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Rev. Wright reappears, strikes conciliatory tone

From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
HOUSTON, Texas -- The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, reappeared here Sunday.

Wrights spoke glowingly of Obama while preaching at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, as part of a message that God takes "the ordinary and turns it into the extraordinary."

The former pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, whose sermons created a political firestorm around Obama during the primary season, struck a conciliatory tone, as he talked about the Democratic nominee's achievement in a riff that included references to the racial injustice that has been a part of America's history.  

"Twenty years ago, a scrawny little kid with a pointed nose and big ears -- mama from Kansas and daddy from Kenya," he began. "An ordinary black boy raised in a single-parent home. The boy walked into my office 20 years ago to talk about his dream for a community that concentrated on things that we could achieve in common, things that united us rather than to focus on all the problems and the issues in the community about which we disagree or the things that divided us."

Wright also spoke of the Rev. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks among other examples of God turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, before mentioning the Illinois senator and giving a short summary of his journey through Harvard Law School to the state Senate to the U.S. Senate to his position as the Democratic nominee.

"The Lord turned the ordinary into the extraordinary. Y'all just saw it this past week. It was on national television," Wright said to applause. "This ordinary boy just might be, come November, the 4th, this ordinary boy from a single parent home with a daddy from Kenya and a mama from Kansas. This ordinary boy just might be the first president in the history of the United States to have a black woman sleeping at 1600 Pennsylvania, legally."
Wright's sometimes racially charged preaching was criticized as unpatriotic and divisive. Obama's connection to the pastor became a political liability for him, as cable media, for weeks, repeatedly ran the most incendiary video clips of some of Wright's sermons -- seemingly on a loop.

Obama eventually denounced Wright, calling his message divisive and saying it ran counter to everything he had worked for in his career. He and his wife Michelle subsequently left Trinity in late May.

Wright has spoken at Wheeler, a black church in downtown Houston, many times over the years and has led revivals at the church.