Cross Currents

Articles from Vol. 57, No. 2, Summer

America's Original Sin: The Legacy of White Racism
The United States of America was established as a white society, founded upon the genocide of another race and then the enslavement of yet another. To make such a statement today is to be immediately accused of being rhetorical or, worse yet, of...
"Be Ye Doers of the Word, Not Just Hearers Only": Faith and Politics in the Life of Victoria Gray Adams
African American women's leadership significantly influenced the success of the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, while this is true, many of the early movement histories focused on national organizations and the men who led them. Within recent years, however,...
Bling and Blessings: Thoughts on the Intersections of Rap Music and Religious Meaning
There is a long relationship between music and religious concerns, the former often serving as a vehicle for the articulation of the latter. What is more, one need not sing explicitly about heaven and hell in order for one's music to wrestle with deeply...
Fighting Health Disparities: The Educational Role of the African American Church
Religion and religious institutions are an integral part of the lives of many Americans. For African Americans, the Black Church (1) has been the one entity that has constantly served their needs and interests. Even so, African Americans continue to...
Jesus and Justice: An Outline of Liberation Theology within Black Churches
The institutional development and infrastructure that mark the various African American denominations provide the physical structures through which African American Christians live out their doctrine, their beliefs. However, we often forget that there...
Prosperity Theology: T.D. Jakes and the Gospel of the Almighty Dollar
There was a time when being Pentecostal meant eschewing the material blessings of the world by opting for a life of simplicity not unlike what Henry David Thoreau endorsed in his classic book Walden. Carlis Moody, a longtime bishop in the Church of...
Race and Religion: The Elixir of Separation
Race--it is America's rawest nerve and most enduring dilemma. From Birth to death, race is with us, defining, dividing, distorting. --Sig Gissler, Summer 1994 I add the following comment to Gissler's observation: From birth to death, race is one of...
Remember History: An Interview with John Hope Franklin
named after John Hope, one of the founders of the Niagara Movement (the forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or the NAACP), historian John Hope Franklin has not only recorded American history, he has lived it....
Repairing the Past: Polarities of Restorative Justice
Forging links between academic analysis and the hard, practical work of politicians is a neglected art. Behind the difficulty are the threats of ambiguity. Making a decision to do something is different from thinking about doing. There is a "leap",...
Riding into History
Raymond Arsenault Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice Oxford University Press, 2006, paperback 2007, 690 pp, $19.95 It lasted for only six months. But people who were directly involved in the civil rights movement know...
Righteous Politics: The Role of the Black Church in Contemporary Politics
Someday the Awakening will come, when the pent-up vigor of ten million souls shall sweep, irresistibly toward the Goal, out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where all that makes life worth living-Liberty, Justice and Right- is marked "For White...
Sorrow Songs and Flying Away: Religious Influence on Black Poetry
When blacks first encountered Europeans and their religion, a strange and complex bond was forged. Newly encased in the manacles of slavery, they had their first taste of Christianity. Usually, there was a chapel at the center of each holding pen....
The Power of Reconciliation: From the Apostle Paul to Malcolm X
As a Christian, I embrace a New Testament perspective on reconciliation. I write, teach, and often preach that through Jesus Christ we are reconciled to God and to each other. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a re-creation event that...
When the Mahatma Met Jesus: Gandhianism, African American Evangelism and the Fight for Racial Justice
Ed. Note: In Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, the first full-scale book on the Freedom Riders by a professional historian, University of South Florida history professor Ray Arsenault offers a number of examples of the intersection...
Words from the Pulpit: Faith in a Foreign Land
I want you to consider a familiar passage of Scripture: By the rivers of Babylon we sat down; There we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows near by We hung up our harps.... Those who captured us told us to sing; They...
You Got a Right to the Tree of Life: African American Spirituals and Religions of the Diaspora
Run, Mary, run Run, Mary, run I say Run, Mary, run You got a right to the tree of life. You got a right, you got a right You got a right to the tree of life. Little Mary you got a right You got a right to the tree of life. Hebrew children got a right You...

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