I’m Back and Blacker than Ever!

Well, since I have not blogged for aeons, I will follow the mandatory blog procedure of apologizing for being gone, while reassuring my readers to continue journeying with me as we reflect faith, politics, culture, and whatever else randomly falls into my mind. All this is done with a tone of repentance yet hopeful optimism for what my blog promises to be in the future. Here goes…

My bad.

Well I think that about covers it. Look forward to new stuff from me…. and I would love to hear back from u as well. Peace.

Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD

Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well. Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance. His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today. His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action. Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo. Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

4 thoughts on “I’m Back and Blacker than Ever!

  1. I’m back and Whiter than ever !
    Does that sound humorous to anyone?
    Does it make you want to draw you closer to me and what I want to say?
    The latest blog . . . why some whites don’t really want to sit at the same evangelical table with their other than white counterparts . . .
    Maybe they just don’t get the double standard or the humor . . .
    I’m not sayin – I’m just sayin . . .

    1. Not sure I understand the double standard??? What is wrong with embracing my culture, heritage, and history. Celebrating blackness is affirming who God has made me, and resisting the idea that there is anything wrong with it. Our society has for too long stereotyped blackness into being a negative thing. I reject that, and refuse to lose anymore of who I am so that the dominant culture can have everyone assimilate and “melt” into their world. I have unique experiences, stories, successes, and struggles because of the skin color and history God has brought me into. If I want to embrace that through humor, what is the problem?

      The issue is all about intent. I have actually told many white people that they ought to learn their unique European history, and celebrate it. There is nothing wrong with whiteness, if it means people celebrating and embracing who God has made them. The only reason I might have a problem with someone saying they are “Whiter than ever” is if they mean it in the white supremacist way, meaning that they desire to dominate over all other racial and ethnic groups. Maybe there is a communication misunderstanding, not sure. But I celebrate who I am, and that God has made me as I am, and if it is uncomfortable or too abrasive for some, well that its unfortunate, but I am not going to deny the Imago Dei in me, I am going to let it out that much more. Not really sure where exactly you were coming from, again maybe this was just a miscommunication.

  2. What does Tim Wise (or anyone of a hundred black leaders) say about being brought up white means I’m racist and bigoted already – so if I say I’m “whiter than ever” – I have to mean it in a bad way. But a black man can say it and it’s OK because it’s just expressing the image of God in him?
    You know all the stereotypical things said about how women can say just about anything and we men still have to treat them with the utmost respect? It is in this light that I say – there is a double standard or an uneven playing field here. No thinking White person would ever say “I’m whiter than ever” unless he was looking to express a supremacy regarding his color. How is that not so about a black or brown or other than white person? Just askin…

  3. Not sure I have heard Tim Wise say that someone is bigoted for being raised white. If you can find my a quote or clip I would appreciate it. From my take on him, he has focused more on our racialized society and the resulting white privilege. He typically draws from statistics rather than assuming the worst about an individual’s intent. I can not speak for “black leaders” generically, there are so many black leaders who believe and say all sorts of stuff, just as there are white leaders that say all sorts of stuff. I respect folks like Cornel West… and I have never heard him say such things either.

    Anyway, I can only go by what I mean and understand. I don’t speak on behalf of all black people… as well I am sure you don’t want to attempt to speak for all white people. I would not be offended if a white person said they are whiter than ever, if they mean they are very culturally influenced by Western European culture. There is nothing offensive to me about that comment. I am sure folks like Louis Farrakhan might have other thoughts, but he is not me nor does he represent me.

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