By Albert J. Raboteau
"A fireplace within the Bones is greater than a heritage of black Christians: it's the compelling tale of the ways that black people have became to Christianity to explain their historical past and plight in the US and to venture their imaginative and prescient of redemption to the better country . . . A needs to read." --Craig Steven Wilder, big apple Newsday "A significant contribution . . . fantastically narrated." --Rembert Weakland, the recent York instances publication overview
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Extra resources for A Fire in the Bones
He thought of but one ending of the war; they quite another. . It is mortifying now to think that his comprehension was not equal to the African in- Page 28 tellect. . But they interpreted it literally in the good time coming, which of course could not but make their ebony complexion attractive, very. 12 What the preacher was describing was the end of a long process, spanning almost two hundred and fifty years, by which slaves came to accept the gospel of Christianity. But the slaves did not simply become Christians; they fashioned Christianity to fit their own peculiar experience of enslavement in America.
The theologian John Dunne has aptly called the process I'm describing as "passing over and returning home," the journey to self-knowledge through empathetic intuition (admittedly imperfect and vicarious) of the experience of others. In this journey, we encounter difference not as something alienating but as simply different. If that goal sounds jejune, one has only to survey the history of encounters between foreign cultures around the world to realize how rare it actually is. Ideally, the journey I am envisaging leads not only to knowledge but to compassion.
And whitestry as they mightcould not determine the "accuracy" of this interpretation. Nurturing Christian communities among slaves and free blacks, these pioneer preachers began to build an independent black church in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Slave preachers, exhorters, and church-appointed watchmen instructed their fellow slaves, nurtured their religious development, and brought them to conversion, in some cases without Page 25 the active involvement of white missionaries or masters at all.
A Fire in the Bones by Albert J. Raboteau