Book of the Month
Oppressions are “inextricably linked”, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us.This means that the symbols of oppression are more than just good to consider together but necessary.
The birthing table
The election booth
The lynching tree
Are all connected to death on a scale it can be unthinkable to consider.
Rather than deciding which is worse, we can start with deciding that we will have a definitive stance against the harm that can come to another person. This takes love, awareness, and a sense of God’s commitments and what they require of us.
From the perspective of Black history in these United States, the cross and the lynching tree hold similar symbolic powers. They mean death with oppression at the helm.
People of faith do well to know the symbols of death so that we can subvert them and remove their oppressive power. I invite us all to read (or review) the work of James Cone – the “father” of liberation theology, as many have called him – and see just how our liberation may be entwined.
As you read this work, you will find some faults. He fails to link some oppressions we know to be connected. I name this here in the knowledge that we need to read every struggle into his overall framework. Know that many have taken this text and offered extensive academic scrutiny. Indeed, entire streams of liberation theology have begun at this cross and regarded this lynching tree and drawn in the oppressions of closed borders, “reparative therapy”, swastikas, ignorance and hatred of the other and so many other ways that systematized harm can take root and seen this very cross, this very lynching tree, as a helpful, new beginning.
I encourage you to take a look at this text and see roots to total flourishing. We all get free, together.
The Rev. Kaji Douša