Resurrecting Ancient Wisdom & Worldview

1491By Randy Woodley, re-posted with permission from the Ethnic Space and Faith blog

There are stark differences between the worldviews of Indigenous peoples and those whose worldviews developed with the influence of Western Europe. The “age of discovery” brought the Europeans to our Indigenous shores. Many of those theologians and discoverers attributed their discoveries to God and then immediately acted in the most ungodly manner. I am willing to concede that the Creator had a hand in the meeting of the two worlds but I think it has been largely misinterpreted by the Western nations and Western religious bodies. These so called “discoveries” created not only wealth by extraction in previously co-sustained Indigenous lands, labor and resources, but they also created perverted national myths and twisted theological accounts of conquest. These myths have continued to be told time and time again, and with each generation they are reified, built upon and codified into our society’s collective mythologies and memories. Continue reading

James Cone: The Scalpel & The Compress

James ConeThe reflections on Dr. James Cone’s life and teaching keep on pouring in from his former students.  This one is from Ken Sehested the curator of Prayer & Politiks.

I was traveling when the news of Dr. James Cone’s death was reported on Saturday. The first thought that came to mind was what seems to be a providential concurrence: His passing came two days after the opening of the National Peace and Justice Memorial, solemnizing the lynching in the US of some 4,400 black people, in 800 counties, between 1877 and 1950. Cone’s last book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, was recipient of this year’s Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Continue reading

He Once Told Me

James ConeBy Marc Mullinax

James H. Cone, my professor at Union Seminary (NYC), died Saturday. He once told me something I think about every day. In September of 1987 he said: “Marc, you are too white and privileged ever to be a follower of Jesus. You’ll never ‘get‘ Jesus. You’ll use your privilege always to live apart from and out-of-earshot from the voices of the poor and underside of history. You’ll never be a Christian.” Of course, I immediately got reactive, and so missed his spot-on point.

He’s right, of course. And this one conversation and my internal dialogues ever since (”Is Cone right? Is Cone wrong?”) have done more for me than anything, in helping me to live into the kind of Christianity that might actually be worth something: less white, less privileged, less other-worldly.

Rest in peace, my life-long quarrel partner.

Marc Mullinax is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Faculty at Mars Hill University in western North Carolina. He is a member He is now at work on a project now called “The Tao of Justice: A New Interpretation of the Dao de Ching.”

A Disgraceful Race to the Bottom

GAORe-Posted from Marian Wright Edelman’s CHILD WATCH® COLUMN on the Children’s Defense Fund site.  For further reading, see the archive of her weekly writings.  

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last month, “K-12 Education: Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities,” reminds us once again that suspensions and expulsions continue at high rates and offer grave risks to students. The report by this federal monitoring agency reviews data from the Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection on school discipline trends across the country, provides a more in-depth look at discipline approaches and challenges faced in five states, and reviews past efforts by the Departments of Education and Justice to identify and address disparities and discrimination. Continue reading

James Cone: ¡Presente!

James ConeLiberation theologian James Cone of Union Theological Seminary crossed over yesterday.  He was 81.  This is from his ground-breaking A Black Theology of Liberation (1970):

The Christological significance of Jesus is not an abstract question to be solved by intellectual debates among seminary professors. The meaning of Jesus is an existential question. We know who he is when our own lives are placed in a situation of oppression, and we thus have to make a decision for or against our condition.

An Honest Conversation That Cannot Be Avoided

LynchingToday, celebrates the grand opening of Equal Justice Initiative‘s National Memorial and Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. It is a six-acre site overlooking the Alabama State Capitol, dedicated to the victims of American white supremacy. Below is a re-post of EJI’s recent release Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.

During the period between the Civil War and World War II, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States. Lynchings were violent and public acts of torture that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials. These lynchings were terrorism. “Terror lynchings” peaked between 1880 and 1940 and claimed the lives of African American men, women, and children who were forced to endure the fear, humiliation, and barbarity of this widespread phenomenon unaided. Continue reading

If We Aren’t Willing to Tell the Truth

LorraineFrom Jyarland Daniels, the executive director of Harriet Speaks:

April 4th will be upon us soon, and we will read articles like this for days. I want to ask (read: beg) you to remember language matters.

This article says, “50 Years After Dr. King’s Death…” “Death” is also used throughout the article. If we stop and think about the word “death” for a moment we see history is being sanitized and re-written before our very eyes.

You see, “Death” is the word we use when someone does of old age, or perhaps after a battle with an illness, or even an accident. But Dr. King was MURDERED. And not only that, but we now know that this government was complicit in his murder. 

Language matters. Words matter. If we aren’t willing to tell the truth and use the right language for how King died, then we aren’t ready to talk about what his life meant.