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Extra resources for A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin's Blues Project and Gospel Prose
7 The gap is the location of the signifying act wherein the shared knowledge or the “. . unspoken recognition of shared experience that creates a way of life” identified by Baldwin signifies on the disparity of tone between the two differing depictions of black life. ”9 According to Henry Louis Gates, Jr, signifying represents a closed language of tradition. Gates writes “ . . ”10 Baldwin uses the power of black (religious) vernacular to revise what Christianity means in the context of black (blues) life.
95 It is a defense in that it seeks to rupture the metaphoric conceptual framework created by Puritan/Protestant social, political, and religious mythology that supports a presumed continuous sexually depraved religious history of black people that has yet identified it as 36 A Queering of Black Theology the source of their Christian identity and theological terror due in large part to the sexual depravity imposed on blackness because of it. I am identifying puritanism as a historical problem working at the subjective level of consciousness informing aspects of the black religious tradition in relation to sexual agency.
Blues embraces the good and the bad—the facts of life—the sensuous and the rejected. Yet, it is the blues’ embrace of sexual potential that holds the most promise. Neither Baldwin nor Brown Douglas sees the black church as a safe haven bent on redeeming the black body or liberating it.