Who gets to decide what "black questions" are? One black theologian? In practice, African-American academics can have a narrower orthodoxy than the most stringent whities out there. Just ask Bill Cosby.
This is one problem with contextual theologies. Who gets to decide what "black" or "hispanic" or "queer" theology is? Seems like this will always tend toward a totalizing and therefore unjust and unrepresentative view of all blacks or hispanics or LGBTers.
I think we should all just do Christian theology, but I'm old fashioned I suppose. Anytime theology's starting point is anthropocentric, we're set up to fail.
Pastormack, apparently one black theologian can't speak for black theology, but Bill Cosby can? Why? Because he's safe, and says things white people are comfortable with?
"Who gets to ask what black questions are?" I'm not certain Pastormack, but I am quite certain it isn't you or me.
And there is no such thing as "just Christian theology." That's not "old fashioned," it's a redaction of theology's own historic pluralism. "Just-whatever" is whatever is normative. Cone does a fabulous job of demonstrating how whiteness presumes its own objectivity.
[and my own normative white experience attests to that truth]
There is a need to respond to a certain kind of critical dismissal of Black Theology, typified by the statement of one distinguished theologian that blacks "are not free to violate the canon of exact reflection, careful weighing of evidence, and apt argument, if they want to make a case for other intellectually responsible listeners." Because theological discourse is universal, I am constrained to reply to this comment, serious despite its patronizing mood, by a fellow theologian. Because theology is also particular, my reply is (in brief) that he is wrong, and that he is wrong because his theological perspective is determined by his whiteness. He is saying nothing other than, "Unless you black people learn to think like us white folks, using our rules, then we will not listen to you." And that is bad theology. (7-8)
Point of fact, J. Kameron was my theology teacher, and one of the reasons I liked him is that he really had a foot in both the black church tradition and the orthodoxy of someone like Barth.
There is not just one "dominant narrative." Different schools of thought and circles have their own. There is certainly one in black and feminist theologies. I didn't suggest Cosby got to determine the questions because he "agreed" with white people (certainly not with white liberals, mind you). I simply implied that his views don't fit within the African-American paradigm as told by people like Cone and Dyson.
There is also a dominant narrative in feminist theology. Similar to black theology, it revolves around victimhood, but also has a lot to do with gender theory and the belief that naming gender as a sociological phenomenon is reason enough to believe one can either undo or transcend it.
Same story with queer theory (which I know next to nothing about). If it has anything in common with other contextual theologies, it has some seriously Marxist presuppositions. How would conservative, Republican homosexuals fit into that picture? (Yes, they exist)
See the point?
I also think that the view among some of the contextualists that there has never been a non-white, non-male voice in theology is far overplayed. Think about the women mystics. Augustine and Athanasius. Thecla.
Of course it is good that there is an increasingly representative number of theologians from across the globe. I simply think the starting point for theology should be God, in particular God in Christ who reconciles the world to himself. Starting anthropocentrically is to build a foundation of sand - the house can't stand. You start with the James Cone, but the logical endpoint is someone like Anthony Pinn.
And if it is not the outsider's role to critique the beliefs of others, then why, in your words, is OK that "Many contextual theologies purpose to exist specifically as critiques and counterbalances to the dominant narrative"?
While we are on the subject, Jonah was not an insider when the called on the Ninevites to repent.
Am I wrong, or are you saying it is perfectly OK for contextualists to rage against "the dominant narrative" but not OK to criticize how they go about it?