Urban Apologetics and the Image of God

I have a live podcast interview coming up in a few days on the topic of what it means to be made in God’s image.

The interview is this Thursday evening, August 6, at 9 pm Eastern time. I posted a brief notice on Facebook about the interview.

The interviewer is Alfredo Valentin (aka the BK Apologist).

Alfredo Valentin is a Nuyorican (a member of the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York city), whose specialty is “urban apologetics.”

This is a genre of apologetics that addresses questions especially relevant to the black and brown Christian demographic who are being targeted for proselytizing by religious groups like the Nation of Islam , the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, or Israel United in Christ. Such groups often play on issues of identity and race, suggesting that orthodox Christianity is a religion of whiteness.

Alfredo tries to educate his listeners in an intelligent way about the claims of genuine Christian orthodoxy, often by interviewing scholars and practitioners in the faith who has particular insight to share about Scripture or theology.

Since one of the primary issues in urban apologetics is identity (Who are we? and What is our purpose in life?), the topic of the image of God is directly relevant.

Having written a book on the image of God (The Liberating Image), as well as various articles and blog posts on the subject, I’m looking forward to the conversation.

You can tune in to the live interview here on August 6, 2020, at 9 pm Eastern.

2 thoughts on “Urban Apologetics and the Image of God

  1. You spoke about justice being relational. Living relationally carries risk, though. You spoke about discerning when a discussion was no longer going to end well. How do we address the communal dynamic of each dialogue, though? What responsibility do I have to be ready for and take on the risk of continuing relational walking….even if it will not end well? That was the example Jesus set for us, in the cross, ultimately. Addressing sin means taking on the risk of an unjust world. In a more tangible way, I am thinking of injustices we see right now in the U.S. and how standing relationally with those facing injustice DOES mean taking on that risk. Otherwise, how close am I really standing?

    • You are right that living relationally carries risk. That applies to every relationship I can think of.

      In my oral comments during the podcast, I wasn’t speaking primarily about long term or crucial relationships, but rather how one responds to people you might be having an occasional discussion with (in person or on the internet). In those cases, I was saying that you need to discern when you really don’t need to continue the conversation, since you aren’t being heard (or you are being put down).

      I do realize there are people that we come into contact with on a regular basis (co-workers, acquaintances, relatives) who might also be abusive or narcissistic in some way. These are also cases where we need discernment about how deep do we allow the relationship to become.

      Nevertheless, you raise a really important point about how serious we are concerning the theological and ethical claims we make (especially about justice). Are we willing to do anything concrete about the things we think are important?

      Of course, all sorts of realities might get in the way of literally “standing” with those facing injustice (like a work schedule, children to take care of, one’s own health, etc.). But “standing relationally” might have different meanings for different people. I’m not sure I adequately addressed your question, but I appreciate the important challenge you brought to the issue.

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