Friday, March 26, 2010
C. Eric Lincoln
i started reading another book by C. Eric Lincoln entitled The Black Muslims in America. which, i didn't notice until after i checked it out, that it was written by C. Eric Lincoln, author of another book i read a while back- The Negro Church in America/The Black Church since Frazier. i was not able to get through all of it at the time, so i think i only got through Frazier's portion of the book.
since then, i've learned more about Lincoln. he died in 2000, and helped (Frazier being the only other black to delve into the field) show that black religion is a field worth studying. many people simply assume that blacks are christians, and a few are muslims, and thats the sum of it. but thats a gross oversimplification.
for example, in the book with Lincoln and Frazier, Frazier suggests that "shouting" in black churches is really a continuation of spirit possession in Africa. one strength (among many) in this claim is that this rarely, if at all, happens at non-black churches. and if you haven't been to a black church, you probably have no idea what i'm talking about. luckily, i've found some youtube videos to assist you. this is one video of a woman, here's another one (cut to about 1:40 in), and this one too (about 2:48 in). i cannot find a video of animal possession in any African tribes, but i have seen many watching the Travel Channel or The Discovery Channel. not only in Africa, but in tribes in New Zealand and Australia as well. they dance in almost the exact same way, while imitating whatever animal they are supposedly possessed by.
that being said though, i was telling my friend Yvette about Frazier's claim and she said that she's been to Mexican churches and white churches in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas that do the same type of "shouting". having shouting in Mexican or Mexican American churches doesn't refute Frazier's claim, considering they are partially African, however, i have never heard that whites do it too, but i did find a video of a white man doing it here. this may be caused by influence from black churches though....it it could mean that Frazier's claim is faulty. i'm open to either outcome, though. so give me your perspective/argument/experiences within your churches or former churches.
anyway, i think i want to do what Lincoln did to a subject. right now, i'm not currently in school, but i'm registered under the Philosophy major. but i might change that once i get serious about school (which may be soon). i plan on changing it to Religious Studies with maybe a minor in Anthropology. Lincoln went into groups like southern baptists and non-denominational churches, and the Nation of Islam, spoke to the ministers and congregations, and made controversial or new theories about religion, about blacks, about the meandering of religion (specifically that of the oppressed adopting the religions of the oppressors)and about American society. i pretty much want his job. the field of religion is the perfect balance between Anthropology and Philosophy-two of the most interesting subjects ever. we tend to underestimate the power that religion and personal philosophies play in society as a whole.
comment. criticize Frazier or Lincoln. give me you stories about your churches (current or former).