What African Theologians can teach the Emerging Church

Thanks Geoff Holsclaw for the following posts which I’ve printed to read. Wonder how the Asian Theologians are doing … heheh, and I’m in Malaysia … part of Asia. Anyway, nice to see a North American draw from African contributions. This mutual learning (we read you, you read us, we read ourselves, you read yourselves, all reflect and move forward!) is the way to go.

What African Theologians can teach the Emerging Church
Part One: The question of relevance and identity
Part Two: The Question of Identity: Ancient Parents and African Siblings
Part Three: Indigenous postmodern Faith

2 thoughts on “What African Theologians can teach the Emerging Church

  1. i think Greg Boyd made reference to an African scholar’s work, “The Colour of God” in his God of Possible.

    Overall a very promising area, an additional counterpoint cum complement to Western and Asian theology. (What’s the other one? Latin-American?)

  2. Pasting a little something from http://www.gregboyd.org

    (The white Western church has a lot to learn theologically from African peoples…)

    This conviction is based on four observations. First, many African people, like most non-western cultures in the last few hundred years, have more of a “warfare worldview” in which the world is inhabited by spiritual beings of varying degrees of strength and authority. Some of these beings are good, others evil, and they battle one another. Humans, and indeed the entire earth, is their battlefield. Much of the suffering in the world is the result of this warfare. In God at War, I argue that this worldview is closer to the biblical worldview than the Western Christian worldview which traditionally has assumed that everything in history (including sin and evil) proceeds according to a divine “blueprint.”

    Second, because it is largely free of the influence of the Hellenistic philosophical tradition, theologies that have arisen out of African cultures have better emphasized God’s involvement in human affairs. Unlike classical western theologies, there is no echo of anything like Aristotle’s “unmoved mover” or Plato’s timeless “form” of “the good.” This is why non-western theologians tend to be more sympathetic to the view that God faces a partly open future than Western theologians.

    Third, because of their experience of opression, African-American theologies also better emphasize the strong (but often ignored) biblical motif of God’s special concern for the poor and oppressed. Although Jesus said, “I’ve come to preach the good news to the poor” (Luke 4), for humans in powerful positions, as most white male western theologians have historically been, it is convenient to overlook this important motif (see question #1).

    Finally, African cultures tend to be more community-oriented than modern, highly individualistic western culture. Westerners can learn a lot from these cultures regarding the (very biblical) concepts of community, interdependence, solidarity, etc.

    This is not to suggest that African culture, or African American culture, is inherently more Christian that white Western culture. Aspects of these cultures also conflict with Christianity. Learning between cultures must go both ways, but traditionally it has only gone one way—white people teach everyone else. (This unfortunate perspective is exemplified in Rudyard Kipling’s famous 19th c. poem, “The White Man’s Burden.”)

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