The Souls of Black Folk, by W. E. B. Du Bois
"What does it feel like to be a problem?” For the first time in college, a line from a book rang in my head for days. W. E. B. Du Bois’s realization of his racial reality and the question of how he would choose to exist in the face of this new knowledge struck me as a deeply theological question. What does it mean to exist in a space where your body is antithetical to what it means to be a citizen of that very place?
We read this text in my introduction to theology course when we discuss what it means to do theology and to speak of who God is. To do this faithfully we must also ask what it means to be a problem. What is antithetical to what it means to follow Christ? Has that meant that parts of who we are also are antithetical to following Christ? How do we begin to answer these questions faithfully? Answers to these questions help us imagine how we can conform to the image of Christ and who will be with us along the way.