Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Baha'u'llah and Black Theology

(Photo of Dr. James H. Cone)

As some of you are aware, I've been reflecting for some time on the relationship between the Revelation of Baha'u'llah and the spiritual destiny of black Americans and have recently began to write about it a great deal. My recent discovery of James H. Cone, considered by many to be the father of Black Theology in America has deepened my passion for this topic and greatly influenced my thinking about Baha'u'llah and Black Theology. I'm currently reading Cone's A Black Theology of Liberation and Black Theology and Black Power. This brother is deep. If you want to experience a real treat, you can watch him giving a recent lecture at my alma mater Harvard Divinity School called Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree. You'll see what I mean!

My exposure to Cone has caused my mind to explode, so I'm still in the process of collecting the various pieces of gray matter and putting them back in my skull. Because of this I will make a few brief comments about what could serve as a basis of analyzing what the Revelation of Baha'u'llah might mean for black Americans.

1. The Revelation of Baha'u'llah represents the fulfillment of the eschatological expectations of both Christianity and Islam, the two religious traditions that the majority of black Americans either belong to or are greatly influenced by.

2. That Baha'u'llah's comparison of blacks to the "pupil of the eye" has profound implications for understanding of their role in ushering in the Kingdom of God on earth and represents the "great reversal" of social relationships mentioned in both the Bible and the Quran.

3. That Baha'i expectations of the God-given role that America is destined to play and fulfilling the Will and Purpose of God for this age, implies great spiritual significance for the meaning of being a black American.

4. That the "unique", "wondrous", "System" which Baha'u'llah has brought to the world is what will make possible the fulfillment of the long-held aspirations of black Americans for racial justice and unity.