Wakanda, Blackness, and the Kingdom of God

Black Panther poster

Like so many others, black people in particular, I have waited for the “Black Panther” movie for a long time. I was not a comic book reader as a kid, but the Marvel universe and its heroes have grown on me. Regarding this particular hero and story, my recent trips to Africa gave me a desire to see more of the continent’s beauty brought to the big screen for all the world to see. Additionally, I am a fan of many of the all-star cast’s bodies of work. The line-up included Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o, Academy nominees Daniel Kaluuya and (my favorite) Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and break-out performances by Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira.

I love that this movie allows the world to see and celebrate a world where a community’s black identity is good all by itself. And I love how this movie gives us glimpses of our forgotten church history, including the present and future kingdom of God.

In Wakanda, Black Identity is “Very Good”

Upon my first viewing of the film, I thought, “This is what some white people in America are afraid of…”

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

 

 

An Interview with Jo Saxton

Jo Saxton 2

Interview with Jo Saxton

 

Today, I have a special treat for you. I’m doing an interview with Jo Saxton, a leader I’m honored to know. You might recall that I posted a review of her new book, “The Dream of You” recently on the blog. Now I’m digging into some of the questions I had while reading it. I pray this will encourage you.  

 

Natasha: Jo, you have quite an interesting story. You speak all over the country and have become known as the “Nigerian Brit,” can you share a little bit about that story, and how your name changed from Modupe to Jo?

 

I call myself a Nigerian Brit because both play a fundamental role in my identity. I’m a Yoruba Nigerian, and my parents moved to England in the 1960’s. Many of my formative years were spent growing up among a wide Nigerian community in London. Nigerian food, Nigerian sounds, Nigerian cultural practices. That was my norm.

 

Nonetheless, London is my hometown; and it’s a diverse and cosmopolitan city. Its where I grew up, made friends, had crushes on local boys; I walked its streets and loved it. I feel such a visceral connection to London because its shaped me too. Still the London I grew up in is eclectic, much more so than the pictures of England captured in shows like Downton Abbey or The Crown.

 

My London includes Buckingham palace with the royal family, and Big Ben and tourist attractions, but it’s also Brixton market with its Ankara materials and meats and fruit. My London is fish and chips, and chicken tikka masala and jolloff rice. Its hanging out at the local pub and the local hair salon, knowing they house two different cultural worlds. Its reading Shakespeare, Ben Okri and Zadie Smith. Its Wham & Shalamar, soul music and Seal, as my elders dance to Sunny Ade again. All of that is the London I called my home.

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Why You Should Not Say, “The poor will be with you always.”

“Poverty is not a sin.”

 

He spoke these words boldly, as if he was saying something prophetic. Then he gave a pregnant pause, and waited for the audience to delight at this great revelation. These were the words uttered by a pastor while I was attending a workshop at a church planning conference for leaders. While this statement is true, I didn’t find the words that followed particularly insightful.

He approached the topic of poverty in the same way that I have heard many American pastors and Christians quote the scripture:

“The poor will be with you always…”

When I hear both of these statements, particularly in the contexts in which they were given, I have great concern that the pastors are not challenging themselves or their hearers to respond to poverty in any tangible way. The problem with these holy references is they are both incomplete, and an incomplete truth can be just as harmful as a lie.

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