Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guest Post from Professor Gary Simpson of Luther Seminary

OK—A Happy Constellation of Some UnHappy Things: Haiti, slavery, and earthquakes.

So, today, 1/11 is the two-year commemoration of the devastating 7.0 earthquake with its 52 aftershocks of 4.5 or greater. Yesterday, 1/12 was Human Trafficking Awareness Day invoking our prayers and action regarding the contemporary global situation of slavery of some 2.5 million persons.
Perhaps the greatest slave uprising in modern times was the one depicted in the five paintings on the Wikipedia entry for Haiti.

And now, two things for those who by nature and/or nurture tend to process things Lutheranly:
First, Lutheran philosopher, Georg Hegel (also a kind-a theologian—he was after all a Lutheran seminary grad and wrote four not-too-important books on theology) was quite taken by the Haitian slave revolution that lasted from 1791-Jan 1,1804. As a newspaper reporter, commentator, and publisher he kept his reading audience in Germany up to date on the latest happenings. And, the Haitian slave revolution was the phenomenon that he reflected upon philosophically in his most famous and most influential chapter of all time, Master and Slave in The Phenomenology of Spirit (a chapter that I find flawed, but what the heck, it outed slavery like little else philosophical-theological had ever done!).

And second, I commend to you a recent essay on Haiti by Lutheran Pr. John Nunes. John is the President and CEO of LWR, a fantastic leader and provocative theologian, and hails from Montego Bay, Jamaica. The essay is: "Seeing the Other Side: Critical Modernist Poetics and Postcolonial Haiti," Concordia Journal (Winter 2011). Yup, that’s right, John is an LCMS pastor, and also a PhD candidate in theology at LSTC and defending his dissertation in less than a week. Free access to his essay at:


  1. The link to the John Nunes essay is in a journal resource I've never seen before but already love, Awesomeness.

  2. thanks for your notes on pastors that are "other" things. I've enjoyed them. And, yes, we LCMS'ers are pretty proud of Rev. Nunes (well, most of us anyway). His heart for the poor and oppressed are much needed in such a wealthy, western, church environment.

    As is usually the case, I've heard that most aid agencies have pulled out of Haiti already, except the Church, of course. May God bless our work there.