August 20, 2017
Dear Allen Temple Family and Friends,
Last month I shared with you excerpts from a decades old Prayer for Liberation by Frank Madison Reid III, and invited you to add to the prayer your own longings for or convictions toward liberation. Other words for liberation include freedom, deliverance and release. The rise of overt racism and prejudice in our nation, and the continued global attacks of terror indicate that the need for liberation is ever-present today in increasingly bodacious ways. Several months ago, I revisited matter of liberation while studying some of the works of Dr. Howard Thurman who often referred to those who are oppressed as “disinherited.”
Liberation Theology gives us ways to think and talk about our faith with regards to liberating the oppressed. Dr. Vincent Harding distinguishes for us the work of Dr. Howard Thurman in Jesus and the Disinherited as “a liberating spirituality.” This liberating spirituality is more than a theory, a philosophy or even a movement of religious thought. It requires reflection upon one’s experiences and deliberate actions in one’s life. Dr. Harding refers to it as a space where personal and societal transformation are creatively joined. Moreover, it brings into deep engagement the African American experience with what Dr. Thurman refers to as “the religion of Jesus.” The experiences of this liberating spirituality would propel one toward Dr. Thurman’s ultimate goal for the oppressed of “an emancipatory way of being” and “a fundamentally unchained life.” (JD, Foreword)
Friends and family, is this relevant today? Can personal and societal transformation be creatively joined to bring about a liberating spirituality? For the disinherited, to achieve this way of being, that I would call spiritual freedom, Dr. Thurman insisted that “life under oppression provided no excuses for avoiding a path of courageous, creative integrity.” Such a life of integrity refuses to give in to fear, deception (aka. hypocrisy) and hatred. Dr. Thurman refers to fear, deceit and hate as the three hounds of hell that hunt, haunt and seek to destroy the disinherited. Fear, deceit and hate are at the core of the domestic and global terrorism happening today. I wondered last week whether hatred could be healed without a complete genocide. If you’re like me, you may be frustrated and tired of the status quo and wondering about the options for self-preservation. In this brief note, I am encouraging us to hold on to Dr. Thurman’s teaching to embrace a life of courageous, creative integrity refusing to give in to fear, deception and hatred, on any side, and clinging to love on all sides.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 18-21; 37-39)
Let us lean on and into God’s most powerful Holy Spirit.
Rev. Ineda P. Adesanya, Minister of Spiritual Life