Black Religious Experience is an examination of the role Christian education has played in the African American community, as seen in the work of one of its greatest interpreters, Grant Shockley.
In 1903, W. E. B. DuBois coined the term "double consciousness" to refer to the fact that African Americans always view the world through two lenses. First, they see it from their own perspectives as members of an oppressed community, living out the consequences of a particular history. Second, they perceive life from the point of view of a dominant culture that seeks to impose on African Americans its own false understanding of their status and worth.
Christian educators working in the African American community have often drawn on this idea as they seek to apply the gospel to the spiritual formation of members of that community. The heart of the work of Grant Shockley, the preeminent African American religious educator of the twentieth century, was combating the negative attitudes and perspectives that the larger society would dictate to African Americans, while providing positive and powerful images of their self-worth drawn from the Christian story.
Charles R. Foster and Fred Smith, friends and colleagues of Shockley, seek in this book to interpret the significance of his work for Christian education, both in the African American community and beyond it, for the twenty-first century. They draw on personal encounters as well as Shockley's written and published materials to indicate how this seminal thinker continues to speak to the need for faith formation in Christian congregations today.