There is no denying that fact that today Americans woke up with many feelings, emotions, questions, etc. For some, the president-elect is seen as a revolutionary political messiah. A person who vows to protect the racist, bias, sexist, religious, and misogynistic ideals of America while reassuring them that their superiority is restored leaving the marginalized in this country to lament.
For others, the very idea that this is indeed the country that they live in has caused many of them to feel disgusted to the point of being physically sick. Not because they were unaware of the horror but because they are forced to live within it. Having to look toward a future that will undo any forward progress we have made. Feeling marginalized and oppressed while being unnervingly reassured by their oppressors “do not worry this is a good thing, this is how our country is suppose to be”. Which in turn sends a message that says ” your lives do not matter as much as ours“.
The true twist of the knife in the heart of the oppressed is that for many in the American Evangelical church they believe that this return to old American ideals is God’s intended plan to redeem our country. As if the progress we have made to provide equal rights for everyone is somehow not the country God desires for us to live in. While some people would not come out and said that directly with words instead they did it behind a curtain with their vote. Dr. James H. Cone, a well renowned black theologian, said “It is ironic that America, with its history of injustice to the poor, especially the black man and the Indian, prides itself on being a Christian nation.”
As I sit and reflect (even cry ) as I try to reason with what we are experiencing in our nation, I wonder what does this mean for me to be a Black Christian in America? How deal with the reality that the predominately White Evangelical church context of whom many have chosen to abandoned the fundamental truths of the Gospel have chosen instead the supremacy of societal power in order to remain my oppressor instead fighting against injustice as my brothers or sisters in the faith?
In light of our reading for this week of Who Needs Theology? by Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson, I challenge the blind faith belief system of a “In God We Trust” America? Olson tells a story about his faith journey to disassociate from his denomination “They had a theology that they accepted unquestioningly but that was not integrated into their own lives in contemporary society and culture. Unfortunately, those beliefs often are a distortion of true Christianity. Such theology is untranslatable to a world hungry for Christian answers to life’s pressing problems, and it is based more on wishful thinking and pious feelings than on the gospel contained in God’s Word.”. In looking at our current American Christian context these words ring true. In a society built solely on blind faith and individualistic ideals, how does theology shape the way we see the world around us? Many would argue that theology the antithesis to our christian faith and beliefs? That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact as a Christian Theologian [we] reflect on the meaning of God’s Word and how it illumines life, giving meaning and purpose to existence. The wisdom that we obtain in our reflection is not for just for the purpose gaining knowledge but it is to lived out in our lives daily. There is an interdependence that exists between Theology and Life. Grenz and Olson believe that our life experiences are a result of what we believe and yet what we experience can also shape what we believe–this is what they refer to as our interpretive framework. “[O]ur interpretive framework comprises our fundamental belief system and constitutes our basic theology. Our belief system-our theology-therefore, stands in a reciprocal relationship to life. Theological convictions lead us to look at life the way we do and allow us to experience the world as we do. Our life experiences, in turn, bring our theological convictions into the picture and cause us to reexamine, reevaluate and even revise our convictions about God, ourselves and our world“. So what does this mean for us ? In this case, we as Christians cannot blindly live with a belief that we are a fundamentally a Christian nation. We must challenging our nations belief system by God’s Word. Asking the questions are we as a nation “Speak[ing] up for those who cannot speak for themselves;ensure justice for those being crushed…speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (proverbs 31:8-9 NLT) or Are we adhering to God’s command when He says”judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other” (Zechariah 7:9-10, NLT). What about the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39)?
In order to truly be Christians living in this nation, I believe, we have to detach ourselves from the Christian nation way of thinking and believe because it fundamentally goes against the nature of God and the Word of God. In his book, Black Theology and Black Power, James cones writes “If the Church is to remain faithful to its Lord, it must make a decisive break with the structure of this society by launching a vehement attack on the evils of racism in all forms. It must become prophetic, demanding a radical change in the interlocking structures of this society.” How can we attack a system if we are apart of the system that perpetuates these “evils”? I am reminded of the words of Jesus “…but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world…”(John 5:19, NLT) and of James “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you“(James 1:27, NLT). In the wake of our election many of us are asking the question how do we survive? Is there a way to experience true freedom and progress in the midst of oppression? In a country that is viewed upon out of a bleak and dirty window, I implore us to look out and see with lenses of truth. Jesus said “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32, NLT). James Cone in his book God of the Oppressed compels us not to just know truth but to allow it to be made active in our lives. “Indeed our survival and liberation depend upon our recognition of the truth when it is spoken and lived by the people. If we cannot recognize the truth, then it cannot liberate us from untruth. To know the truth is to appropriate it, for it is not mainly reflection and theory. Truth is divine action entering our lives and creating the human action of liberation”. 
1. “James H. Cone Quotes (Author of Martin and Malcolm and America),” James H. Cone Quotes (Author of Martin and Malcolm and America), , accessed November 09, 2016, https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/17438.James_H_Cone
2. Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson, Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God (Downers Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press, 1996), Kindle, Location 1265.
3.ibid, Kindle, Location 113
4. ibid, Kindle, Location 1400.
5. James H. Cone, Black Theology and Black Power (New York: Seabury Press, 1969), 28.
6. James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), Kindle, Location 747.