A landmark in the conversation about race and religion in America. "They put him to death by hanging him on a tree." Acts 10:39 The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and "black death," the cross symbolizes divine power and "black life" God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era. In a work that spans social history, theology, and cultural studies, Cone explores the message of the spirituals and the power of the blues; the passion and of Emmet Till and the engaged vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.; he invokes the spirits of Billie Holliday and Langston Hughes, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ida B. Well, and the witness of black artists, writers, preachers, and fighters for justice. And he remembers the victims, especially the 5,000 who perished during the lynching period. Through their witness he contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice.
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The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this work, Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of African American folk.
This autobiographical work is truly the capstone to the career of the man widely regarded as the "Father of Black Theology." Dr. Cone, a distinguished professor at Union Theological Seminary, died April 27, 2018. During the 1960s and O70s he argued for racial justice and an interpretation of the Christian Gospel that elevated the voices of the oppressed.ssed.
First published in 1969, "Black Theology & Black Power" provided the first systematic presentation of black theology. Relating the militant struggle for liberation with the gospel message of salvation, James Cone laid the foundation for an original interpretation of Christianity that retains its urgency and challenge today.
Cone explores two classic aspects of African-American culture--the spirituals and the blues. He tells the captivating story of how slaves and the children of slaves used this music to affirm their essential humanity in the face of oppression. The blues are shown to be a "this-worldly" expression of cultural and political rebellion. The spirituals tell about the "attempt to carve out a significant existence in a very trying situation".
John D. Caputo stretches his project as a radical theologian to new limits in this groundbreaking book. Mapping out his summative theological position, he identifies with Martin Luther to take on notions of the hidden god, the theology of the cross, confessional theology, and natural theology. Caputo also confronts the dark side of the cross with its correlation to lynching and racial and sexual discrimination. Caputo is clear that he is not writing as any kind of orthodox Lutheran but is instead engaging with a radical view of theology, cosmology, and poetics of the cross. Readers will recognize Caputo's signature themes—hermeneutics, deconstruction, weakness, and the call—as well as his unique voice as he writes about moral life and our strivings for joy against contemporary society and politics.