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Cornel West Speaks on Truth at Oakwood University

These days, in Adventism, there seem to be a rise in folks claiming “Truth” as theirs – whether in the title of their website, in the emotional “amens” at the GC Session or in waves of comments. The drive to address these serious philosophical issues is one of the many reasons I love my church. Another is that we have thoughtful educational outposts that bring in contemporary prophetic messages like the one above. In this Martin Luther King Jr. honoring discourse at Oakwood University, Dr. Cornel West talks about what it means to a truth-teller. I appreciate his point that truth is allowing the suffering to speak. Perhaps truth is not a state of being, or of belief, but is action.

He begins speaking about thirteen minutes in. From January 19, 2010, chapel at the Oakwood University Church Open Your Mind Lecture Series.

From an interview on Democracy Matters:

A blues person is always one who keeps his funky and resists all forms of sterilization, sanitation and deodorizing of funky reality. And by sanitation, I don’t mean I’m against keeping things clean, but I don’t like those discourses that are so clean that they don’t allow the funk, like the squeegee men in New York, like the marginalized, like our gay brothers and lesbian sisters who are often dishonored and dehumanized even by some on the left, or forgetting of indigenous people. I have a whole section here talking about I will never forget about my dear indigenous brothers and sisters, whose suffering is rendered invisible, and oftentimes, like the Zapatistas, they got to put on a mask in order to be seen at that level of invisibility, you see. That’s what a blues man’s about, telling the truth with a smile on his or her face.

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