Autopsy of Colonialism, Call to adventure and transcendent idealism, Dare to go after transcendent truth, Dense debris of hubris, Image Magazine, Imagination, Paradigm dissolving love, Sacramental Imagination, Transcendent Truth, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
In a recent edition of Image magazine, Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was interviewed in response to her “autopsy of colonialism” – a keynote address given at the conference on colonial histories hosted in Berlin, October 2020.
What caught my attention is Owuor’s response to this question by Image:
Image: After so much evil and violence done in the name of Christ’s kingdom, I’ve known many young people, especially in the United States and Canada, who want nothing to do with Christianity as a result. What would you say to them?
YAO: Tough one, that. I would say this: dare to rescue God as Emmanuel from the dense debris of hubris, and from the weight and stench of whited sepulchers. For it is true, an excess of ghouls have appropriated for themselves the meaning and potency of the revolutionary One who dares to pronounce to humanity, “Love your enemies… Do good to those who hate you.”
Why should young people let themselves be revulsed by a legion who never fully entered into the depths of the subversive, seductive, paradigm-dissolving, drinking-and-hanging-out-with-sinners, beautiful, and heroic man-God? Why wouldn’t young people set out to experience for themselves the grand and compelling epic of a creator God in love, who loses his children and the earth to a defiant and rebellious once-beloved prince of light, and who struggles long and hard to regain the humanity he had loved and lost? So passionate and desperate is the creator in this endeavor that he will enter into humanity to try to court and secure these cherished children, even at the risk of his own murder—and even that does not stop the love. A love stronger than death? Don’t we all write anthems, in one form or another, yearning for this?
Let the next generation of seekers strip themselves of the extraneous stuff. Let them dare to go after transcendental truth on truth’s terms. Let them also visit old worlds that contain the spirit of the faith, not just in the Middle East, but also northern Africa, northern Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia, all those rubbed-out places (that colonialists presumed to suggest they were “civilizing”) from which Christianity entered into and transformed Europe and the world… Let the young liberate themselves from the error of thinking that Christianity is a European invention—maybe this is true of Protestantism with its (largely) abandonment of the sacramental imagination. An historical quest for meaning at sites of origins might inspire young people to look again at the call to adventure and transcendent idealism that is the Way.
For the full interview see “A God Who Wails and Dances.”
the grand and compelling epic of a creator God in love
I suppose it takes an African woman of colour to speak to this question with balance and insight to the falseness of colonialism practiced, as she says, “by a legion who never fully entered into the depths of the subversive, seductive, paradigm-dissolving, drinking-and-hanging-out-with-sinners, beautiful, and heroic man-God.”
How about you? Do you, after so much evil and violence done in the name of Christ’s kingdom, want nothing to do with Christianity as a result? Or can you rescue God as Emmanuel (meaning “God with us”) from the dense debris of your own hubris?
Dare to go after transcendent truth on truth’s terms.
If you are willing to seek God despite the dense debris of hubris, you will find God is doing the rescuing of you.