“Faith and Science in the Age of Coronavirus”

“Faith and Science in the Age of Coronavirus”

Here’s an interesting rapport between science and religion: in the difficult time of coronavirus, some people are waiting on God to work out a miracle so the virus can go away; others are desperately waiting on scientists and medical researchers to create a virus to bring global healing.

Yet there’s a third group of individuals who are incessantly praying to God to give our scientists the wisdom and knowledge to cure the world from coronavirus. The latter group believes both in God and science, understands the important dynamic between miracles and science, and does not undermine the power of supernatural intervention in the natural world and human affairs and correspondingly, they do not overlook the significance of science in the age of faith.

Folks, this is how the world works!

***As for me, I’m staying at home with my family praying and anticipating a radical intervention from both God and the world’s scientists and medical experts 🙂

“Haitian Poetry Reading in Creole and English by Dr. Celucien Joseph”

“Haitian Poetry Reading in Creole and English by Dr. Celucien Joseph”

In this video, Dr. Celucien L. Joseph, Professor of English at Indian River State College, provides an exhilarating and energetic reading of Haitian Poetry, both in the Creole and English languages. He shares the poems by the following poets:

Felix Morisseau-Leroy, “Chouchoun” (Shooshoon); Georges Castera, “Pot Simitye” (Cemetery Gate); Denize Lotu, “Desten Nou” (Our Destiny); and Emile Celestin-Megie, “M’ap Ekri Youn Powem” (I’m Writing a Poem).

***These poems were published in “Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry” (2001) edited by Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman

“Haitian Poetry Reading in the French Expression with Commentary (Part 2) by Dr. Celucien Joseph”

“Haitian Poetry Reading in the French Expression with Commentary (Part 2) by Dr. Celucien Joseph”

In this video, Dr. Celucien L. Joseph, Professor of English at Indian River State College, offers an energetic reading of Haitian Poetry, written in the French expression. In the process, he provides brief criticism and commentary on the selected poems and writers. Dr. Joseph reads the poems by the following Haitian writers:

Ileus Papillon, “Seul”
Stephane Martelley, “Plus definitivement”
Kettly Mars, “Resistance”
Josaphat-Robert Large, “De la mort”
Rene Depestre, “Celebration de ma femme”

Title: “Haitian Poetry Reading in the French Expression with Commentary (Part 2) by Dr. Celucien Joseph”

“I found the ‘Slave Bible'”

“The Slave Bible?”

Folks: I’m having a happy Saturday so far. Guess what I just found this morning in an online archive and repository?

Did you know that there was such a thing as a “Slave Bible” ? I’m not talking about the Thomas Jefferson’s Bible nor a Christian Religious Manual for the enslaved!!!! The latter was a common tool for the religious instructions of African slaves in colonial America.

The Slave Bible was published for the enslaved African population in the British colonies. In fact, the Slave Bible was published in 1807, only three years after the Haitian Revolution ended in 1804 and only sixteen years (August 1791) when Dutty Boukman called upon the enslaved Africans to put an end to the unholy trinity of the West: slavery, colonialism, and white supremacy, and ultimately to reject the god of their masters and to listen to the voice of liberty which speaks in their hearts.

The full title of the Slave Bible is called “Select Parts of the Holy Bible, For the Use of the Negro Slaves (this is italicized in the original) in the British West-India Islands.” The Slave Bible was published in London by an English company called “Law and Gilbert.” Interestingly, the two key phrases are “Select Parts” and “Negro Slaves.” Both terms indicate a complex relationship between the Bible and slavery, and the ambivalent rapport between colonial christianity and the ideological religious education of the enslaved population.

Now, I’m happy to say that I own a personal copy of the “Slave Bible” in my personal library. For further research, I need to investigate what is included and what’s been removed. Interestingly, the first passage I quickly checked in the Slave Bible was Genesis 1:26-27. I was both stunned and confused that those two verses were not removed. Did the slave masters make a mistake for retaining the cardinal verse in the Bible? I do not know the answer. The slaves would have (or must have!) to rethink about their “christian masters’ Christianity and humanity” and the relationship between slavery and christianity after they have read that God affirmed their dignity and humanity:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27)

***Some Updates about the Slave Bible:

The book of Exodus ends in chapter 20; hence, Exodus 21-40 are missing . The famous anti-slavery passage in Ex. 21:16 is omitted.

“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”

The entire book of Leviticus is omitted. The first three chapters of Deuteronomy are missing. The famous Exodus 3 passage in which God declared to Moses that he will end slavery and oppression, and Pharaonic colonialism and imperialism in Egypt is not there.

7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Ex. 3:7-10).

Here are a photo of the front page and some random passage shots from the Slave Bible:

**** Yet consider my final words below:

Five Theses about God, Christianity, Jesus, slavery, and colonization1. 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.2. 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.”3. 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.

  1. 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.” 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.

Researching about Haitian Women Freedom Writers and Scholars

“Researching about Haitian Women Freedom Writers and Scholars”

As I continue working on two separate book chapters on the brilliant Haitian feminist public intellectual and renowned sociologist Dr. Madeleine G. Sylvain Bouchereau & her sister Dr. Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain, I found an article in which the great Black historian Carter G. Woodson reviewed in 1937 three important studies published by the first Haitian famed anthropologist: Dr. Comhaire-Sylvain

Le Créole Haïtien, Morphologie et Syntaxe by Suzanne Sylvain; Les Contes Haïtiens, Ie Partie by Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain; Les Contes Haïtiens, IIe Partie by Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain Review by: C. G. Woodson
The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jul., 1937), pp. 369-372

That is how I started my Saturday morning, folks 🙂

Isn’t it a good beginning?

**** Consider Woodson’s felicitous language about the significance of Comhaire-Sylvain’s anthropological and linguistic contributions:

” In one of the three volumes the author deals with Haitian Creole and in the other two with folklore. She has not only given a new picture of the language of the Haitians, but the literary treasures to which that language is a key…These volumes bearing the imprint of long and continuous research show evidence of scholarship. Certainly Madame Comhaire-Sylvain de serves to be reckoned among the most intellectual people of Haiti. If she continues her studies, as she indicates that she will, she will undoubtedly leave a favorable impression upon her time in revealing in scientific form the unknown past of the Haitian who has been misrepresented by that large…These stories herein given, however, are merely specimens of the large collection of music and folklore already collected by Madame Comhaire-Sylvain. Some day these will be published for the further light which they must throw on the background of the people of Haiti.”

“A Women’s History of Haiti”

Somebody needs to write a book or a doctoral dissertation on “A Women’s History of Haiti,” whose content may include the following discussions and studies:

  1. Saint-Domingue (Part 1): the book should investigate the everyday life of the colony with a specific focus on the daily activities and functions of enslaved black women and their struggle to end the colony’s class and race systems, and their fight against colonial oppression, slavery, and abuse against women; it would be nice to include a chapter on women as maroons or run-away slaves;
  2. Saint-Domingue (Part 2): Should highlight the contributions of “mixed women” (See, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s novel, “Dance on the Volcano,” Jean Fouchard’s “Le theatre a Saint-Domingue”) to desegregate Saint-Domingue’s high culture and women’s specific demands of equal (political) rights and equal treatment in the colony;
  3. Saint-Domingue (Part 3): Should underscore women’s specific contributions to the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804); should look at the story of the revolution from the perspective of women; in other words, the book should center the story on women;
  4. Postcolonial Haiti: should discuss the roles and functions women played in the emergence of the first political postcolonial Haitian government and throughout the first sixty years of the new nation (1804-1860);
  5. Postcolonial Haiti: should investigate the role of women in public education before the Concordat (1860) and after the Concordat was signed (1860-1915);
  6. Postcolonial Haiti: should study women’s continual participation in the country’s political affairs and systems, from 1860 to 1915;
  7. Postcolonial Haiti and the American Occupation (1915-1934): should investigate the rise of women professionals and intellectuals and their campaign against American imperialism in Haiti;
  8. Postcolonial Haiti and the struggle for Women’s rights: should study the works of women intellectuals and feminists associating with “La Voix des Femmes” (a journal) and “La Ligue Feminine d’Action Social” (a women’s rights organization);
  9. The Literature of Haitian Women: accent should be placed on the literary achievements of women and their unique contributions to the country’s literature and intellectual life (1915-1960s) (See for example, Myriam J. A. Chancy Chancy’s “Framing Silence” Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women”);
  10. Military Regimes and Duvaliers (1957 to 1971, and 1971-1986): should bring to surface women political activism and struggle against Haitian totalitarianism and state-sponsored violence (see the works of Marie Vieux-Chauvet) during the administrations of both Duvalier (“Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc”);
  11. Women and the Lavalas Movement: should study the enormous contributions of women as politico-social activists and freedom fighters in the successful election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President of Haiti, as well as their fight against Macoutism and American-Western interventions in the country’s politics;
  12. Women and the Haitian church: evidently, the Haitian church does not exist without the active participation and engagement of women as ministers, preachers, missionaries, and religious educators; for example, women are the backbone of Haitian Protestant Christianity, and without them, contemporary Haitian Protestantism, especially the Evangelical branch, would have declined and eventually died off in the Haitian society; and
  13. Women and the economic life of Haiti: Haitian women are the “poto mitan” (“pillars” or “centers”) of the country’s economic survival and development; Haitian women wear many hats as vendors, merchants, traders, businesswomen, dealers, bankers, financial advisors, etc.

***When you write that book or doctoral dissertation in English with respect to a Woman’s perspective on Haitian History, make sure you send me a copy in the mail! 😊



“The Role of the Church in the Time of Coronavirus”

“The Role of the Church in the Time of Coronavirus”

Happy Monday, Friends!!!

In this tragic time of this pandemic, what is your church doing to reach out to and serve the orphan, the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the incarcerated, and those who have been infected with the COVID-19?

A lot of children just became orphans and homeless as a result of losing their parents to the coronavirus.

A lot of unemployed mothers just lost their husbands–their only source of income in the family–and became single unemployed moms due to the COVID-19.

Many-stay-at-home moms, who were financially dependent on their working husbands to make it in life, just lost their hubbies, due to this pandemic.

Many grandsons and granddaughters just lost their grandparents, who provided them with a home and daily nutrition, to this pandemic.

Many elderly just lost their spouses, close companions, or life partners, and suddenly, they became lonely and are now having a difficult time to adapt and transition through this new life–as a result of this deadly disease.

Children of undocumented parents, who were their only source providers, just lost their undocumented mom or dad, or both, to the coronavirus nightmare.

Adopted adolescent sons and daughters just lost their adoptive parents to this disaster.

What is your church doing to
serve these individuals and reach out to this vulnerable population in your city?

What is God calling you to do to attend to the needs of these individuals and families in your community?