By Celal Kamran
This month at church, I have been leading a book group on The Cross and the Lynching Tree. The book is about the connection that is missed when we do not recognize the lynching tree through the lens of the Cross. James Cone argues, Jesus’ death was a first century lynching and the lynchings that occurred in America have parallels to the Cross. He argues this through his experience in the Black Church. As a Black Christian, the threat of the lynching tree and the redemption in the Cross are both a prevalent reality. This is a connection that the Black Church made yet was lost to the mainstream church. This is because the mainstream church has a history of ignoring or simply separating out voices of color. Because of this history, we live in a theological monolithic society. Even though our doors and hearts are open to the other, our practices and understanding of God is not. That is why we need to listen and learn from The Other. The Other is often marginalized in our religious experience but it does not have to be. We can strive to learn from the other to make our religion and our congregation more holistic. I will be leading another book study after we have read The Cross and the Lynching Tree in the Marginalized Voices Series. We will read Black, Post-Colonial and Womanist Theologians to further understand God and how The Other understands God. In March look in the announcements for when and what we will be reading next!