Thursday, November 27, 2014

Theology and Ferguson (Roundup)

Listed below are five of the most interesting and provocative theological posts on Ferguson that I have come across. All are must-reads. Please add additional relevant posts in the comments:

  1. "Honor The Outrage: A Reflection on 1 Corinthians 6 and the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision" (Richard Beck at Experimental Theology). Key quote: "Unity is achieved in the church by rehabilitative honoring, caring and respecting, with the privileged and powerful giving greater honor and care--not balanced or equal honor and care but greater honor and care--to those who have lacked privilege, prestige, power or status. And whatever that might mean for White Christians today I think it means at least this much, that we honor the outrage."
  2. "Justice is Possible #Ferguson" (Anthony Smith at Theoblogy). Key quote: "...I can hear Derrida protesting by saying, 'Deconstruction is justice.' We can attain some relative racial justice if we could only deconstruct the entirety of the American system.  In the case of our criminal justice system the issue of mass incarceration, school-to-prison pipelines, communities being policed in a racially disproportionate manner mitigating vast chasms of cultural misunderstandings."
  3. "A Sad Night for America" (Jim Wallis at Sojourners). Key quote: "Whatever the facts might have revealed in the trial that will never happen, the time is long overdue to subject our criminal justice system to the requirements of racial justice. The racialization of that system and its policing behavior toward people of color is beyond dispute. The police force in Ferguson that is completely unrepresentative of the community and whose behavior has caused such deep alienation among the people they are supposed to serve and protect has become a parable. Ferguson has become a parable in America, for how black lives are less important in the ways our laws are enforced. Ferguson is not only in Ferguson."
  4. "'All Lives Matter'" (Adam Kotsko at An und fur sich). Key quote: "The black community in America is on the side of justice, objectively. They’ve seen what evil looks like on a systematic level by living in the machine we’ve built around them, and overwhelmingly, they reject it as a model. Hence at the time that the white community had produced the “best and brightest,” the architects of the Vietnam War, the black community produced Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. At the time of the Civil War, when even the most liberal whites were still racist and viewed the abolition of slavery as the end-all of justice, the black community produced Frederick Douglass, who could see beyond his own immediate struggle to advocate for women’s rights." 
  5. "Michael Brown's Death & the Prophetic Fire" (Cornel West & Peter Heltzel at NY Daily News). Key quote: "And so here is our Thanksgiving prayer — the plea to God and humanity from two prophetic Christians, one black and one white, one young and one old, confronted by our own complicity in a sinful system, but united by our common call to be just peacemakers: As we gather at tables, grieving the state of our nation, may we gain spiritual strength for the journey ahead, drawing on the deepest wells of wisdom from those on whose shoulders we stand and the various faith traditions that have fueled their freedom march and continue to energize ours."

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