an online reading group and exploration

"I Can't Breathe!"

Black Theology

Disrupting & Revitalizing the World

w/ Dr. Adam Clark & Dr. Tripp Fuller | August 2020

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An Eight Week Course Introducing Black Theology

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8 Weeks + 4 Deep Dives + 4 Special Sessions + Readings + Online Community

“Racism is a profound contradiction of the gospel. No one can be a representative of Jesus and treat others as subhuman.  There can be no compromise on this point. Any theology that does not fight white supremacy with all its intellectual strength cancels its Christian identity”

- James Cone

White supremacy is America’s most cherished heresy. It is a theological error entailing the death and domination of black bodies. The White Church has not simply been silent and sidelined in the march toward liberation, but an ideological ally and institutional accomplice of supremacy culture. George Floyd’s last words as he was murdered by the State, “I can’t breathe,” ignited a collective gasp in which a larger multitude and diversity of citizenry had the scales fall off their eyes and found their lips and lungs reanimated to speak, “Black Lives Matter.” 

For some this is a new shout and for others it is too familiar. If black lives matter our life as a species and a church, then it is time to listen to the voices who have already been speaking and living this gospel proclamation. As James Cone, the Father of Black Theology said, “There can be no Christian theology that is not identified unreservedly with those who are humiliated and abused. In fact, theology ceases to be a theology of the gospel when it fails to arise out of the community of the oppressed. For it is impossible to speak of the God of Israelite history, who is the God revealed in Jesus Christ, without recognizing that God is the God of and for those who labor and are overladen.” We hope this online class in Black Theology is disrupting and revitalizing.

We are extremely excited about both the content and the format of this class. Each of the elements are intended to provide all the resources necessary for the engaged nerd like yourself to wrestle deeply with a powerful tradition and texts.

The aim of this course is to explore four major themes that shape Black Theology. Black Theology is critical thinking about the framing stories and interpretive structures that organize and give meaning to black life. It is a way of framing Christian faith through the goal and practice of liberation. As we dig into each of the four themes we will examine a number of short reading selections, receive lecture from Adam in conversation with Tripp, hear from a different special guest scholar, QnA time, and engage the community in the online group.

Can't join live? Want to save the content for later? No problem! ALL THE CONTENT OF THE CLASS WILL BE RECORDED AND SHARED AS BOTH AUDIO and VIDEO TO THE CLASS. SO go ahead and join.

Special Guest Contributors

Bishop Michael Curry

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

Dr. Monica A. Coleman

Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware

Rev. Jesse Jackson & Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Rev. Jackson is a civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician, The story of justice seeking citizens and disciples in America can not be told without Jesse and we are thrilled to have him join us along with his friend and mine, Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim. Grace recently edited a fablous and stirring collection Rev. Jackson's Sermons and Speeches - Keeping Hope Alive.

PS it isn't just available in text, but in audio.

The Four Major Themes of Our Reading

 Is Christianity a White Man’s Religion? Can Christianity be separated from Empire?

How is Black Theology conceived as a theology of liberation? What are its sources and norms?

What is the significance of Hagar to black women’s experience? What is the Womanist critique of the Cross and turn towards the ministerial vision of Jesus?

Who is Christ for us today? What is the connection between the cross and the lynching tree?

Meet Adam.

Dr. Adam Clark is Associate Professor of Theology at Xavier University. He is committed to the idea that theological education in the twenty first century must function as a counter-story. One that equips us to read against the grain of the dominant culture and inspires one to live into the Ignatian dictum of going forth "to set the world on fire." To this end, Dr. Clark is intentional about pedagogical practices that raise critical consciousness by going beneath surface meanings, unmasking conventional wisdoms and reimagining the good. He currently serves as co-chair of Black Theology Group at the American Academy of Religion, actively publishes in the area of black theology and black religion and participates in social justice groups at Xavier and in the Cincinnati area. He earned his PhD at Union Theological Seminary in New York where he was mentored by James Cone.

Meet Tripp.

Dr. Tripp Fuller is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Theology & Science at the University of Edinburgh. For over 12 years Tripp has been doing the Homebrewed Christianity podcast (think on demand internet radio) where he interviews different scholars about their work so you can get nerdy in traffic, on the treadmill or doing the dishes. Last year it had over 3.5 million downloads. It also inspired a book series with Fortress Press called the Homebrewed Christianity Guides to... topics like God, Jesus, Spirit, Church History etc. Tripp is a very committed and (some of his friends think overly ) engaged Lakers fan and  takes Star Wars and Lord of the Rings very seriously.