La Pensée du Jour: The Cross of Christ and Colonial Conquest

La Pensée du Jour: The Cross of Christ and Colonial Conquest

The Cross of Christ is not a symbol of European conquest and hegemonic domination in the world; rather, the cross tells the devastating story of a sacrificial death and gift, and the transformative and redemptive love of God in Christ for the world and on behalf of all people.

La Pensée du Jour: In Solidarity with the Immigrant and the Poor

La Pensée du Jour: In Solidarity with the Immigrant and the Poor

To stand in solidarity with the immigrant and the poor is a mark of true humanity, human empathy, and Christian hospitality.


We expect the United States of America to treat “immigrant people” (and all American citizens) with dignity and respect, and affirm their humanity as members of the human race, and not to demonize and dehumanize them because of their non-Anglo Saxon name, religion, worldview, or cultural practices.


PhD Dissertation: “Faith, Hope, and the Poor: Theological Ideas and Moral Vision of Jean-Betrand Aristide” by Celucien L. Joseph

Here’s the dissertation abstract on Jean-Betrand Aristide I promised to share with you:
“Faith, Hope, and the Poor: Theological Ideas and Moral Vision of Jean-Betrand Aristide” by Celucien L. Joseph
Supervisor: Prof Vuyani Vellem
Department:Faculty of Theology
University: University of Pretoria
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Systematic Theology & Christian Ethics
PhD Defense: February 16, 2017
Degree Conferred: February 16, 2017
Keywords: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Theological Ethics, Theological Anthropology, Political Theology,The Poor, Liberation Theology, Violence, Ubuntu

The objective of this research is to examine the theological ideas and moral vision of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and to explore how his theology (and theological hermeneutics and ethics) has influenced his politics of solidarity and social activism on behalf of the oppressed and the poor in Haiti in particular, and the wretched of the earth, in general.  Through the use of the postcolonial, decolonial, and Liberation Theology paradigms as hermeneutical and theoretical methods of investigation, the project seeks to answer a threefold question: what is the relationship between theology and social activism and transformation in the thought and writings of Jean-Bertrand Aristide?   What is the place and function of the community of faith, the poor, the oppressed, hope, and human liberation in the political theology of Jean-Bertrand Aristide?  What is the place of (defensive) violence in Aristide’s theology? Our goal in this scholarly investigation is an attempt to provide an answer to these daunting questions above and to explore more fully and intelligently the theology of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.This present study considers Aristide’s democratic and social justice projects and theological reflections and theological intersections in the disciplines of theological anthropology, theological ethics, and political theology, as he himself engages all four simultaneously. The doctoral thesis locates Aristide’s thought and writings within Black intellectual tradition both in continental Africa and the African Diaspora. It establishes shared intellectual ideas and parallelisms, and strong ideological connections between Aristide and Black theologians and thinkers in both continental Africa and the African Diaspora. On one hand, Aristide’s intellectual ideas and political activism should be understood in the context of the struggle for democracy in Haiti; on the other hand, it is suggested the intellectual articulations and propositions of these Black and African thinkers aim at a common vision: the project to make our world new toward the common good.

While we do not undermine the problem of violence in Aristide’s theology and political program in the context of Haitian history, the  doctoral thesis argues that Aristide’s theological anthropology is a theology of reciprocity and mutuality, and correspondingly, his theological ethics is grounded in the theory of radical interactionality, interconnectedness, and interdependence, and the South African humanism of Ubuntu. It also contends that Aristide’s promotion of a theology of popular violence and aggression in the Haitian society should be understood as a cathartic mechanism and defensive violence aimed at defending the Haitian masses against the Duvalier regime and their oppressors.


The Secret is Now Revealed! Another PhD in Systematic Theology and Ethics

The Secret is Now Revealed! Another PhD in Systematic Theology and Ethics

In 2012, I received my first PhD in (English) Literary Studies–with an emphasis in African American  Literature, African American Intellectual History, and Caribbean (both Francophone and Anglophone) Literature and Culture–from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).

However, since I have an academic background in Religious and Theological studies, I have always wanted to do a PhD in Biblical Studies or Theological Ethics. Two years later (Year 2014) after I earned the first PhD, I was enrolled in a (residential) research-driven only PhD program in Systematic Theology and Ethics at the University of Pretoria. I’m supposed to travel once a year to Pretoria to participate in the yearly conference designated for PhD candidates to share their research with other doctoral students. Due to my full time employment in the U. S., I couldn’t relocate to South Africa or travel yearly there for the symposium.

Hence, I negotiated with my amazing and intelligent doctoral supervisor, Dr. Vuyani Vellem, the first Black Liberation Theologian to teach at the Prestigious University of Pretoria(UP), to exempt me from that requirement. He agreed! I was excited to begin the new journey and undertake a research about the theological ideas and moral vision on Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic Priest, Liberation Theologian, and a two-term elected President of Haiti by an overwhelmingly  popular vote.

I have entitled the dissertation “Faith, Hope, and the Poor: The Theological Ideas and Moral Vision of Jean-Bertrand Aristide,” which I successfully defended this morning: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:00 A.M. (11:00 A.M. in Pretoria) via the amazing HD technology called Vidyo. It is better than Skype:-)

Folks: that was the secret I have kept from you for the past three years. Now, you know I can’t keep a secret. Lol

* I will post the dissertation abstract on a different post.

Katia Laurent-Joseph: Are you ready to travel to Pretoria, South Africa for the Graduation Ceremony in May 2017?

What am I going to do with two PhDs?


To God be the glory!

La Pensee du Jour: How deep is your love?

Christianity must speak radical truth, holistic redemption, democratic social justice, and transformative freedom to those who live in the margins in society.

Are you concerned about those who live in the margins?
Do you look at the world from the perspective of the poor?
How deep is your love for them?
I do not/wouldn’t mind paying high taxes to help the poor and to promote socialist democracy for the common good and human flourishing in our society; however, I would contest the tax increase in favor of big corporations and bourgeois capitalism. I will fight for every penny of mine if it’s going to profit our anti-poor and bourgeois democracy.

Brief Thought 0n Steps toward Racial Unity and Reconciliation in Contemporary American Churches and society

Brief Thought on Steps toward Racial Unity and Reconciliation in Contemporary American Churches and society

A lot of people in the Church want to talk about racial unity and reconciliation in American (Evangelical) Churches, but they do not want to talk about the sins of racism and racial injustice and the historical causes leading to racial disunity and ethnic division in contemporary American churches and society.

How could American Churches and Christians be cured from the racial wound if they avoid the diagnosis and the painful history of race?

How could American Churches and Christians be healed from the great legacy of racial rift if they avoid discussing the historical pain and effects of racism?

Racial unity and reconciliation in contemporary American Churches and Evangelicalism is a critical and urgent project that requires a thorough investigation on how the historical causes and sins of racial injustice have pervaded every aspect of the Christian life and altered social dynamics and human relationships in the American society.

The Christian ministry of racial reconciliation and unity acknowledges how the practice of racism in our churches and society has contributed to human death, suffering, social alienation, dissociation, xenophobia, and the degradation of human dignity and the image of God in man and woman in our society and churches.

Genuine racial reconciliation ministry also looks at how race and racism in America and American churches have impacted the spheres of family, romance, economics, market, education, employment, leadership in society, leadership in the church, pastoral ministry, seminary education, residential zone, friendship, etc.

If contemporary American churches and Christians truly desire racial unity in their midst, they must embody and live the Gospel and should be ready to address these sensitive matters and the most challenging issues of our historical past. The Christian church in America will be healed from the poison of racism if American Christians are willing (1) to confront their own contribution to the problem of race and (2) to acknowledge the pain of the victims of racial oppression and violence, make reparations for historical wrongdoings, repent of their sins, and finally, genuinely seek and practice racial unity and reconciliation in their churches and in society.


We sons and daughters of Refugees and Immigrants fear for our Life, Friends, and Children!

We sons and daughters of Refugees and Immigrants fear for our Life, Friends, and Children!

On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, The CBC reported a tragic story that a “Canadian woman denied entry to U.S. after Muslim prayers found on her phone.” This is a devastating encounter. No one should be treated in this manner. Folks, please take the time to read the article highlighted above. After reading the story, I had to think critically about some possible implications and consequences about this unfortunate and unacceptable incident, which I share below.

First of all, under this present administration, it seems to me if you’re not a natural-born citizen of the United States, somewhat you are forced to live in constant fear under the possible threat of revocation of your (naturalized) citizenship, deportation, forced exile, etc.

Secondly, the entire situation (see article above) implies that you don’t have to have a previous criminal record/ history or did anything unlawful to be considered a potential problem to this administration. Your race, religion, language, and culture can get you in trouble.

Thirdly, under this current administration, it seems to me non–European descent naturalized American citizens and people of color are not safe in this country–not that this land has always been a haven for us. America has failed in many accounts to extend justice, equality, dignity, and human rights to all and for all. For example, the history of black people and people of color in America is a painful human narrative, which includes death (i.e. social, existential, physical), alienation, and dissociation.

Fourthly, for those of us who are sons and daughters of refugees, immigrants, and people of color, America continues to be a land of many contradictions and paradoxes to us.

*On a personal note, I spend more time living in America than in my birth country. I am 39 yrs old (will be in March 6); I immigrated to the United States of America when I was 15 yrs old. Hence, I have lived here for 24 yrs of my life (It’s not that I’m afraid of returning to my homeland, as Langston Hughes has said, “America was never America to me.” Yet, America also has contributed enormously to my successes, life-achievements, and multifaceted identity: I’m a husband to a wonderful wife and father of four beautiful children; I own a beautiful home; I have a PhD from a top university in the nation; I have a good job; I am a professor at an amazing institution, which provides me the resources and opportunities to invest in people’s lives and educate and mentor young and older people; and countless opportunities I have to serve my community and participate in progressive causes.) In spite of all these things as a privileged middle class son of an immigrant, as a naturalized-American black citizen, I must confess that I live in a state of fear and know my boundaries in the American society. The possible inhuman  threats of this current administration is aggressive, immediate, and heartless. I have never felt like that before in my 24 yrs of living in this country.)

We sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants, and people of color are deeply concerned about the practice of democracy, human dignity, hospitality, and respect for human life in America.

We sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants, and people of color had/continue to struggle to claim our humanity and personhood, defend our dignity and rights to exist as “the other people,” and live constantly under the oppression of America’s structural racism, social inequality, and the fear of whiteness.We love this country, and like any other group of people, we support and will defend America’s democratic ideals and cosmopolitan virtues.

In the Trump moment, America has become “safer for white Americans,” and unfortunately, some of them do enjoy that level of white security and white comfort inevitably associated with white supremacy and America’s radical hegemony in the world. All we want as sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants, and people of color is to be treated with respect, dignity, and as humans in America. We do not want anyone to validate our humanity; we already know that we are beautiful made in the image of God–even though sometimes, we are treated lesser than that. We do not want to live in a state of (existential) fear–the fear for our life, our friends, and our children!

“Why I Love Paul’s Letter to the Romans”

“Why I Love Paul’s Letter to the Romans”
I love books. I have read many great authors and books throughout my 38th years of existence. In fact, I have a home library of 4,000 books–in addition to the books I have in my work office. For me, life is incomplete without the access to (good) books that could challenge our worldview, ideas, attitude toward life and people, and books that could force us to reevaluate ourselves toward radical transformation, friendship, and radical interdependence and relationality.
Arguably, the most influential book and perhaps the most important book that has ever graced our world is the Letter of Paul to the Romans, written by Paul, the premier (Diasporic) Jewish religious thinker in the first century Palestine.
I challenge anyone to read this revolutionary book and be left unchallenged and unreformed.
*Disclaimer: Yes, I’m biased:-)