Flights of Faith

Monday, August 10, 2009

Five Men? And the search begins.


I landed in Capetown, South Africa this morning.  After a bit of a rest, we took to the neighborhood.  We were greeted by four men who helped end apartheid in South Africa.  Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela are 2 and 4 in the lineup.  Of course, my Dad asked me to stand next to Nelson Mandela.  At this point in life, I know obliging to the photo op is the best route available.  Stepping away from Mandela, I got called back by a random man who also wanted to take my picture with Nelson. Ha!  

"Are you African?"
I smiled.  Without saying no, I answered, "I'm American."
For the record, he was French...and a very excited man.

Light moments like that are needed.

A lot of questions are running through my mind.  Most have to deal with the question of worldview, specifically African worldviews and African American ones.  

From the beginning of an African presence in America, black people seemed to take to the Gospel.  It makes me wonder because black people inserted themselves into the Exodus story and as people known by Jesus as suffering but coming home to Him.  Where was the Kingdom? I can surely think of heroic narratives like Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, to name a few, but who caught hold of the Kingdom message and preached it with proclamation and demonstration?  I'm concerned that silence on the issue caused black intellectuals like W.E.B. DuBois (among others) to end up disillusioned in Christianity and lost on a spiritual quest for political rights and third world solidarity.  I'm a fan of the latter two goals, but I believe Jesus has a good deal to do with those topics.  I must be not looking hard enough.  I really hope that.

UPDATE:  Charles Harrison Mason and Charles Price Jones of Church of God in Christ and the Holiness Movement may give some answers to this question.  New research topic.  

4 Comments:

Blogger Grand Master - 108 Tongues, Bustout! Family said...

"'Are you African?'"
"I smiled. Without saying no, I answered, 'I'm American.'"

Nice.

Yeah I've been thinking a lot, too. Thinking about Asian-American narratives and Asian culture/society, how it interfaces with American history and culture. Cool.

5:38 AM  
Blogger caleb said...

Josh:

The issue that you raise about the presence of the Kingdom in culture is exactly what I am going to write my dissertation on. We should talk.

A great book to start off with for you would be Slave Religion by Al Raboteau (of Princeton...what up!)

-c.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

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10:07 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

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10:09 PM  

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