African-American Spirituals

“Spirituals are, of course, the songs that the enslaved crafted to tell the story of their experience. But more than that, to tell the story of their faith and the understanding of who they were in relationship to God, and who God was in relationship to them, and it became a story of freedom,” says Rev. Kelly Brown Douglass, Canon Theologian at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. More →

CHR Comment: The occasion of the article was a concert that presented spirituals. The article includes a video.

Source: African-American Spirituals | November 4, 2016 | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS

Free Hill Predates Civil War

Free Hill, Tenn., was around long before the Civil War but those who live there now worry it won’t last much longer.

CHR Comment: The Free Hill black community was established when a slave owner freed her slaves in Tennessee. This remote community lived freely, though in poverty, while the rest of the nation fought over the issues of slavery and states’ rights. The article describes the local Church of Christ as the cornerstone of the community.

Source: Town founded by freed slaves celebrates 200 years

U.S. Southern Baptists Formally Repudiate Confederate Flag

The resolution calls for Southern Baptist churches to discontinue displaying the Confederate flag as a “sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ.”

CHR Comment: The quotation from the article seems confusing to me (see above). It implies that Southern Baptist churches were displaying the Confederate flag. Perhaps I have not spent enough time in the south but I have never seen a church of any denomination displaying the Confederate flag. No doubt members of Southern Baptist churches have flown the Confederate flag on their own property but that is not the same as raising such a flag over a church. If there is a reader of the blog who is from the south and has actually seen the Confederate flag displayed over a church, please add a comment about that experience.

The Baptists were not the only ones who divided over the issue of slavery. Similar denomination splits occurred among Presbyterians, Lutherans, and perhaps others.

Source: U.S. Southern Baptists Formally Repudiate Confederate Flag

Rescued Schoolgirl Enslaved by Boko Haram

The first of the over 200 Christian schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria, kidnapped by terror group Boko Haram nearly two years ago, has been found with a baby and reunited with her family, igniting hope for the parents of the other girls as well.

CHR Comment: The Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014. The young mother pictured above is the first to appear out of the Sambisa Forest where the girls were taken, though she reported that the others were still there except those who had died. The man who appeared with the Chibok schoolgirl claimed to be her husband. It is believed that kidnapped and enslaved Christian girls were taken as brides for the militants.

Many news organizations carried this story but did not report that the girls were Christians.

Source: First Christian Chibok Schoolgirl Rescued After 2 Years of Being Enslaved by Boko Haram

Spanish Archbishop Sells Arawak Indian Slaves

A century ago, Christopher Columbus was considered the most glorious explorer in American history. Today, major cities are voting to eliminate the national holiday in his name. What happened?

Source: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial? – CSMonitor.com

Columbus brought Indians to Europe as slaves, which a church leader in turn sold. How did churchmen get into the business of slavery, which had all but died out during the medieval period? (Serfdom has similarities to slavery but also important differences.) The fact that this happened in Spain, which most keenly felt Muslim influence during the medieval period, should not be overlooked.