Manual Speaking of God: Relational Theology

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This approach to theology is part of a White progressive metanarrative that conveniently works to dismiss criticisms of racism and is more than eager to return to the status quo Tillich and Barth, with a little bit of white Lean-In feminism mixed in. MLK Jr. The White Progressive Relational narrative of supersessionism keeps the status quo virtually in tact with a few qualifications. The prophetic challenge made by Cone well over three decades ago goes silently into the night, so one would seem to think. I have been considering Cone as a relational theologian for quite some time, and even presented a paper on it at a regional American Academy of Religion meeting, in dialogue with Womanist and Patristic theologies.

It was not until recently had I took the opportunity to consider James Cone as a theologian of gender as well. I had bought hook, line and sinker to the [false] narrative of how Womanist God-talk overcame Black liberation theology [and therefore shutdown anti-racism critiques via academic derailing]. In fact, I plan on embracing this weakness as part of this discussion on gender and blackness.

Speaking of God: Relational Theology by Paul R. Sponheim

It is interesting, then, that womanist theology is often cited as a way of both intervening in and disabling discussions of race, gender, power, and theology which seems to have the unintended effects of recentering white women as proper subjects of gender analysis and black men as the proper objects of racial analysis. If you recall, I noted in my previous post for this series that Cone does not believe blackness to be a category that is natural, biologically determined set of traits and personalities. Blackness as a symbol is an orientation towards being in solidarity with the oppressed.


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If Blackness is indeed a symbol born out of racial and gender violence, then blackness as a way of being, doing and thinking has implications for not only racial performance, but also gender performativity as well. Let us first start with how James Cone identifies himself before he moves forward with his Christological arguments against White Supremacist Religiousity. It is in this desire for people-formation, that of a Black Church that practices anti-Racist Christianity that James Cone injects gender into the equation of Black liberation.

Tom’s Selections for an Open and Relational Theology 101 Reading List

As a post-colonial writer, I know that there are a few schools of thought pertaining to nationalisms and how they function in domination systems when it comes to anti-imperial resistance. Cone wrote in Black Theology and Black Power to create a national culture that would be be centered in the Black Church. By claiming to speak only for himself, Cone conversely re-positions himself as a representative of the U. Black radical tradition.


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  6. It is difficult for us to conceive of a discourse on national culture where love and hate do not occupy the same psychic space, as Homi Bhabha argues because nation-states need an Other in which to assert their aggression. Instead, what we have is a revolutionary struggle for the sake of saving the souls of both White Supremacists as well as victims of racism. You would think that this Jesus Juke you just witnessed above gets James Cone off the hook for his patriarchal presentation of blackness.

    The valuing of inclusion is something that neoliberal institutions such as universities and corporations love to talk about, but they only seem able to talk about inclusion as the end all be all, and not the violent natures and histories of their exclusions. White Supremacist systems demonically sexualizes black bodies while erasing their genders.

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    The purpose that dark bodies serve is to be at the pleasure of their Masters all the while remaining threats to their Masters. Pointing to the economic violence of white racism,. Cone portrays the black familial experience of one ideal, nuclear family beaten at the hands of White Supremacy, where the black man is unable to be the breadwinner. Fanon successfully makes his case without the need for a gendered understanding of nations. Unfortunately, James Cone epically fails in this regard. With nationalist rhetoric, the bodies of women are quite frequently used to represent nation-states; this further perpetuates rape culture, and male ownership over the female body.

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    Issues of territorialism, war, and economics come to mind, particularly when we are dealing with issues such as the raping of wives, mothers, and daughters as a tactic for war. Indeed James Cone is at war with White Supremacy, and depends on militaristic language to resist the white supremacist conservative and liberal churches. While Cone remains problematically silent on violence as particularly gendered, what he does do is names rape culture as part of the experience of black oppression.

    Because human beings are made in the Imago Dei, we cannot fully know how each other feel. If Jesus is essentially black, what does that mean for persons in the Black atheist tradition? Are all blacks essentially theists and religious?

    I find Delores S. God experiences time moment by moment open God, us, and creation relate, so that everyone gives and receives relational Most open and relational thinkers also affirm additional ideas, such as the idea love is our ultimate ethic, creatures are free at least to some extent, all creation matters, life has purpose, genuine transformation is possible, science points to important truths theology needs to incorporate, and more. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. Send us your: Resource Event News Ideas now.

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    This variety shares at least two ideas in common: God experiences time moment by moment open God, us, and creation relate, so that everyone gives and receives relational Most open and relational thinkers also affirm additional ideas, such as the idea love is our ultimate ethic, creatures are free at least to some extent, all creation matters, life has purpose, genuine transformation is possible, science points to important truths theology needs to incorporate, and more. Visit website here.

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