“Yet Do I Marvel!”
Part of the Black Religion / Womanist Thought / Social Justice book series (BRWT)


This book grew out of a long and sustained engagement with the African American journey through the Christian faith. While the insights garnered along this path far exceed what can be manageably shared in any one book, I think the present work shares some of the most basic. This engagement was, and continues to be, no less experiential than academic. I was born into and bred in the traditional faith of my African American mothers and fathers. I have been in the ministry since the ripe old age of seventeen, and the church has been the source of some of my greatest joys, deepest angst, and profound-est frustrations. Yet there is no aspect of my life—intellectual, social, political, or personal—that has not been processed through my faith and amid my ongoing struggle to come to terms with its strengths, deficits, continuities, failures, and fragmentation. This particular book, however, is a labor of love, driven and motivated by what may be the casual passing of one of the most glorious and disclosive testimonies to the power of the human spirit at life’s limits, where, I believe, its relation to the divine is worked out amid the storms that rage at our extremities.


Ultimate Reality Christian Faith African American Mother Traditional Faith African American Culture 
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  1. 1.
    For a balanced ass essment of the current state of black theology, see Matthew V. Johnson Sr., “Black Theology,” Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., Volume 2 (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2005), 963–967.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cornel West, Prophesy Deliverance! An Afro-Revolutionary Christianity (Louisville, KY: Westminster Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For an interesting and succinct exploration of the issue of retentions and the emergence of African American culture, see Sidney W. Minz and Richard Price, The Birth of African American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1976).Google Scholar
  4. See also the insightful article and rich bibliographical information on the issues surrounding African retentions and their relation to African American religion by Tracy E. Hucks and Dianne Stewart, “African American Religions: History of Study,” Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., Volume 1 (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2005), 73–83.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    For a thorough, cogent rehabilitation and challenging reexamination of the scholarship on Du Bois’s conflicted relationship to American Christianity and reassessment of his views on Christianity see, Edward J. Blum, W. E. B. Du Bois: American Prophet (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). Mindful of Edward J. Blum’s significant qualifications,Google Scholar
  6. see also Phil Zukerman, ed., Dubois on Religion (New York: Altamira Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  7. See Charles B. Strozier and Heinz Kohut, The Making of a Psychoanalyst (New York: Other Press, 2001), 238–239.Google Scholar
  8. Heinz Kohut, How Does Analysis Cure, eds Arnold Goldberg and Paul E Stepansky (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1984), 187–190. The use of the term here also implies the centrality of affect and personal meaning in determining both the nature of religious experience and its theological implications and usages. For instance the experience near approach to religious experience and any subsequent theological reflections claiming to give articulation to the same would suggest that affect is more significant than ethic in determining the meaning and value of that experience for a believer or believing community.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. See Robert D. Stolorow, “Integrating Self Psychology and Classical Psychoanalysis: An Experience-Near Approach,” in Arnold Golberg, ed., Learning from Kohut: Progress in Self Psychology, Volume 4 (Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1993), 63–70. The experience near method renders and purifies theological concepts through the religious experience of the group rather than rendering the experience of the group through presupposed formulations of theological categories. It definitively privileges religious experience in determining theological meanings and a phenomenological approach for elucidating religious experience.Google Scholar

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© Matthew V. Johnson 2010

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