African American congregations have long been celebrated as a locus for powerful, prophetic preaching, but at its best they have also embraced a strong pastoral and wisdom dimension as well, what Kenyatta Gilbert calls a “trivocal impulse.” Yet, African American preaching today is more threatened than ever imagined and must now overcome its own apparent irrelevance in an increasingly pluralistic, postmodern age of intense spiritual and social crisis. Gilbert asserts that the survival of both black churches and African America at large is directly tied to recovering this trivocal character of gospel proclamation. He closely examines the functions of all these strains of African American preaching in churches and communities, provides road maps for recovering one’s authentic preaching voice, and highlights preachers who embody this trivocal proclamation style. The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching is a constructive effort to examine the historical contributions of African American preaching, the challenges it faces today, and how it might become a renewed source of healing and strength for at-risk communities and churches.
“chief political goal in this period was to rebuild the South physically, politically, socially, and economically” (Page 45)
“Consequently, the many assurances made during southern Reconstruction quickly gave way to a rebirth of white supremacist ideology and practice. With power given back to southern states at the end of Reconstruction, southern lawmakers moved swiftly to restrict the political and citizenship rights of Blacks.” (Pages 45–46)
“A final important advancement in the period is that many Black urban pastors found creative ways to respond to the Great Migration crisis by ‘facilitating a psychological space and opportunity for Black migrants to cast off Southern caste traditions.’69 Thus, they preached sermons that criticized injustice and emphasized the gospel’s concern for all of human existence—body, soul, and spirit. In such preaching, needs were addressed, such as housing, jobs, and concerns relevant to daily living in light of the whole counsel of Scripture. Black preachers saw a more imminent need to promote a kingdom-of-God agenda, which related and appropriated the Christian faith in service to the physical and social needs of Blacks.” (Page 54)