I have to be honest. When I finally landed on the title of my upcoming book, The Gospel According to a Black Woman, I hesitated. I wondered if by calling it the Gospel, whether I was doing too much. Was I being too boastful or even boarding dangerously close to sacrilege and blasphemy?
But the Gospel, the meaning of the word, derives from the Koine Greek word, euaggelion (transliterated), which means good news or truth. This word has mostly operated in Christian circles, specifically used by disciples of Jesus bearing witness to works of healing, deliverance, and salvation. The first four books of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – claim this, opening their respective works with the phrase ‘The Gospel According to….’ to assert spiritual authority. This assertion was necessary in the face of extreme violence from the Roman Empire, who silenced anyone who posed a threat to their kingdom. Claiming spiritual authority outside of Rome was not only a radical act; it was also a deadly one.
The question that I ruminated on was whether I could apply the same literary device as did these authors. In stating and naming my truth, my witness, could I be so bold as to take the word and claim it as my own? As you can see, I landed on yes. I landed on yes because the truth of my experience, navigating systems – government, the Church, the academy, the nonprofit sector, the business sector – is valid. My perspective as a Black woman in the United States in 2020 is valid. My witness is truth, regardless of the credentials I hold or whether anyone else will believe or validate me. And for me to speak this truth and to claim spiritual authority is both radical and necessary in our society that continuously ignores and devalues Black women.
So I am opening up my mouth and speaking! I am inviting you to come along with me on the journey, inviting you to be with me in this process. As a part of the Kinky Curly Theological Collective’s series, Talking Back, I will be talking about this book and what it means to me on Tuesday, August 18th at 6.30pm. Join me!