The Black Experience & Black Theology

The Black Experience & Black Theology

Welcome to the Black Experience & Black Theology where the history and theology of the black community will be explored and discussed. We will interact with historical documentation and provide resources to deepen our awareness of the black contribution.

Let me briefly explain why I have added this section to SacraPagina.com. The majority of my time spent in biblical studies was without attention given to my black context. After I was required to read Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail in my Old Testament Prophets course in seminary, I realized the great disconnect between my studies and my experience. I had been preoccupied with the thoughts, questions, and interests of others, who seemed disinterested in addressing the issues of my community. Their theology was assumed to be universal and was applicable to every context. Their failure was to believe their theology was without context.

It was from that time forward that I began to read extensively in black theology, particularly, the works of Dr. James H. Cone, the father of Black Liberation Theology. I wrote several essays in my last year of seminary.

My observations have led me to draw certain conclusions about the state of some black churches and their effect on their congregations and communities. I pose the question, what has our theology and gospel been effect? Has their been a change in our community beyond the change of individuals? For some the question is no. I want to argue that solutions to our problems require we know our story (our history) from the Middle Passage, Slavery, Jim Crow, Segregation to the Civil Rights Movement. We must look back to our experience as black folk and cherish the theologies we articulated that helped us overcome our inhumane treatment. We must regain a culture of collectivism, collective action, and community orientation.

In the days and months ahead we will survey our history highlighting moments and contributions from our people that shed light on what we need to do today. Most important are the primary sources that can be used our canon of faith and practice. The words and experiences of our people must never be forgotten. Each generation must remember and renact our past in order to know who we are and to join in the struggle to secure and maintain our freedom and rights to self-determination. We must recognize the role of the gospel and Scripture in our community of faith. Our history is rich in biblical tradition that answered our questions and addressed our problems.

All theology arises from the particular context of the theologian. The wise biblical interpreter is the one who is aware of and works out of his/her historical, social, cultural, and religious context.

You are invited to participate. Feel free to submit essays, topics for discussion, and resources that we can post and discuss. Send your contributions to john.ruffin@gmail.com.

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