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The Black Church

“Is there a word from the Lord?”

David Emmanuel Goatley
David Emmanuel Goatley
David Emmanuel Goatley is the Director of the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School and a Research Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies.

 

Black Preaching answers one question. It always has, and it always will.

“Is there a word from the Lord?”

Black people ask this question, but it is not asked in isolation. For black people are not a closed system. By force and by choice, black people have always had doors and windows, gates and gateways, for access and egress. Black people and non-black people come in and of our contexts whether we want it this way or not. The question that Black Preaching must answer comes from personal examination, engagement with other black people, and encounters (sometimes hospitable but too often hostile) with the broader society. Consequently, the answer to the question asked by black people has meaning for all people.

The answer that Black Preaching is obligated to provide does not come from the preacher who is doing the preaching. The question is too deep for the preacher to answer from his or her own resources. This does not suggest that the preacher is inept. It does assert, however, that the deep places from which the question arises require that the preacher have extra help for discernment. Trite responses to serious issues are injurious to the soul.

 

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