I will be contributing to the Church and Postmodern Culture Series Site

Join the conversation.  I’ll be engaging James K. A. Smith‘s recent book, “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Focault to Church.”  Specifically, I’ll be contributing a mini-essay titled “The Panopticon of Ecclesial Whiteness: Taking Foucault to a Church Divided.”

Here’s a snippet:

Ignoring white-ness as norm and its disciplinary power within the church frustrates Christians seeking racial-ethnic reconciliation or harmony. Granted, much work has been done in the area, and much of it is to be commended, but it is clear that white-ness remains in the church even as race-ism and the assertion of white privilege operates more subtly.  However, Foucault illumines for us that ignoring race as a disciplinary power blinds us to the realities that continue to hinder the church from moving beyond our racial impasse.  We can look at our discursive practices in our respective churches and see how we, consciously and unconsciously, give credence to the universal code of beauty that is presumed to be white.

I hope to see some of my blogfriends there engaging the text.  Pax. 





4 thoughts on “I will be contributing to the Church and Postmodern Culture Series Site

Add yours

  1. Will be eager to hear how your thoughts shape out.

    Your piece has provoked thoughts in me about design of Charlotte environments. I’m sort of re-engaging what I learned writing my thesis on the ritualized, coded pluralism that has shaped Jerusalem’s sacred topography. Formerly, I’ve regarded Jerusalem as a very unique place, and that sacred environments should be treated as special beasts…but then I realized I’ve been thinking about Charlotte and urbanism in Charlotte in very similar ways. I’ve noticed the same kind of spatial politics at play here. Racialized environments are very similar to “sacred environments” because their inhabitants have contstructed rituals and uspoken rules to enact compromises between themselves. Sacred environments can be used to reveal the psychology of racial topographies in the city. Just been having a eureka moment…thanks bud! It’s a rough thesis now but I see an article developing here. 😉

  2. Hey Anthony, I want to elaborate on your comment:

    “But not hip-hop? Why not hip-hop? Hip-hop, an artistic expression and tradition (yes, it is a tradition), arose out of the inner city streets of subjugated knowledges and practices. Of course I cannot romanticize hip-hop. It has its expressions that do not resonate with the redemptive narrative of God’s Text, just like expressions of Rock-n-roll.”

    Interesting. Not to call one you…but may I ask why is a genre that arises from “subjugated knowledges and practices” not “redemptive”??? From what I know of Scripture that is redemptive. Heh, heh…don’t buy in to western readings of “redemption”.


    Monotheism, bro, is itself redemptive. It is the religion of the disenfranchised. Judaism is the cry of slaves for a non-arbitrary and non-callous redeemer. Our God is one who makes pacts with the powerless. Sounds subversive to me.



  3. You may already be familiar with this book, but there’s a book I would recommend that unpacks some of what you are talking about. It’s called Learning to be White: Money, Race, and God in America by Thandeka. I think she is very insightful – and easier to read that Derrida and Foucalt. Your average undergraduate could read and understand it – although my friend who teaches an intercultural communication class said it pissed off some of the white students – but that was probably a good thing.

    Anyway, I would recommend it as a read for white people who are interested in examining whiteness – makes it less of something that just is and more a something that is socially constructed.

    I like the thinking you are doing.


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