“Theology achieves its distinctive identity when it takes on the struggle of those who are struggling to be human in an oppressive world.” So wrote James Cone, the father of Black Liberation Theology. Dr. Cone’s work made an overt, constructive effort at answering the question “what does it mean to be Black and Christian?” In that work, he wrestled with the social, material, and political meaning of the Gospel and of the salvation of Jesus the Christ. Cone helped give birth to some of the most brilliant work that United States theologians have produced. His shadow still carves a wide berth across American theology today.
During September and October, QC Family Tree, together with our national partner Common Good Collective, and our local partners Black Oak Society (Raleigh) and Bespoken Live (Cincinnati) have convened a series we call “Incubator: Black Liberation Theology.” In six different cohorts around the country, learners and activists gather weekly to reflect together and move toward action for liberation. The largest portion of our work is done locally, but each meeting has a lecture from Dr. Adam Clark of Xavier University in Cincinnati at its center. James Cone was Dr. Clark’s mentor, and each week Dr. Clark brings a series of thoughts and reflections to animate our local work.
In Charlotte, a group of one dozen gather each week in the west side offices of our friends at C4 Counseling. Among us are pastors, activists, retired persons, mental health professionals, and others. We are united in our conviction that when Black people get free, we will all be free.
This hybrid experience - part in person, part online - has been a terrific introduction for some, and a great refresher for others. Ultimately, it leads us from reflection into action within our own communities. We hope that learners will leave inspired and with the tools they need to take up the work of Jesus Christ, Liberator, in their own contexts.