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Sunday, December 25, 2011

James Cone's Black Jesus

This poster is designed to represent James Cone's theology as a part of my Make it Plain art exhibition.  James Cone was a theologian who made the idea of a black Jesus famous.  James Cone believed in a Jesus that was with the oppressed people of the day; in the 1960's the oppressed peoples were black. 

Cone was responding to all of Christians who believed in a white Jesus and a white God that supported to oppression, murder, enslavement, and oppression of blacks.  James Cone responded with the idea that Jesus represents the oppressed peoples, and the Jesus Cone talked about was black.  When the racism supporting 230 lynchings in a year is still prevalent 70 years later there is a need for the Christian faith to evolve for the better.  James Cone did that in part by building on Martin Luther King's black theology.

Cone combined Malcolm's ideas of self love and Kings philosophy of loving others.  Cone  used MLK Jr's Black Christian theology (which still had some grit if you read his actual sermons).  James Cone is known as the founder of Black Liberation Theology .

People who have heard of James Cone in response to the anti Obama campaigns, have heard incredibly distorted views of what black Liberation Theology actually is.  These same people seem to forget the circumstances that men like James Cone and Malcolm X were responding to and living with on a daily basis. 

Through my conversations with anti-Cone and anti-Obama extremists, it seems that verry few of them have read Cone, King or Malcolm beyond what we get in high school and none of them have studied American history from any other perspectives than standard European-American history.  Not that this is bad, they just done seem to have a grasp on a variety of people groups experiences.


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