“Haiti, God, and Tradition”

“Haiti, God, and Tradition”

Haiti has a long humanist tradition, whose origin can be traced to the first half of the nineteenth century. This particular Haitian humanist tradition affirms both theism and agnosticism; while the former dominates Haitian intellectual production at that period, evidence for the latter is best observed in the various ways Haitian writers and thinkers discuss the Haitian predicament, what many have called “la crise haitienne,” in Haitian literature and sociology. We see the continuity of this way of thinking about human life in general and theism in specific in the works of young Haitian intellectuals of the American occupation, and Jacques Stephen Alexis reinforces the Haitian humanist tradition in his writing.

However, the Vodouist tradition in Haiti as an intellectual tradition began to blossom in the second half of the twentieth-century. While the intellectuals of the American occupation reimagined the importance of Haitian Vodou in the Haitian experience, they did not lay the foundation for the Vodouist tradition.

Interestingly, the robust Marxist tradition that began in the first half of the twentieth century in Haiti is not against theism or anti-religion, but it challenges vodouphobic discourse and anti-Haitianism.

Finally, Haiti does not have a strong theological tradition (“written texts”) that looks at big theological concerns of modern times from a Haitian perspective. However, Haiti has a rich religious tradition that takes into account the Haitianization of religious practices and Christianity in the Haitian context. Yet the rich folkloric (especially folktales, songs, orature) tradition (“non-written texts”) haitianize theology and the big questions of theology, including God and the problem of evil in the world, the problem of sin in the world, the presence of God in the world, God and the kingdom of darkness, the nature of human beings, the church as the people of God, eschatology, etc. As a practice,  it’s good to note in passing that those who “theologize in Haitian” are not professional theologians with academic degrees in the discipline of theology or Biblical Studies. Haitian novelists, poets, and anthropologists represent a distinctive voice in theological discourse through the creative domain and ethnological reports.

45 is here!

45 has arrived in this young man’s dwelling place. If you can’t see my eyes in those pictures, it is simply 45 brings me an alternative vision of life and a different way of being in the world with a double sight 😊😂 😁

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
— Moses, Psalm 90

“A Man of God”

Somebody wrote a message to me and greeted me as “Man of God.” This is a terrifying and quite intimidating title for me or for anyone to bear. It carries a certain moral imperative, even an ethical responsibility in the world, which I am unworthy to fulfill.

In the Judeo-Christian Tradition and words of Prophet Ezekiel, the man of God is a “watchman” who lives in-between the world of the sacred and the world of the profane, the sphere of the Holy One and the unholy ones, and one who carries out the divine message to human beings, and the concerns of human beings and cares of this world to God.

“On Haiti and Intellectual Biography”

I wrote two intellectual biographies on two influential Haitian political activists and thinkers: Jacques Roumain and Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

I am currently completing the third one on my all-time-favorite Haitian thinker: Jean Price-Mars (under contract with Vanderbilt University Press). I hope to get it done by the end of the year. I have been working on this biography on Price-Mars for the past 10 years. I published my first academic article on Price-Mars in 2012: “The Religious Philosophy of Jean Price-Mars” (Journal of Black Studies, 43(6), 620–645.)

Good People: I am pleased to inform you that I just submitted two completed manuscripts to the publishers for two important volumes on the complex relationships between Christianity and Vodou in Haiti, which I had the pleasure to serve as the general and co-editor; they are titled “Vodou and Christianity in Interreligious Dialogue” (Wipf and Stock Publishers), and “Evangelicals, Catholics, and Vodouyizan in Haiti” (Bloomsbury Publishing).

Yet the book I really want to write is a history of Protestant Christianity in Haiti. I will turn 45 years old in two days: March 6 and I pray earnestly for the good and sovereign Lord to continue guiding me and granting me strength, clarity, wisdom, and favor to do the research and writing for this important project.

“Me and my Favorite Women Novelists”

“Me and My Favorite Women Novelists”

There are four women novelists that I would like to take a creative writing class with or a writing workshop: Toni Morrison (if she were alive), Edwidge Danticat, Myriam J.A. Chancy, and Alice Walker. If anybody is going to train me in the art of writing a novel, I want it to be them 😅😄🥰

In more than one occasion, I had the pleasure to teach their work in my literature classes. There are four central themes which bring all these four women writers in conversation: (1) the way they humanize the life of ordinary women and the marginalized groups in society in their fiction; (2) their work is grounded on an ethic of care, empathy, and human compassion; (3) their writing exalts human dignity and the triumph of hope in the midst of despair and chaos; and (4) the significance of religion and spirituality in shaping the human experience and guiding human relationships.

The Language of Prayer

Prayer is the highest form of human spirituality toward God. All human prayers should be self-reflective in the sense that they express our self-consciousness as thinking people and self-determined individuals. The language of our prayers is the articulation of our own struggle with language itself and our commitment toward God to whom we expose our naked soul.

I like reading people’s prayers recorded in the Bible to learn about how individuals voice their concerns, complaints, and worries to God. Prayers often instruct us about the vulnerability of human existence and the importance of relying on the Almighty God, and not to trust in our own resources and power, to get through life on our own. I read prayers in the Bible to remind myself about my own weaknesses and the fragility of my life, in other words, to keep me humble and not to grow into a lifestyle of self-arrogance and self-sufficiency. Oh sovereign and gracious God, we need Thee. Every hour. Every minute. Every moment. We need You!

One of my favorite prayers in the Bible is found in Daniel 9

“2 In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,
we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame–the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.
O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;
we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.
You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.
Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.
The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
“Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.
O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.
Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill–
while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.

–Daniel 9: 2-22

“Why We Must Protect One Another”

“Why We Must Protect One Another”

So, if
Black people are killing Black people;
Whites are killing Whites;
Asians are killing Asians;
Mixed races are murdering other mixed-raced folks;
Igbos are destroying other Igbos;
Yorubas are taking other Yorubas’ lives;
Haitians, Jamaicans, French, British, Russians, Americans, Japanese, Indians, etc, are following the same pattern in taking away the life of another national or natural citizen

then the root of the problem of human destruction and annihilation in modern times is beyond the problem of racial or ethnic hatred. It is deeply rooted in the fragility of the human heart and the human conscience, and the vulnerability of the social milieu that influences the human experience and people’s attitude toward and interactions with one another.

To create a better world and humanize human interactions in society and in the world, we must cultivate the human heart, train the human conscience, and radically transform the deepest human motivations to produce good virtues, such as individuals doing good, showing kindness and compassion to our fellow brothers and sisters, and always promoting the sanctity of human life regardless of our motivation to avenge ourselves or justify our actions by human destruction.

The people who will save humanity and rescue the modern world from self-destruction are peace builders, conciliators, and the initiators of human kindness and love. To further contribute to human flourishing in the world, we must train our minds and hearts to resist doing moral wrongs, to use our power and influence for redemption and moral transformation in society, and to move away from what is deemed ethically suspect and dehumanizing.

***In addition to other ethical issues in my mind, the motivation for this short reflection is the barbarous beating and eventual death of the 29-year-old (very young) Black man Tyre Nichols by five Black Police Officers.

My Spring 2023 Reading List!

My Spring 2023 Reading List!

In April 2022, I put together a list of the books that I’ve intended to read during the summer of 2022. Due to other responsibilities and engagements, I did not get to read all the books on the list. For the spring 2023, I would like to consider reading the ones that I did not have the opportunity to read last summer.

What books do you plan to read in the new year?


I enjoy reading widely, interdisciplinarily, or across the disciplines. People read for different reasons and reading coincides with the reader’s interest and disposition. My reasons for reading also vary. I read because I am intellectually curious and take pleasure in reading. As an intellectual adventure, I read to learn so I can teach others and write with authority and rhetorical clarity and precision. Along this line of thought, I read to explore different worlds; to be exposed to different epistemologies and worldviews; to learn different perspectives about human ideas and actions; and to understand and know how people live, think, and interact with each other in the world. Reading allows me to travel intellectually and mentally to various places or locations where my body cannot go or where I cannot reach physically. Reading teaches me (and even forces me) how to have a disciplined life and to organize the life of the mind.

Usually, my book selection is from the Humanities. For spring 2023, I would like to expand my knowledge in the field of the natural sciences. It is my pleasure to share with you my spring 2023 reading list; it includes seven books: one book on human biology and chemistry; two books on physics and astronomy; one book on gender and Christianity; two books on literature; and one book on history: the history and role of the Bible in the United States.

  1. “Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries” by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tyson is a well-known theoretical physicist and an innovator in the field of modern physics and theoretical physics. What I admire about his work is his ability to explain with great clarity and precision difficult scientific and theoretical concepts, formulas, and ideas to the common people and those with no or little background in physics and astronomy.

  1. “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe” by Robert Lanza with Bob Berman
  2. “The World According to Physics” by Jim Al-Khalili
  3. “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth: A Novel” by Wole Soyinka

Soyinka is a giant in African literature. I admire the way he represents traditional African culture in his work and the manner he plays with different forms, symbols, and literary aesthetics in the English language. He is a novelist of great literary imagination and creativity. Soyinka is also a writer and cultural critic of profound intellectual force and human sensitivity. I will never get tired of reading Soyinka.

  1. “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
  2. “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation” by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
  3. “America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911” by Mark A. Noll

Noll is my favorite Christian historian who writes about the history of Christianity in the United States. As an esteemed scholar in the field, he writes with analytical balance and rigor, historical clarity and precision, and intellectual breath and honesty. He does not shy away to expose the dark sides of Global Christianity and American Evangelicalism.

***These books above are my “leisure reading.” I am reading a bunch of other books for research and writing projects.

What books do you plan to read in the new year?




My Wishes for You and Your Family in 2023

My Wishes for You and Your Family in 2023

May you and your family continue to grow in love, excellence, kindness, and compassion!

May you become more relational and sensitive to human needs and suffering!

May you use your seat of power and privilege to do good and contribute to the common good!

May you strive to be a better brother, sister, father, mother, friend, co-worker, and a companion!

May the Most Merciful and the Most Gracious & Sovereign God bless every step you take, guide every decision you make, and radically transform you to imitate his most excellent communicable attributes and moral virtues in the new year!

Happy New Year 2023!

10 Things (Highlights) to Remember from 2022

10 Things (Highlights) to Remember from 2022

  1. On behalf of the popular blog, Haiti Then and Now, from January to August 2022, I interviewed ten scholars for the well-known series called “Haitian & Haitianist Thinkers in the Public Space: An Interview Series.”
  2. Wifey and I vacationed in Dominican Republic in March.
  3. Family Trip/Vacation in Paris (France) and Lisbon (Portugal) in June.
  4. My little book on Christian catechism was translated in Spanish in June: “El Catecismo de la Nueva Vida para Niños” (English title: “The New Life Catechism for Children: 100 Questions and Answers to Teach Us to Live in Peace and Good Relationships in the World”).
  5. Katia and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in August, and we traveled to New York.
  6. My first book of poetry was published in August: “Pearls of Light in the Raindrops: Love Poems.”
  7. Josh got his Learner’s Permit in August.
  8. One of my most important books on theological education and Christian theology was published in September: “Theological Education and Christian Scholarship for Human Flourishing: Hermeneutics, Knowledge, and Multiculturalism” (Pickwick Publications).
  9. In October, I attended the 34th annual conference of Haitian Studies Association at Howard University and in November, was elected as the organization’s Vice President.
  10. The family relocated to Texas in December.