Dr. Tony Bartlett

Dr. Tony Bartlett is the Theology & Peace Contributing Theologian. He blogs at the Theology and Peace Blog.

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Our Most Segregated Hour: Church, Black Theology & René Girard

by Dr. Tony Bartlett 04-24-2013
Tito Wong / Shutterstock

A back view of praying sister inside church. Tito Wong / Shutterstock

On March 31, 1968, a few short days before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

He spoke a phrase he had used on a number of occasions and which by now, 45 years later, has gained a hard proverbial ring: "Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of America."

The situation he described has stubbornly resisted any real movement, but the recent emergence of a radical theology dealing with violence itself is promising a crack in the walls that divide.

Black theologians such as James Cone and Kelly Brown Douglas have recognized the work of the theoretical anthropologist, RenĂ© Girard. They consider it one of the few frameworks able to illuminate the nature of the violence suffered by the African-American community.

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