David Fitch, James Cone: Liberation Theology 1

Jesus Creed | 6/13/2018 | Staff
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By David Fitch, Professor at Northern Seminary.

James Cone’s The Cross and The Lynching Tree, although six years old, still has much to teach about living into Christ’s Kingdom in regard to the systemic injustice of racism around us. Cone recently passed away and is recognized as the founder and leader of the black theology movement. Cone’s book is a study in the paradigm of liberation theology and its method.

Foundation - Hermeneutics - Course - Northern - Seminary

In what follows I review it as a foundation for why’s and how’s of doing cultural hermeneutics (a course I teach at Northern Seminary). In this two part review, I also point out what I see as lacking in liberation theology (as displayed in Cone) for it to be a truly engaged theology of gospel engagement.

Cone begins his work of theology with experience: specifically, black experience, specifically black experience in the segregated Jim Crow south, even more specifically the horrific history of lynchings in post Civil War America.

Sermons - Preachers - Work - Artists - Singers

He walks us through the sermons of black preachers, the work of various black artists, singers, poets and writers, unfolding how they understood, felt, and reflected on the terror experienced when a black person was lynched by white mobs. These mobs executed a vengeance on any black person who might be perceived as not obeying the rules of white supremacy over black people and their lives in America.

He uncovers the brutality, suffering, and the doubts—where is God? He uncovers the deep core hatred of white America when its supremacy is challenged.

Excursus - Subjectivity - Cone - Words - P15

It is a brilliant excursus in “black subjectivity” (Cone’s words from p.15) and is a necessary read for anyone wishing to understand the history of racism in the United States. Any of us who are white cannot possibly understand our black brothers and sisters apart from reading this horrific history of black lives in America...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Jesus Creed
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