Zoe Center
Name It and Claim It – Part 5
Archived – March 8, 2020

Name It and Claim It – Part 5

March 8, 2020


  • Last week, we looked at the between the Word of Faith doctrine and race.
  • Specifically, we began to explore what it meant to link the movement to the African-American church.
  • This is important because if the prosperity movement is to have value, it must translate into realities.
  • In order to address these realities, there must be a discussion of , among which is race.
  • We are a church with some , but whose membership is predominately African-American.
  • Our church is located in a that is largely non-African-American.
  • We are a church that will be raising its significantly over the next several months, which means we anticipate growth.
    • Who will those new be and from where will they be driving?
    • How many of them will be local and how many of them will be ?
    • How many of them will be and how many of them will not?

  • The African-American cultural is an undeniable feature of this church’s foundations and legacy.
  • It is the in a gumbo that has the potential to become increasingly diverse with new and varied ingredients.
  • At this church, the African-American experience is the paper for a gift God is sending to Whittier and the world.
  • However, inside the box is a balm that will restore to health all who are open to receive, whether they are African-American or not.
  • This church will be like a who treats who enters the building with top-notch care.
  • It will also be one that calls attention to the specific needs of African Americans.

Finding Our Story in the Jewish Story

  • We’ve discussed how the prosperity message invites us to find our in the Jewish blessing.
  • African Americans have historically looked at the Jewish story to their own story. (Deuteronomy 6:20-23).
  • The parallels are complicated because the nature of slavery is not just .
  • Its power has as much to do with as it does to law and physical force (Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death):
    • no humanity (Social Death)
    • no family (Natal Alienation)
    • no honor (General Dishonor)
  • While this has been true historically about most forms of slavery around the world, the global use of African slaves maximized this power.
  • and are just as powerful as sticks and stones—and sometimes even more powerful.
  • Understanding this will give you a different on the nature of racism.

A History of the Word Black

Englishmen found in the idea of blackness a way of expressing some of their most ingrained values. No other color except white conveyed so much emotional impact. As described by the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning of black before the sixteenth century included, ‘Deeply stained with dirt; soiled, dirty, foul. . . . Having dark or deadly purposes, malignant; pertaining to or involving death, deadly; baneful, disastrous, sinister. . . . Indicating disgrace, censure, liability to punishment, etc.’ Black was an emotionally partisan color, the handmaid and symbol of baseness and evil, a sign of danger and repulsion. Embedded in the concept of blackness was its direct opposite—whiteness. No other colors so clearly implied opposition. . . .White and black connoted purity and filthiness, virginity and sin, virtue and baseness, beauty and ugliness, beneficence and evil, God and the devil” (Winthrop D. Jordan, The White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States, Oxford UP, 1974, p.6).

  • The body became a symbol for everything —and hence the rest of the world—feared about themselves.
  • The became the symbol of a creature, the name of which is so vilifying, it has been eliminated from our notes.
  • Hence, from slavery is more than what happened at the end of the Civil War.
  • Understanding it requires a fundamental shift in how we think about African and .

Building A Real Wakanda

  • Getting into the promised land requires being attentive to God’s (Deuteronomy 6:23-25; Proverbs 1:20-23; John 1:1; John 1:14; John 7:37-39).
  • We have to for wisdom from the Holy Spirit the way Wakandans mined for Vibranium and real African kingdoms sought wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-7; I Corinthians 2:7-10).

Askia Muhammad, King of the West African Kingdom

of Songhay, 1493-1529

When Askia Muhammad, a Muslim, made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1497. . . .he and his followers conversed with doctors, mathematicians, scientists, and scholars, and they learned much about how to improve the administration of the government, how to codify the laws of Songhay, how to foster industry and trade, and how to raise the intellectual level of the country. . . .Traders from Europe and Asia visited the markets of Gao, which was the political center of Songhay and home of its royal dynasty, and Timbuktu, which was an important place of learning. . . .It was in education that Askia Muhammad made his most significant reforms. Not only Timbuktu, but also Gao, Walata, and Jenne became intellectual centers where the most learned scholars of West Africa concentrated. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a distinctly Sudanese literature was emerging. Timbuktu’s University of Sankore offered studies in grammar, geography, law, literature and surgery” (John Hope Franklin and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, From Slavery to Freedom, A History of African Americans, 9th Edition, 2011. p. 16)

  • The Holy Spirit is our .
  • and God-seeking are connected (II Chronicles 26:4-5; II Chronicles 26:7-10; II Chronicles 26:15).
  • God’s wisdom leads to and prosperity. (Proverbs 3:1-10; Proverbs 3:13-18).
  • When we are wise in our dealings, we can the curse:
    • From servant to ruler (Proverbs 17:2)
    • From poverty to royalty (I Samuel 2:8)
    • The Joseph Story (Genesis 37:27-28; Genesis 41:37-44)
    • The Esther Story (Esther 2:8-9; Esther 2:12-15; Esther 2:16-17)
    • The Daniel Story (Daniel 1:1; Daniel 1:3-5; Daniel 2:46-49; Daniel 6:1-3)

Dr. Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2020

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