A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project by E. Kornegay

By E. Kornegay

Kornegay's superb and insightful use of James Baldwin's literary genius bargains a fashion ahead that provides 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.

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Extra resources for A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project and Gospel Prose

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Blues becomes an extended metaphor for black (religious) vernacular, which signifies on the metaphors of black 46 A Queering of Black Theology oppression and in the process liberates black vernacular and meaning from the psychological collision between puritan ideology and black bodies. Baldwin does this in three ways. First, Baldwin uses the blues as a type of Christological hermeneutic (black religious vernacular) to signify on the cause of the anguish (suffering) associated with black Christian faith: the psychological collision between puritan ideology and black bodies.

Jimmy’s Blues Project: Toward a Use of the Blues as a Liberation Methodology James Baldwin says the blues and the spirituals are about the “ability to look on things as they are and survive your losses, or even not survive them—to know that your losses are coming. ”59 Is the blues a language of survival or a language of liberation? ”60 The blues helps to tackle the ethical dilemma posed by black bodies within the black church and community. The blues reintroduces the poor, sexualized, and rejected black bodies of the community back into the calculus of salvation.

Yet, the Negro still believes in the puritan god (of exodus) in spite of the theological terror that likens damnation with blackness. 84 What is most important is this viewpoint reveals the God of the Oppressed to be, in actuality the God of the Oppressor. In this sense, black people are not oppressed but traumatized, given the schizophrenic twoness of blackness. Being likened to, but not being the same as the puritan masters or left unsafe by the puritan god (of exodus) they serve sustains the theological terror of damnation affixed to blackness and creates the vociferous “political rage” against exceptionalism (exceptional belief or exceptional faith) and the metaphorical exemption codified by a slave mentality.

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