By: Jeriah Bowser
Note: Originally published at the Hampton Institute
Imagine with me, if you will, a quiet summer day in the mountains of western Colorado. An Iranian Imam, a Southern Baptist minister from Arkansas, a feminist author and activist from Portland, a Chinese businessman, and myself have all decided to go for a walk up the mountain, enjoying the crisp air and glorious landscapes that such a stroll promises to offer.
As we crest the top of a hill, the Chinese businessman starts yelling something about a dragon and waving his arms emphatically at something that he apparently sees off to the left and down the hill a bit. The rest of us, eager to see what the commotion is all about, eagerly rush forward, jostling each other’s shoulders and egos along the way.
The Imam, being right behind the Chinese man, loudly declares that he sees a lion, the lion of the glorious people of Iran and the prophet Mohammed, and instantly prostrates himself on the ground, consecrating the area for himself and those to follow.
Our Identity as Relational Beings: a posthumanist response to claims of exploitation in the story of creation
By: Kyle Summer
It is often argued that the creation stories in the Hebrew Bible lay out a framework in which humans are given permission from God to do what they please with the rest of the created world. The Bible convincingly serves as a means of justification for the mistreatment and exploitation of non-human animals as well as a lack of overall concern for environmental degradation. Some prominent thinkers often point a blaming finger towards the creation accounts presented to us in Genesis to illuminate the origins of animal and environmental exploitation. Though the majority of these critiques come from a misunderstanding of certain themes that occur in the first chapter of Genesis (i.e. Image of God, dominion, etc.), the second chapter of Genesis provides us with a sound argument against such claims. The response to the charge that the creation accounts found in Genesis are the primary cause of animal exploitation and environmental degradation is one that can be found in almost every commentary that exists on the book of Genesis. Their brief mentions of human/non-human relationships, however, are often eclipsed by their focus on the fall of humanity. This is unfortunate because such a primary focus on the human relationship with the self, as opposed to the human relationship with the other, is far outside of the intentions of the created order and is precisely where the subjugation and exploitation of the non-human world finds its beginning. Speciesism, which Peter Singer defines as “a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species” (Singer 2009, 6), is something that is a result of human kind disobeying God and taking things into their own hands rather than a God-given right, as many suggest. This study of Genesis 2:4b-3:24 will serve to expose humanity’s distortion of God’s desired relational priority which ultimately results in chaos and disunity between the human and non-human world.
By: Jesus Radicals
On June 17th of 2015 an evening prayer meeting at the historic Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina was the target of white-supremacist terrorism as a 21 year old gunman, Dylann Roof, gunned down and killed 9 black men and women from ages 26 to 84 including the church's pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney. Emmanuel AME has been a rock and refuge for black folks in the south since its founding in the early 1800s and has been a major site of fomenting change for racial justice. Despite its history of persecution, having been burned down and rebuilt, its existence outlawed by Charleston law, and a host of other challenges the congregation has faced as an historic all black church in the center of racist, white-supremacist, USAmerican South, Emmanuel AME is a congregation that has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity and continued racially motivated terrorism and violence. The blow dealt to Emmanuel AME came as a shock to the congregants gathered together for prayer and fellowship on the evening on June 17th as they lovingly welcomed with open arms the gunman into their most sacred of spaces. These congregants' gesture of love was met with the kind of hate that most of us have never close to experienced and nine men and women had their lives stolen from them.
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Nekeisha Alayna Alexis
Liza Minno Bloom
Eda Ruhiye Uca