Dwight Hopkins is an appointed American Baptist curate and an Associate Professor of Theology at the Divinity School. University of Chicago. He earned his Bachelor of Humanistic disciplines from Harvard University in 1976. He has earned his Maestro of Divinity ( 1984 ) . Maestro of Philosophy ( 1987 ) . and his PhD ( 1988 ) from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. In 2000. he besides earned his 2nd PhD from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He has authored many articles and books sharing his thoughts and research findings about modern-day divinity. black divinity and release divinities.
He includes cultural. political. economic. and interpretative attacks in his survey of spiritual idea. Hopkins is the Communications Coordinator for the International Association of Black Religions and Spiritualities. a Ford Foundation sponsored planetary undertaking. He is besides co-editor of Global Voices for Gender Justice and Cut Loose Your Bumbling Tongue: black divinity in the slave narrations. II. Overview of Content In “Down. Up & A ; Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology” Hopkins stated that the experiences of enslaved African Americans were the footing of the spiritual pattern and religion of African Americans today.
The book offers a historical and spiritual background back uping this claim. He discussed how these spiritual patterns came approximately and how they shaped and transformed the African American mentality from “slaves” to God’s sacred creative activity. The first portion of the book discussed the formation of religion of African Americans and Euro-Americans. He related the different positions of God and humanity between the inkinesss from Africa and the Whites from Europe. Harmonizing to Hopkins. white divinity tried to animate African Americans as inferior existences. They believe the inkinesss are 2nd category citizens whose exclusive intent is to function them.
Based on this belief. Euro-Americans instituted bondage. They used black people for their ain net income. They exercised hegemony and control over the inkinesss. They take advantage of their strength to construct churches and other architectural undertakings that could heighten the white’s manner of life. On the other manus. African Americans have counter positions of divinity. They draw inspiration from their spiritual patterns and the instructions of the Bible to emancipate them from captivity and happen their ain sense of individuality. Harmonizing to their surveies. they are God’s creative activity every bit much as their oppressors.
As God’s kids. have intents as human existences and it is their duty to happen that intent. God did non make them to be somebody else’s slaves. They were born free. God. the spirit of release. wants them to liberate themselves from captivity. They can maximise their possible and serve God better as free citizens. With this mentality. the African Americans untiringly struggled for their rightful topographic point on Earth as God’s creative activity. This deep-seated belief is an built-in portion of the African American religion. It has sustained their battle for release for more than two centuries.
The 2nd portion of the book expounded on the foundations of the black divinity. Hopkins wrote approximately God as the Spirit of entire release for us. God did non mean for any race or colour to claim control over other creative activities. He explained how the African Americans came to see their battle for freedom as their battle for their God-given human rights. He besides wrote approximately Jesus as the spirit of entire release with us. The enslaved African Americans looked at the life of Jesus as an inspiration. They found symbolisms that acted as ushers in their manner to freedom.
Jesus symbolizes their predicament as hapless people contending for release. His decease was interpreted as the decease of subjugation. The Resurrection corresponds to the birth of the new ego. the liberated ego. For them. God will salvage them from slavery the same manner He saved the universe from wickedness. The African Americans viewed subjugation as a impermanent agony and believe that in the terminal. God’s truth would predominate. This religion in the will of God strengthened them in their battle. God will present them from their evil oppressors and they will be saved from bondage.
However. to be delivered. they know they have to stand up for themselves. They are responsible for supporting themselves from bondage. They know God merely helps those who help themselves. so they labored to obtain their redemption. Last. Hopkins wrote about human intent or the spirit of release in us. He reasoned that human existences are created free. As creative activities. it is their responsibility and right to contend against subjugation and accomplish their full potency. This vision inspired in the African Americans a unique and defying spiritual belief and sense of God that sustained them during their battle for freedom.
The book besides expounds on the African Americans strong sense of their human worth. Despite the interventions they received from their slave Masterss. they ne’er lose sight of their significance. To them. they are God’s creative activity and that makes them sacred and particular. These are unconditioned characteristics of their humanity and cipher can take that off from them. These spiritual beliefs have transcended that epoch and left a permanent imprint still manifested in the spiritual patterns of African Americans in modern-day times.
Black divinity shaped by the experiences of the enslaved African Americans gave birth to the philosophies still followed in African American churches today. III. Evaluation Black divinity as people pattern today had risen from the ashes of African American battle against oppressive Euro-Americans during the period 1619 to 1865. It is a bequest Born of the people’s built-in desire to be free to populate their ain lives and exercise their humanity. This is a repeating subject that can be traced from the pages of the Old Testament to the newspapers and diaries of modern-day times.
It is an eternal subject and though the times had changed and the battle has taken different signifiers. the issue remained- release from subjugation. Freedom is a birthright and people will ever stand up and battle for that right. Protestantism as they practiced during this epoch provided two different readings for the two different races. White persons from Europe used the instructions of the Bible to enslave the African Americans. Harmonizing to their reading. the inkinesss belong to a lower category of people and their intent is to function them. This non merely validated bondage but has given it a spiritual background.
Taken from this context. it is easy to understand why bondage was acceptable that clip. For the Euro-Americans. bondage is based on the instructions of the Bible. hence God Himself must O.K. of the subjugation. Ironically and fortuitously. the enslaved African Americans did non larn the same when they studied the Bible. Alternatively of credence of their alleged subservient nature. they learned they are God’s creative activity and have every bit much right as their oppressors. This realisation challenged them to set up their individuality as God’s kids and battle for their rightful topographic point in this universe.
They realized God meant for them to be free and He wants them to contend for that freedom. This is a authoritative illustration of the differences in scriptural readings that still govern the different faiths in the universe today. The instructions of the Bible had given rise to different readings and patterns. One man’s unorthodoxy is somebody else’s belief. This component of faith has resulted to contentions and statements. From the African American experience. we can surmise that it was the alternate reading that made the difference for them.
By encompassing their ain version and flinging that of their Masterss. the “slaves” were able to pull the inspiration and strength they needed in their battle. They gained inspiration from the life of the Prophetss and Jesus to contend for release. For them. God is watching them and steering them in their conflict against the oppressive immorality forces that has imprisoned them to an inferior being. It was a battle between good and evil and the cognition that they are the good force and God was at their side inspired the inkinesss to maintain contending for their release.
Despite enslavement. we can garner that African Americans enjoyed at least one of the dogmas of democracy we enjoy today. the freedom of faith. Oppression and bondage were non able to halt them from detecting their ain faith and holding a set of beliefs. Finding the freedom to show their belief must hold been hard plenty. To detect something contrary to the strong beliefs of their slave Masterss must hold been disputing. This trouble merely manifests the deepness of their unquestioning religion in God and in their built-in worth as God’s sacred creative activity.
Religion besides awakened in them an consciousness of their humanity and human intent. As God’s creative activity. they have a particular topographic point on Earth. They have a intent for being here. This developed the desire to happen their ain individuality. Having established the fact that they are particular existences with a intent and function in this life. they took it upon themselves to contend for that right. God wants them to get the better of the evil forces that imprisoned them. As God’s kids. it is their responsibility to suppress the enemies that suppresses their full humanity.
For them. it is an duty to play their functions to the best of their ability. It is their responsibility to populate up to God’s outlooks of His kids. They have to utilize their God-given potencies to convey Him glorification. IV. Integration and Application Today. freedom had come in so many forms- freedom of faith. freedom from subjugation. freedom from poorness. war. hungriness and many more. Despite its many signifiers. the battle for freedom as we know today is merely an abridged and superficial version of what people like the African Americans strived for during the bondage epoch.
Down. Up and Under provides a background for a deeper apprehension and grasp of the predicament of the enslaved black people. The spiritual return on the battle offered a new position non merely in the survey of Black Theology but in looking at history every bit good. The connexion between the enslaved African American spiritual patterns to today’s Black Theology presents a heritage that non merely African Americans but all of us need to prize and continue. It is so easy to take things like this for granted given all the privileges afforded to us in today’s coevals.
The African American battle symbolizes unconditioned religion in God and His program for His kids. It is a bequest of love and religion. paid for with more than two centuries of battle and subjugation. One does non necessitate to be an African American to be moved by such dedication. The firm religion in God and His love and support shown by the African Americans is genuinely an inspiration. Anyone enduring from life’s trials or uncertainties of religion can truly look back to this experience and happen enlightenment and motive. Another lesson that has genuinely touched a chord is their committedness to their functions as God’s creative activity.
The African Americans believed they are God’s kids and they did whatever it took to contend for their birthright. They did non let their captivity to do them experience inferior. To them. Euro-Americans can do slaves out of them but they can non do them lesser human existences. Alternatively of give uping. they held on to their ego worth. God made them particular and cipher can take that off from them. Furthermore. they know that birthright comes with duty. As God’s kids. it is their responsibility to happen and progress their human intents. They know they were non created to be slaves.
They know they can make better things than serve other people’s selfish demands. They know as retainers. they are non giving their maximal possible as people. They know God created them for a better intent and they fought for the freedom to be able to make that. Down. Up and Under did non merely heighten my grasp and apprehension of the experience African Americans endured during subjugation. it has besides provided a new position in looking at today’s alone Black Theology. The book provided an penetration that is both enriching and animating non merely for the survey of black divinity but in the survey of divinity as a whole.
Aside from its academic part. this book awakens the spirit of freedom and ego worth which are God’s unconditioned gifts to each and every one of us. It besides reminds me of God’s equal and unmarred judgement that exceeds the superficial criterions of this universe. Furthermore. it calls for the duty to seek our human intents and act on that to convey glorification to our Creator. BIBLIOGRAPHY Hopkins. Dwight. Down. Up and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress. 1999.