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Womanist-Theology

“Entrance into the mainstream of society merely means that one participates in the oppressive structures of the American society.”    - Jacquelyn Grant ; White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response


“Since man is limited by his social context and interests, Jesus Christ has been defined within the narrow parameters of the male consciousness. That is to say, the social context of the men who have been theologizing has been the normative criterion upon which theological interpretations have been based. What this meant is that Jesus Christ consistently has been used to give legitimacy to the customary beliefs regarding the status of women.”    - Jacquelyn Grant ; White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response


“Liberation theologians including Christian feminists, charge that the experience out of which Christian theology has emerged is not universal experience but the experience of the dominant culture.”    - Jacquelyn Grant ; White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response


"One who professes to be Christian is challenged to treat the oppressed the way Jesus treated them. According to slave Christianity, to enslave and brutalize others betrays the example that Jesus set and contradicts what it means to be Christian. This emphasis on 'right action' has implications for salvation. According to slaveholding Christianity, knowledge of God's act in Jesus was sufficient for salvation. Claiming to provide the slaves with this knowledge gave the slaveholders a rationale for the chattel system. According to slave Christianity, however, salvation was not linked necessarily to God's act of becoming incarnate in Jesus, but to what Jesus did in history on behalf of the downtrodden. He delivered them from the conditions that oppressed them. Salvation is tied to liberating activity, not to knowledge."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 52)


"The resurrection also revealed that the death of the cross was not the last word—freedom was."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 47)


"The black Christian experience has been one in which black people have consistently confirmed the presence of a sustaining and liberating Christ in their lives."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 23)


"The major barrier to Christianizing the slaves was the slave-holders’ fears that the freedom that Jesus offered the oppressed during his own time, and the egalitarian themes present throughout the New Testament, might make slaves think that they should be free and equal to the white population."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 37)


"A white Christ looks too much like the enemy in a white racist society. Moreover, such an image is not inviting to black youth who are in need of developing positive self-images. A white Christ cannot provide them with the kind of role model they need to feel good about who they are as black men and women."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 25)


"The black Christian experience has been one in which black people have consistently confirmed the presence of a sustaining and liberating Christ in their lives."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 23)


"And so, we might paraphrase the Gospel question for today: 'But lord, where did we see you dying and on the cross?' And Jesus would answer: 'On a Florida sidewalk with Trayvon, or at the U.S./Mexican border with an immigrant refused asylum, or in a detention center with a brown child separated from his or her parents, or in a juvenile court with the black child trapped in the poverty-to-prison pipeline. As you did to one of the least of these, you did it to me.'”    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (pp. 19-20)


"Our American Christians are too busy saving the souls of white Christians from burning in hell-fire to save the lives of black ones from present burning in fires kindled by white Christians."    - Ida B. Wells-Barnett ; Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells


"This spiritual-political connection in black Christian women's experience has continued beyond Tubman's death in the life and work of such women as Ida Wells, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer and others."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"So the womanist theologian uses the sociopolitical thought and action of the African-American woman's world to show black women their salvation does not depend upon any form of surrogacy made sacred by traditional and orthodox understandings of Jesus’ life and death. Rather their salvation is assured by Jesus’ life of resistance and by the survival strategies he used to help people survive the death of identity caused by their exchange of inherited cultural meanings for a new identity shaped by the gospel ethics and world view."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"Slave religion had a this-worldly impact, not only in leading some slaves to acts of external rebellion, but also in helping slaves to assert and maintain a sense of personal value, even of worth."    - Albert J. Raboteau ; Slave Religion, p. 318


"Slaveholding Christianity avoided the Gospels because of their concentration on Jesus's ministry. It valued the epistles because of their emphases on attaining proper knowledge of Jesus and on obedience. Slave Christianity avoided Paul's epistles because of their lack of emphasis on historical liberation, as well as apparent sanctioning of slavery. It valued the Old Testament because of its focus on God's liberating acts in history."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 49)


"Jesus's significance for the slaves was based upon an interpretation of Christianity that stressed the centrality of Jesus's ministry and relationship to the oppressed during his own time. The slaves were drawn, for instance, to Luke's birth narrative. For them this narrative established Jesus's bond with the outcast and downtrodden at the very beginning of his life."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 44)


"The significance of Jesus for the slaves had little to do with God becoming incarnate in him. Jesus's meaning had more to do with what Jesus did in their lives."    - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 44)


"For just as Jesus was seen as a threat to the forces of power in his day, black people are seen as a threat to the forces of Anglo-Saxon power and superiority in twenty-first-century America."      - Kelly Brown Douglas ; The Black Christ (p. 19)


"They expressed their belief that God was involved in their history, that God helped them make a way out of no way."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"Second, the Hagar (and child) content of the wilderness symbolism brings together the spiritual and the political."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"In the biblical account in Genesis Hagar's experiences in the wilderness are constituted by political and spiritual interconnections."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"I had crossed de line of which I had so long been dreaming. I was free; but dere was no one to welcome me to de land of freedom, I was a stranger in a strange land, and my home after all was down in de old cabin quarter, wid de ole folks, and my brudders and sisters. But to dis solemn resolution I came; I was free, and dey should be free also; I would make a home for dem in de North, and de Lord helping me, I would bring dem all dere. Oh, how I prayed den, lying all alone on de cold, damp ground; 'Oh, dear Lord,' I said, 'I haint got no friend but you. Come to my help, Lord, for I'm in trouble!'"    - Harriet Tubman ; Harriet, The Moses of Her People (1886)


"Liberation theologies including Christian feminists, charge that the experience out of which Christian theology has emerged is not universal experience but the experience of the dominant culture . . . liberationists therefore, propose that theology must emerge out of particular experiences of the oppressed people of God."    - Jacquelyn Grant ; White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus


"Theology as developed in Europe and America is limited when it approaches the majority of human beings."    - Jacquelyn Grant ; White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus


"We must recognize the intersecting realities of all of these, that [misogyny, heterosexism, and homophobia] are all a part of a social political narrative of power. That is they are all a part of the white, patriarchal, imperialistic, capitalistic power. Misogyny, heterosexism, and homophobia are secreted by that narrative, and they feed the agenda of white, male hegemony.  In as much as non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual persons can be effectively marginalized, can be set against one another, and in as much as marginalized communities marginalize and oppress one another, well then. The white, male agenda of oppressive power has been served."    - Rev Dr. Kelly Brown Douglass ; Eradicating the Misogyny, Heterosexism, and Homophobia in Black Communities


"Liberation in the Hagar stories is not given by God; it finds its source in human initiative."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"Hagar becomes the first female in the Bible to liberate herself from oppressive power structures."    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


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