Tag Archives: theological growth

New Series: Me and Black Liberation Theology

I’m gearing up for a class in the fall on contemporary theology.  One of the books we are reading is James Cone’s God of the Oppressed.  I hope to blog through it here at PJ starting in August.

I should start by saying that I’m not really a fan of Liberation theology.  But, that being said, I know that I have read very little Liberation theology, so my being ‘meh’ towards LT is based on summaries and overviews.  That’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to reading this book, because I’ll get to go a little more in-depth.

So, while I’m excited to read and to learn, I’m also kind of scared of what lays ahead.

I’m scared of what happens if I don’t agree with it.

If I disagree strongly with Cone, and Black LT in general, I’m scared that people will say, “well, you just don’t get it, because you’re not one of us.”  Will my disagreement with Cone be because I’m not part of the culture?  All theology is influenced by culture, obviously, but, my life experience of being a) Canadian, b) female, c)Scot-Ukrainian (translation: the palest pasty white you’ve ever seen), d) growing up in a multi-ethnic neighbourhood (mainly Italian, Vietnamese and Jewish) is so far removed from what Cone and other Black Liberation Theologians experienced in the U.S.

I’m scared of what happens if I agree with it.

Will people say, “you can’t really agree, because you haven’t lived it.  It’s ours.”  Should specific theologies be limited to a specific culture?

I’m scared of what happens if I just don’t get it.

Will people say, “Of course you don’t get it, you can’t get it. Don’t even try.

I’ve seen the hypothetical responses listed above in action, usually within Feminist circles.  To disagree with their position just proves that I’m still a product of the patriarchy, and thus my concerns, disagreements, etc., are tainted.

So here’s my question: How open is Black Liberation Theology to critique, and interaction?  Is there room for dialogue?  Can I be informed and influenced by Black Liberation Theology, and is there any room for this pasty, female Canadian at the discussion table?

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My Theological Journey- Rod


T C Robinson & Diglot have posted on their spiritual/theological journeys the past few years. I got the inspiration to give a summary of my own, the past six years

*From de facto pre-millenial dispensationalist (de facto as in unaware of biblical exegesis) to Post-millenial theology of hope (thank you, Jurgen Moltmann).

*From hyper-Arminian to 4-point Calvinistic Barthian to Open Theist trinitarian theology.

* From an epistemological stand point, I was moderately pro-modernity/Enlighten/anti-postmodernism to slightly post-modern/communitarian to now doctrinaire post-colonial (has a nice ring to it, eh?) 🙂

*From a politics that I would say that sat in the moderate/centrist pro-life Clintonian (Bill) Democrat with a preference for multi-lateralism in foreign policy to now an outspoken left of center libertarian, whose views fit somewhere in the neighborhood of your resident P.U.M.A. and the Republican Liberty Caucus.  Foreign policy wise, I tend to favor the loudest voices who are anti-war.

* In terms of readings of Scripture, I would say back then, i would claim to read the inerrant word “literally” to transitioning to the emerging narrative reading of the biblical text to now rejecting both models in favor of historical-criticism, including quests for the historical Jesus and Paul, while reading the canon as multi-narrative, as well as affirming Scripture as uniquely and fully-trustworthy.

*Lastly, and I think this one is most important: from being a self-proclaimed egalitarian to actually reading, listening to, and engaging  religious texts by women. I think it is so important to do so, and it really has changed me and the way I understand the faith, especially with regards to womanist theology and ethics.

I think theologically, I did not have to overcome any of the evangelical baggage that many so-called liberals, post-liberals, and emerging Christans go through simply because (and I had a hard time accepting this), that my tradition was simply not welcome in evangelical circles. So, I only learned about God’s “immutability” and “impassibility” when I got to college. However, I had never had to affirm those two doctrines, and I refuse to anyhow. Jesus reveals Godself to be the Suffering/self-denying God of creation and the cross, and I see these labels as a direct contradiction to this revelation.  Also, I did not even know of the inerrancy debates or the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy until much later, and so I do reject the terms in which the debates have taken place, for those concerns are not my concerns at all, but rather the interests of a powerful and elite interest group.  What’s exactly the point in banning redaction criticism again?


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My Sabbatical from the Academy So Far

I have decided given the recent circumstances the past six months or so, that it is in my best interest to take at least a year off from the Academy, i.e., no PhD applications or what not.  Along the way, I have learned a few things about myself.

1. I have once again become a fan of Science fiction, both novels and television, thanks in large part to the now defunct series, Caprica. I honestly had once lost my faith in Science fiction genre, starting all the way back to Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek Voyager. But now, I find myself trying to catch up with Battle Star Galactica (starting from the late 1970s) as well as the Green Lantern story with the help of Optimistic Chad.

2. I have discovered that, at this time, I am becoming less and less generous with thinkers that I disagree with. Thus, my multiple posts criticizing John Milbank (even though I was civil) as well as my comments concerning the Father of Super-Orthodoxy Karl Barth elsewhere in the theoblogosphere as well as on Twitter a few times this week.

3. Lastly, I think to find where I am theologically and politically, I see myself as “sipping the Kool-Aid” of post-colonial theory which some Super-Orthodox Christians consider to be poisonous.  It’s definitely a time to discover who I do not agree with, who I am not, and why. Sadly, I have fallen behind on my reading of the Church Fathers and Mothers, but that can wait as I try to read up more on Science Fiction and Black literary works.  A working theological  paradigm I see being constructed is a more Wesleyan/Arminian/Free Will, liberationist Christian worldview with sympathies to the Holiness and Baptist Free church traditions, with a non-violent,  anti-imperial and libertarian politics. I see this not only as some of the ideas that I adhere to, but also an appropriate counter-narratival response to what I see in theological studies which is currently the dominion of so-called “high-Church,” communitarians, Anabaptists and Calvinists who focus on hegemony, I mean uh, unity and the sacrament of  the Eucharist as the answer to all social problems. I realize that as both an African-American as well as principled libertarian, I remain on the margins of the academy (both liberal/mainline and conservative/evangelical).

And I would have it no other way.

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