-Rev Melissa Fain-
48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
49 because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50 He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52 He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
Luke 1:48-53 CEB
James Cone turned the theological world on its head with his book, "God of the Oppressed."
Before him, theology was almost exclusively the field of white European males. That's only one type of life experience. It doesn't speak to the immense cultural diversity of our planet. It's the reason Uncle Tom's Cabin is so offensive. A white man thought he understood the American Slave experience.It was an appropriation of someone else's culture. Keven Purger did a great job telling the history of the book, and it's direct connection to Six Flags over Georgia and Disney World.
In our modern context we explore cultures, not by telling a white guy to write them for us, but by bringing in voices of those cultures. Disney's Coco worked so well because they brought in Hispanic voices to explain the cultural significance of the Day of the Dead.
It could be summed up in one sentence: Understanding one's culture requires giving the participants of that culture a voice.
James Cone, a minister and professor, was a voice in the African American church. He was able to make Black Culture a valid discussion point in theological circles, and turn the focus away from High Church, hoity toity language, to the desperate need of the poor- many of whom were black.
God of the Oppressed throws it on the table: Jesus is Black. It wasn't said because we know Jesus was literally born black. It was said, because Jesus shared something that was sadly understood by the African-American: oppression. It wasn't an appropriated message. It was real and raw. God is for and is oppressed. God is Black.
Let us Pray:
Oh God! The least of these cry out. Let us not only hear them, but also meet their need. Amen.