African Americans--Religion

Pedagogical paradigm for leadership in a postmodern mega church context

Author
Joan Prentice D.Min.
Abstract
This paper presents a theological premise for understanding of the Church as it exists in Christ and its participation within the perichoretic relationship of the Triune God. The model is drawn from the interrelatedness and interpenetration of the three divine persons of the Godhead and the Church’s reality within that relationship. It sets forth a theology that is relational, and allows for a Christology, pneumatology and ecclesiology that is expressed in praxis. It is relational and missional in its outcome and situates a primordial understanding of the Church as an ontological and organic reality.

The Church’s behavior, that is, its work, worship, and mission is influenced by its own perception of self. In other words, the way we perceive ourselves as the church will be reflected in the way we do church and the way we are the church in the world, not just as institution, but as being; having its life, essential nature and personality inherent in the triune God of grace.

African American women facing reentry : the impact of race, gender, and faith after incarceration

Author
Carolyn Vann Jordan
Abstract
Much attention has been paid to African American men as they reenter society from prison. There is, however, a gap in the literature as it pertains to African American women. This project seeks to study the impact of race, gender, and faith on African American women when they are faced with the reentry process. Primarily, through their narratives, I am motivated to see if faith can be a resource for empowering them to move beyond the systems of inequality of race, and gender when facing reentry. Ultimately, this research project will provide recommendations to faith communities that will help them develop ministries and programming that will equip and empower African American women reentering the community after being incarcerated.

Addressing the wounds of racism through the lens of moral injury : a qualitative study drawing on Black liberation and Womanist theology

Author
Gene M. Gordon
Abstract
Although Black Liberation and Womanist Theologies have unlocked a profound conversation on praxis for oppressed people, they have not included, in large measure, the guidance to be gained from an intersection with Moral Injury Theory. An argument is presented, the purpose of which is to show how Black Liberation Theology enhances Moral Injury Theory and how Moral Injury Theory provides tools for addressing the effects of racism. In so doing, the concept of moral injury strengthens Black Liberation Theology by expanding its resolve to serve within communities affected by racism and indeed with all humanity. In addition, the theology of liberation may provide support for the spiritual attempt to encourage sufferers of moral injury through transcendent concepts such as forgiveness, reconciliation, and perhaps even atonement. This project also provides pastors, chaplains, and others with the kind of understandings and motivations that will assist them in meeting the needs of parishoners who may be struggling with the despair of the hidden wounds of racism that display the symptoms of moral injury.

"Pastor can we talk" : a retrospective study of how the Black church fails to support sexually abused Black women

Author
Linda Denise Moore
Abstract
This major project seeks to address the issues of sexual abuse within the Black Church and to offer pastors and lay leaders’ guidance to assist congregations in breaking the cycle of sexual abuse and silence. In the confounds of the Black Church and the greater African American community, issues of sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, or sexual behaviors have been neglected. To that end, this study aims to provide guidance and validation that the Black Church has a long history in supporting one another; however, sexual abuse and the treatment of Black Women were not given the adequate support. For far too long those issues have been secretly housed within the walls of our families, our civic organizations, and our Black Churches leaving victims without a platform of any kind, in which to express anything related to sex. As a result, men and especially women and children have undergone the effects of shame of not having an outlet or a safe place to unburden themselves of any form of sexual improprieties. In essence, this study is a compilation of personal experiences coupled with academic evidence that the Black Church needs a specific protocol and platform to combat the issues of sexual abuse.

Keep it real : starting a Christian hip-hop service in a Reformed context

Author
Reginald Smith
Abstract
This project was designed to provide a working model of bridging the African American community and the Reformed faith. The gap between the community and church has grown wider because churches are using models of worship that are outdated and paternalistic for the Hip Hop generation.

Chapter 1 will provide a biblical and theological basis of "witness"as the prevailing symbol of being the people of God, who were saved to be a light to the nations.

Chapter 2 reports the history of Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church. I will give attention from the great beginnings of two churches to their eventual deaths, and their resurrection into Roosevelt Park Community CRC.

Chapter 3 records my own spiritual journey. My story will provide spiritual markers that has lead me from the Black Baptist church into becoming a minister in the Christian Reformed church.

Chapter 4 provides an analysis of the Hip Hop culture and its hold on the young urban generation today. What are the held values of Hip Hop culture? Can the Reformed faith provide answers to their questions about life, God and spirituality? The Reformed faith can speak to the heart, soul, and spirit of the Hip Hop generation.

Chapter 5 presents a preaching model that can reach the Hip Hop generation. Preaching is more than a single event, but part of the larger context of worship which seeks a multi-dimensional approach to preaching to the young people of the Hip Hop culture.

Chapter 6 sketches the "Keep It Real" service from an idea to the first worship service.

Chapter 7 reflects on what I learned in starting this service, with its mistakes and triumphs and what can others learn from this project for other urban Reformed churches.

An inward-outward witness : suffering’s role in forming faithful preachers

Author
James Ellis
Abstract
Employing an autoethnographic research methodology, this thesis will connect the relationship suffering has with the Christian life, and therefore unearth why a preacher’s ability to harness suffering well, personally and professionally, contributes to their aptitude to preach in ways that richly prepare the people of God for lives of service. Preachers who have endured life’s deeper dramas and dark nights of the soul are potentially able to better identify with the biblical narrative and then relate that narrative to communities of hurting people, especially in an epoch when escapism and denial toward hardship are becoming increasingly normative. This is not to suggest that while walking the pathway of faithfulness, the devout preacher must embark upon a reconnaissance mission to locate suffering. Rather, since suffering is both universal and specific to the Christian life, those shepherding God’s people must adequately embrace and harness suffering to present hearers with the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Decolonizing our bodies, minds and spirits : resiliency and spiritual practices among Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color

Author
Rebekah Ann Savage
Abstract
"[In this project paper, the author examines and reflects upon] . . . the resilience of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color and indigenous people through spiritual practices as a way towards liberation and intersectional justice. The author recruited thirty-six [Unitarian Universalist] religious professionals [to participate in] a [six-week] structured program of learning and reflection . . . . [The program was designed to help participants] identify spiritual disconnects between religious and spiritual beliefs and everyday lived experience. As evidenced by beginning and post-project surveys and periodic narrative prompts, the participants affirmed the positive results of the program which led to a deeper spiritual integration and wholeness." -- Leaf [2].

Reframing our narratives : using the "Curse of Ham" and the arts to reframe the narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans

Author
Freda L. Briggman
Abstract
"The misinterpretation of what became known as the "Curse of Ham" played a formidable role in creating a narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans. For centuries, African Americans have been reframing that narrative. This project assists those reframing efforts in demonstrating how the arts can expose the racist usage of the "Curse of Ham." The researcher performs a theological and historical review of the "Curse of Ham" and then uses the data to create and implement a live theater performance. The results suggest that the performance provides a perspective not otherwise known and empowers the community to reframe the narrative." -- Leaf [2].

The Impact of Preaching on Church Growth: Black Churches in The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church

Author
Yvette Denise Massey D.Min.
Abstract
This project addresses the question of whether good preaching can cause congregational growth. The location of the work was two Black churches in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church and included preaching a variety of sermons, followed by congregational research on the influence of the sermons on church growth. Through this project, the thesis on which this work was based, that church growth was a direct result of good preaching, changed to recognize that while preaching alone does not cause church growth, it is one of many significant factors in the decision to join a church. The project reveals that a comprehensive church system that includes elements such as preaching, outreach, nurture, Christian education, evangelism, and worship, is necessary to impact congregational growth.

CHRISTIAN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN IDENTIFYING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION AS A UNIQUE RESPONSE TO THE CALL OF CHRIST

Author
Bryan Hodges D.Min.
Abstract
CHRISTIAN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN IDENTIFYING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION AS A UNIQUE RESPONSE TO THE CALL OF CHRIST

Christian spiritual formation responds to the call of Christ. This project makes its contribution to Christian spiritual formation as it relates to Christian African American men.

This project initiates: (1) biblical and theological reflection regarding Christian spiritual formation; (2) To think critically through societal, cultural and familial influences in relation to their spiritual formation; (3) To implement a biblical and theological vision for Christian spiritual formation; and (4) To create a personal Christian spiritual formation program.

This project consisted of surveys and interviews to measure Christian spiritual formation influence. After three months of follow up a summation is specified.
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