Thursday, February 01, 2007

Christian and Black

Sometimes, as in my forthcoming novel Wind Follower, all things work together wonderfully. Sometimes I'm pretty conflicted. I mean: Am I a Christian or am I black? Of course the two shouldn't be opposed to each other. But many African-Americans find it problematic to be both Christian and black. Especially because of the history of white Christian slaveholders. Many Blacks have become Muslims. Which is weird because Islamic Slavery existed before the atlantic slave trade...and still exists along with racism in many Islamic countries. Indeed, when people talk about slavery, they often talk as if it ONLY existed in the US and ignore what is happening in Sudan and other places.

But back to me.

When I think of myself as a black woman, I want to talk about Justice ... and the modern folks in Christianity want to talk about other issues. Although Christianity is about justice, and mercy and grace, and equality. I often find myself with strange bedfellows. Such as victims of cruelty and discrimination who may not be Christians, and who may hate Christians. Of course, on the other hand...often the folks who said they were Christians were affected by some other philosophy, religion, or world mindset. For instance, nowhere in Christianity is racism affirmed. Quite the opposite. And if we think of the Crusaders, they picked up their idea of "holy war" from the Islamic idea of holy war. We Christians never cared much for a holy kingdom on earth. But you know what I mean.

When I think of myself as a Christian, I remember that evil is in everyone and I can't take sides...although I really, really, really want to. What to do?

I'm very pleased with Wind Follower. In that book (coming June!) I show that sexuality is healing, that racism exists, that there are issues of injustice. It comes from the part of me that is very black, and very Christian, and very woman, and very screwed up. It's a lovely, lovely, book. I'm hoping the rest of my works will be as balanced, and as lovely, and as evangelical.


babatim said...

Right on! What ever happened to social justice, taking care of the poor, etc.? I just finished the bandwagon-follower book "Blue Like Jazz" and he proposes something very similar.

Why is it that Christian in America so often only have a few main issues and ignore the rest? Does God care more about homosexuality and gay marriage and abortion and less about the poor and disenfranchised? The church should take bold stands on issues, but lets be a bit more well rounded.

Congrats on the upcoming book. Can you explain the cover? I can't quite make out the building in the background...

Carole McDonnell said...

Hi Tim: Sorry it took so long to get back to you. The background of the cover is the artist's idea, actually. When I wrote the book I was tempted to create an alternate Africa that Native Americans or Asians had conquered. But then the editor thought it best if we just weren't so specific. So the cover has a kind of desert, or African or non-earthly feel. Could be a temple in Africa or an odd building on some far-off planet. Lord knows! -C

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