Must God Remain Greek? Afro Cultures and God-Talk

Must God Remain Greek? Afro Cultures and God-Talk

Must God Remain Greek? Afro Cultures and God-Talk

Must God Remain Greek? Afro Cultures and God-Talk

Excerpt

Why is God so Greek to most Christians? This may sound like an odd question when many of us hardly consciously associate a nationality with God. And the term Greek is certainly not one most of us would connect with God—rather it conjures up a small, picturesque Mediterranean country in southern Europe, an exotic kind of cuisine, the setting for a delightfully sensuous and earthy film called Never on Sunday, or possibly, in some circles, it may evoke images of the Greek Orthodox Church. However, Greek is also descriptive of the way Christians think about God intellectually and talk about God theologically, for that thought and discourse have been shaped and defined by ancient Greek philosophical thought. To this extent, we can say that Christian theology has given God an “ethnic” or “ethnocentric” character that is Greek. Depending on how much they feel “at home” with this legacy, Christians can be divided into three groups: the “homies,” the “adopted homies,” and the “homeless.”

Home, a word and concept with all sorts of associations, can be a place of nurture and formation, a source of good and bad experiences, and a metaphor for familiar surroundings, as in the expression “I feel at home.” Home can also be a space for refuge and rest, a place to relax after the weariness of the heat of the day, or a shelter where we can complain, shout, laugh, and cry. It can be a place of protestation and a focus of conversation, a lodge of jubilation and self-affirmation.

Homey, a less familiar word to many, is a street expression in black culture. A “homey” is a person with whom you are at home and can relax, laugh, and cry because that person has been through the same stages of formation and rites of passage as you. You do . . .

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