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The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans$
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Almeda Wright

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190664732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190664732.001.0001

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Does God Care?

Does God Care?

Evil, Suffering, and an Insufficient Theodicy

(p.121) 4 Does God Care?
The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans

Almeda M. Wright

Oxford University Press

This chapter relates the work of young Black spoken word poets with Black liberationist, humanist, and Womanist religious scholars. It is easier for many Black youth to have “no expectation” that God should work in their lives than to wrestle with theodicy. This disconnection is reflected in youth performances of spoken word poetry, which invites their interpretations of overwhelming and absurd experiences of evil and suffering. The voices of young people in the heart of urban communities (like, but also beyond Chicago) reflect a desire for change within their communities and a condemnation of the role of political or religious leaders—or even God—in bringing that change to fruition. The young poets advance fierce correctives to many African American religious and scholarly attempts at making sense of evil and suffering in the presence of God. Nonetheless, Christian communities have a role to play in helping youth counter fragmented spirituality.

Keywords:   theodicy, African American youth, spoken word poetry, fragmented spirituality, evil, suffering

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