Christian Themes (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
A dimension of Cone’s Christian discourse that warrants attention is his assertion that God must be “black.” Rejecting the very notion of a colorless deity in a society where human beings suffer precisely because of their color, Cone insists that God must be black in order to correlate the truth of divine reality with oppression. Any inkling of God’s connection with the white oppressor contains an implicit approval of their actions. In announcing God’s blackness, Cone is virtually saying that the concept of the divine must not, in any form or symbolic ordering, be intimately associated with the racist-inflected white theology that grounds much of mainstream Christianity in North America.
Closely linked to the provocative theme of a “black God” is Cone’s Christocentric focus. He asserts that the proper subject of black theology is Jesus the Liberator. Cone’s Christological theory views Jesus as the Event of liberation—a monumental happening in the lives of oppressed black peoples seeking freedom from the distortion and sins of racist forces. Cone associates the freedom that Jesus offers with the existential notion of authenticity. In other words, oppressed black bodies are set free to be what they genuinely are, without the harmful distortions promoted by white racism and power. Cone adds that any interpretation of the Gospel that fails to see Jesus as the Liberator of the oppressed is heretical. Accordingly, any message that is not...
(The entire section is 398 words.)
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