Black Moses
Not infrequently in recent days, during moments of existential self-awareness, I’ve found myself reflecting on what it means that I am Black and Reformed. ‘I’m a Black Reformed person: so what?’ I think. Is there something more to this than just novel nomenclature? What is the real substance of it….what does it really mean? I must admit that the conjunction of the terms Black and Reformed still strikes me as a bit anomalous, kind of like ‘blue-eyed soul’, an interesting and novel notion, but something other than authentic, not the real deal.

However, I am more and more coming to realize that my metaphysical meanderings about Reformed Blackness (or Black Reformed-‘ness’) are more than just interesting ideas. There is something to this black reformed thing. My real life interaction and experience with fellow African-Americans who are self-consciously Reformed (that’s right, real live Calvinist baby-sprinkling Black folk) has served to demonstrate that the nexus of African-Americans and Reformed faith is indeed a meaningful juxtaposition. Yea, I would venture to say that the things that Black Reformed folks bring to the Reformed ecclesiastical and theological table can and do fund fuller, robust, Reformed trajectories of faith and practice. The Reformed community, at least the small part with which I am familiar, is being concretely and significantly enriched by the presence and distinct contributions of African-Americans. I guess this shouldn’t be at all surprising given that the glory of God in Christ, in the new community, is most fully expressed when people ‘from every nation’ are contributing their unique praise and playing their distinct part in the outworking of redemptive history.

So what are some of these things?

Some specific areas which immediately spring to mind are theology, worship, and preaching. At the risk of profound reductionism, I offer a few brief discursive reflections on how a biblical and reformed faith has been nurtured by black folks who share this theological vision.

Disclaimer: I in no way intend to diminish or downplay the wonderful contributions other groups are making to the ongoing reformed conversation. Highlighting some of the diversity of Christ’s body in no way diminishes the true ‘oneness’ that exists between the various members by virtue of our solidaric union with our Savior. Taking a few moments to extol the glories of chocolate ice cream is not to be understood as an implicit denial of the deliciousness of butter pecan or neapolitan!

To be continued...

Mark Robinson

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Related: Black and Reformed: So What? II