By E. Kornegay
Kornegay's extraordinary and insightful use of James Baldwin's literary genius deals a fashion ahead that provides to beat the divide among faith and sexuality that's of the most important significance not just for black church and theology yet for socio-political-religious and theological discourse generally.
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Extra info for A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project and Gospel Prose
23 My interpretation further solidifies my claim that Baldwin is not in tension with Christianity or expressly rejecting it, but lamenting its failure to accurately reflect the racist-sexist-homophobic-puritanical nature within its language. 24 For Baldwin, the hermeneutical model—black religious vernacular—is the blues. The language of the blues becomes a starting point for building a language that accounts for black bodies in a way that liberates them from the psychological trap of metaphorical blackness and connects to a protective and liberating God.
James Baldwin is representative of this interpretive paradigm that privileges black religious vernacular. By signifying on religion and Christianity Baldwin reveals that the social and spiritual conditions of black bodies, black life, black faith, the black church, and the black community are controlled by the language of puritanism: the psychological collision between the images created by Protestant Puritan ideology and black bodies. Baldwin’s signifying deftly brackets the puritanical and Calvinistic principles shaping the morals and ethics of the black church, which gives more clarity to the connection between Christianity and the psychological collision between puritan ideology and black bodies.
I am identifying puritanism as a historical problem working at the subjective level of consciousness informing aspects of the black religious tradition in relation to sexual agency. ”96 As such, historical consciousness creates a problem of properly locating puritan religious influences on black religion because of its metaphorical exemption from history and black religious rhetoric. The interpretation of captivity creates allegorical room both spiritually and physically for black bodies. This is a hermeneutic dispensation—an allegorical defense—made manifest as a sexualized discourse, which reveals the subjective nature of puritanism on the black psyche.
A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project and Gospel Prose by E. Kornegay