Religious studies scholar Albert Raboteau, who is Russian Orthodox and an expert on African-American history, on suffering, slavery, and Salvation
:In particular, slaves revealed that Americans had a deeply flawed understanding of what it meant to be chosen by God. To be chosen does not bring preeminence, elevation and glory in this world, as most 19th-century Americans expected. Indeed, as slave Christians well knew, to be chosen by God brings humiliation, suffering and rejection. Choseness, as revealed in the life of Jesus, led to a cross. The lives of his disciples have been signed with that cross. To be chosen means joining company with those who suffer, the outcast, the poor and the wretched of the earth. Choseness requires entering the mystery of suffering. This was (and remains) a profoundly Christian condemnation of the nation's dominant idea of American choseness. African-American Christians believed they were chosen because their history fit the pattern of redemption revealed in the Bible. In weakness lies strength, in loss, gain, in death, life.
When Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman visited Gandhi in the 1930s, he asked them to sing for him the old spiritual "Where you there when they crucified my Lord," which he felt got at "the root of the experience of the entire human race under the spread of the healing wings of suffering." What Gandhi, and many others around the world, recognized in the spirituals that came out of slave suffering was the authenticity (what James Baldwin called "the matchless authority") that comes, that can only come from suffering. Suffering stripped slaves of illusions. It revealed the bare fact of the human person's total dependence upon God. "Trustin' in the Lord," not in oneself or in other men became their watchword. Life, indeed every breath, is grounded in God. Poverty and poverty of spirit revealed the God-shaped emptiness at the core of the person.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 01:14:24 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.