Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Archbishop Desmond Tutu:Black Theology Seeks the Liberation of All

Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights advocate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the cause of racial justice in South Africa. He served as the first black African archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. Prior to this role as spiritual leader of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Tutu served as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches from 1978 to 1985.

Black Theology Seeks the Liberation of All

When we were struggling in South Africa against the vicious racist policies of apartheid, it was exhilarating to proclaim to our people that our God was encountered first not in the peaceful quiet of a sanctuary. No, our God was out there in the rough and tumble of the politics of the day. Our God revealed Himself in the utterly vulgar world of setting a fractious rabble of slaves free. Our God was/is the great liberator God of the Exodus – the paradigmatic event that helped to define God as the God who is never unbiased, but is always biased in favor of the oppressed, the marginalized, the down and outs.

This God in Jesus Christ continued to demonstrate this bias – Jesus companied not with the high and mighty, Archbishops, Presidents, and such like, but with the scum of society, prostitutes, sinners, the despised. This was the God who had an extraordinary identification with the little people – inasmuch as you have done this(clothed the naked,fed the hungry,etc.) staggeringly you have done it as to God.Wow. Our God did not give good advice from a safe distance. No, our God entered the fiery furnace to be there as Immanuel, God with us in our anguish and agony. Our God was not deaf, but heard our cries, was not blind but saw our suffering and would as of old come down to deliver us from our bondage too, so that we would enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Jeremiah Wright has said really no more than this which falls squarely in the ambit of black theology, black religion to answer the anguished questions of black people suffering under the brutality of white racism. It ultimately seeks reconciliation, but you cannot be reconciled with one who has his boot on your neck to keep you in the gutter. To be reconciled you must stand up right to look the other in the eye.

Black theology and religion seek the liberation of all, oppressor and oppressed, black and white together – as we accomplished it in South Africa for freedom is indivisible. Whites won't be truly free until blacks are free. Listen to Condeleeza Rice in the Washington Times. Obama is a person of courageous integrity. He could have ingratiated himself to white Americans by repudiating his pastor completely. He did nothing of the sort. That speaks volumes for the man. America will not find peace with itself until you really deal with your history.You need something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help you come to terms with your past.

Another Jeremiah,the prophet of old shocked his compatriots when Jerusalem was being besieged by the Chaldeans. He urged his compatriots to desert and join the enemy. What price patriotism.

1 comment:

bitch and blog said...

Thank you for your blog! I am proud that I was originally a member of the UCC. I'm now a confirmed Episcopalian/Anglican at a parish which hosted the great Bishop Tutu last fall. Jeremiah Wright is speaking the truth; why is it so expensive to Obama to acknowledge the truth? As Christians we should be committed to the truth even when it makes those in power in the status quo a bit "uncomfortable." I truly admire the likes of Peter Gomes and Bill Moyers whose pieces you posted recently, thank you. I'm linking to your blog on my blog.