some (not all) of the ideas of Black nationalism in an attempt to get blacks who were converting to Islam to stop doing so and to again see Christianity as relevant to the new concerns they had, especially the young, after the death of Martin King. Many general works on church history cover this and any number of scores of scholarly authors. To attribute this idea to Julia Speller is erroneous, as she at best is a minor figure and would simply be quoting other scholars on the mainstream of this issue anyway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

If you wish to quote/reference a different scholar then simply provide the material. The stuff about 'not understanding' is a matter of opinion; you're entitled to yours but the talk pages aren't designed to be message boards. Trilemma (talk) 03:49, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


The continued adding of scholar and changing of argued to states or points out, gives undue weight to Speller's dissertation. It is enough to state that she wrote a dissertation. Intelligent readers will be able to decide if she is a scholar or not based on this . It is not up to us to connect the dots and spoon feed them and make a student's arguments, which is exactly what a dissertation is, into something more that his opinion. As far as editing this for two moths, I know exactly when this range of IP's started editing, and I am still collecting data thats shows who the likely author is.Die4Dixie (talk) 16:09, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree. The IP editor is making a fundamental mistake of attempting to pass off everything written in an academic context as unquestionable fact. That would be akin to if I would edit the Rwandan Genocide page to reflect Christopher C. Taylor's interpretation of specific elements of violence as symbolic representation of flow/blockage dynamics of Rwandan culture as unquestionable fact. It's his interpretation and his argument, as is Speller's in this instance. It warrants mentioning but in an NPOV context which illustrates that it is her theory, not fact. Trilemma (talk) 16:41, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Wow. Comparing the history of a church to the Rawandan genocide. Now I've heard it all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:50, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
The disputed section does seem to give too much weight to the changes under Wright for the article on Trinity itself, but does seem to be something that may be worthwhile as a separate article discussing the changes of the church. This would allow readers who want more depth and context into what assimilation model, etc. is, but not distort the overall balance of the main article itself. Thoughts? Lestatdelc (talk) 18:30, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Removal of dispute and contruction tags[edit]

I'm removing them. seems that the article is stable not with no edits and the construction template can be added when someone really wants to do something. Nothing to see here, folks.Die4Dixie (talk) 05:20, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Cite tags[edit]

Will start removing uncited material when I recover from my binge. If you want it, cite it.--Die4Dixie (talk) 06:00, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

"Radical" Black Muslim groups[edit]

The introductory paragraph mentions that TUCC was countering Radical Black Muslim groups in Chicago but the detailed history indicated that it was countering both Nation of Islam and the Black Hebrews. As the Black Hebrews are not a Muslim group, radical or otherwise, maybe the language in the introductory paragraph can be changed to radical groups as opposed to radical Muslim groups. What do you guys think? Inf fg (talk) 13:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I've made an edit in the introductory paragraph, changing "so as to win back Blacks who were being taught by radical Black Islamic leaders" to read "in order to counter the teaching of radical black Muslim leaders" I've also changed "great influx" to simply "an influx." I believe these were cases of overstatement. Unless someone has solid evidence that Trinity members "apostasized" then were "won back," I think this wording is more sober. It might even be more accurate to say that black liberation theology was embraced "in part to counter the teaching of radical black Muslim leaders." BlueMesa171 (talk) 04:01, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

I've improved the grammar of that sentence, which now reads, "in order to counter the influence of radical black Muslim leaders, who taught..."BlueMesa171 (talk) 04:22, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Classic Wikipedia article[edit]

I remember this began as a fantastic, scholarly article...that has now degraded in the hands of clear idiots. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:24, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Content moved from article to here[edit]

Howdy. I've moved the text below to here from the main namespace as it's about the article itself rather than the subject of it. - TB (talk) 20:47, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


See my statement here. Stephen Ewen (talk) 05:28, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi Stephen. I've had a brief look over the article history and see that of the several dozen authors who have contributed to this page over its history, at least 8 people (other than your own good self) seem to have made significant contributions to it. As it stands, the notice above implies that the whole thing is based on your work. If you want to incorporate material that belongs to you into the article, a credit in the page edit history is perhaps more appropriate than one within the article itself. See for guidance and examples. - TB (talk) 11:16, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
The whole thing IS based upon my work. I've used pseudonyms before.  — SE  07:39, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
They are called socks. And you are banned from editing here as a puppet master. --Die4Dixie (talk) 02:30, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Before digging into the multiple account issue, the knol was first published on 24 July 2008.[3] This article was already largely built before that date.[4]. It is false to assert that this article is based on the knol. It might more reasonably be said that the knol is based on this article, as this article came first in time. As Topbanana noted, it was irrevocably released under the GFDL and no credit should appear in the article.
  • As to the multiple account issue, it appears that User:Stephen Ewen is now stating[5] that the work is his because he used other accounts to edit this article. In context he is claiming that the massive expansion of the article in April is largely his work. Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser/Case/CyberAnth reveals that the users CyberAnth, Cryptographic hash, C.m.jones, Ewenss, SSewen, Daimerej are checkuser confirmed to all be the same editor, while Tucu is likely the same. They are also all blocked for sockpuppetry. Several of them were heavily involved in editing this article in April-May 2008. I conclude that Stephen Ewen has now self identified as a member of this sockfarm. GRBerry 21:45, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Glad someone else can see. The desire for acknowledgement trips another frail man.--Die4Dixie (talk) 18:19, 27 August 2009 (UTC)