Course Description: When european colonizers arrived on the shores of Africa, they most often did so with guns and Bibles. Through lenses of patriarchy, racism, capitalism and other systems of domination Christianity became a tool of the oppressor and complicit with empire. Yet, through Hush Harbors, the civil rights movements and liberative theologies Black people living america have, at times, transformed the faith tradition into an anti-imperialist tool. We will interrogate Christianity in Africa that predates colonization as well as look at Christian scripture, practice and tradition and begin the work of reclaiming it’s spirituality independent of the logic of empire.
- To be able to articulate the modes of domination employed to utilize Christianity as a logic of colonization.
- To articulate Western thought’s influence on contemporary Christian teachings.
- To understand how the Black Diaspora has engaged Christianity through decolonized and librative practices.
- To reclaim anti- imperial approaches to Christian scriptures and practice.
- To reclaim ancestral ties to Christianity; both personally and culturally.
- To begin the process of healing spiritual trauma and decolonizing thought through reclaiming indigenous Christian thought, practice and spirituality.
Guiding questions: What is the use of decolonized scripture? What would it mean to extract colonization from Christian narratives? When we reclaim indigenous traditions, can Christianity be included in that? Can the site of oppression be the site on liberation? Can the site of trauma, be the site of healing?
Xan West considers herself a street theologian, a messy mystic, radical ritual holder, spiritual trauma healer and a black queer femme troublemaker. She is Director of Student Ministry at Trinity United Methodist Church where she enjoys inspiring resilience, preaching liberation and decolonizing scripture. She holds a Certificate of Spirituality & Social Change from the Pacific School of Religion. She was a 2016 Black Theology & Leadership Institute Fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2017, she facilitated a workshop on liturgical direct action for the Millennial Leadership Program at Union Theological Seminary. She is currently a member of the Young Leaders Cohort for the Mystic Soul Project, which is aimed at diversifying and reclaiming ancestral contemplative practice. Xan is a RISE TOGETHER Women of Color in Ministry mentee and contributor to Resipiscence: a Lenten Devotional for Dismantling White Supremacy and Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Black Voices on Activism, Resistance and Love. She is also a member of Second Acts, a direct action group of Jesus followers and 'feral Christians'. She can be found teaching direct action trainings, often from a liturgical perspective; preaching around the Bay Area about Black Lives Matter movements and millennial black liberation theologies or tossing money changers out of temples. Proud to have been born & raised in Oakland, Xan has over 20 years of experience in social justice movement work, mostly related to police accountability, queer rights and community healing. Lately, she just spends as much time as possible with her infant son, Glory.