Willie Jennings's After Whiteness: Belonging, Intimacy, and Resisting White Masculinity / Matt Croasmun
Play • 9 min

Matt Croasmun honors theologian Willie Jennings and his work in After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. Willie Jennings is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale Divinity School.

Show Notes

  • Willie Jennings, After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging
  • Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum
  • “Be ware the hidden curriculum."
  • White, self-sufficient masculinity: "a way of being that conflates knowing with owning, holding up possession, mastery, and control (vices all) as virtues” and “an ideal we cannot achieve"
  • Racial paterfamilias: conflating person and property
  • Beyond education
  • Mutual belonging and deep connection
  • Quote from After Whiteness: The cultivation of belonging should be the goal of all education. Not just any kind of belonging, but a profoundly creaturely belonging that performs the returning of the creature to the creator and a returning to an intimate and erotic energy that drives life together with God. These words, intimacy and eroticism, have been so commodified and sexualized that we, Christians have turned away from them and fear that they irredeemably signify sexual antinomianism, moral chaos, and sin, or at least the need to police, such words and the power of they invoke. But intimacy and eroticism speak of our birthright formed in the body of Jesus and the protocols of braking sharing, touching, tasting, and seeing the goodness of God. There at his body, the spirit joins us in an urgent work, forming a willing spirit in us that is eager to hold and to help, to support and to speak, to touch and to listen, gaining through this work, the deepest truths of creaturely belonging: that we are erotic souls. No body that is not a soul, no soul that is not a body, no being without touching, no touching without being. This is not an exclusive Christian truth, but a truth of the creature that Christian life is intended to witness."

About Willie Jennings

Willie Jennings is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Africana Studies, and Religious Studies at Yale University; he is an ordained Baptist minister and is author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race,Acts: A Commentary, The Revolution of the Intimate, and most recently, After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. You can hear him in podcast episodes 7 and 13 of For the Life of the World.

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