Here’s the abstract of the paper I will be presenting tomorrow (Saturday, May 27) at the First Symposium on Haitian Heritage to be taken at the African American Research Library and Museum (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“Rethinking the Intellectual Foundation of the Haitian Revolution: A Letter for Freedom and Independence (July 1792)”
by Celucien L. Joseph, PhD
“In the field of Haitian Revolutionary Studies, the idea of general liberty and universal emancipation has been contested by a minority but powerful voices and historians. Particularly, some Haitianist historians have argued that the enslaved African population in the French colony of Saint-Domingue had not been preoccupied with an early notion of general emancipation and neither had the natural drive to rupture the schackles of slavery and put an end to the French colonial regime.
Many historians have unconvincinly contested that Libertè générale was a latter manifestation and progressive thought, as thr slaves themselves moved switfly toward freedom, independence, and decolonization. In this presentation, we argue that the resolution toward general liberty and independence were one singular commitment for the enslaved African population. These twin and inseparable ideas did not develop in the latter phase of the Haitian Revolution.We contend that general emancipation as total independence (and decolonization) was already an early goal that came to fruition in the unfolding events leading to a double event: The triumph of the Haitian Revolution and the founding of the Republic of Haiti. However, it was conditioned by a range of contingent circumstances and watershed events in which Saint-Dominguan Slaves were obliged to fight for freedom, which translated into a matter of practical reality.
Toward this goal, we analyze the rhetorical force, devices, and demands of the historic letter of July 1792, penned by three early and prominent leaders of the Revolution: Jean-François Papillon,Georges Biassou, and Charles Belair/Toussaint Louverture.”
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.
For example, writing good academic books is not an end in itself.We have to be relational thinkers & love the people we’re writing about & called to reach.
In other words, if you write books about poor people and the neglected young people in your city, do you spend time with the poor and be a mentor to the young people in your community. How are you uplifting and serving them, and helping them to have a more promising life and productive future?
Spiritual “Corporate Solidarity in Christ” as Model for Pure Practical Human Solidarity and Racial Justice and Unity in Christian Churches in America
I’m thinking about a few theological imaginaries and their repercussions for the possibility to construct a robust Christian ethic of unity and human interdependence. In the theological sense, Apostle Paul has argued relatively in most of his letters, which he sent to newly-established (Jewish-) Gentile Churches in the Roman Empire, by the virtue of their trust in and allegiance to Christ, that followers of Jesus the Messiah now share a “corporate identity in Christ.” This Pauline mysticism is associated with the symbolic interplays of baptism, burial, death, and resurrection, and that both Jewish and Gentile believers have died with the Messiah through baptism and are resurrected with him so they could enter in the new life and enjoy the new eschatological age (Paul’s idea of the new creation). Paul establishes some important points of connection and parallel between the believer and Christ through past, present, and future events. The believer is united with Christ in every intersection of life, and this union in relationship with Christ is the basis of the believer’s corporate identity and the new hope and life in Christ; this spiritual affiliation is also significant for the believer’s present sanctification and future glory with the Messiah-Christ.
For example, in Romans chapter six, Paul employs slavery as a metaphor to describe the dialectics of the (believer’s) life before Christ and the (believer’s) life in Christ. Paul also utilizes slavery to represent dominion under sin and dominion under Christ (For example, read Rom. 6:11-12, 14, 17-18, 19-20, 22-23). In Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification (1998), theologian Sinclair Ferguson articulates a few propositions about this important unity between Christ and his followers; thus, the believer shares
- “in his death (we were baptized into his death),
- in his resurrection (we are resurrected with Christ),
- in his ascension (we have been raised with him),
- in his heavenly session (we sit with him in heavenly places, so that our life is hidden with Christ in God), and we will share in his promised return (when Christ, who is our life, appears, we also will appear with him in glory) (Rom. 6:14; Col. 2:11-12; 3:1-3).” (page 58)
For Paul, the notion of “corporate identity in Christ” is not just a state of mind or state of being, but an existential reality which should radically transform the identity of the Christian in the world and radically shape the Christian experience in the faith community; the concept is not just a theoretical framework to think spiritually and metaphysically about the Christ-believer relationship and intimacy. It bears moral and ethical implications how should Christians relate precisely to people outside the Christian community. For specific textual references on the doctrine of union with Christ and corporate identity in Christ, see the following Pauline passages: 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:17, 12:2, 13:5; Gal. 2:20, 3:28; Eph. 1:4, 2:10, 3:17; Phil. 3:9; 1 Thess. 4:16; Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10).
It is evident in our analysis that Paul establishes a strong connection between two natures and two beings: one is divine and spiritual (Christ); the other is material and fleshly (humanity=man and woman), and the corporeal (man and woman) and the spiritual (Christ) in one life; the rapport between the body and the soul is firmly established in Paul’s theology of the believer’s union with Christ. How should we then imagine or think about the repercussions of this “union with Christ” to foster collective solidarity and nurture collective unity in (Evangelical) Christian churches and among Christians of all races and ethnic groups? In other words, how should this Pauline theological imagination may assist us to reason more rigorously and act more responsibly and compassionately, yet in a practical way, about the effective practicality of racial justice and unity in (Evangelical) Christian circles and congregations? Should we not be concerned about the possible effects of genuine Christian love as justice and peace in public: in the general American society.
Furthermore, I would like to frame this same question differently: why does it appear to be a convincing matter for American cultural Evangelicals and American Christians to embrace this difficult and theoretical doctrine of corporate identity with a spiritual being, who is the Christ-Messiah, and hold to the notion to the “collective union in/with Him,” then to imagine the prospect for Americans of different skin tones, cultural dynamics, and linguistic difference to be united in one mind and spirit in matters of race and ethnic relations, as Paul has urged us to do, and to be protagonists of Christian love and reconciliation in the churches and in our society?
Moreover, the Pauline notion of “corporate identity in Christ” does not heighten the individual integration into the sphere of the Christ, but of the collective incorporation into the realm and life of the Messiah. The collective experience is what is prized in Paul, not the Western libertarian preference nor the individualistic option. If that is the case, Paul then presupposes a lot of things among the members of Jewish-Christian Churches and communities in the Roman Empire, including the following:
- in Christ’s death, all” Gentile and Jewish believers give their complete allegiance to the Messiah (Rom. 1:1-6;3:25-6);
- in Christ’s resurrection, “all” believers were baptized into the Messiah’s death (Rom. 6:4-5);
- in Christ’s burial and resurrection, “all” Gentile and Jewish Christians were buried and resurrected with the Messiah (Rom. 6:6-10);
- In Christ’s ascension, “all” Jewish and Gentile followers were raised with the Messiah;
- In Christ’s heavenly session, “all” Jewish and Gentile believers sit with the Messiah in heavenly, and their collective life is hidden in Christ (Rom. 5:15-20).
- Finally, in the age to come, “all” will share the promises and glories of the Messiah.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue to be silent on racial, justice, and reconciliation issues so the grace of God in the Messiah may abound? How can we who share a collective identity in Christ and exist corporately in him and with him are reluctant to empathize with those who are victims of racial injustice, human denigration, and racial discrimination? May it never be!
What shall we say then? How can we whose destiny—black, brown, white, red, mixed-race followers of Christ—in Christ has been sealed and our common future is assured remain indifferent to the predicament of racial and ethnic segregation in our churches and churches? By no means!
Undoubtedly, the doctrine of Christian corporate solidarity in Christ should serve as a model for Christians of all races and ethnic groups to exercise pure practical Christian solidarity and love, and to be forerunners of racial justice and unity in our churches and the greater American culture. We must be an alternative community to which we are called to be in Christ and with each other. We must embody the message, attitude, and ethic of the Gospel of Christ!
Call for Panelists:
Contemporary Religious Thought in Haiti and The Religious Traditions of the Haitian People
“Haiti: Then and Now” will have a panel at the 29th Annual Conference of the Haitian Studies Association around this theme: “Contemporary Religious Thought in Haiti and The Religious Traditions of the Haitian People.”
If you are interested in joining our panel, please email an abstract of 250 words and a brief bio by Monday, May 29, 2017 to Dr. Celucien L. Joseph , firstname.lastname@example.org
*I know this is a brief notice. I apologize for this inconvenience
Celucien L. Joseph, PhD (“Doctor Lou”)
About the Conference
The last day to submit an abstract or paper proposal for the 29th Annual Conference of the Haitian Studies Association is Thursday, June 1, 2017.
Theme: Haiti: “Paradoxes, Contradictions, Intersections in the Making of a People”
Where: Xavier University of Louisiana
Tulane University Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies (New Orleans, Louisiana)
When: November 1-4, 2017
God Between the Rich and the Poor
When the Bible talks about the liberation of the poor and the oppressed from human systems and structures of oppression and dehumanization, God is in the business to provide holistic emancipation from spiritual bondage and human forces and powers of oppression. God does not give partial liberation.
However, the questions we should be asking include the following:
How long, Oh Lord our Peace and Deliverer will you visit the poor and deliver them from the hands of their oppressors and enemies?
How long, Oh Lord our Deliverer and Righteousness, will you executive full justice on behalf of the weak and the dispossessed of the world?
The poor who does not know God is not safe in the hands of God as the rich who trusts in his/her riches and despises God Almighty.
Let the poor man/woman say I’m a friend of God.
Let the rich man/woman proclaim God I know God.
A Prayer to God for Global Peace and Comfort!
Our gracious Father and living God: We lift up our hands to you and humble our hearts and minds before your holy throne. We pray for your comfort and peace on behalf of those who have been affected by the recent terrorist attacks in England, Cameroon, and other places. We pray for the families who at the moment mourn their loved ones who have been taken away from them by the forces of evil. In the same way, we beseech you on behalf of victims of terrrorism and human violence in other parts of the world. May your radical love and transformative presence invade their hearts and souls. Give them sustaining peace and hope. Grant them doors of opportunity to dream again in the midst of despair, fear, and disappointment!
We pray Oh loving Father that you would grant us the courage and strength to work in solidarity to resist the forces of evil and systems of oppression in this world and those that come to exploit, oppress, and destroy the weak and the poor. We know that retaliation is not an effective way to reconciliation and peace the same way the oppression and exploitation of people and weak nations lead to alienation, enmity, and fear. We pray for repentance, forgiveness, world unity, peace, and reconciliation.
In your Name, we pray.
Concerning Global Imperialism, Global Capitalism, and Global Terrorism
The bottom line about global imperialism, global capitalism, and global terrorism is that
they benefit a selected group of influential individuals, powerful corporations and systems, and powerful nation-states in the modern world at the expense of the consistent exploitation and abuse of the world’s poor, international workers, and the individuals, ethnic groups, and races belonging in the bottom of the social ladder.
The paradoxical aspect of global imperialism, global capitalism, and global terrorism is that they’re adequately financed by an international network of power and global forces. One of the driven motives and passions of those powerful peoples and nations, and corporations, maintaining these three forces, lie in the aggressive pursuit of more wealth, more international and crosscultural power, and more transnational leadership to rule the world and subdue people—resulting in more global poverty and hunger, more human alienation and death, more human despair and insanity, and more human degradation and oppression.
While the intricacies of global capitalism, global imperialism, and global terrorism can’t be clearly determined, we should, however, ask decisive questions to help us get a better understanding of the human nation and the politics of the nations in the twenty-first century culture.
1. What if the violence of global imperialism and capitalism and the violence of terrorism share a few things in common?
2. Could it be possible for imperial violence and aggressive neocolonization and global capitalism to beget global terror?
3. Is global terrorism a strategic response to or a consequence of global imperial violence and global capitalism–at least in the 21st century world?
4. In the absence of global imperialism/terrorism, is it possible to have global peace in the world and for the nations to forge constructive international alliances grounded in the politics of civility, respect, friendship, and human dignity?
Retaliation is not an effective way to reconciliation and peace the same way the oppression and exploitation of people and weak nations lead to alienation, enmity, and fear.
The hope of humanity in the twenty-first century does not lie in the cleverness of secular humanism nor in the pursuit of more human techniques and scientific advancements to manipulate human relations and regulate the human boundary–while these things in themselves are of great importance to human life, they do not constitute true happiness and peace.
God is the ultimate ground of both present and future human hope and peace. Because God has created human beings, both male and female, for love, spiritual intimacy, and meaningful relationship, in order for us to foster genuine peace and interractional love, as well as to sustain effective human dynamics in the modern world, human beings must be reconnected spiritually with their Creator and must live a life that focuses on a God-entranced worldview. Jesus Christ is God’s paradigm for human peace, shalom, and love.
A Prayer to God for Peace and Comfort!
Our gracious Father and living God: We lift up our hands to you and humble our hearts and minds before your holy throne. We pray for your comfort and peace on behalf of those who have been affected by the recent terrorist attacks in England, Cameroon, and other places in the world.
We pray for the families who at the moment mourn their loved ones who have been taken away from them by the forces of evil.
In the same way, we beseech you on behalf of victims of terrrorism and human violence in other parts of the world.
May your radical love and transformative presence invade their hearts and souls. Give them sustaining peace and hope. Grant them doors of opportunity to dream again in the midst of despair, fear, and disappointment!
We pray Oh loving Father that you would grant us the courage and strength to work in solidarity to resist the forces of evil and systems of oppression in this world and those that come to exploit, oppress, and destroy the weak and the poor. We pray for repentance, forgiveness, world unity, peace, and reconciliation.
In your Name, we pray.
The word of democracy & the work of democracy are not inseparable. The democratic life becomes meaningful and attainable whenever the rhetoric of democracy contributes to social change and pushes humanity forward together to explore and actualize future hope and emancipative possibilities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I. American Evangelicalism and the International Conflict
The Message of Jesus vs. Political-Bourgeois American Christianity
The American Flag is Not Christian, and Christianity is not America, but It is
okay to celebrate the Flag!
The Predicament of White Evangelical Scholarship and Evangelical Theological
Education: Radical Reconciliation for a New Christian Community
Part II. Human Dignity, Race, Culture, and the Politics of Respectability and Civility
Trumping Evangelical Christianity and the Rejection of King Jesus
Evangelical Ethic: Racializing the Poor, the immigrant, and the Meaning of Life
Is Black or Brown Life Sacred? The Desecration of Black or Brown Life and the
Silence of American Evangelicals
Part III. American Evangelicalism and the Promise of the Gospel
How deep is Evangelical Love?
How Now Shall We Live Together and Gently? A Biblical and Theological Perspective
Jesus: An Old Story for a Dying American Evangelical Christianity, Desperate Humanity, and Disoriented World!