From Strength to Strength: Toward a Theology of African American Christian Consciousness

Part of the Black Religion / Womanist Thought / Social Justice book series (BRWT)


The seminal dividend of the unique encounter of the African American with the Christian faith is unquestionably the yield of strength. Strength then, is the pivotal concept in the appreciation, evaluation, and characterization of African American Christian consciousness. It is, as well, the axis at which the religious experience (spirituality) and the theology of African American Christian consciousness intersect. At the theological level, the notion of strength heavily impacts the shape and selection of the root metaphors and the formation of dominant themes.1 By replacing the notion of power with the notion of strength in key places, we are able to draw much closer to the existential epicenter of African American Christian consciousness. We can better understand, for instance, why the theodicy issue hasn’t provided more of a disturbance than it has in the formation of an allegiance of the African American to the Christian God. In fact, I want to argue that the notion of “Christian God” could be misleading when applied to African Americans, if by that one is referring to the stale notion employed by many academic theologians, both black and white or otherwise. The experience of African Americans is best understood through the notion of the divine and communion with the divine.


Black People Religious Experience Christian Faith Black Church Black Experience 
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© Matthew V. Johnson 2010

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