“Christian theology is a theology of liberation.” This is the line that opens James H. Cone’s A Black Theology of Liberation, his work published originally in 1970 after the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 and 1968 respectively. Cone writes during a time of revolution in the United States and his words have not lost their fire or prophetic vigor in the 50 years since their initial introduction to society. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be uplifting Cone’s voice in this blog format, as he continues to challenge white theology and turn our eyes to the truth that our God is a God of liberation for the oppressed. It is our responsibility as white American’s to educate ourselves on the black experience in America by listening to black voices. I invite you to start with Cone’s word that calls out the failure of white theology and reveals the ways we, as white people, have been complicit in the oppression of black people for over 400 years. It will not be easy to read, but it is absolutely necessary if we are going to strive towards any sort of revolutionary redemption in this country when it comes to the systemic racism that pervades in all places, including the church. I invite you to be uncomfortable with this exploration into Black Liberation Theology.
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