February 15, 2016
The next two Sundays (Feb. 21, 28) the Forum will focus on critically-acclaimed book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, written by Rev. Dr. James Cone. Forums will be led by Kelle Brown. Dr. Cone is the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and is best known as the father of Black Liberation Theology.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree reflects that the crucifixion must be seen as a lynching, for the cross often becomes a far-off, intangible thing of the past to which many have no connection. However, Cone asserts that African American theology enters by way of the cross, by way of suffering. He offers that black Christian tradition allowed an oppressed people to find joy in sorrow, hope in despair and deep faith. God in Jesus Christ, for African Americans, was revealed through the particularity of tragedy, pain and loss, and that revelation created a sustaining spirituality that exists today.
Cone also challenges and indicts dominant culture theologians as to their silence in the face of such occurrences as lynching. White religious leaders were often silent and complicit as to the terror African Americans faced, and that same challenge is at hand today. He contends that for African Americans, lynching is alive and well. Through the use of various media, Rev. Brown will offer a comprehensive Lenten journey to face the cross in the context of American history.