God is a white man. Just consider the iconic “Creation of Adam” fresco in Michelangelo’s timeless Sistine Chapel ceiling. Take a look. See? There’s God, beard waving in the heavenly breeze, arm extended, creating Adam in his very white and very male image.
But what if God isn’t white? What if he isn’t male? What if images like this are simply culturally formed, contextualized ways that we refer to God? Is it possible that the uncritical appropriation of divine images in particular cultural dress could impede our understanding of God rather than being a medium for it?
The response, I think, is not to suppress the images of majority culture, still less to reject them. But it is to recognize their cultural limitations and to invite more voices into the conversation of theological reflection.
To that end, in this episode of the Tentative Apologist Podcast we will be having a conversation with Dr. Terry LeBlanc. Terry is a Mikmaq Acadian and has his doctorate in theology from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the CEO and Director of My People International and the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies. Terry regularly lectures around the world on indigenous theology and he recently sat down with me to shine some light on my, ahem, pale face theology.
For more from Terry you can watch this interview from the television program “100 Huntley Street”.