Arising from Black and feminist liberation theologies in the 1980s, womanist theology brings a needed focus on the experiences of Black women to Christian theology. Attending to the abuses of slavery, the injustices that brought about the Civil Rights movement, and the present fight for full emancipation for Black people in the United States, womanist theology identifies with the oppressed to empower and liberate. Acting on love and an audacious courage to challenge assumptions, womanists take charge and battle the powers and principalities.
Once you lose a loved one, their words echo in your soul long after they leave. With the third anniversary of my mom’s death this past August, I have been methodically reflecting over the many things my mom taught me. I think it is natural for parents to want to shield their children from some of the harsher realities of the world. Not to explicitly hide the truth but to soften it. Even with my mom’s gentlest approach, I clearly remember the first time she tried to prepare me for what was outside of our safe family structure.
Our lived experiences will always tint the lenses through which we each see and name injustice. Womanist scholars examine the lived experiences of Black women as the starting place for theology. Black women experience the injustices of today’s world on multiple structural levels, including communal and personal. Therefore, her focus is family-oriented because she’s concerned about Black men, Black children, and the Black community.
For too long, Black women’s contributions in art have been overlooked and unacknowledged. Art has always functioned as an important avenue for those who wish to express their inspired ideas with visual impact. For Black Christian female artists, their talents and voices have historically been suppressed as dominant cultural voices gained more recognition. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much digging to uncover a variety of visual artistic contributions by Black Christian women in the United States.
On May 16, 2010, seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed in her bed by a Detroit police officer. On March 13, 2020, twenty-six-year-old Breonna Taylor was killed in her bed by a Louisville police officer. There has been no justice for either of them. For so many years, America has been charged for the murder, abuse, and mistreatment of Black bodies. In the list of countless victims, the names of Black women and girls are often lost and forgotten. Why do we act like Black women and girls are so insignificant?
Dear Fellow Ministers and Other Church Folk,
For the past thirty years, many African American women as theologians, ethicists, and Bible scholars have consistently used a womanist interpretation, which we call our “hermeneutic” (a method for reading and studying the Bible or theology), to engage the intersection of race and ethnicity, gender, religion, and class. Such engagement is grounded in communal affirmation, or the betterment of the “entire people.”
Mutuality between women and men has been the heart of CBE’s mission since its inception in the late 1980s. If you return to the early documents of the egalitarian movement, and the founding papers of CBE, you cannot escape what we believe to be the biblical truth of women’s equality with men in the eyes of God, and thus the obligation we have to share leadership and authority as God’s people.
Editor’s Note: This is one of the Top 15 2020 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy!
This summer, CBE International held our fourth annual writing contest! We received many quality, insightful submissions, making our job of picking just fifteen winners very difficult. The 2020 winners hail from six countries and a variety of professions, including theater, science, medicine, as well as ministry. Meet them below!