By E. Kornegay
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Extra info for A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin's Blues Project and Gospel Prose
Baldwin remains conscious of the twoness of blackness in a way that accounts for the affective nature of his religious inheritance and the puritan historical construction of his American black-Negro religious heritage. In other words, he is still able to authentically claim and defend his experience as a Christian (God’s saving Grace) and black man who is homosexual (the rubric for black sexual depravity) without compromise or excuse in the world. 93 It brings into view The Prolonged Religious Crisis 35 the impermanent search for a black body that is likely able to become one of God’s chosen people—somebodiness— changing the captivity narrative from one of the perpetually enslaved descendants of Ham/Canaan to suffering servant like Job and the puritans who inherent the New World.
85 Building on Benjamin, Marousis-Bush says, The form such an experience of the world takes is fragmentary and enigmatic; in it the world ceases to be purely physical and becomes an aggregation of signs . . Transforming things into signs is both what allegory does – its technique – and what it is about – its content. 86 Allegory reveals the fact that metaphors of oppression are mere signs that have become psychic manifestations with physical realities. In other words, allegory is essential for the creation of a discourse of change.
It is the source of Baldwin’s fears and a reflection of his literal search for safety. 39 As such, through Baldwin’s work, the horizontal limit of the black religious tradition is altered hermeneutically; this means the primary source for interpreting what is religious about black religion shifts from a relationship centered on God’s saving grace to one that is centered on the question of whether or not God and black religion can offer safety for black bodies. 40 Puritanism We have all heard the bit about what a pity it was that Plymouth Rock didn’t land on the Pilgrims instead of the other way around.
A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin's Blues Project and Gospel Prose by E. Kornegay