Guest Blog: Jon Nelson

Jon Nelson can be found messing around at


Do you want to know what is wrong with your culture?

I am sitting here and I’m completely floored that Crystal even considered me to write on her blog, thank you. If you don’t know I am not a “pink-haired girl” but I am black like Crystal (a little known fact about her). Well now that you know that I’m black I wanted to share something from my heart to maybe give you a different perspective.

The other night, I hate to admit this publicly, my wife and I were watching the VMA’s (there are so many things wrong/ sad with the last statement). as we watched the train wreck, in my humble opinion, “Lil Wayne” (aka Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) took the stage and it was …… interesting, to say the least. As he danced (?) around the stage, as a black man, I was truly perplexed and my wife who was in a dead sleep woke up and turned towards the T.V. and said, “Do you want to know what is wrong with your culture? There you go.” It was a stark statement and would have loved to expound on it but she proceeded quickly back to sleep.

Her statement reminded me of a book that I read recently called “The Decline of African American Theology” by Thabiti M. Anyabwile, which offers an assessment of the history of African American Christian theology, from its earliest beginnings to the present. Throughout the book it is argued that the modern form of the theology has fallen far from the tree. In doing so, Anyabwile closely examines the theological commitments of prominent African American theologians throughout American history. Chapter by chapter, he traces what he sees as the theological decline of African American theology from one generation to the next, concluding with an unflinching examination of several contemporary figures. Replete with primary texts and illustrations, this book is a gold mine for any reader interested in the history of African American Christianity. I feel that this is something that shouldn’t just be done within this book but within the context of our culture. I’m truly sick of being told that I am “the whitest black man that (fill in the blank) has ever met”.

What is black? What is white? What is Christian?

We truly boil so many complex subjects down to pity talking points instead of delving into the complexity that lies within each of these subjects. Unfortunately, I as a black male who sometimes chooses to have cornrows and/or dreadlocks is couched by presuppositions instead of people taking the time to getting to know me. I guess as a first generation American in my family, I don’t want to be defined in the American public eye via Lil’ Wayne or any other modern Hip – Hop artist as the definition and final say of what black culture is. It’s funny that we might have the first ever black president, and we now feel that the conversation is over, It is actually just beginning. Neither Obama nor Lil Wayne fully define blackness and if anyone thinks that they do then like Dr. Anyabwile has postulated, the fruit has fallen far from the tree.

That’s just my opinion I could be wrong.


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