Origin
A SOURCEBOOK FOR EARTH'S COMMUNITY OF RELIGIONS
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A SourceBook for Earth's Community of Religions

Endorsements and Ordering
Foreword
Introduction to the Revised Edition

PART ONE
Who Are We?

CHAPTER 1
Making the Connections
The Global CoNexus
Foreword: Preparing for the Next Millennium
by Dr. Robert Muller
The Age of Interspiritual Community
by Brother Wayne Teasdale

CHAPTER 2
African Traditional Religions
Prayers and Religious Expressions
Zulu Traditional Religion
An Introduction to African Traditional Religions

CHAPTER 3
Baha'i
The Baha'i Faith - A Portrait

CHAPTER 4
Buddhism
Resources on Buddhism
A Statement by the Dalai Lama
Zen
Texts and Reflections
Buddhist Experience in North America
Buddhism: A Portrait

CHAPTER 5
Christianity
The Unitarian Universalist Church
A Call for Evangelical Renewal
Native American / Christian Worship
African American Christianity
Scriptures
Knowing God Through Creation
Christianity in the World Today
The Christian Family Tree
Christianity: Origins and Beliefs

CHAPTER 6
Confucianism
Confucianism: A Portrait

CHAPTER 7
First Peoples and Native Traditions
A Teaching from Tecumseh
Plastic Medicine Men
Native American Spirituality
First Peoples and Native Traditions

CHAPTER 8
Hinduism
Vedana, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda
Wisdom from the Hindu Tradition
Hinduism: A Portrait

CHAPTER 9
Humanism

CHAPTER 10
Islam
Resources
Golden Words of a Sufi Sheik
Islam in North America
Islam in the World Today
Islam: A Portrait

CHAPTER 11
Jainism
Gandhi
Ahimsa
Jain Prayers and Songs
Jainism: A Portrait

CHAPTER 12
Judaism
A Jewish Response to the Environmental Crisis
Judaism: A Portrait
The Worth of Wisdom

CHAPTER 13
Shinto
Shinto Texts with Commentary
Shinto

CHAPTER 15
Spiritual, Esoteric, and Evolutionary Philosophies
A Portrait of Theosophy
The Evolutionary Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
Anthroposophy
Toward a More Human Future
The Arcane School
Conscious Evolution - A Meta-Religion for the 21st Century
The Emergence of Maitreya

CHAPTER 16
Taoism
Taoism - A Portrait

CHAPTER 17
The Unification Church

CHAPTER 18
Wicca and Nature Spirituality
A Guide to Nature Spirituality Terms
A Portrait of Wicca

CHAPTER 19
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism

PART TWO
Becoming a Community of Religions

CHAPTER 20
Joining the Sacred Community
Poems by Children
Reflections on Community
The Cosmology of Religions
Sacred Community at the Dawn of the Second Axial Age

CHAPTER 21
Legacies of the Parliaments - 1893 and 1993
The Vision Beckons
Responses to the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions

CHAPTER 22
The 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions
Critical Issues
Statements from Co-Sponsors
Key Staff and Executive Summary

CHAPTER 25
Towards Spiritual Concord
Elements of a Universal Spirituality
Guidelines for Interreligious Understanding

CHAPTER 26
Interfaith Dialogue
The Rio de Janeiro Interfaith Network
The Dialogue Decalogue
A Grassroots Model
A Study Guide for Interreligious Understanding and Cooperation

CHAPTER 27
Facing Intolerance, Violence, and other Evils
Lutherans and Judaism - A New Possibility
Peace Teams - Their Time has Come
Nonviolent Response to Violence

PART THREE
Beyond Borders

PART FOUR
Choosing Our Future

PART FIVE
Resource Guides

CHAPTER 44
A Global Brain
A Guide to Selected Electronic and Internet Resources
Interfaith Networking on the Information Superhighway

EPILOGUE
Prayers, Scriptures and Reflections - From many Traditions
Toward a Global Spirituality
Moving Through the CoNexus
Concerning Acts of Creation

Concerning Acts of Creation


Native American / Christian Worship Scriptures

African American Christianity

by Dr. David D. Daniels Associate Professor of Church History, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois

African American Christianity is a religious community within global Christianity, located in the United States of America among the descendents of the African slaves who were violently transported to the Americas beginning in the 1500s. While it has always believed the common creeds of the Christian Church, the African American Christian community also recognizes that religion must be embodied in social structures and practices, and it demands correspondence between these social embodiments of faith in God with personal confessions and lives of faith.

The African American Church emerged in colonial British North America during the revolutionary fervor of the late 18th century. At that time, African Americans discerned the need for assuming responsibility for their religious lives within the Christian faith rather than totally entrusting their religious existence to their oppressors, the slaveholders of European national origins. The other major issue which promoted the emergence of African American Christianity was the institutional racism which shaped most American congregations. In these congregations, parishioners were segregated by race, and African Americans were denied the right to official religious leadership, including the office of minister.

Historically, the African American Church has struggled to create social space where a just system could be erected that affirms the human dignity of African Americans and their relationships with others. Currently, African American Christianity is an interdenominational movement with members in communions ranging from Roman Catholicism to Baptist and Pentecostal.

African American churches confess faith in God the Creator, accenting God's creation of all races from a common humanity. African Americans opened their congregations to all Christians regardless of race, and campaigned to end discrimination against persons because of race. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the African American Church buttressed its faith in God the Creator by confessing the essence of relationships as "The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man." The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., communicated the strength of African American Christian faith and demonstrated its resolve to embody its faith within social structures. The congregations spearheaded a national interreligious campaign which struggled to reshape American society; its goal was to dismantle the system of legalized segregation which denied God as the creator of all races and the image of God in all humanity.

African American Christians, as other Christians, confess faith in the providence of God. During the eras of slavery and segregation, African Americans remained confident that God was acting in history to overthrow slavery and segregation. They held in creative tension a firm belief in both personal and social salvation. The African American Church is shaped by God's revelation in Jesus Christ. Jesus is worshipped in song, prayer and life as the revelation of God's solidarity with the poor and oppressed through the historical Jesus' identification with poor, the outcast, women and the oppressed of the first century CE.

The African American Church identifies racial injustice as the social impact of sin. The impact of slavery and segregation as forms of racism is evident in the structuring and legalizing of an inferior or less-than-human status of African Americans, beneath their God-given status and creation as human beings. The African American Church weds God's goodness to the African American practice of Christian love, along with strong demands for justice; these are seen as keys to the social embodiment of faith in God the Creator and glimpses of the justice of God in society.

Racism, specifically slavery and segregation, is named as the curse of the earth, a violation of God's model of human interaction, a model which reflects God's justice and love which is to be reflected in human relationships. Racism is problematic because it reduces persons who are its victims to objects of labor. It arrogantly uncreates what God created -- the humanity of its victims -- thus blaspheming God. Racism violates creation by treating people as less than human. The issue goes beyond the denial of inalienable human rights, inhumane labor, restriction of freedoms or cruel treatment. At its core is the attempt to destroy the image of God in persons, annihilating the personhood of its victims. Ultimately, racism mars both the oppressed and the oppressor through its confusion of human authority with the prerogatives and authority of the Creator. Racism also undermines the bonds of human community and corrupts the religions and governments which sanction it.

Interreligious dimensions

In addition to the interreligious dimension of the Civil Rights Movement, African American Christianity has indirectly created religious communities with Judaism and Islam through African Americans who adopted Jewish and Islamic beliefs and practices.

From African American Christianity there emerged in the 1890s a new movement which was led by converts to Judaism. While these converts borrowed heavily from Judaism, their core remained African American Christianity. Even the early names of their organizations within African American Judaism reflected Christian forms: Church of God and Saints of Christ; Church of the Living God. Other names, reflecting themes of identity were Ethiopian Hebrews and the Moorish Zionist Temple. During the late 20th century, dialogues with the world Jewish communities led African American Judaism to incorporate more aspects of Global Judaism.

In the 1910s there emerged a new movement within Islam led by converts from African American Christianity. Like African American Judaism, it relied on African American Christianity for its form, but borrowed heavily from Islam. This religious community is represented by such organizations as the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam and the American Muslim Mission.

The African American Church has provided an historic witness to the justice and sovereignty of God within the world community, identifying with many movements committed to the liberation of peoples from oppression. It has historically had dialogue with movements such as the Hindu-inspired decolonization campaign in India led by Gandhi and the Islam-inspired Palestinian liberation movement. Each endeavor worships God by bringing correspondence between the embodiment of faith in social structures and humane relationships, with personal confession and lives of faith.

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