Black Theology for Black History Month Pt 5

Posted: February 24, 2011 in christianity, culture, multiethnic, social justice, theology, Uncategorized

Ok here’s the wrap up:

In conclusion, Black Theology shapes Christian ministry by showing the true distinction between “Daddy Rich” and the “Revolutionary” and compels us to choose the latter by focusing our ministry towards those who need it most: the oppressed. It is through preaching and teaching, participating in spiritual disciplines, and becoming involved in conscious social engagement that we can equip congregations to liberate the oppressed locally and globally. This means that we take a definite stance of negation against the existential five D’s-death, dread, despair, disease, and disappointment-and the isms of the larger society, namely racism, sexism, classism, and homophobism. At the same time, black theology can help create a new way of being and living as a liberated people. Using the sources mentioned above, Black theology can give us the spiritual depth and practical tools to fight against the real life issues of the prison industral complex, inadequate housing, education, and health care etc. Through these and other means, Black Theology shaping Christian ministry can provide concrete examples of “God as a way out of no way”1

  1. Steve S says:

    You mentioned previously that the Black experience is fundamentally African…

    …that caught my attention. In my experience (admittedly, only recent, and limited) I have had the opportunity to hang out with Africans. My perception has been that the African faith, and the African-American faith are lived out in significantly dissimilar ways. But I am certainly open to amending that view…

    Can you share more?

    • mayotron says:

      @Steve S-Well in saying that black experience is fundamentally African, there is a definite connection with religious forms and expression. The meaning may be different but there is a reason why Pentecostalism which was greatly influenced by African American expressions of Christianity (what most at the time called slave religion) has grown like wildfire in Africa. I have been in several African church settings and have not seen much dissimilarity from my Pentecostal church at home. Maybe the only dissimilarities have to do with identity, language, and different socio cultural paradigms (shame based vs. guilt based). Many African forms of religious expression survived the slave trade’s middle passage and then became reinvented and merged with the slave master’s religious forms. A good book on this is Tribal Talk by Will Coleman as well as Africanisms in American culture by Joseph Holloway.

      Good question. I will share a little more in my next post.

  2. Marilyn says:

    I have enjoyed reading all the parts of this series, Ramon. You’ve expanded my thinking and understanding, and introduced me to some ideas. Your voice is an important one in the mix as the Church as a whole moves forward.

    Also, way to go! Using class assignments beyond just a grade!

    • Ramon says:

      Thanks Marilyn. That is the way I understand my purpose in life…to expand thinking and understanding.

      And as far as going beyond the grade I have been on a quest to leverage my time for maximum impact. So thanks for the encouragement.

  3. I have been in gatherings with pastors of African-American churches who almost relish the competition among themselves on who can have the newest or best car, new Cadillac or big house or expensive threads, etc. It’s left me speechless a few times…

    I wonder if this you would say this is part of an underlying African inheritance (i.e., the Chief of chiefs needs to have the most wives, biggest home, etc. – I have witnessed this sort of interplay in Haiti) or possibly inherited from the “slave/plantation master’s” pereption…or possibly a combination that feeds off each other…?

    • mayotron says:

      @Steve H-Steve, I think it is a combo of African inheritance and American capitalism. I have been in Nigerian and Ethiopian churches where there is also a degree of competition over material things. One of the interesting insights from anthropology is that in kinship/tribal societies it is usually “the big man” who achieves or obtains material things that becomes a leader. This is definitely in line with the African and African American leadership qualities.

      Personally I do not think it is something that we in the West can judge and condemn wholesale. I do think that it is something that needs to be transformed with kingdom values. How to do that? Well in the words of Indiana Jones “I’m making this up as I go”

  4. Steve S says:

    “How to do that?”

    It takes both/and. The perspective of insiders AND outsiders on a particular culture. BOTH GROUPS equally committed to the Gospel, equally committed to mutual blessing, and equally committed to walking out the consequences of their decision making process in loving unity.

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