Public Theology and Reparations: Addressing Systemic Racism in the Church
On this episode of Church on the Block we continue our discussion on women in ministry. We welcome special guest Ekemini Uwan, Author, Podcast Host and NAACP Award Winner. We have an enlightening discussion on Pan-Africanism, Public Theology and Reparations.
Ekemini’s Journey to Faith and Ministry
Ekemini shared her journey of coming to faith in college and her involvement in her church, Hope’s House Christian Ministries. She emphasized the significance of having a mentor who has guided her for almost 20 years. Her path to becoming a public theologian was not one she chose, but one she believes was chosen for her by God. After a sudden job loss, she transitioned from a corporate job to pursue ministry, leading her to attend seminary to deepen her understanding of the Word of God.
As she continued her studies, Ekemini started receiving opportunities to speak and write about God in public settings. These experiences allowed her to engage with secular audiences and share her faith in a broader context. We all expressed our excitement for this discussion and hope that it will challenge listeners to reconsider their views on women in ministry.
The Importance of Public Theology
Ekemini shared the importance of public theology and how it helps people understand and navigate the complexities of our world, including politics, race, and pop culture. She emphasized the need to make theology accessible and demystify God for people. She incorporates her cultural identity as a Nigerian American woman into her theological conversations, believing that as embodied souls, it is crucial to take seriously the fundamentals of faith, such as the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
Embracing Identity, Decolonizing Minds and The Push for Reparations
Ekemini’s social location, being at the intersection of being black, Nigerian, and American, informs her work on issues like Pan-Africanism, reparations, and colonialism. She recognizes the historical context of her people being colonized and trafficked in the transatlantic slave trade. She expresses gratitude for her upbringing, despite its challenges, as it shaped her racial consciousness and collective mindset.
The Diversity Within Black Culture
We discussed the diversity within black culture and the importance of unity. We highlighted the different regional influences on black culture in the US, including vernacular, style of dress, and music. We emphasized the need to remember that as black people, we belong to one another and should live into a collectivist cultural mentality.
The Intersection of Theology and Practice
We agreed on the importance of unity and discussed the misconception that theology and practice should be separate. We realized the need for collaboration and understanding between the two. While theory is important, there also needs to be praxis, or practical application, in our work. We expressed the need for policy changes and activism to accompany our intellectual pursuits.
Addressing Issues Within the Black Community
We discussed the importance of addressing issues within the black community, such as singleness and the decline of identification with faith. We stressed the need for critical mass and hands-on involvement to bring about healing and restoration within the community. We believe that black institutions, including the church, need to be intentional in counteracting these issues.
I hope this conversation has challenged you to reconsider your views on women in ministry and the role of the church in addressing issues within the black community.
You can connect with Ekemini on her website sistamatictheology.com. Do you want to support the work that Holy Culture Radio is doing? Make a one-time donation or shop the online store. Thank you for tuning in and God bless.
The introduction [00:00:12] The speakers introduce themselves and the podcast, discussing the topic of women in ministry.
The discussion about women in ministry [00:01:11] The speakers talk about the importance of rethinking traditional views on women in ministry and the consequences of limiting their roles.
Introduction of Ekemini [00:03:01] Pastah J introduces Ekemini Uwan a public theologian, author, and speaker, and they discuss her background and journey into ministry.
The importance of public theology [00:10:30] Ekemini discusses the role of public theology in helping people understand and navigate political, racial, and cultural issues in the world.
Embracing cultural identity in ministry [00:11:32] Ekemini talks about how her Nigerian-American identity and cultural background have influenced her ministry and theological conversations.
The significance of self-love and loving one’s neighbor [00:13:35] Ekemini emphasizes the importance of loving oneself and embracing one’s racial and cultural identity in order to love and serve others well.
The importance of unity in black culture [00:21:37] Discussion on the diversity within black culture and the need for unity among black people.
The challenges of individualism in theology [00:22:33] Exploration of the contrast between individualism and collectivism in theology, particularly in the context of white evangelicalism.
The integration of theory and practice in public theology [00:23:11] Conversation about the importance of merging theoretical knowledge with practical action in the field of public theology.
Ekemini’s experience at the NAACP Image Award luncheon [00:31:46] Ekemini shares her experience of attending the NAACP Image Award luncheon with Stephanie and meeting Loretta Devine.
Affirmation and challenges from African American men in ministry [00:33:08] Pastor Phil asks Ekemini about the response from African American men in ministry to her leadership as a public theologian.
The need for revival in the church [00:40:07] Ekemini discusses the need for revival in the church, emphasizing the lack of biblical literacy, compromise, and lukewarmness.
The decline of people’s identification with faith and participation within the church [00:43:25] Ekemini discusses the decline of people’s identification with faith and their participation within the church, and the need for the church to address this issue.
The need to counteract systemic issues affecting the black community [00:44:45] Ekemini emphasizes the need to counteract systemic issues such as the transatlantic slave trade and mass incarceration that affect the black community, and how black institutions, including the church, can play a role in addressing these issues.
The importance of mentorship and support in breaking cycles and building community [00:48:19] Ekemini highlights the importance of mentorship and support in breaking cycles and building community, particularly in the context of young men growing up without fathers and the challenges faced by young women as well.
The accumulation of trash [00:51:48] Reflecting on the accumulation of trash in one’s life and the need to address it with God’s help.
Confession and finding mercy [00:51:48] Highlighting the importance of confessing sins and finding mercy in God.
Continuing the conversation [00:52:44] Announcement of continuing the conversation about hip hop, the church, and the streets in the next episode.
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