Quotes from Cone


I posted this lecture a couple of months ago, but just tonight I was able to listen to it:


Here are some quotes:

“The classic Christian view of the cross claims to know too much about how salvation is accomplished and thus removes the element of mystery in our understanding of salvation. The cross therefore needs to be rescued, that is liberated from the superficial piety of Christians because their transformed cross blinds them from seeing the true meaning of the one who was crucified on Calvary’s hill. Unless the cross and the lynching tree are seen together there can be no genuine understanding of Christian identity in American and no healing of the racial divide in churches and seminaries as well in the society as a whole. I know that the cross and the lynching tree are not comfortable subjects to talk about together. Who wants to think about lynched black bodies in church worship or when doing a theological reflection of Bonheoffer’s question of who is Jesus Christ for us today. This is exactly what I contend what the gospel requires Christians to do, especially preachers and theologians. I claim that no American Christian, white, black, or any other color, can understand correctly the full theological meaning of the American Christ without identifying his image with the re-crucified black body hanging from the lynching tree.”

“The gospel is not derived from this world because it is not a human word, not a pious feeling, or sophisticated idea that comes from the intellect.”

“The gospel is God’s message of liberation to an unredeemed and tortured world. The word of God is also offensive. It is not a word we want to hear even thought we say we do, God’s word is not a popular word, not a successful word, not an entertaining word, the gospels is the word of the cross, a lynched word hanging from a tree.”

“When one considers how corrupt and misguided Christian preachers and theologians have used the cross of Jesus to oppress marginal people, especially women and children, urging them to be passive and accept their suffering in the home, church, and society. When I hear all that, who can blame womanist and feminist theologians for saying no more crosses for me?”

“God’s cross is the most loving symbol of God’s solidarity with the least of these.”

“Christ is black because he is made black through God’s loving solidarity with lynched black bodies, and divine judgment against the demonic forces of white supremacy. Like a naked black body swinging on a lynching tree, the cross of Christ was an utterly offensive affair, obscene in the original sense, subjecting the victim to an utmost indignity and torture. A crucified Jesus and lynched black bodies were not pretty objects to look out, that’s why Christians transformed the cross into a sacred fashion symbol and seldom show images of lynching, but the trauma of lynching lives on in the blood and bones of black people.”

“Jesus did not want to die on the cross, and blacks did not want to be lynched and hung on a tree, but the evil forces of the Roman state and white supremacy in America willed it. Yet God took the evil of the cross and the lynching tree upon the divine self and transformed both into the triumphant beauty of the divine. If American has the courage to confront the great sin and ongoing legacy of white supremacy with repentance and reparations then there is hope beyond the tragedy, hope for whites and blacks and all human kind, and hope beyond the lynching tree.”


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