Recently I ran across an article about what Black Panther means for Christians which suggests that Black Panther could be a starting point for American Evangelicals in dialogue and reflection as they increasingly address concerns about diversity, reconciliation, and representation in their churches and the church at large. The bigger black story reflected in Black Panther also leads us to ask how that narrative challenges, affirms, or ignores elements of the Christian story. Black Panther does have something to say about the black diaspora that is directly relevant to church and its mission.
At the heart of the film lies the question: What are those with resources (the Wakandans) going do about black suffering in the world? The film posits three responses: violent black nationalism, isolationist black nationalism, and an engaged nationalism that addresses the rest of the world. We must remember that people need the bread of life and actual bread and actual jobs that give them the dignity of providing bread for their loved ones.The article goes on to point out that, in a telling encounter, T’Chaka tells his son that it is hard for a good man to be king. We know that it is only the truly good man who can be king. The story of that kingship is big enough to encompass a real acknowledgment of our sins—individual and corporate, present and historic—along with real hope for reconciliation.
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – Mat 15:22-28
This passage shows the incredible faith that the Canaanite Woman has. However, many scholars have studied this passage and some are brave enough to critique the words that Jesus says to the Canaanite woman. The word Jesus uses in verse 26 is often viewed as a derogatory and mean word. In this way, when it comes to race issues in society today, can we challenge ourselves to , Like Dr. Williamson does, to do even better than Jesus and avoid using derogatory terms.
In this broadcast of The Faith We Sing, in honor of black history month, Miranda and I explored themes of microaggressions, oppression, and freedom through a range of scripture, musical genres, both christian and secular, and popular media and arts, including Black Panther, which was released on February 16, 2018, creating social media buzz well before its release