Cone's mission was to bring blackness and Christianity together.”# In 1969, Cone published Black Theology and Black Power. In this book, Cone brought attention to racism in theology and proposes a theology addressing black issues, this theology would provide liberation and empowerment of blacks and “create a new value structures so that our understanding of blackness will not depend upon European misconceptions.”# From these convictions, the idea of black liberation theology was created. Black relate Christianity to the struggles they have endured, therefore it has to be black. “In a society where men are defined on the basis of color of the victims, proclaiming that the condition of the poor is incongruous with him who has come to liberate us.”
African American religious culture is a distinct custom in America. The distinct identity of African-American culture is deeply rooted in the historical experience of the African-America... ... middle of paper ... ... to find their identity. However, Cone and Wilmore proposed the ideas of Black theology that help us realize that it is possible to be Black in America. Cone especially believed that there is power in the African-American race. Raboteau shows how we can adapt to any cruelty just as the slaves did to support their religion and culture.
W.E.B Du Bois argues in his article, “of our spiritual strivings,” that the role of identity in shaping the African-American experience cannot be overlooked. Likewise, Kimberle Crenshaw in, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex,” has argued that, to some extent, identity has shaped the African-American experience. According to Michael Dawson in his article, “A model of Black Utility and Linked Fate,” the community in which the African-Americans find themselves contributes immensely to their experience. I examine how the concepts of race, culture, identity, community, and power have shaped the African-American experience. Further, I examine whether these concepts illuminate or obscure the African-American experience.
The black man’s response to God’s act in Christ must be different from the whites because his life experiences are different, Dr. Cone believes. In the “black experience,” the author suggested that a powerful message of biblical theology is liberation from oppression. Other theologians have also noted that African Americans require a different approach to counseling and healing. In Liberation and Human Wholeness: The Conversion Experiences of Black People in Slavery and Freedom, Dr. Edward P. Wimberly and his wife, Anne Streaty Wimberly, focused on the history of slavery and the wholeness of African Americans who are struggling with their inner self. In addition to the book, Dr. Wimberly created a workshop and seminar to help pastors and community leaders help African Americans who were once slaves.
White Christians saw god as more of a spiritual savior, while the reflection of God for blacks came in their struggle for freedom. Slave theology then opened up to Black theology which first began when churches began to become segregated. Many could not understand how Whites could continue to behave this way in the Lord’s house. It was soon realized that this was because, according to them, their God allowed segregation. It is obvious that over time Whites have created a particular image that most people see when they think about what Jesus looks like.
The African Methodist Episcopal taught Cone how to deal with contradictions of life and provided a way to seek meaning in a society not of his own making. Racism by the whites led to political and economic inequality, segregated restaurants and movies, and beatings and arrests. Cone did not understand how these whites could be considered good Christians. According to Cone, one of the tasks of this movement is to analyze the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in light of the experience of black people who have been victimized by white oppressors. Cone was called to the ministry at age 16, and became a pastor the following year when he went off to college.
These chapters serve as the building blocks to the true understanding of Cone’s Black Theology. This progressive movement begins with an introduction of both him and his viewpoint. He explains that his childhood in Bearden, Arkansas and his membership to Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E) has taught him about the black Church experience and the sociopolitical significance of white people. “My point is that one’s social and historical context decides not only the questions we address to God but also the mode of form of the answers given to the questions.” (14) The idea of “speaking the truth” is added at this point because to go any further the reader must understand the reason and goal for Black Theology. Through the two sources in that shape theology, experience and scripture, white theology concludes that the black situation is not a main point of focus.
According to a Maffly-Kipp (2001) because the number of slaves from Africa had decrease it gave room for a transformation of their culture styles and roots to blend with their religious practices such as enthusiastic singing, clapping, dancing, and being possessed with the holy spirit. Many white members of society felt threaten by the existence of black religious groups African Americans built a strong faith in God and found safety in their places of worship. Society was not always willing to accept the idea of Christian slaves. As one slave recounted "the white folks would come in when the colored people would have prayer meeting, and whip every one of them. Most of them thought that when colored people were praying it was against them” (McMickle 2002).
Cone believes that the “task of black theology to make theology relevant to the black reality”. (110) In other words, theology must be made relevant to what groups face today. This can be done by understanding who Jesus was because “that is the only way to assess who he is”. (Cone 113) This requires going back to the New Testament and to see who Jesus of Nazareth was and what he stood for because that is still who he is today. According to Cone, Jesus is the Oppressed One - someone who was with the poor, outcasts, and sinners.
A Historian by the name of Albert Raboteau states that those African American missionaries believed, “that God was drawing good out of the evil of slavery by using the American descendents of African slaves to take Christianity to the lands of their ancestors”.2 Early African American Missionary Activity Majority of the first African American missionary activity involved the sending freed Black slaves back to Africa.3 Blacks and Southern land owners, who feared that the freed Blacks would come back to start a revolution, Northern politicians and clergy all thought that the free black slaves would want to go back to their homeland.3 This movement caused a lot of unrest in the African American community about whether or not this was a good idea.5 1. Wilmore, Gayraud S. Black Religion and Black Radicalism: An Interpretation of the Religious History of Afro-American People. (1972) Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993. pp. 1-21. Raboteau, Albert J. Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans.