Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology

Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology

Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology

Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology

Excerpt

The idea of a book on the future of black theology arose from a conference I coordinated while on the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In 1997, when I arrived at Garrett to teach theology and anthropology and direct the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE), I knew I entered an institution that had a checkered history in relation to African Americans. CBE developed out of African Americans’ struggle to have a voice and intellectual space in the institution. James H. Cone, the first African American to graduate with a Ph.D. from Garrett/Northwestern Graduate School, experienced explicit incidents of racism there. I also believed that the souls of black men and women made it possible for me to become the second African American woman professor in the institution’s history. Thus, in my second year, I decided that CBE would invite James H. Cone back to his alma mater to honor him and to examine the future of black theology. The key questions for the conference were: What impact will black theology have on the church in the black church’s third century? In what ways has black theology influenced all of modern theology? The chapters in this volume result from the conference participants’ responses to these questions and include a cross section of perspectives based on black theology’s global reach.

What is exciting about this book is that black theology is examined as public theology not only addressing the historically black churches but also in dialogue with various theologies—Asian, Native American, Latino/a and white—and the corresponding faith traditions represented by these theologies. The volume reflects the international impact of black theology and the ways various peoples around the world have engaged the theology for liberative purposes, while particularizing it for their own contexts. Black theology’s method and practice have been so forceful that it contributes to a self-reflective process for many marginalized peoples developing their own theologies around the globe.

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