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The Jazz Theologian

James Cone, the father of Black Theology, also indicts the Christianity of this land.  In 1999, he took 21st century descendents of slaves to task, in his book "Risks of Faith." (p111)

"Our church is an impostor, because we no longer believe the gospel we proclaim.  There is a credibility gap between what we say and what we do.  While we may preach sermons that affirm the church’s interests in the poor and the downtrodden, what we actually do shows that we are committed to the "American way of life," in which the rich are given privileged positions of power in shaping the life and activity of the church, and the poor are virtually ignored.  As a rule, the church’s behavior toward the poor is very similar to the society at large:  The poor are charity cases…It is appalling to see some black churches adopting this condescending attitude toward the victims, because these churches were created in order to fight against slavery and injustice.  For many slaves, the Black Church was God’s visible instruments for freedom and justice.  Therefore, to have contemporary middle-class black Christians treating the poor as second-class members of the church is a disgrace not only to the scripture but also to our black religious heritage."

What does it mean to be a Christian?  Yes, there is an aspect that must include repentance of sin and forgiveness…but does your definition also take into account Jesus’ first sermon in Luke 4 and his announcement of "good news" to the poor, imprisoned, blind and oppressed? 

To paraphrase Carl Ellis, A Christian doesn’t just "bear" the good news, a Christian "becomes" the good news–especially to the marginalized.  A Christian is someone who brings a smile to the face of the poor, oppressed and the orphan.  Do you sense their smile?

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