Mar 31, 2009

Fifth Annual State of the Black Church Summit and Banquet


Here is an announcement from the Black Church Studies program at Brite Divinity School.

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 will be the fifth annual Summit and Banquet. Click on the brochure to the right or click here: ANNOUNCEMENT for details.

Mar 30, 2009

Princes Shall Come out of Egypt: Clement of Alexandria

As an evangelical, one would think that in the great history of Christian theology, God stopped speaking in the seventeenth century and had perfectly revealed Godself to the Germans and the French. In terms of the geo-politics within academic settings, it would be suffice to say that up until the the latter half of the twentieth century, from psychology (Freud) to philosophy (Kant, Nietsche), to theology (Barth) to economics and history (Marx) to physics (Einstein), a vast majority of authorities in these fields were either born or educated European schools (many of them German institutions).

The world was not always like this. Before the Muslims conquered Egypt less than midway through the 7th century, Common Era, Alexandria was once the capital of Egypt. Clement of Alexandria was a Christian intellectual who would constantly write in response to the prevailing heresies and immoralities of his day. From the Gnostics to the Carpocratians, Clement was not afraid to confront his opponents in the bluntest of terms. He also struggled with traditions such as the Christian followers who studied Tertullian and who believed that studying Greek philosophy was a waste of time. To these, Clement would answer, "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, and anyone who seeks to help catechumens, especially if they are Greeks, must not shrink from scholarly study" Strom., VI, 89. In today's world, there are many people in the church who question the need for religious scholarship. This is because they have chosen to divide the spirit from the body, in almost the way Clement's enemies, the Gnostics once did. Let us heed the words of Clement, who argues that the body and the spirit are in mutual need for each other:

***The task of the law is to deliver us from a dissolute life and all disorderly ways. Its purpose is to lead us from unrighteousness to righteousness, so that it would have us self-controlled in marriage, in begetting children, and in general behavior. The LORD is not “come to destroy the law but to fulfil it” (Matt 5:17). “To fulfill” does NOT imply that it was defect, but that by his coming the prophecies of the law are accomplished, since before the law the demand for right conduct was proclaimed by the LOGOS to those also who lived good lives. The multitude who know nothing of continence live for the body, not for the spirit. But the body without spirit is ‘earth and ashes’ (Gen 18:27).***

Clement of Alexandria, On Marriage, Chapter VI, #46.

Mar 28, 2009

Nick Norelli responds to T.C.'s Holy Hip Hop and Calvinism posts?

I am unfamiliar with Nick Norelli, but he felt inspired to respond to T.C.'s thoughts on Holy Hip Hop and Calvinism. Check it out!

Nick Norelli Responds

Edit: Nick found it necessary to describe his reaction to T.C.'s second post.

Nick Norelli's Responds, again

This is only the beginning. I hope that we can all continue this conversation. I think we all believe this is too important. The relationship between human worship and godly teaching must discussed if the Church is to embody God's reign in the 21st century.

Mar 27, 2009

The Ryan Moats--Dallas Police Incident

What would you do, if your own mother-in-law was in her last breathes, and the police officer intentionally stops you from seeing her because he wanted to prove a point to you by abusing his power? A long question, but there is no simple answer, because this actually did happen, just yesterday. See Celucien's response to this tragedy.

Ryan Moat's Loss

What would be the appropriate theological response to such an offense of human dignity?

Joerg Rieger on Multiculturalism and Postmodernity

"Postmodernity, to name only one example, is presenting us with new challenges. The pluralism and multiculturalism of a postmodern culture, for instance, while indeed creating some space for those who are different, paradoxically also tends to further render invisible those on the margins. The pluralist/multiculturalist assumption that society is made up of different groups which each have the liberty to pursue their own interests covers up the kinds of parasitic relationships whereby some groups exist at the expense of others. Likewise, contemporary efforts to support the less fortunate often end up using them for their own purposes and ultimately exploiting them. Even though powerful organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank now claim their own options for the poor, power hardly shifts to the poor; and control remains rooted firmly in the hands of the traditional leadership group."

Joerg Rieger. "Protestantism" in
De La Torre, Miguel A. The Hope of Liberation in World Religions. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2008. p. 44

Mar 26, 2009

Calvinism and Holy Hip Hop

My friend T.C. has been writing about the influence of Calvinist theology on Christian rap music, i.e., Holy Hip Hop.

Calvinism and Holy Hip Hop I

Calvinism and Holy Hip Hop II

T.C., while his assessment of Calvinists' dominance over the Holy Hip Hop industry is correct, he is mistaken to refer to this type of music and entertainment as hip hop. In fact, it would be suffice to say that HHH, as it is presented to a majority white upper middle class Christian audience, is more in line with secular rap rather than the hip hop industry. Rap Music is different from hip hop, and I plan to explain the difference in an upcoming post on "Towards a Holy Hip Hop Theology of Freedom," a reconstructive effort to ever so slowly undermine the monopoly the Calvinist theological grip on the Christian rap game. That is all I have for now. Enjoy T.C.'s sharp insights in the mean time!

Here are 2 past posts on my views on Calvinists (one actually recovered from my now defunct Xanga account):

Cage Stage?

Why I Kissed Calvinism Goodbye

Mar 21, 2009

NT Wright's Surprised By Hope: An Anabaptist Appraisal

Like him or not, N. Thomas Wright's work has become the standard for 21st century New Testament scholarship. His work on the resurrection, Surprised By Hope, is desperately needed in today's world where the doctrine has been put on the back burner of most churches. This book has been recommended to me by friends and I pray that I will find the time to read it after I finish Moltmann's Theology of Hope (one of the few Moltmann books I have not finished). My friend David over at The Centrality and Supremacy of Christ blog has written a review that simply must be read. It is a fair and critical account of Surprised By Hope.

David on Surprised By Hope

Mar 20, 2009

John's Jesus and theTemple

For a nice summary on the history of the First and Second temples in Jerusalem as well as their relationship to the Gospel of John, my friend Chad did some research on the topic.

Chad's Paper

It cannot be overstated that the Jerusalem temple, as Chad stated was the center of the Jewish religion prior to 70 C.E. Chad does a very nice job of identifying the various factions, the Christian Jews, the Pharisaic Jews, and even the ever elusive Essenes, while locating their role in Jewish history and John’s story.

As Chad points out in John 4, the story of Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman can be seen as anti-temple centered religion narrative. The Johannine community, as Raymond Brown pointed out, had strong affiliations with the Samaritan community and John 4 may be a reflection of that. Jesus, ironically, shows zeal for the temple in John 2 and with what looks like his violent actions, may have stopped the worship of YHWH altogether that day in temple, since the sacrifice was so important. Jesus, in the Evangelist’s record of the good news, is the new Temple of God. Johannine theodicy does not, like the Pharisaic Jews replace the temple with the law, or reject the temple completely like the radical Essenes, but transforms the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus into the new Temple. Therefore, it is not a supercessionist argument where a construction of a temple is not necessary; rather, the temple was a sign (like Jesus’s miracles in John) that pointed to the presence of the Father. As Chad says, “people no longer had to go to God at the temple, but that God had approached them and dwells with them through the on going presences of Jesus.”

Mar 19, 2009

My 30th Post: Trinitarian Faith and Racial Reconciliation in Galatians 1:1-9

I have achieved a milestone in posting Black Trinitarian Theology blog for the thirtieth time. In commemoration, I made a post that gives a glipse into the kind of work I want to do on this blog as well in my scholarship. Below is my translation and brief commentary on Paul's letter to the Galatians

Trinitarian Faith and Racial Reconciliation in Galatians 1:1-9

*Corrections to Translation (thank you, Rob K.):

A. Verse 4 should read "The one who gave himself up" not giving himself up. The Greek word is in the aorist participle, and aorist always means a past and finished action.

B. Verse 6 should read "changing from the one," and not "changed"; this reflects the urgency of the moment for Paul writing to the Galatians in their historical context.

C. Verse 8 should read "beside the one which was preached to you" and not "the one who"; the relative pronoun and definite articles are in the neuter form and does not refer to a person in the original Greek, but to an object (an event), the Gospel.

Mar 17, 2009

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate (prayer)

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Mar 16, 2009

Commentary on John 1:47-51

Attached on this link is my commentary on John 1:47-51, using some insights from the Septuagint (Greek) version of the prophet Zechariah's writings.

Heaven Has Opened Up

Mar 15, 2009

Insights for Christian Activism, part 1: look BEFORE you leap, pray BEFORE you politik!

2 Sides of the Same Coin
Here comes an unremarkable statement: Liberal/Mainline Christians and members of the Christian right have similar approaches to political activism. Access to the nation’s highest office, in the North American context, the presidency, is the aim of all American Christian political activism. It is the dependence on the Executive branch in the hopes that she and her cohorts will execute God’s will on earth, whether it comes in the form of the progressive leftist agenda of the Christian Democrats or the restorationist vision of God-fearing Republicans. My experience as a Black Christian has impacted me tremendously in seeing the error of many African American churches embracing political candidates on Sunday mornings. My most vivid memory of this is when an underdog Democratic candidate for US Congressman in Kentucky’s 3rd District made an appearance at a church my family and I used to attend (it was a megachurch). Indeed, the pastor did recognize the candidate in the crowd and allowed this candidate to speak. I do not remember any members of the congregation protesting and I held my outrage at this offense on the inside (until now)

Resident Aliens
I am a Bible-believing Christian (someone who believes Jesus the Messiah is the path to the Father and who believes that Scripture is fully trustworthy) but as someone who has come to embrace the Anabaptist Christian tradition, I do believe in the Separation of Church and State (the disconnection between political and religious institutions). My undergraduate studies in religion, especially my class on the State and Church relationships made the difference. Then, as a seminarian, I encountered the work of Stanley Hauerwas, first through his book with William Willimon, Resident Aliens. One of my favorite quotes from that work goes, “Jesus’ eschatological teaching was an attempt to rid us of the notion that the world exists indefinitely, that we have a stake in the preservation of the world as-is”(Hauerwas and Willimon 1989). Christians nowadays believe that with every issue, the church needs to dive head first and baptize American democracy in Western Protestant imperialism. We only have to look at the culture wars to find Christians who believe that if they can change public policies or vote the right way, they can change people’s minds and hearts.

The Politics of Prayer
The first, and most subversive political action a Christian can take is to stop whatever she/he is doing and close their eyes, and pray. If we take the example of Nehemiah, for example, we see a couple of things in Chapter One that can aid those aspiring to be Christian social activists. First, Nehemiah addresses God in God’s Godness as God had revealed Godself to the Judeans. In other words, Nehemiah speaks to the great and awesome God of Israel who “keeps His covenant,” who “gave Moses the law” and who had “chosen a dwelling place for His Name.” (Neh 1:5,7,9). Nehemiah does not call God by anything Nehemiah so chooses; rather, Nehemiah knew that a relationship with the God of Israel and all other human action depends on the right knowledge of God and God’s revelation. A concrete example of this would be the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s where African Americans would go to church and praise God before they convened their protests. It was a full reliance on God, and not any one branch of the federal government that aided in the struggle for equality. Remember, the first step to Christian politicking: F.R.O.G.- Fully Rely On God!

Works Cited
Hauerwas, Stanley and William H. Willimon. 1989. Resident aliens : Life in the christian colony. Nashville: Abingdon Press, Page 88.

Limited Government, part 3: The Old Testament view

Up until now, I have been primarily dependent upon a particular interpretation of the New Testament and Christian theological resources. The reason for this is because I believe the strongest and most explicit religious case AGAINST any brand of socialism or form of strong interventionist federal government or executive branch rest in a majority of the Old Testament texts.
The Law
One of the most spiritually edifying and enjoyable courses I have taken at Brite Divinity School was The Jewish and Black Interpretation of Exodus. It was both a biblical studies and social ethics course co-taught by two of my favorite professors. For one of our assignments, we had to discuss the moral implications of the Exodus. My interpretation was actually pretty anti-imperial, if not in fact post-colonial in my comparison of Moses and Pharaoh. I contended that just as Pharaoh the oppressor, declared himself a god, so did Jesus himself warn us that not everyone who comes in the name of the LORD does not come from him (Matthew 24). I included with Pharaoh and the false prophets who claimed to be from God the European colonizers who arrived in Africa to redeem the pagans from the idolatry. The story of Moses (at one point an Egyptian prince) and the story of Pharaoh has political implications. The Exodus narrative can be seen as one where a man who fully relies on the power of the Almighty alone overcomes a false man-god who has the most complex scheme of tyranny to date.
Right before the judge Samuel dismissed the people from Saul’s ordination as king, he read them the regulations regarding (read: warnings against) the kingship. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 tells the Israelites not to go back to the ways of Egypt, the days where they were under the oppressive reign of Pharaoh. Constantly throughout the Law, they are warned against wanting to be like the other nations, who have monarchs who claim to be divine. The king of Israel is actually supposed to be submissive the authority of divine law; for a similar idea, the president of the United States of America are not above the U.S. Constitution. Long ago, God had approved of the rule of law, which had a judicial system, a select few representatives of the people (priests, in this case, for God) and a very limited executive. There are very close parallels in OT vision of public policy and the ideals of America’s founders, but not exact.
A short word on my interpretation of the book of Judges. The phrase, “and in those days, there was not a king" appears several times. I do not interpret that as a cry for a Davidic king, but rather, King YHWH Godself. It makes sense in light of the anti-kingship parable given in Judges 9 and the fall of Gideon’s son, Abimelech, whose name means, my father is king (a play on words). Gideon became arrogant, and his character was passed on to his son, who became even more boisterous and died and tragic death.
The Writings
On the surface, the days of King Solomon are filled with glory and joy and peace and prosperity. OT scholar Walter Brueggeman would offer a different suggestion. The question we should be asking is exactly, “who is doing the prospering?” and “at whose expense?” Maybe because we are so caught up in the glory of empire and the past histories of such royalty such as Queen Elizabeth and King Louis XVI that we both not try to understand the more ambivalent stance that the Bible’s historians take towards Solomon’s kingship. 1st Kings 4:20-28 describes how Solomon broke the law and had manual labor and gathered up war chariots for himself, and levied heavy taxes on the people, all contrary to the law! But yet, the text says, from East to West, each person lived safely under her/his own vine and fig tree. At this point, it is crucial to note Brueggeman’s contention about this passage, and later, how the prophets use the vine/fig tree blessing tradition: “[We] cannot know if 1st Kings 4:20-28 is a serious statement of state policy or if it is heavy handed propaganda, or if it is a subtle, critical irony. What is clear is that by such shrewd manipulation, the propaganda of the state promises the very thing it cannot give because it is in principle opposed to it. And the remainder of the Solomonic narrative makes the point: it cannot secure personal vines and fig trees for its citizenry because it is fundamentally devoted to rapacious use of those very products” (Brueggemann and Miller 1994) . In other words, the text given to us in 1st Kings 4 does not give us the whole story; we need knowledge of the Torah, specifically the warnings against Ancient Near Eastern Empire building in Deuteronomy and Judges, in order to comprehend the implication of Solomon’s actions as well as God’s rebuke of him in 1st Kings 11.
The Prophets
The formula of “every person under her/his own vine and under his/her own fig tree” appears also in Isaiah 36:16, Micah 4:4, and Zechariah 3:10. The first of these instances, in Isaiah, it is used as the rhetoric of Sennecharib, the emperor of Assyria. He tells the Israelites and Judeans to not listen to King Hezekiah, therefore, not the prophecies of Isaiah via YHWH. Sennecharib is promising a false peace where the God of Israel is placed at the margins of their life; this is a bogus promise that no true Torah-believing Judean or Israelite could take seriously. Zechariah 3:10 offers a messianic vision of the world where a priestly savior-figure takes away all of the guilt of Israel from the world and leads them into a land where each person not only has their own vine and fig tree, but that they also invite their neighbors to join them. It is a vision of justice and hospitality that excludes any notion of a monarch. Micah promises that no one will have any fear under their vine and fig tree. The messages of Zechariah, Micah, Isaiah, and the Chronicler (especially 1st Samuel 10:17-19), when read together, provide us with a vision of God’s dominion, which looks nothing like the statist policies of social democracies, communist or fascist regimes for that matter. The norms of God’s dominion are self-government, hospitality, justice, and peaceableness where expansion of the LORD’s empire results in an endless peace, with justice and righteousness at its very foundation (Isaiah 9:7)

Works Cited
Brueggemann, Walter and Patrick D. Miller. 1994. A social reading of the old testament : Prophetic approaches to israel's communal life. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Mar 10, 2009

Diversity in the Academy and the Workplace?

In the second episode of the first season of the Office, entitled “Diversity Day,” Dunder Mifflin (Scranton branch) manager Michael Scott and his employees are obligated by corporate headquarters to undergo racial tolerance training session by a company called Diversity Today. Embarrassed by the fact that the seminar was actually held because of his individual racially insensitive behavior; Mr. Scott decides to create his very own colloquium “Diversity Tomorrow.” In the “Diversity Tomorrow” video that Michael Scott makes, Mr. Scott says, and I quote, “Abraham Lincoln said, that if you’re a racist, I will attack you from the North.” By the end of the episode, Mr. Scott forces the employees to wear post-it notes on their foreheads which label them according to a particular cultural group that each will represent (Asian, African-American, Jewish, etc.); Michael, as a newly self-proclaimed progressive on race issues, plays the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and performs the function of mediator in ensuing the conversations about racial stereotypes that occur between his employees.

Although this episode does not tell us about actual events, there are some general truths about American culture that can be gathered. First, movements to promote diversity typically start from the top-down; corporate executives, university administrators, and the top church officials play the role of “Abraham Lincoln” by using a top-down approach to addressing issues of racism, sexism, and classism within their institutions. Diversity is the institutional practice that attempts to recognize plurality in the human experience by marketing an image that promotes white liberal democratic and capitalist norms in order to deny the history of white supremacy in the United States of America. We, as citizens of the world’s lone superpower, have had a tendency to forget the history of North American racial injustice by ignoring the heroic narratives of moral exemplars from marginalized communities in order to maintain Euro-American homogeneity within colleges, universities, businesses, and churches. The second lesson we can learn from Michael Scott is the utmost importance of heroic story in moral formation. For the “Diversity Tomorrow” seminar, Mr. Scott depends on a North American liberal meta-narrative of racial progress where the two complex stories of President Abraham Lincoln and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are simplified into a unified fiction where American racism has been ended while our heroes such as Dr. King and Honest Abe transcend the bounds of their historical contexts. [an excerpt from an introduction to a paper I presented last May]

The fact is that we still live in a racist society, one created, defined, and to a large extent, by the human construct in which we refer to a race. No one can escape racism; no one can claim to be color-blind. Sunday at 11:00am is still the most segregated hour of the week. To some degree, everyone has to capacity to be racist or be affected by racism. Academic institutions and corporations remain closed systems to the experiences of the racialized Other. We can pay tribute to Dr. King or plan events for twenty-eight days in commemoration of African American history, but there is still no honest and open dialogue. The conversation is hardly mutual; we are all fed the same mainstream media propaganda as they show us what it means to be Black like CNN’s Black in America. We learn that government intervention is the solution to our problems, and are told to give applause to such breakthrough policy efforts such as the Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and affirmative action are the ways to save America from its racist past. Trust the government; we can save the United States from racial prejudice and white privilege. The truth be told, mainstream America’s delusion reflects an imperialist mode of being. In other words, by ignoring the complex power dynamics between the actions of the state and the individual, most Americans passively accept “the myth of the savior state” in order to avoid the hard work of racial reconciliation. We try to convince ourselves that the government can somehow impose its will upon our free will and our free conscience in order to make the world a safer place for multicultural. This is nothing more than a bold-faced lie rooted deep in the heart of neo-colonial logic.

Government is not the answer to the problem of the color line. God, the one rightful Governor of the universe, who alone able to transform hearts and minds, and who has already reconciled creation and humanity to Godself through Jesus the Messiah (Colossians 1:20-22). The appropriate response to God’s peace-making mission in the world is for people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to love each for their differences, and make intentional efforts to fellowship together for the glory of the empire of the One True God. Anti-racism movements must no longer be the burden of racial minority groups nor do we have to wait upon politicians in Washington, D.C. to enjoy racial harmony. We all must commit ourselves to intercultural communion and interracial communities of worship, just as John the Revelator envisioned as we will cry out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10)

Mar 1, 2009

Some thoughts at the conclusion Black History Month and CNN’s Black In America

Answer: Yes, I do believe that it is important to recognize the uniqueness of the African-American or Black American experience here in the United States of America. Yes, enslavement and legal segregation were death dealing institutions which America has yet to repent from.
However, as I was glancing on CNN the other night, I came across Soledad O’Brien’s documentary series on being “Black in America.” It was frustrating for me, as an African American, to watch this so called documentary because although I realize that racial oppression is still very real, and that institutional racism continues to raise its ugly head, many of the people’s problems in “Black in America” was due in large part to bad INDIVIDUAL choices. For instance, there was one particular dead beat dad who had fathered a child of an ex-girlfriend; all of the blame was places on the father but the documentarian did not even question his ex-girlfriend about the fathers of her other children. I am not trying to get on my moral high horse here but I feel that this poor guy was being scape-goated, as well as other members of society blamed for the lack of well being of the girlfriend without even a small examination of this woman’s moral agency.
This selectivity in hiding some points of the truth without highlighting other is part of the problem with being an historian. For example, I have always noticed that whenever certain scholars claim to be uncovering the historical Jesus, Jesus always seems to be reconstructed into someone who looks and acts just like us. All one has to do a concrete example of the worst kind is the German liberal Protestant New Testament scholarship in the early twentieth century where Jesus (in the gospel of John apparently) was really Aryan and more like a German citizen. Last year, Marcus Borg lectured at Brite Divinity School for Minister’s Week. He claimed that the real Jesus was a Palestinian Jewish peasant who lived in Galilee, and who lived in opposition to the Roman Empire and legalistic religious authorities. Borg, when asked if the Bible had something to say about racial conflict, answered that the Bible has nothing to say about race, and that he was surprised Christians could ever maintain a racist ideology (of course, pointing to the segregationist Christians in the South). Maybe Borg meant to say that our idea of race and race relations is not found in Scripture. Whatever he meant, he was wrong. The curse of Ham was utilized as one of the many passages in the Bible to justify African enslavement here in America. Basically, Borg ignored a concrete historical fact such as this, to hold onto a convenient white liberal opinion that people do not have to see race to recognize another person as a human being (color blindness). Faulty logic used by both liberals and conservatives.
Biased understandings of history are not limited to liberals such as Borg or aspiring documentarians such as Soledad O’Brien. I have noticed that many African Americans have an interpretation of Black History month that is limited to a select few political activists of the liberal and/or socialist persuasion. I have yet to hear (from anyone other than me) Lemuel Haynes named alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or for historians to examine the conservatism of Malcolm X. I guess what I am trying to say is that there is no such thing as an objective examination of history and if anyone tells you anything to the contrary, let them in the words of the apostle Paul, be an anathema! We all come to texts, films, artwork, and classrooms with our own biases, and therefore there are boundaries on what we as human beings can know. Black History Month is beneficial when the truth is considered and then reconsidered once more; once BHM becomes nothing more than 28 days of regurgitating myths constantly perpetuated by Black Americans on the far left of society, it has lost its original purpose. We must celebrate the achievements of all Black Americans, and not just those few who fit into the metanarrative of so-called progressive socialist politics. Let us always remember, as the great apostle of freedom once said, that “now we see in the mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will only know the entire truth when the greatest of all, Love, includes children of God from every nation, tribe, and every walk of life.