On Race Relations: We are Humans First!

In a recent research done by the Gallup, it is reported that “Americans’ Worries About Race Relations at Record High.”   Race relations have deep roots in human relations. The pressing issue in our current time is this: how are you treating “other human beings”–not other races?

If we can improve “human relations” in our society, there won’t be any race problem. We must first begin with people, race is secondary.
We are human beings. Human dignity transcends the boundary of race. Americans should worry about how to cultivate healthy and constructive human relations.

 

On Racial Unity

If we want racial healing and unity, stop spiritualizing social issues. Treat them for what they are. Social issues have  deep spiritual implications and ethical consequences in human relationships.

For example, racial segregation is/was a social problem and widely accepted in our nation…so was the interracial marriage between white and black Americans that was legally prohibited in this country. Often, in Christian communities, Christians would quickly characterize them simply as a “sin problem” because they do not want to work through the dilemma of resolving these social issues. Instead, they would just pray and refuse to participate in or work toward solving these issues. We spiritualize social problems when we believe and act in such a way that prayer is the only solution and refuse to work together to challenge policies and ideologies that created those social and political problems.

Alternating My Reading Habit: To Encounter and be Transformed by Great Men and Women of History

Alternating My Reading Habit: To Encounter and  be Transformed by Great Men and Women of History
For the next four months–beginning in March to July 2017– I’m going to alternate my reading habit. I will be reading the following autobiographies and biographies in that order, and attempt two of them monthly:
 
1. March 2017:
 
“Born To Rebel: An Autobiography” by Benjamin E. Mays
 
“The Magnificent Mays: A Biography of Benjamin Elijah Mays” by John Herbert Roper, Sr.
mays
 
2. April 2017:
“A Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait” by Jervis Anderson
“A. Philip Randolph: The Religious Journey of An African American Labor Leader” by Cynthia Taylor
Randolph.jpg
3. May 2017:
“Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol” by Nell Irvin Painter
“King:  A Biography” by David L. Lewis
 
Sojourner Truth
4. June 2017:
“Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin” by Herb Boyd
“Reinhold Niebuhr: A biography” by Richard Fox
Niebhur.jpg
 
5. July 2017:
“The Words: The Autobiography of Jean-Paul Sartre” by Jean-Paul Sartre
“Jean-Paul Sartre: A Life” by Annie Cohen- Solal
Sartre.jpg
*Please keep me accountable to this commitment.

American Evangelicalism in Crisis!

American Evangelicalism in Crisis!

What is the crisis, you may ask?

Let me reiterate my basic claim: ” American Evangelicals have destroyed Christianity in America. They are Christianity’s worst enemy. In other words, the enemy is within.” As my friend said, “They also produce many atheists.”

Please read this important article, “Could Southern Baptist Russell Moore lose his job? Churches threaten to pull funds after months of Trump controversy,” published in The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/03/13/could-southern-baptist-leader-russell-moore-lose-his-job-churches-threaten-funding-after-months-of-trump-controversy/?utm_term=.e01e3c833dfd

La Pensée du Jour: The Evangelical Mixed Allegiance: God or Caesar?

La Pensée du Jour: The Evangelical Mixed Allegiance: God or Caesar?
 
American Evangelicals have killed Christianity in America. They have also destroyed God. They’re more American than Christian. They have a mixed allegiance and passion: God or Caesar. In most cases, they’re more zealous about Caesar than God.

On Academic Integrity and Religious Commitment

On Academic Integrity and Religious Commitment

A person does not have to sacrifice or compromise his or her faith for the sake of scholarship or to attain academic fame/ prestige. One must not, however, undermine the evidence or the truth for the sake of safeguarding faith or religious conviction.

It is possible for maintain both intellectual (academic) integrity and religious commitment in the academia.

​Writing in Translation and Translation in Writing

Writing in Translation and Translation in Writing

Those of you scholars, researchers,  and writers who do not have to deal with the issue of translation in your scholarship I’m jealous of your privilege and luxury:-)

It has become an intellectual tradition for me whenever I have to write an essay or write a new book in English, I have to translate from the French to English. The majority of my interlocutors and conversation partners wrote exclusively in French (most of their writings  are still not translated in English) and are from the Fracophone world including Francophone Caribbean  and Africa. 

With all honesty, I do not like to translate from one language to another. When I was doing my MA in French language and literature at the University of Louisville, I did not enjoy translating medieval French texts to contemporary French.  One of the pivotal moments that marked my academic life happened when we as a class had to translate excerpts from the beautifully well-written poem “Roman de la Rose” (a 13th century French text) ( Romance of the Rose) to modern French. I was both happy and terrified: happy because the poem is beautifully narrated the intersections of the art of love, female sexuality,  and gender dynamics; terrified because of the enormous task that was before me.:-)

We also translated Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream”  speech to contemporary French. I enjoyed that mental exercise.

Yes, Jesus saved me from my French Translation class. I passed it with an A and successful graduated with a Master’s degree in French Literature. And I left Louisville, Kentucky  like a happy man. I do not miss the cold, but love the snowy season. LOL

A Congratulations Letter from the Director of Founding Director of the CUNY HAITIAN STUDIES

A Congratulations Letter from the Director of Founding Director of the CUNY HAITIAN STUDIES

Below is the letter I received from the Founding Director of the CUNY HAITIAN STUDIES, Jean Eddy Saint Paul, PhD, to acknowledge the accomplishment of my second PhD in Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at the University of Pretoria.

I’m appreciative of this letter and look forward to collaborating with you and the Institute for the advancement of Haitian Studies and the improvement of Haitian lives in the United States and Haiti.

Brooklyn, New York, March 1st, 2017

To Professor Celucien L. Joseph, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of English at Indian River State University, FL

Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Texas at Dallas &

Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

RE: Congratulations for your second Doctoral Degree “Doctor of Philosophy”

Dear Professor C. Joseph:

The City University of New York’s Haitian Studies Institute (CUNY-HSI) feels very proud of you and recognizes your academic credentials, as well as your contribution to the field of Haitian Studies. On behalf of the CUNY-HSI, housed at Brooklyn College, I congratulate you for your second Doctoral Degree “Doctor of Philosophy” from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

I am looking forward to establish a world-class research institute to produce first-class investigations on Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, and to link scholarship on Haiti to social actions impacting the lives of Haitian people and other ethnic communities. I encourage you to keep doing this wonderful and impressive work for the advancement of the field.

I wish you many success at the graduation ceremony to be held on 2017-04-06.

Yours sincerely,

Sincerely,

Eddy

Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul
Director | CUNY Haitian Studies Institute

The City University of New York | Brooklyn College | 3104 James Hall

Professor | Department of Africana Studies

o | 718.951.5000 x 3842

c | 917.651.4612
e | JeanEddy.SaintPaul@brooklyn.cuny.edu & hsi@brooklyn.cuny.edu

w | https://cuny.academia.edu/JeanEddySaintPaul

New book: Chimè et Tontons Macoutes comme milices armées en Haïti. 

Twitter: @cuny_hsi

Facebook: CUNY Haitian Studies Institute

 


 

PhD Dissertation Abstract 

SUMMARY

FAITH, HOPE, AND THE POOR: THE THEOLOGICAL IDEAS AND MORAL VISION OF

JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE

by

Celucien L. Joseph

Supervisor:                Prof Vuyani Vellem

Department:              Faculty of Theology

University:                University of Pretoria

Degree:                      Doctor of Philosophy

Keywords:                Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Theological Ethics, Theological   Anthropology,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.