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Humans in Black Theology

May 25, 2013

CONE

 DO YOU HAVE TO DO GOOD THINGS OR ARE HUMANS GOOD ANYWAY?

Liberal emphasis on human goodness while whites lynching blacks.

Abstract ‘love of humanity’ sounds good but must deal with concrete, real people.  Jesus did not become universal humanity, he became an oppressed Jew.

‘Man is only man in a philosophy class or a biology lab.  In the world he is African, Asian or South American. He is a Chinese making a cultural revolution, or an Afro-American with soul.  He lives  by bread and butter, enjoys red beans and rice, or watermelon or ice cream.’ Maulana Ron Karenga

CAN YOU BE HUMAN IF YOU ARE NOT FREE?

‘A slave cannot be a man’ LeRoi Jones

To be human is to unite with the oppressed and join their struggle because no one is free until all are free.

‘Freedom is not something you get as a present…You can live in a dictatorship and be free – on one condition, that you fight the dictatorship.  The man who thinks with his own mind and keeps it uncorrupted is free.  The man who fights for what he thinks is right is free.  But you can live in the most democratic country on earth, and if you’re lazy, obtuse or servile within yourself, you’re not free.  Even without any violent coercion, you’re a slave.  You can’t beg your freedom from someone.  You have to seize it – everyone as much as he can.’  Ignazio Pietro’s character  Spina in ‘Bread and Wine’

‘Freedom is the essence of man…(it) is not something outside one who freely is, it is a specific mode or structure of being.’  Marx

So not an abstract idea but something you live.

‘Man doesn’t really exist unless he is fighting against his own limits.’  Spina

People who insist on treating humans like cogs must realise we are not robots but free, living organisms

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SAY THAT HUMANS ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE?

Made in God’s image – trad. perceived as having rationality and freedom.

Luther said it was relationship as of child to father.

C19 had confidence in the rational person and theology talked of man as sharing God’s reason at very time of colonial conquests in Africa and Asia and black enslavement.

World War One shattered this optimism.

The Priestly creation account shows God’s image in purpose rather than abstract nature – as domination of world, especially animals.

Human nature to have ordering role, not submissive one.

Freedom is not white, middle class individualism, nothing to do with reading poetry or growing hair long

Freedom consists in being with community – when one oppressed, all are

WHAT IS CONVERSION?

Conversion means changing communities, siding with oppressed.

The free person is the black person who is prepared to live in an alien world but refusing to behave according to its expectations.

Whites might say they are oppressed too but they can sleep at night and not feel guilty of have rats.

WHAT IS SIN?

Sin is not about breaking laws.

It is about living for one’s private interests and not according to community’s goals.

Genesis 3 written in reign of Solomon – writer sees Israel’s history of alienation from source of its being

Israel had settled down like the other nations with kings &c.

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