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Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective
     

Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective

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by Kelly B. Douglas
 

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ISBN-10: 1570752427

ISBN-13: 9781570752421

Pub. Date: 10/28/2003

Publisher: Orbis Books

Part One determines why sexuality has become a "taboo" issue for the Black church and community. Douglas examines the function of sexuality in White culture and the denigration and exploitation of Black sexuality through a discussion of White cultural myths, stereotypes, laws and customs concerning Black women and men. Part Two studies how Blacks have responded to

Overview

Part One determines why sexuality has become a "taboo" issue for the Black church and community. Douglas examines the function of sexuality in White culture and the denigration and exploitation of Black sexuality through a discussion of White cultural myths, stereotypes, laws and customs concerning Black women and men. Part Two studies how Blacks have responded to sexual myths and stereotypes by retreating into silence on the subject of sexuality. In this section, Douglas discusses the function and role of sexuality in the Black church and community, homophobia/heterosexuality and how Black sexuality is portrayed in Black fictional literature. Finally, she explores the importance of sexuality and sexual discourse to the Christian theological mandate and to Black churches.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570752421
Publisher:
Orbis Books
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Pages:
155
Sales rank:
885,236
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

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Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a relatively short book, Douglas delves into remarkable particularities and manages to compress centuries of complex history into a mere 143 pages. As a womanist theologian and scholar, she approaches this task with an indubitable eye for critical historical nuances that might escape a less experienced observer. The reader comes away more acutely aware that a history of Black sexuality could not be accurately explicated apart from the threads of White domination that are interwoven into the fabric of Black people¿s concepts of and attitudes toward human sexuality. With carefully crafted text and sufficient historical detail to inform but not overwhelm, Kelly Brown Douglas achieved well her first two aims. She does so, however, at the sacrificial expense of a much broader argument: the lingering question of the theological positioning of homosexuality in the Black Church. Sexuality and the Black Church is not necessarily a lay person¿s book. The language is scholarly; terms such as intransigence, hegemony, impugned, efficacy, and contextuality, simply do not surface in everyday conversation. Aside from Black theologians and other academicians, who is her intended audience? Will the ¿average Black preacher¿ be stimulated or repelled by her scholarly treatment of the subject matter? Will her taking a liberative ethic from womanist theology and applying it to Black sexuality, particularly to the perpetual disputations concerning sexual orientation, encourage them? Does her presumptuous terminology suggest a monolith of Black thought and corporate will that do not actually exist? Will her readers be able to pinpoint exactly to whom she is referring with the terms (since she does not define them) ¿Black Church¿ and ¿Black community¿? Will they be repelled by her blanket indictment as ¿homophobic¿, i.e., bigoted, all who oppose homosexuality? As impediments to the Church¿s response to HIV/AIDS, Douglas failed to mention prostitution and drug abuse, both of which are consistently cited in the Church¿s teachings on sinful behavior, and both of which are highly contributory to the risk of HIV infection. Up to and through the first five chapters, Douglas lays out a rather systematic floor plan of White cultural domination and Black response to it. In Chapter Six, however, she falls short of the promised goal implied in her call to action. While she was clear in suggesting Black literature and popular culture as supplements to the Bible in promoting a sexual discourse of resistance, she was ambiguous at best in delineating strategies for achieving the change she so stringently demands. In other words, her own discourse falls apart. It could be that Douglas was more radical in her coverage of history than in her call for action and strategies for change. She calls for a flexible approach to premarital sex and other sexual expressions while decrying the increase in teen pregnancy and urban despair. Douglas offered no moral imperative for holding sexual and other forms of abuse in check. This weakened her platform and clouded the identification of standards to which Black Church leadership might be held accountable. The suggestions Douglas offers as conduits for liberation ¿ literature, music/movie nights, Bible study, and preaching ¿ are not new, and have limited appeal for revitalizing the Black Church and community. Missing are the cultural innovations and spiritual stimulation that would signal community transformation. In addition, Douglas calls for disrupting the status quo, but falls short of addressing alternative, practical infrastructures for rebuilding Black family life, schooling, parenting, and for addressing social justice issues such as homelessness and unemployment, in the midst of such disruption. Other than discourse, she offers no foundation upon which to rebuild the community ¿norms¿ she is repudiating. Most notably, beyond a veiled shaming of the Church for its hist