2020 has been interesting and for various reasons, there has been a lot to navigate though. Seeing as the month of October is Black History Month it might be beneficial to point us in the direction of some helpful resources to help anyone who might be mulling over race and faith. These suggestions come in the form of two books from American authors.
Firstly, “Sisters in the Wilderness” by Delores Williams. Delores is an instrumental figure in the development of Womanist Theology, which seeks to create space for the black female voice in matters of faith and race. In this book she looks at the story of Hagar from the Bible and presents a unique understanding of it that draws attention to the oppression of black women when it comes to issues of reproduction and surrogacy. Delores argues that taking seriously the oppression of black women helps deepen our understanding of oppression in the Bible.
Next is “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James Cone. As the name might suggest this comes with a trigger warning. I personally struggled through this book, the grim realities it presents can be hard to swallow. James grew up in Arkansas, living through the fears and horrors of lynchings and continued to wrestle with this even as adult. Another instrumental figure but of Black Liberation Theology, he published a number of books exploring his understanding of the Bible. In this book his main argument is that the lynching tree is the closest modern equivalent we have to what happened to Jesus on the cross, and if we pay close enough attention to it we may come to realise just how much God in Jesus aligns Himself with the oppressed.
Delores Williams and James Cone are both pioneers of thought in their own right, picking up the arguments of Liberation Theology and bringing it one step closer to our experience. If this is something you have been thinking on recently hopefully these two books will help.