Recently on the Christian blogosphere, there have been a few posts on the church located in the U.S. and it’s response to empire. Is a post-colonial church possible? Who would be excluded? Drew Hart and Julie Clawson have some interesting takes on what an anti-imperial Christianity (or would that be anti-imperial Christianities) would look like? Celucien has joined the conversation with his own series in getting back to the heart of James Cone’s theology in God of the Oppressed.
For my two-cents, I think that post-colonial ecclessiologies would be wise to start with re-examination of the Good News, and make it central to the life of the church. While many Christian thinkers have paid lip-service to abstract notions of reconciliation, I do believe it is time that the praxis of reconcilation become the project of post-colonial Christianities, particularly among the race and socio-economic divides. It’s great to hear this scholar or that scholar catch the ear of the mainstream as a token marginalized speaker for her people, but it is another thing of itself for churches in their everyday practices intentionally do the hard work of reconciliation that these holy prophets of anti-racism suggest. Another working model of a post-colonial ecclessiology could suggest perhaps listening to biblical criticism that works outside of the Christian narrative; that is, maybe instead of swearing off the “barbarian nonbelievers who live in the jungle, that Christians begin to humbly realize the limitations of applying a particular cultural gaze onto Scripture but at the same time appreciate all cultures and perspectives.
Which is more important, anyhow?: that the Bible (i.e., someone’s particular interpretation of the canon) be relevant to society, or that Christ be the center of all cultures? Seems to me a post-colonial church would choose the latter.