By E. Kornegay
Kornegay's incredible and insightful use of James Baldwin's literary genius deals a fashion ahead that grants to beat the divide among faith and sexuality that's of the most important value not just for black church and theology yet for socio-political-religious and theological discourse generally.
Read or Download A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project and Gospel Prose PDF
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Extra info for A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project and Gospel Prose
Therefore liberation constructed as black religious vernacular is an inclusive language that can be used and understood by those in the church and in the street. 13 The black church in which Baldwin first seeks safety actually lacks the moral authority to speak (black religious vernacular) for sexualized and racialized bodies that fall into the gap between sexual problem and racial protest. Rather than signify on puritanical proscriptions against black bodies, the black church reifies the gap versus confessing that everyone must cross the bridge—release from the psychological trap of metaphorical blackness—before liberation can occur.
Yet, it is the blues’ embrace of sexual potential that holds the most promise. Neither Baldwin nor Brown Douglas sees the black church as a safe haven bent on redeeming the black body or liberating it. 58 The reason the black church cannot accommodate blues bodies is because it has no language—psychological trap of metaphorical blackness—to express the psychological collision between puritan ideology and black bodies. The black church and black religion are not dead or meaningless as some would argue, but disembodied because of its inability to accommodate blues bodies.
I contend that this is the portion of the black religious inheritance, which Baldwin is dealing with. It is the source of Baldwin’s fears and a reflection of his literal search for safety. 39 As such, through Baldwin’s work, the horizontal limit of the black religious tradition is altered hermeneutically; this means the primary source for interpreting what is religious about black religion shifts from a relationship centered on God’s saving grace to one that is centered on the question of whether or not God and black religion can offer safety for black bodies.