I just submitted another article on James H. Cone to one of my favorite journals on Black religion and theology. I hope it will pass the rigorous test of the peer review process 🙂
For the year 2018, I wrote three detailed articles on James Cone exploring different, but interconnecting themes in his theology. (Both of them were supposed to come out in December. I am not sure why both journals are delaying the publication of their next issue. Well, I am not in a hurry. I suppose that both articles will now be published in 2019, not 2018 as the editors have previously informed me.) From my perspective, the two cardinal and inseparable themes in Cone’s theological corpus is arguably his articulation of a robust theological anthropology and a revolutionary doctrine of God; both theological formulations have departed from the traditional Western-European theological methodology and theological diction. This alternative way of doing theology in/from the margins and establishing the rapport between theology and anthropology has now become an intellectual tradition in modern contextual and constructive theologies, both in the developing and developed worlds and among the religious thinkers that promote them.
While Cone has invested a lot of intellectual energy in developing with greater theological precision and clarity a comprehensive discourse on (black) theological anthropology, his doctrine of God is the bedrock that sustains Cone’s theological understanding of humanity and all of his theological subsets. I believe his theological anthropology is more expressive than any other theological topics he wrote about.
To express it concisely, Cone articulated a God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ with the intended purpose to free the oppressed (i.e. black people) and deliver the poor from their oppressors and abusers. In Cone’s theological logic, God makes use of his transcendence and power to humanize and recreate the fragmented lives of the world’s poor and the economically-disadvantaged populations in the world. God’s revelation means good news to the vulnerable and freedom, life, and recreation to those who hope solely in Him–not in the powers and systems of this world–and concurrently to those (the miserable) whom God has chosen to grant justice and show his loving-kindness–by demolishing the powers, systems, structures, and forces of this world that alter their existence and dehumanize the Imago Dei in them.