Postcolonializing God examines how African Christianity especially as a practical spirituality can be truly a postcolonial reality. The book offers thoughts as to how African Christians and by that token others who were colonial subjects, may practice a spirituality that bears the hallmarks of their authentic cultural heritage, even if that makes them distinctly different from Christians from the colonizing nations.
There are themes in both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures in which Gods activities result in shattering hegemony, overthrowing the powerful, diversifying communities and affirming pluralism. These have by and large been ignored or downplayed in the formation of Christian communities by western and westernized Christians in Africa. The effect of this is that much of the practice of African Christians imitates that of a European Christianity of bygone times. Postcolonializing God charts a different course uplifting these ignored readings of scripture and identifying how they are expressed again by Africans who courageously seek through the practices of mysticism and African culture to portray a God whose actions liberate and diversify human experience.
Postcolonializing God seeks to express the human diversity that seems to be the Creators ongoing desire for the world and thereby to continue to manifest the manifold and diverse nature and wisdom of God. It is only as humans refuse to be created in the image of any other human beings, that the richness and complexity of the divine image will be more closely viewed throughout the world.
Emmanuel Y. Lartey is Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care and Counselling at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
In this book, Emmanuel Lartey has given us a practical theology rooted in African culture and spirituality, a theology that invites us to participate in the counter-hegemonic postcolonializing activity of God.
Lartey offers an approach to pastoral care that is not only individually healing but, as he puts it, community-building and culture-transforming.
His in-depth exploration of the ministry of contemporary Ghanaian mystic Brother Ishmael Tetteh provides a compelling lived example of his thesis.
This is an informative and inspiring resource for all concerned with human liberation and the creation of a more just and compassionate world.
After centuries of Africas involvement with Christianity, the twenty-first-century Western theological academy struggles to capture and theorize African spirituality as a dynamic and creative force in Christian and other religious cultures of African descendants worldwide. Emmanuel Larteys Postcolonializing God changes the conversation by reconceptualizing the ritual sites and practices that constitute sacred experience across time and space in the Africana world. His intervention offers an accessible critique of unchecked colonial legacies still pervasive among far too many Christian communities in Africa and immigrant African diasporas.
Grounded in fresh readings of select biblical narratives, enslaved and contemporary African diasporic spirituality and ecclesiology, post-slavery reconciliation rituals among Africans and African diasporans and a transcultural African mysticism, Larteys vision for practical theology pushes African practitioners, priests and professors alike to complete the project of postcolonializing God. By moving beyond mimicry and even improvisation toward the kind of creativity one witnesses today in the transatlantic healing ceremonies of the Joseph Project and the Ghanaian mystic Ishmael Tettehs inclusively innovative Etherean Mission, Lartey maintains that Africans can build upon their exemplary spiritual heritages of synthesis and openness in religious formation and practice and thereby offer indispensible insight into human apprehension of the divine.
Rarely since James Cones Black Theology and Black Power has the world of Africana theology seen such a poignant claim about the unexpected places where Gods revelation is to be found today. In 1969 Cone contended that the Black Power movement in America was one such place. Today Emmanuel Lartey reinforces Cones judgment, arguing that many of Africas established churches lag behind secular and wider indigenous spiritual movements in performing and expressing Gods revelatory power and presence among all creation.