Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Book Review: "Process Cosmology - New Integration in Science & Philosophy"


Process Cosmology: New Integrations in Science and Philosophy

Palgrave Perspectives on Process Philosophy

1st ed. 2022 Edition

by Andrew M. Davis (Editor),

This book newly articulates the international and interdisciplinary reach of Whitehead's organic process cosmology for a variety of topics across science and philosophy, and in dialogue with a variety of historical and contemporary voices. Integrating Whitehead's thought with the insights of Bergson, James, Pierce, Merleau-Ponty, Descola, Fuchs, Hofmann, Grof and many others, contributors from around the world reveal the relevance of process philosophy to physics, cosmology, astrobiology, ecology, metaphysics, aesthetics, psychedelics, and religion. A global collection, this book expresses multivocal possibilities for the development of process cosmology after Whitehead.
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2022 edition (December 14, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 481 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 3030813959
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-3030813956

 ​Fresh Sparks in the
Whitehead Wildfire

by Jay McDaniel
January 2, 2022

Whitehead’s subtitle for Process and Reality was “an essay in cosmology.”  It would be a serious mistake to think that Whitehead’s cosmology was or is complete.  The cosmology he developed, partly systematic and partly exploratory, was a beginning not an end.  And, in truth, it was not even a beginning, or at least an absolute beginning, since Process and Reality built upon intuitions also found in many previous sages and thinkers.

Whitehead’s cosmology is best understood as a fresh movement in an ongoing and unfinished symphony, prefigured and sometimes surpassed by insights from the Buddha, Heraclitus, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Lao Tzu, Spinoza, Hegel, and Indigenous traditions the world over.  What they have in common are some core intuitions, such as the idea that the universe itself is an activity not a thing, and that something like becoming, or process, is at its core.  Or the idea that all things depend on one another, such that the idea of an isolated 'substance' is an illusion.  Or the idea that, amid all the becoming, there is something like 'value' or 'importance,' which means that the things of this world, including the material things, truly matter: matter matters.  These are but three of many intuitions at the heart of process thinking.  A friend playfully suggests that Whitehead's philosophy has 127 core intuitions about what the cosmos is like and who we are within it.  I've asked him for the list but haven't received it yet.  In my own work I list 20 of them, awaiting the list's arrival.  See Twenty Key Ideas in Process Thinking.

This larger and unfinished "process" symphony, building upon such intuitions, has no pre-written score; and in this sense it is more like an improvisational jazz concert, with people making it up as they go, albeit in response to other improvisers.  Or, better, as Roland Faber often says, like a wildfire.  Whitehead’s cosmology gives off sparks that can ignite other fires. 

You'll find many sparks in Process Cosmology: New Integrations in Science and Philosophy in the Palgrave Perspectives in Process Philosophy series, edited by Andrew M. Davis, Maria-Teresa Teixeira, and Wm. Andrew Schwartz.  Pick it up carefully if you happen to have a hardback copy, the sparks will burn your fingers with pregnant possibilities, all of which ignite your imagination.  All are part of process cosmology in process.

The future? Who knows where the wildfire will lead, but here's hoping that it leads toward a better world, where people live lightly on the earth and gently with one another, for the common good of all, with no one left behind.  Such are the four hopes of the process movement: whole persons, whole communities, a whole planet, and holistic thinking (of which this book is an example).

Suggestion: Let the sparks ignite your imagination and inspire your life.  Some inspiration can occur just by reading the table of contents and luxuriating in its variety (see below).  And, of course, you can buy the book, too.  It's a bit pricey, but your local library can afford it, as can institutions of higher learning.  And amid the burning, let's thank the spark-throwers, all emerging process thinkers in their own right, part of an ongoing, vibrant tradition whose flames just might help warm the heart and brighten the imagination of a world sorely in need.

Jay McDaniel

January 2, 2022

Process Cosmology

James Cone, Father of Black Theology - Part 2



James Cone, Father of Black Theology
Part 2

James Cone at a theology conference in Detroit in August 1980 | NCR photo/Stephanie Russell

"There is no future for America without black people," Cone concludes, echoing Baldwin's warnings. "The identity of America and black America is inextricably bound together." - James Cone

"Black people are not a fad. We are not going anywhere, and no one can speak for us. That includes white theologians." Black theology, he told the reporter, "is nothing but black people speaking for themselves about God and the meaning of their struggle for dignity in the United States." - James Cone

Black Lives matter (BLM) has become a derisive acronym used by white christians accusing our sisters and brothers of unworthy beliefs and subversive activities. Let's set the record straight by going to the source, that of Black Liberation Theology. A theology teaching liberation from oppression, tolerance under abuse, clarity over lies, and humility against unholy white or religious power. Black Theology is a study of the gospel of Christ against the injurious teachings of whiteness allied with Empire. - re slater

* * * * * * * *

James Cone's memoir recounts journey
as pioneer in black theology

by Chris Herlinger
Dec 5, 2018

James H. Cone encouraged his students at Union Theological Seminary to find their voices, saying whether "theologians acknowledge it or not, all theologies begin with experience." That was a touchstone of Cone's teaching, and those of us lucky to have had Cone as a professor will hear his impassioned voice throughout his often-moving memoir, Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody.

Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the book are uniquely sad. This is Cone's last work, and the reaction of Union students and alumni to his death in April from cancer at age 79 was uniformly one of disbelief: Cone's energy for teaching never flagged.

A formidable figure in life, Cone leaves a considerable legacy:
  • as a pioneering figure in the development of black theology;
  • as mentor to several generations of black theologians and preachers;
  • and as someone who worked across boundaries to find common cause with other liberation theologians, such as Gustavo Gutiérrez.

Fortunately, Cone received some much-deserved acclaim before his death. He was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was also honored with the Grawemeyer Award in Religion for The Cross and the Lynching Tree, a deeply personal work exploring the history and legacy of lynching in America.

A prophet to the American church, Cone constantly reminded white Christians that racism was a sin — and that the theology he helped develop during 1960s and beyond was a needed corrective, even if few whites paid attention or heeded his message.

"God created Negroes black, which must be good," he writes about his initial work. "White people defamed blackness and that's evil. Jesus came to liberate blackness from whiteness."

Cone focuses his memoir on his theological journey, and Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody may be the best single introduction to Cone's theology. But personal observations make this last work engaging and poignant. Cone acknowledges shortcomings and fears, saying his journey was often lonely, particularly during his early career.

"I was on my own," he recalls. During that period there was, as yet, "no black theologian I could talk to about what I was trying to do." He writes that "a pit of loneliness" remained with him throughout his career.

A suggestion by mentor C. Eric Lincoln of Cone "jumping" from Adrian College in Michigan to Union Theological Seminary — the most prominent liberal Protestant seminary in the country, and the one-time academic base of such dominant figures as Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich — was almost too much to contemplate. "You must be crazy," Cone told Lincoln.

But in 1969, Cone made the jump, and Union became his home for nearly 50 years, though not without moments of pain and discordance. Especially early on, white colleagues remained skeptical of Cone's mission, suggesting that black theology was a momentary fad.

Time magazine reporter asked Cone the "fad" question, and Cone recalls his response: 

"Black people are not a fad. We are not going anywhere, and no one can speak for us. That includes white theologians." Black theology, he told the reporter, "is nothing but black people speaking for themselves about God and the meaning of their struggle for dignity in the United States."

That struggle for dignity was no abstraction: In a telling but troubling anecdote, Cone recalls someone changing the sign on his office door at Union from "Dr. Cone" to "Dr. Coon."

Cone learned from his Union students. He welcomed the challenge from a gay white student who once told him, "Dr. Cone, you don't know a God damn thing about the gay experience!"

He also welcomed the challenge from black women who felt black theology, as well as white feminist theology, did not adequately speak to their lives. "I didn't have the experience of knowledge to really hear what I needed to hear," Cone acknowledges.

Even with the book's well-deserved focus on theology, there are times I wanted the memoir to have cast a slightly wider net. Barack Obama is mentioned only in passing, and it would have been interesting to hear Cone speak more about our first black president. (After Obama's re-election in 2012, I asked Cone if I could interview him for a reaction story about the prospects for Obama's second term. Cone politely turned me down, and didn't say why.) 

Still, the memoir contains many gems: Particularly fine is a chapter on James Baldwin that, achingly, might have been the basis for a separate book had Cone lived longer. Cone calls Baldwin "my most challenging and important interlocutor."

As it is, Cone wrote an acclaimed study of two other dominant figures in his life, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and he fashioned a memorable course at Union exploring the two men's lives and legacies. Later, Cone also taught a course on Baldwin.

Of Donald Trump, Cone says nothing. But then he didn't have to. "The cry of black blood that I heard in Detroit (1967) more than fifty years ago is still crying out all over America today," Cone writes in the book's conclusion. "White people didn't hear it then, and they still don't hear it today."

But Cone knew that, someday, white Americans had better hear it.

"There is no future for America without black people," Cone concludes, echoing Baldwin's warnings. "The identity of America and black America is inextricably bound together."

*Chris Herlinger, international correspondent for NCR's Global Sisters Report, was a student of James Cone while attending Union Theological Seminary from 1991 to 1993, earning a master's degree.

**This story appeared in the Nov 2-15, 2018 print issue under the headline: Cone's memoir recounts journey as pioneer in black theology.

* * * * * * * *

“Racism is a profound contradiction of the gospel. No one can be a representative of Jesus and treat others as subhuman. There can be no compromise on this point. Any theology that does not fight white supremacy with all its intellectual strength cancels its Christian identity” - Dr. James Cone

“There can be no Christian theology that is not identified unreservedly with those who are humiliated and abused. Theology ceases to be a theology of the gospel when it fails to arise out of the community of the oppressed." - James Cone

* * * * * * * *

Amazon Link

"As Martin Luther King said, we must learn to live together as human beings, treating each other with dignity and respect, or we will perish together as fools. There is no other choice. I choose life."
James H. Cone is widely recognized as the founder of Black Liberation Theology-- a synthesis of the Gospel message embodied by Martin Luther King, Jr., and the spirit of Black pride embodied by Malcolm X. Prompted by the Detroit riots and the death of King, Cone, a young theology professor, was impelled to write his first book, Black Theology and Black Power, followed by A Black Theology of Liberation. With these works he established himself as one of the most prophetic and challenging voices of our time.
In this powerful and passionate memoir-- his final work-- Cone describes the obstacles he overcame to find his voice, to respond to the signs of the times, and to offer a voice for those-- like the parents who raised him in Bearden, Arkansas in the era of lynching and Jim Crow-- who had no voice. Recounting lessons learned both from critics and students, and the ongoing challenge of his models King, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin, he describes his efforts to use theology as a tool in the struggle against oppression and for a better world.

* * * * * * * *

Amazon Link

The classic work of Black Theology—still relevant and challenging after 50 years—with a new introduction by Cornel West First published in 1969, Black Theology and Black Power provided the first systematic presentation of Black Theology, while also introducing the voice of an African American theologian who would shake the foundations of American theology. Relating the militant struggle for liberation with the gospel message of salvation, James Cone laid out the foundation for an interpretation of Christianity from the perspective of the oppressed that retains its urgency and challenge today.

* * * * * * * *

Amazon Link

This groundbreaking and highly acclaimed work examines the two most influential African-American leaders of this century. While Martin Luther King, Jr., saw America as essentially a dream... as yet unfulfilled, Malcolm X viewed America as a realized nightmare. James Cone cuts through superficial assessments of King and Malcolm as polar opposites to reveal two men whose visions are complementary and moving toward convergence.

* * * * * * * *

books by james h. cone

  • Risks of Faith: The Emergence of a Black Theology of Liberation, 1968-1998 (1999, ISBN 0-8070-0950-4)

* * * * * * * *

James H. Cone

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James Hal Cone (August 5, 1938 – April 28, 2018) was an American theologian, best known for his advocacy of black theology and black liberation theology. His 1969 book Black Theology and Black Power provided a new way to comprehensively define the distinctiveness of theology in the black church.[15] His message was that Black Power, defined as black people asserting the humanity that white supremacy denied, was the gospel in America. Jesus came to liberate the oppressed, advocating the same thing as Black Power. He argued that white American churches preached a gospel based on white supremacy, antithetical to the gospel of Jesus. Cone's work was influential from the time of the book's publication, and his work remains influential today. His work has been both used and critiqued inside and outside the African-American theological community. He was the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary until his death.[16]

Life and Career

Cone was born on August 5, 1938, in FordyceArkansas, and grew up in the racially segregated town of Bearden, Arkansas.[17] He and his family attended Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church. He attended Shorter College (1954–1956), a small AME Church junior college, before receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Philander Smith College in 1958, where he was mentored by James and Alice Boyack. In his 2018 memoir Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody, Cone wrote that they were the first whites he met who respected his humanity. Although he had decided against parish ministry, their advice led him to obtain a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Garrett–Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1961, and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Northwestern University in 1963 and 1965, respectively. He was shocked to learn that most northern whites would not treat him with respect like the Boyacks. Yet he was excited to learn of unfamiliar theologians, controversies and biblical study methodologies. At the urging of and with support from the white theologian William Hordern at Garrett he applied and gained acceptance into the doctoral program in theology.
He taught theology and religion at Philander Smith College, Adrian College, and beginning in 1970 at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he was awarded the distinguished Charles A. Briggs Chair in systematic theology in 1977. In 2018, he was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[18]
Cone and his wife, Rose Hampton, married in 1958 and divorced in 1977. They had two sons, Micheal and Charles, and two daughters, Krystal and Robynn. In 1979, Cone married Sondra Gibson, who died in 1983. He died on April 28, 2018.[19][20][21]



Cone wrote, "Exodus, prophets and Jesus—these three—defined the meaning of liberation in black theology."[22][page needed] The hermeneutic, or interpretive lens, for James Cone's theology starts with the experience of African Americans, and the theological questions he brings from his own life. He incorporates the powerful role of the black church in his life, as well as racism experienced by African Americans. For Cone, the theologians he studied in graduate school did not provide meaningful answers to his questions. This disparity became more apparent when he was teaching theology at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Cone writes, "What could Karl Barth possibly mean for black students who had come from the cotton fields of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, seeking to change the structure of their lives in a society that had defined black as non-being?"[23]
Cone's theology also received significant inspiration from a frustration with the black struggle for civil rights; he felt that black Christians in North America should not follow the "white Church", on the grounds that it was a willing part of the system that had oppressed black people. Accordingly, his theology was heavily influenced by Malcolm X and the Black Power movement. Martin Luther King Jr. was also an important influence; Cone describes King as a liberation theologian before the phrase existed.[24] Cone wrote, "I was on a mission to transform self-loathing Negro Christians into black-loving revolutionary disciples of the Black Christ." Nevertheless, "The black church, despite its failures, gives black people a sense of worth."[25]


His methodology for answering the questions raised by the African-American experience is a return to scripture, and particularly to the liberative elements such as the Exodus-Sinai tradition, prophets and the life and teaching of Jesus. However, scripture is not the only source that shapes his theology. In response to criticism from other black theologians (including his brother, Cecil), Cone began to make greater use of resources native to the African-American Christian community for his theological work, including slave spirituals, the blues, and the writings of prominent African-American thinkers such as David WalkerHenry McNeal Turner, and W. E. B. Du Bois. His theology developed further in response to critiques by black women, leading Cone to consider gender issues more prominently and foster the development of womanist theology, and also in dialogue with Marxist analysis and the sociology of knowledge.[26]

Contextual theology

Cone's thought, along with Paul Tillich, stresses the idea that theology is not universal, but tied to specific historical contexts; he thus critiques the Western tradition of abstract theologizing by examining its social context. Cone formulates a theology of liberation from within the context of the black experience of oppression, interpreting the central kernel of the Gospels as Jesus' identification with the poor and oppressed, the resurrection as the ultimate act of liberation.[27][page needed]
As part of his theological analysis, Cone argues for God's own identification with "blackness":
The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples. Either God is identified with the oppressed to the point that their experience becomes God's experience, or God is a God of racism. ... The blackness of God means that God has made the oppressed condition God's own condition. This is the essence of the biblical revelation. By electing Israelite slaves as the people of God and by becoming the Oppressed One in Jesus Christ, the human race is made to understand that God is known where human beings experience humiliation and suffering. ... Liberation is not an afterthought, but the very essence of divine activity.[28]
Despite his associations with the Black Power movement, however, Cone was not entirely focused on ethnicity: "Being black in America has little to do with skin color. Being black means that your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body are where the dispossessed are."[29]
In 1977, Cone wrote, with a still more universal vision:
I think the time has come for black theologians and black church people to move beyond a mere reaction to white racism in America and begin to extend our vision of a new socially constructed humanity in the whole inhabited world ... For humanity is whole, and cannot be isolated into racial and national groups.[30]
In his 1998 essay "White Theology Revisited", however, he retains his earlier strong critique of the white church and white man for ignoring or failing to address the problem of race.[31]

Early influences

Cone credits his parents as being his most important early influences.[22][page needed] His father had only a sixth-grade education but filed a lawsuit against the Bearden, Arkansas, school board despite threats on his life. White professors of religion and philosophy, James and Alice Boyack at Philander Smith College aided his belief in his own potential and deepened his interest in theodicy and black suffering. He found a mentor, advisor and influential teacher in Garrett scholar William E. Hordern. Professor Philip Watson motivated him to intensive remedial study of English composition. Classmate Lester B. Scherer was a great help in this. Scherer volunteered to edit manuscripts of Cone's early books while Cone's wife Rose typed them, yet Cone complained that neither understood him.[32] Cone wrote his doctoral thesis on Karl Barth. A 1965 breakfast meeting with Benjamin Mays, president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, convinced him that teaching and scholarship were his true calling. The sociologist C. Eric Lincoln found publishers for his early books (Black Theology and Black Power and A Black Theology of Liberation) which sought to deconstruct mainstream Protestant theologians such as Barth, Niebuhr and Tillich while seeking to draw on the figures of the black church such as Richard Allen (founder in 1816 of the AME Church), black abolitionists ministers Henry Highland Garnet, Daniel Payne, and Henry McNeil Turner ("God is a Negro") and Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and other figures of the black power and black arts movement.[22][page needed]


Womanist critique

Womanist theologians, such as Delores Williams, have critiqued Cone for both male-centered language and for not including the experiences of black women in his sources. Williams, in 1993, acknowledged in a footnote in her book Sisters in the Wilderness, that Cone has modified exclusive language for the reprinting of his works and acknowledged the issues with the previous language. However, she argues that he still does not use the experiences of African-American women in his method, and therefore still needs to deal with the sexism of his work.[33]

Other scholarly critiques

Other critiques of Cone's theological positions have focused on the need to rely more heavily on sources reflecting black experience in general, on Cone's lack of emphasis on reconciliation within the context of liberation, and on his ideas of God and theodicy.[34] Charles H. Long and other founding members of the Society for the Study of Black Religion were critics of Cone's work. Long rejected black theology contending that theology was a western invention alien to black experience. Others objected to his endorsement of Black Power, lack of interest in reconciliation and concern with scoring academic points.[35]

Political commentary and controversy

Aspects of Cone's theology and words for some people have been the subject of controversy in the political context of the 2008 US presidential campaign as Jeremiah Wright, at that time pastor of then-candidate Barack Obama, noted that he had been inspired by Cone's theology.[36][better source needed]
Some scholars of black theology noted that controversial quotes by Wright may not necessarily represent black theology.[37] Cone responded to these alleged controversial comments by noting that he was generally writing about historic white churches and denominations that did nothing to oppose slavery and segregation rather than any white individual.[citation needed]
Hoover Institute fellow Stanley Kurtz, in a political commentary in National Review, wrote:
Cone defines it as "complete emancipation of black people from white oppression by whatever means black people deem necessary." For Cone, the deeply racist structure of American society leaves blacks with no alternative but radical transformation or social withdrawal. So-called Christianity, as commonly practiced in the United States, is actually the racist Antichrist. "Theologically," Cone affirms, "Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man 'the devil.'" The false Christianity of the white-devil oppressor must be replaced by an authentic Christianity fully identified with the poor and oppressed.[38]


After receiving his doctorate, Cone taught theology and religion at Philander Smith College and Adrian College. At the urging of his mentor, C. Eric Lincoln, Union Theological Seminary in New York City hired him as assistant professor in 1969. He remained there until his death in 2018 rising to assume an endowed full professorship. Cone made significant contributions to theological education in America.[39] Prior to Cone's arrival in 1969, Union Theological Seminary had not accepted a black student into its doctoral program since its founding in 1836. During his career there, Cone supervised over 40 black doctoral students. These included Dwight Hopkins and some of the founders of womanist theology Delores WilliamsJacquelyn Grant, and Kelly Brown Douglas. He delivered countless lectures at other universities and conferences.


See also



  1. ^ Kalu 2006.
  2. ^ Haney, Mark (May 3, 2018). "Former Adrian College Professor, Author Remembered"Lenconnect.com. Adrian, Michigan: GateHouse Media. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Begg 2007, p. 323.
  4. ^ J. H. Cone 1965.
  5. ^ Roberts 2004, p. 424.
  6. ^ Pinn & Cannon 2014, p. 11.
  7. Jump up to:
    a b McAlister 2018, p. 125.
  8. ^ Begg 2007, pp. 319, 321.
  9. ^ "Dr. Cain Hope Felder". Washington: Destiny – Pride. July 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  10. ^ Hendricks 2006, p. xi.
  11. ^ Moore 2013, p. 7.
  12. ^ Begg 2007, p. 321.
  13. ^ Steinfels, Peter (October 29, 1989). "Conference on Black Theology Unites Scholars and Pastors"The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  14. ^ Alberts, Hana R. (April 28, 2008). "Rev. Wright Reclaims the Spotlight"Forbes. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Wilmore 1999, p. 234.
  16. ^ "James H. Cone". New York: Union Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  17. ^ Burgess & Brennan 2010, p. 38; Burrow 1993, p. 61.
  18. ^ "Dr. James H. Cone Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences"Sojourners. April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "In Memoriam: Dr. James Hal Cone". New York: Union Theological Seminary. April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Vultaggio, Maria (April 28, 2018). "Who Was James Come? Founder of Black Liberation Theology Dies"Newsweek. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  21. ^ "James H. Cone, Founder of Black Liberation Theology Dies at 79". NPR. April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  22. Jump up to:
  23. ^ J. H. Cone 1997, p. 3.
  24. ^ Burrow 1994, pp. 13–16.
  25. ^ J. H. Cone 2018, p. 94.
  26. ^ Burrow 1994; cf. P. Williams 1996.
  27. ^ Antonio 1999.
  28. ^ J. H. Cone 2010, p. 67.
  29. ^ Cone, James H. Black Theology and Black Power. p. 151. Cited in Schwarz 2005, p. 473.
  30. ^ Ferm, Deane William (May 9, 1979). "The Road Ahead in Theology – Revisited"The Christian Century. Chicago. p. 524. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via Religion Online.
  31. ^ J. H. Cone 1999, pp. 130–137.
  32. ^ J. H. Cone 2018, p. 70.
  33. ^ D. S. Williams 1993, p. 269.
  34. ^ Singleton 2002, p. 92 (citing especially C. W. Cone 1975D. S. Williams 1993Roberts 1971Jones 1998).
  35. ^ J. H. Cone 2018, p. 86.
  36. ^ Video: Jeremiah Wright discusses his Cone inspiration and Black Liberation Theology on YouTube.
  37. ^ "Diversified religion: Barack Obama's former pastor's remarks spur consideration". Archived from the original on August 6, 2005. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  38. ^ Kurtz, Stanley (May 19, 2008). "'Context,' You Say? A Guide to the Radical Theology of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright"National Review. Archived from the original on March 23, 2009. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via MyWire.
  39. ^ J. H. Cone 2018, pp. 117–124.


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