Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
Once a person asks to be treated as a man there is nothing to else to do but to treat him as a brother. When that happens God had better be with us. May God be with us always.
The great national confusion that bore down upon African Americans with special weight was once well described by David Brion Davis: “In the United States . . . the problem of slavery . . . had become fatally intertwined with the problem of race.” Quite apart from its devastating impact on economics and politics, the confusion spotlighted by Davis between race and slavery profoundly affected Christian interpretations of Scripture during the first decades of nationhood. From the early 1830s onwards a great flood of authors labored intensively to interpret the many scriptural passages that seemed simply to take slavery for granted as a natural part of society. By contrast, far less attention was devoted to what the Bible affirmed, also in many passages, about the equality of all races and peoples before God.
For African American Bible believers, the result was doubly unfortunate. On the one hand, they could see more clearly than any of their peers that studying what the Bible had to say about slavery could never illuminate the American dilemma unless the Bible was also studied for what it had to say about race. On the other hand, because of the racist character of American public life, including prejudices about which publications had to be noticed and which could safely be ignored, the considerable writing that African Americans produced on the Bible and slavery received almost no general attention.
—Mark Noll, “The Bible in American Public Life, 1860-2005: Dilemmas at the center, insights from the margins”, ChristianityToday.com.
The Albany Catholic Worker (Vol X, No. 1, Fall 2005) arrived in the mail today. May take T&R tomorrow evening to an Emmaus House “happening” on “Support the Troops—But not the War: a Mom and Dad Reflect.” F&C H’s son M, whom I had met some 25 years ago when he was a teenager, was a mercenary in Iraq and severly injured there. His father, a former Air Force pilot, and his stepmother have for years been active pacifists—I believe they are pacifists, and not just opposed to our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq; if I go tomorrow and have a chance to ask, I shall. I may also ask FB, who with his wife DC publish ACW and live in Emmaus House of Hospitality, about the “problem”—or was it “issue”?— Father P told me he with him when I asked Father P if he had heard that Emmaus house would be moving next year to 44 Trinity Place, not far from the Cathedral. Back in 1980, CH, then CF, gave me my first job in Albany: she made me a CETA-funded administrative assistant at Historic Cherry Hill, of which she was the director. It was there that I met FH, whom CF would soon marry, and his son M.