When Hougan Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II Visited Haiti: “On the Connection between Haiti and Benin (Dahomey)”

When Hougan Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II Visited Haiti:

On the Connection between Haiti and Benin (Dahomey)

Vodou souvenans

Last week, Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II, the spiritual chief of Vodou Hwendo of Benin, visited Haiti. Benin is also the birth place of Vodou. A large population of the African slaves, who were forcibly brought to the French island of Saint-Domingue during the early sixteenth and the end of the eighteenth century, founded the Republic of Haiti in 1804, and originated from the Benin (Dahomey) Empire. The Haitian and Benin people have cultural, spiritual, and ideological connections and similarities.

In his itinerary in the Caribbean nation, during the Holy Week of Easter, Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II visited the historic city of Gonaives and attended a ceremony dedicated to Papa Legba in one of the most sacred sites (spiritual pilgrimage) of the Vodou religion in the country: Lakou Souvenance.

The African ancestors of the Haitian people left the African continent 300 years ago; such an attempt to reconnect Haiti and West Africa has never happened before. Hence, Mr. Houna’s visit to the Black Republic was a historic event in the history of African Diaspora.

I would like us to think critically about the following questions:

1) Did the new President (Jovenel Moise) of Haiti invite Houna to come to Haiti? or

2) Was he invited by the Vodou sector in Haiti?

3) What was the objective (should we say “objectives”) of his visit to Haiti?

4) Is this an important visit for the Vodou community?
If it is, explain in a few words…

5) Given the on-going success and spread of Protestant Christianity in Haiti, is his visit politically connected to reduce the impact of Christianity in Haiti?

*Recent studies on the role of Christianity in the Haitian society have estimated about 45 % of the Haitian population embrace Protestant Christianity–in rejection to the Vodou religion or Islam, which is emerging slowly in Haiti.

5) Are there any cultural, spiritual, and political implications about his visit?

What do you think?

Vodou souvenans2

To read about the historic event, click on the links below:

 Here are a few photos of Dada Dagbo Hounon Houna II in Haiti:

A 15 Year Research Project on Religion in Haiti

A 15 Year Research Project on Religion in Haiti

The next book I want to write about Haiti will be a complete religious history of the Haitian people. It will be a five volume work on the religious experience and diversity of the Haitian people and their African ancestors. This is a 10 to 15 year intellectual project. The tentative book titles are as follows:

1. “Before Ayiti: African Traditional Religion, Christianity, and Islam: The Religious Experience of our Ancestors” (Volume 1)

* I have already written two chapters on this book.

2. “The Faith of Haiti’s Founders” (Volume 2)

* I have already written a 46-page draft on the religious sensibility of Toussaint Louverture.

I continue my research on the religious commitment of President Alexandre Petion and King Henry Christophe.

3. “Haiti’s God: The Birth of Protestant Christianity in Haiti” (Volume 3)

4. “Catholic Christianity in Colonial Saint-Domingue and Postcolonial Haiti” (Volume 4)

5. “The Concept of God in Haitian Intellectual History and Literature” (Volume 5)

“On God, Love, and True Religion” (Part I)

“On God, Love, and True Religion” (Part I)
The Thing that most fascinates me in life is not success, sex or money (although they are important incentives in my life), but God’s relentless and loving presence in human quest for him through religion and spirituality.
(Allow me to state this parenthetical statement: I understand very well that all religious traditions do not teach the same doctrine nor every form of spirituality is parallel to each other. For example, Christianity proclaims the divinity of Jesus Christ and claims that Jesus is the only way to God, whereas Islam confesses Mohammad as the Final Prophet of Allah. Vodou and Hinduism teach there are multiple ways to God through the Lwa and gods or the Vodou lwa and gods in Hinduism are various expressions and manifestations of one true God. Some religious scholars parallel various religious traditions with their geographical locations and cultures. For example, in Africa, one finds African traditional religion; in Asia, one encounters Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. In the Arab world, one meets Islam, and in Europe, one finds Christianity. [this perspective on religion and geography has been challenged by various scholars and thinkers] Hence, the distinction between world’s religions is evident. The interesting thing is that our world embraces religious pluralism, cultural relativism, heterogeneous narrative, and epistemological difference. Nonetheless, what remains a paradox for many people, as it pertains to religion, are the following questions:
1) Are all religions true?
2) Do they all (religious paths) lead people to God?
3) Do the people from different religious systems or traditions worship the same God?
4) Does God approve all religions of the world?
5) How does one know which religion is true and not a deviation from God’s original plan for humanity?
6. Does it matter what religion one chooses to embrace?
7. Is it okay to blend various religious traditions and rituals?
8. What if all religions have it wrong?
9. What if all religions are different manifestations of human delusion about God?
10. What if there is only one true religion?
11. What if Jesus is the only way to God?)
By religion, I seek to convey the idea of God’s loving movement and disruptive intervention in cultures and religions of the world to draw people to himself and to create a new and distinctive human race that will honor him and spread his name. This particular perspective on religion does celebrate cultural diversity and value various religious traditions. Nonetheless, it does insist that God transcends our religious imagination.
True religion is also a way to experience and receive divine love, grace, and care. True religion boasts in God’s solidarity with humanity and the oppressed of the world; correspondingly, it forces us to depend daily upon God to provide orientation, wisdom, and guidance in this life of despair and hostility.
True religion promotes human interdependence, reciprocity, and solidarity with one another—as men and women who are created in the Imago Dei.
Food for the Soul!

Five Theses about God, Christianity, Jesus, slavery, and colonization

Five Theses about God, Christianity, Jesus, slavery, and colonization

  1. The God of the slave masters and European colonialists is not the true God of the Bible nor the God whose preferential option is for the poor and oppressed.

*The Biblical God is a God of love, freedom, and justice. God’s ultimate desire for every individual is to experience freedom, peace, and love—in relationship with him and in relationship with each other.

  1. The Jesus of the slave masters and European colonialists is not the real Christ nor the biblical Jesus.

*While “Christ” means “the anointed one” or “messiah,” the Christ was a historical person the same was Jesus was a historical figure. Interestingly, both early and contemporary Christians believe that “Jesus was/is the Christ/Messiah.”

  1. Colonial Christianity is a false religion and not true or biblical Christianity.

*Colonial Christianity enslaved people and did not liberate them from oppression and the labyrinth of slavery. Colonial Christianity was an oppressive religion that failed to promote equality, justice, human dignity, reconciliation, and shalom.

  1. Christianity as a religion was misused to enslave, subjugate, and colonize African slaves and other colonial subjects.

*One should not equate the use of a religion as a tool or instrument with the essence and teaching of that religion.  Any system or institution could use any religion to carry out any desirable goals or intended objectives. This principle also applies to the misapplication of the name of God and the name of  Jesus. Therefore, it is a logical fallacy to state that black people in the African Diaspora, whose African ancestors have been victims of colonial Christianity and Christianity of the slavers, should not become Christians or worship the God of their ancestors’ masters.

Black Christians do not worship a “dead Messiah,” but one who is living and has conquered death on the third day. Correspondingly, Black Christians do not follow a “blind faith,” but one that is grounded both in faith and reason, what many thinkers have phrased “reasonable faith.”

  1. One should separate the cultural construction of Christianity and biblical Christianity; in the same vein, one should not equate the cultural construction of the person and deeds of Jesus Christ in Western societies and history of thought with the biblical and Palestinian Jewish brown-skinned male named Yeshua.

We Professors Want our Students to Succeed!

As professors, we like when our students appreciate our teaching and see value in learning. We are not students’ enemies; our effort or desire is to work collaboratively with them to they can be successful, complete their degree program, and have a memorable college experience. Allow me to share with you an email I received from a brilliant student who had a rough time attending class regularly:

“…Now for the more pressing issue. I want to sincerely apologize for how this semester has transpired. I had a fair share of circumstances this semester. I will not bog you down with the specifications, just know that the events were not in my favor.

I appreciate you for allowing me the opportunity to turn in the work I submitted today. Our conversation, though brief, did not allow me to express my gratitude. I do not ask for sympathy. I do not expect you to give me special privilege. I only ask that you judge me based on the quality of my work, and the merit of my desire to make things right. I understand that life goes on amidst tragedy. As such, do what is right. For all parties.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation for each and every lecture I made it to. Even when there was dead silence in the classroom after one of your brilliant interpretations, I could feel the understanding that you and I shared on several occasions. You are a wonderful professor, and an even greater intellectual.

With my deepest respect,
Student X ”

On the Possibility of Global Shalom….

On the Possibility of Global Shalom….

Peace is Life. Those who find it will have life and flourish.

However, is world peace possible in this present age, in which global terrorism, violations of human rights, child slavery, victims of rape and sexual abuse, wars, rumors of wars, and other forms of violence, human degradation, and oppression have become global phenomena?

Can the people of Syria and Afghanistan, and the victims of rape from the hands of U.N. soldiers in Haiti confidently and honestly say:

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame”–Romans 5:3-4

 

In the midst of our despair and discontentment, we have to train ourselves to think about the possibility and promise of global peace and healing. God is not impressed by your “head knowlege theology” about him or your academic acumen. He delights in you & is praised when you honor him fully with your mind & heart, ❤ and use what you know about God and human nature to foster forgiveness, peace, unity, reconciliation, and human flourishing in your community and in the world.

How to “Think in Public”: My New Book

How to “Think in Public”: My New Book

Roumain

I just submitted the 11-page Index to the publisher!
I want to throw a party. Lol
Make sure you preorder “Thinking in Public: Faith, Secular Humanism, and Development in Jacques Roumain” (Wipf and Stock, May 2017). pp. 482 + index
Among the four books I have written on Ayiti Cheri, this is perhaps my most important work on the Black Republic. It is a rigorous intellectual reflection on the conundrum of Haitian intelligentsia and bourgeoisie class, and the performative function of religion and the promise of (democratic) development in Haiti’s civil and political society. The book also makes some recommendations to what Haitian intellectuals could and should do–by working in solidarity with the Haitian masses and the underclass– to improve the human condition in Haiti.
I spent about 5 yrs working on this book. The idea of this book began in a doctoral course on Black Internationalism.
Get this book so you can save your wretched soul! LOL
Click on the link below to preorder the book:
Roumain2
Happy Thursday, folks!!!