How do we know Black lives matter to God?


(Illustration by Tim Cook)

Anselm’s dictum that theology is “faith seeking understanding” perfectly describes my theological journey. Even before I knew the word theology, I struggled to understand the meaning of my faith in relationship to my Blackness. This struggle continues for me today, although perhaps in a more focused way. While I initially wondered about the propriety of faith in what I believed then to be a “White Jesus,” I now struggle with the efficacy of faith at all.

James Baldwin once said that there comes a time in the life of every Black person in America when they must face the “shock . . . that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance . . . has not pledged allegiance to you.” And now, as the mother of a six-foot-tall, loc-wearing, 27-year-old Black man—fearing for his life in this nation as much as I did when he was born, and realizing the gravity of sin in this country that is a mortal threat to all Black life—I find myself facing the shock that perhaps the “God of Jesus Christ,” in whom Black people have pledged faith, has not really pledged allegiance to us.

In light of that reality, I find myself reflecting not primarily upon how my theological mind has changed but upon how my journey to understand my faith continues. This journey is marked by two books, my first, The Black Christ, and my most recent, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God.

Atlanta Black Star | Africa


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