Monday, December 25, 2006

"A Tale for Slavery's Children"

E.J. Dionne's column, about slavery and how "the Christmas story overturns our daily understandings of power and privilege," appears in Today"s Washington Post. Here is an excerpt:

Callahan's remarkable book[Allen Dwight Callahan, The Talking Book: African Americans and the Bible] published this year by Yale University Press, describes the rich and intense relationship between the Bible and the African American imagination. But even more powerfully, it suggests -- without making the case directly -- that the reading of the Christian tradition offered by African Americans is as close as any to the authentic meaning of Christianity....

It is hard, I think, for anyone nurtured in the Christian or Jewish traditions to dispute Callahan's claim that the Bible "privileges those without privilege and honors those without honor" and that it has a "penchant for bringing peripheral people to the center of history."

"The God of holy scripture has made slaves no less than their masters in the divine image and likeness," Callahan writes. "The Apostle Paul had declared that master and slave were equal in God's sight. And in the book of Exodus, God had freed the ancient Hebrews from bondage in Egypt; the liberation of slaves had been God's will. These were ideas at least as revolutionary as any Jeffersonian proposition."

I am not normally a fan of Dionne--even though we both grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts and are both Red Sox fans--but this is an interesting piece.

Rick Duncan

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