Sunday, 18 November 2012

The cross and the lynching tree: an AAR panel set to verse

Tonight's AAR panel on James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree was quite an experience. We heard from J. Kameron Carter, Christopher Morse, Nate Kerr, and James Cone. Here's an account of the panel, told in four poems:


Lynching Tree Blues (J. Kameron Carter)

Take him down (poor boy) from the tree,
Lay him down (sweet boy) next to me.
Papa gonna hold you now (don't cry),
Mama take your photograph (don't die).
Close your eyes, it's as easy as one-two-three,
And you'll wake up in the morning come judgment day.
Take him down (poor boy) from the tree.


Theological Malpractice (Christopher Morse)

Reinhold Niebuhr, 
fastidious theorist of original sin,
went by a lynching tree one day
and never said a thing. 


Songs of Jericho (Nate Kerr)

Gray sky, barbed wire, business is booming;
we cleared away the trees to build 
these excellent high walls (Satisfaction Guaranteed). 
Outside, investors study annual reports, count sums.
Inside, because there is nothing else to do,
the women join hands, singing.


Crosses Too (James H. Cone)

By the cross I suffered,
by the cross I persevered:
there's a riddle for you.

If God was with Jesus
then God must be with us, 
for we are up on crosses too.

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