Disjointed Imago Dei (Image of God) Part 4 – Embodying a Race, Religion and Rhetoric Ethos

I struggle to write many times the very feelings that plague me mentally and spiritually. It is at the expense of being labeled that oftentimes I ruminate instead of write. The constant juxtaposing through worldviews can lead to intense levels of ambiguity for others but a since of clarity for me.

Let me try to explain.

My burgeoning Pan-African worldview is reshaping my perspective through a theological lens. My warped reformed theology is locked in a cage with my real life connection with Black Theology of Liberation (BTL). I not only study BTL, I must live it in thess yet to be United States of (a)merica . It is mildly impossible for a black male not to readily identify with BTL because it is their lives being played out in stereo.

I wrestle with the premise that the very natures of white men are evil. (That is the product of 39 years of racism.) I know that the actions of a few do not equal the sum-total of the whole but therein lays the place of tension-reconciling racism to be dead. Racism has shaped my theology more than I realize most of the time. The construct of racism has such blooming possibilities of evil that never lie dormant. It takes the beautification of God to reconstruct the image of those who have oppressed and have been oppressed to re-activate in such a racial climate.

But my theological lens-though warped by my reformed theology-places me at the feet of a God who extends grace. So I am forced through my understanding of BTL to redirect my angst toward the plight of “the least of these”-regardless of race. It is within those spaces where I find that my warped reformed theology finds the most solace and purpose. It is within this context that the expansion of God’s sovereignty begins to trump the very essence of “big problems/issues.” Those big problems/issues become small miracles in the hand of a sovereign God who predestined a graceful finish within my life as well as others. But it is BTL that highlights those ills with a robust sense of urgency that my reformed theology would overlook.

What the Pan-African worldview does in to bring a glocal perspective that makes me view people through a global lens but act locally. The plight of Africa for the Pan African sits as the centerpiece of success- as Africa goes so goes the world. The struggle is not to isolate one people group above another but show the importance and inter-working of all. This inter-working concept unlocks the presence of Hip Hop in my perspective. The subculture of Hip Hop has the ability to transcend racial barriers by connecting people through the flavor of the music. This calculated amalgamation is phenomenon that has mystified many scholars and theologians. This connection with the funk is a communal effort that reconnects back to a Pan African worldview. The very essence of music is interlocked with the presence of community in the African worldview. Through music the community expresses its emotional response to situations- death, birth, war, etc.

My point with this self examination is to try to define the very notion of how race, religion and rhetoric come into play into one person. This appearance of ambiguity to others but acute clarity to self is an unrelenting force to reckon with. They would appear to be irreconcilable differences housed in one mind but in a pragmatic fashion they work together in community. That which would appear to be disjointed is actually different parts working as a whole.

3 thoughts on “Disjointed Imago Dei (Image of God) Part 4 – Embodying a Race, Religion and Rhetoric Ethos

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