Today, Dr. James Hal Cone died.
I started reading Dr. Cone in undergrad. Through his books, I came to realize that I can be political in my own theology. I even wrote a blog post attempting to use Dr. Cone’s theology to critique Flannery O’Connor: the compassion of the christ: taking christian theology serious for the sake of society. I continue to think of him when I write anything theological.
I first met Dr. Cone at the Free Library of Philadelphia in December, 2012, when he was on The Cross and the Lynching Tree book tour. I found my notes from his talk. I wrote down:
“You cannot let despair have the last word.”
“Do not give up any form of resistance. It’s all an expression of hope.”
These statements have not left me.
I will always remember Dr. Cone as a humble and gentle man. In his classes, he was personal and cared for his students. What I appreciate about him most is the way his theology changed over the years. In his earlier books, he didn’t seem to take into account Black women’s experiences or Queer experiences. In later Prefaces of God of the Oppressed, he repents and started to incorporate it into his own theology.
I am deeply thankful to have known Dr. Cone. You will be missed.