Choose an application
Christian theology provides one way of critically reflecting on—and in doing so, responding to—particular historical situations. In understanding of the contemporary historical context, I take seriously decolonial theorists’ claim that the logics that legitimized European colonialism beginning in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries remain as a colonial underside to western modernity. Recognizing that Christian theology in large part uses modern western thought frameworks, as well as the logics that informed them, I question how Christian theology can respond to the sorts of lived experiences that expose the colonial underside of western modernity. Critically engaging the theological perspectives of J. Kameron Carter and Willie James Jennings, Clodovis Boff, and Ignacio Ellacuría and Jon Sobrino, as well as the religious studies perspective of Africana religious studies, I argue for a move beyond the logic of colonial modernity within theological reflection. I unearth orientations of decolonial love in the work of Frantz Fanon and James Baldwin as two paradigmatic responses to colonial modernity. Drawing on contemporary theological articulations, I propose a style of theological reflection that works inductively from orientations emerging in historical decolonial struggles. Within this approach, I claim that one way to understand decolonial love is as presenting itself in the contemporary historical situation as informing salvation. Concrete iterations of decolonial love inform the way we imagine and name divinity, and open up encounters with divinity. I ultimately argue that, in responding to the contemporary historical situation of colonial modernity, theological reflection has to integrate an inductive movement from concrete responses to historical experiences of the colonial underside of western modernity with Christian faith claims of divinity as incarnate in the flesh and partial toward those struggling under the weight of oppressive socio-historical configurations.