In light of my previous post, I need to pass along another article that I think is very helpful. This one is an interview that Collin Hansen conducted with Thabiti Anyabwile, author of The Decline of African American Theology. The interview discusses the sermonic genre of African American churches as well as the Liberation Theology that has eclipsed the gospel in churches like Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s. Here’s an excerpt:
Hansen: Are Wright’s views mainstream among African Americans?
Anyabwile: It depends on what you mean by “Wright’s views.” Do most African Americans feel like they’ve gotten a fair shake in the American experience? Certainly not. Do most African Americans think that racism is alive and well? Yes. Do most African Americans feel that there will be some judgment against America for its hypocrisy and duplicity along racial lines? I think so. But in that sense, most African Americans aren’t much different from their white counterparts who decry abortion as a scourge deserving judgment.
But do most African Americans call down damnation on America? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think Wright’s flourish represents even most of the people in his own church. If you keep in mind that historically black preaching aims at emotional effect, it’s entirely possible to resonate with the emotion of a point while not at all holding to the particulars of the point. I don’t think this is healthy. But it is typical and it may help to explain why 8,000 people could attend that church, hear such things, and continue to love their pastor, serve together, and go about their everyday lives without expressing that kind of sentiment. The preaching moment is primarily affective, not cognitive.
Here’s the rest:
(HT: Justin Taylor)