Tag Archives: NABPR

Glen Stassen has passed away

stassen2010

Image from Consistent Life News.org circa 2010

It’s with a heavy heart that I share what I learned via a friend’s facebook post.  Glen Stassen, Baptist  ethicist and scholar went to be with our LORD on Saturday. It was in 2008, at the Joint Meeting of the Society of Pentecostal Scholars and Wesleyan Theological Society on Duke University’s campus that I first met Glen.  We met in between sessions, late in the afternoon, and we talked about my interest in peacemaking, and possibly doing a PhD in the future.  It was a pleasant chat.  The second time I was able to meet Dr. Stassen was at the 2009 National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion. Stassen, as I reported back then, said that I had a good grasp of the theology of his friend, the late Stanley Grenz. We were also able to talk about the theology of the Cross in John Howard Yoder’s work.

I am grateful for the Christian witness of Staussen and was blessed to have met him.

David Gushee wrote: A Tribute to Glen Stassen

Fuller Alum JR Kirk posted: Glen Stassen Has Died

From Christianity Today: Died: Glen H. Stassen, Baptist Ethicist Who Pioneered ‘Just Peacemaking’

Stassen’s author’s page on Amazon.com, with selected titles.

NABPR 2010

This year, the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion met on the campus of McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the second time that I have been on the campus of McAfee and I enjoyed myself once again (except for the public transportation system, MARTA even though it did get the job done).  There were some interesting conversations that went on and I felt like I have so much more to read now.  But being on a hiatus for a year will make it easier for me to catch up.  As for my two presentations, they both went rather well.  I felt encouraged to keep pursuing the direction that I am going.  I made the mistake of believing that my friend Adam’s and I deconstruction of William P. Young’s The Shack was going to be the most controversial presentation, but that ended up being the presidential address (a good thing). I even got the chance to catch up with some paperwork for the children’s ministry while I was away.  All in all, I had a great time and I hope to make it next year and bring a few friends to Gardner Webb School of Divinity.

Upcoming Conference Presentations: Updated (by a lot)

A lot of stuff going nowadays to go along with my thesis and ministry with children, including my very first accept joint presentation proposal.

Wesleyan Theological Society

45th Annual Meeting at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California

March 4-6, 2010

“The Future of Scripture”

Keynote speaker: Richard Hays, author of The Faith of Jesus Christ and The Moral Vision of the New Testament

Session: Ethnic Studies Session

PRESENTATION TITLE: Empire Studies and Ezekiel: Imperialism, Idolatry, and the imago Dei from a black postcolonial perspective

Currently in biblical and theological studies, there is a tendency for scholars to study the New Testament in light of the authors’ context within the Roman Empire.[1] However, the prevalence of empire has been largely ignored in the Hebrew Bible. In this paper, I will examine Ezekiel within his Babylonian imperial context using the lens of Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth in order to provide a Black postcolonial interpretation of Ezekiel for a neo-colonial society in the twenty-first century. Given that the Ezekielian tradition is one of exile, judgment, and hope, I propose that the most suitable way to appreciate Ezekiel is through the eyes of an exile since the authors wrote from a position of marginalization.

During the 19th century, enslaved Africans appropriated the story of Ezekiel the priest-prophet into their resistance in the form of their spirituals. With sorrow songs such as “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel” and “Even Me” that were drawn from the biblical text, the enslaved Africans were able to subvert the wills of the Southern oligarchs during the time of American Manifest destiny. The entire book of Ezekiel thus serves as an early sixth-century B.C.E. sorrow song in which Ezekiel records the exile experience from YHWH’s point of view. Viewing Ezekiel in this manner offers the African American faith community a powerful precedent for negotiating existence in a modern imperial context.

Southwest Commission on Religious Studies

2010 Annual Meeting

March 13th-14th

Dallas, Texas

(Sunday 8:30-10:30)
AAR: HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

Theme: Issues in Evangelicalism

Proposal synopsis-

The twentieth-century rise of fundamentalist and evangelical Christianities in the United States has been well documented.[2] There is a growing trend in scholarship that where there is a lot of attention given to the rapid growth of evangelical Christianity in the South American, African, and Asian continents.[3] In works such as William Martin’s With God On Our Side and Greg Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation, scholars and historians note the complicity of evangelicals in propagating nationalism and empire because of a dependence on the political power.  Very little research, however, exists where evangelical Christianity has been examined as a resource of resistance against racism and imperial domination.

In this paper, I propose to compare the histories of 20th century evangelical Christianity in the Harlem, New York and in Korea from 1910 to 1970.  By examining figures such as the leaders of the New Negro movement headed by Hubert Harrison and Marcus Garvey alongside their Christian contemporaries such as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in the early 20th century Harlem, I will offer an understanding of this movement that aims look at the practices and doctrines of the Negro church as a response to Negro American radicalism.  In addition, I also wish to evaluate the evangelical Protestant churches located in Korea during the Japanese occupation from 1910-1945 and the role that evangelical religion played in forming a discourse of anti-colonial resistance. Lastly, I will consider evangelicalism’s function as a source of decolonization for Korean and black Harlem Christians after World War II.  While evangelical Protestant churches in Korea opposed Soviet expansion and communism, Tom Skinner and the Harlem Evangelistic Association stood firm against racism and segregation in the United States.  I conclude that Korean Protestantism and black Christianity in Harlem are distinct forms of evangelicalism that are models in response to oppression as well as radical nationalist movements.

Southwest Commission on Religious Studies Annual Meeting
March 13 and 14, 2010

SWCRS Section Name- AAR: Philosophy of Religion and Theology

Presentation Title- God in Solidarity: Incarnation and Eschatology as the Nexus between North American Christian Womanism and Eastern & Russian Orthodox Theologies

Proposal synopsis-

James Cone, in God of the Oppressed, argues that Black theologians depend on Scripture and the Black experience as resources for liberation. Christian womanists have appropriated Cone’s method, but they include Black women’s literature as a point of departure. Both Christian Womanism and Christian Black liberation theologies represent contextual religious thinking in which Jesus the Messiah is the subject while there is a penultimate concern for the survival of oppressed people groups. Missing in both Black liberationist and Christian Womanist works is a critical engagement with the other Christian traditions outside of Protestantism. Apart from the work done by Roman Catholic womanist scholars Diane L. Hayes and M. Shawn Copeland, there seems to be very little conversation going on between Black /Womanist Christianities and early Christian tradition. Doing theology in the twenty-first century should mean that one enters into dialogues with a plurality of conversation partners since there is no one group or individual who can claim a hold on universal truth any longer.

This author believes that Christian Womanists would benefit from a conversation with Eastern/Russian Orthodox Christians. Towards this end, I will first examine the work of Christian Womanist Karen Baker-Fletcher and Black theologian Major J. Jones who both incorporate the Black experience, open/relational theologies, and ancient Christian thought into their constructive theological proposals. I will also compare the similar streams of thought concerning Christian Womanist and Eastern/Russian Orthodox notions of Incarnation and eschatology. Finally, I conclude with considering the possibility of what a conversation with Orthodox Christianities may mean for how the Black church grasps its identity within the world as well as its understanding of liberation and human flourishing.

Southwest Commission on Religious Studies Annual Meeting
March 13 and 14, 2010

SWCRS Section Name- AAR: Ethics, Society and Cultural Analysis

Presentation Title- God in Solidarity: Incarnation and Eschatology as the Nexus between North American Christian Womanism and Eastern & Russian Orthodox Theologies

Proposal synopsis-

James Cone, in God of the Oppressed, argues that Black theologians depend on Scripture and the Black experience as resources for liberation. Christian womanists have appropriated Cone’s method, but they include Black women’s literature as a point of departure. Both Christian Womanism and Christian Black liberation theologies represent contextual religious thinking in which Jesus the Messiah is the subject while there is a penultimate concern for the survival of oppressed people groups. Missing in both Black liberationist and Christian Womanist works is a critical engagement with the other Christian traditions outside of Protestantism. Apart from the work done by Roman Catholic womanist scholars Diane L. Hayes and M. Shawn Copeland, there seems to be very little conversation going on between Black /Womanist Christianities and early Christian tradition. Doing theology in the twenty-first century should mean that one enters into dialogues with a plurality of conversation partners since there is no one group or individual who can claim a hold on universal truth any longer.

This author believes that Christian Womanists would benefit from a conversation with Eastern/Russian Orthodox Christians. Towards this end, I will first examine the work of Christian Womanist Karen Baker-Fletcher and Black theologian Major J. Jones who both incorporate the Black experience, open/relational theologies, and ancient Christian thought into their constructive theological proposals. I will also compare the similar streams of thought concerning Christian Womanist and Eastern/Russian Orthodox notions of Incarnation and eschatology. Finally, I conclude with considering the possibility of what a conversation with Orthodox Christianities may mean for how the Black church grasps its identity within the world as well as its understanding of liberation and human flourishing.

National Association of Baptist Professor of Religion

Annual Meeting

May 23-26, 2010

McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

Atlanta, Georgia

PRESENTATION TITLE: The Social God, Social Teaching and Social Justice: Trinitarian Visions in Black Liberationist and Womanist Political Theologies

PROPOSAL SYNOPSIS (250-3OO WORDS):

Each society constructs for itself a vision that is passed down to the general populace through cultural traditions, a particular interpretation in the retelling of that society’s history, as well as the propagation of an identifiable view of the divine.  The newly formed United States, in Thomas Jefferson’s view, was better off being united under a civil religion from a deist perspective.  Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Christ and the Trinity were irrational and divisive in Jefferson’s examination.  A neutral and inactive Creator has never been a doctrine in African American Christianity. Dr. Anthony Pinn notes, “The idea of a God distant from the world and unconcerned with human affairs never appealed to black Christians [.] […] Black Christians assume that God’s work extended through all times to all suffering peoples, including them.”[4] The Triune God is a God of the living, who works for our good, who suffers with us, and reigns in us according to many traditions within African American Christianities.  In this work, I will argue that contemporary Black Liberationist and Womanist theologians are continuing the African American traditional view of the Trinity in their political theologies.  I propose that the Negro Church (black churches after the Civil War and before the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s) is an appropriate historical example where African American views of the Trinity were taught.  Towards this end, this paper will examine the conflicting social visions which are offered by Black Liberationist thinker James Hal Cone and Womanist theologian Delores Williams who maintain differing interpretations of the Trinitarian doctrine.  I will conclude with my own constructive proposal for an African American political theology grounded upon Black Liberationist, Womanist, and Trinitarian theologies.

National Association of Baptist Professor of Religion

Annual Meeting

May 23-26, 2010

McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

Atlanta, Georgia

PAPER, PANEL, OTHER: Joint Presentation proposal by Adam D J Brett and Rodney A. Thomas Jr.

PRESENTATION TITLE:  Making Mornings That They’ll Remember: God, Ethnicity, Race, Gender, and Sexuality in William P. Young’s The Shack

PROPOSAL SYNOPSIS (250-3OO WORDS):

For forty-nine weeks, William P. Young’s Christian fiction novel, The Shack, remained number one on the New York Times’ Best Seller list.  This work has received much appraisal for addressing central issues of Christian theodicy and the nature of the Triune God.  While Young should be commended for challenging our traditional notions of the divine, his portrayal of God as Pappa  (a big black woman as she is referred to in the book time and again), Jesus, and Sarayu have also started conversations on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.  Both of the presenters propose a conversation on race and gender as it pertains to the pictures that William P. Young provides in his The Shack.  We both affirm that everyone is made in the image of God and that persons of every race and gender are capable of representing God in the world.  However, the uninformed representations and recycled stereotypes as presented in The Shack remain problematic when dealing with issues of relationships between races and genders.  The presenters hope to place Young’s book in conversation with critical race theorists such as Cornell West and Miguel De La Torre as well as noted scholars in issues of gender and sexuality such as Kelly Brown Douglas, Dale Martin, and Laura E. Donaldson.  We shall conclude our presentation with making recommendations for how to transform The Shack as a book that affirms colonizing figments of racial and sexual imagination to a work that can aid the church and the academy maintain constructive conversations on race and sexuality.


[1] For example, see the works of Warren Carter, Nicolas Thomas Wright, Stephen Moore, Musa Dube, Fernando S. Segovia, Francisco Lozada, and Tom Thatcher.

[2] For more on this, see George Marsden’s work, Fundamentalism and American Culture. (Oxford University Press, 1980)

[3] For example, see Soong Chan-Rah’s The Next Evangelicalism, Mark Noll’s The New Shape of World Christianity, and Philip Jenkin’s The Next Christendom.

[4] Anthony B. Pinn. The Black Church in the Post-Civil Rights Era. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003), 38.