An author and theologian who writes about the “divine feminine” and dismantling the “whitemalegod” (her spelling) took to Instagram days before the worldwide celebration of the nativity with a message about how we can view the Virgin Birth as an act of rape.
Christena Cleveland, the author of “Black Liberation and the Divine Feminine” as well as the forthcoming “God is a Black Woman,” appears to believe that, well, God is a black woman. She also seems to largely reject the God of the Bible that millions of Christians know, love and devoutly worship.
Sharing a quote from the “Black Trans Prayer Book” edited by J. Mace III, Lady Dane and Figueroa Edidi, Cleveland asked her followers to consider that the story of the virgin birth through which the Lord Jesus Christ was conceived “normalizes rape.”
“I feel for Mary this Christmas season because we have normalized imbalances of power, and we often paint situations that are clear abuses of extremely disparate dynamics, as some lucky chosen blessing,” the quote, attributed to one Marty S., begins.
“Who, in the world, would turn down their divine creator when approached to birth a holy being? If the answer is no one, then is that a choice? A real choice we can recognize, and uphold as an example of divine love? As something done for us generously by The Father?” it reads.
“We should consider how the story of the virgin Mary, in the context of imbalances of power, normalizes rape,” it concludes.
The “Black Trans Prayer Book” purports itself to be “an interfaith, multi-dimensional, artistic and theological work that collects the stories, poems, prayers, meditation, spells, and incantations of Black Trans & Non-Binary people” meant as a “tool of healing” and “affirmation” for black transgender and non-binary people who normally “face unprecedented amounts of spiritual, physical, and psychological violence.”
“What does it mean to have a faith practice that simultaneously challenges white supremacy and transphobia?” the book’s website asks. “Where is there a theological framework that centers the most marginalized and creates pathways towards an active spirituality moving alongside social justice? How might a spiritual practice not in tune with these questions cause harm? The #BlackTransPrayerBook, is holding these very questions.”
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s bio says that after years of teaching about “racial reconciliation” to congregations, she began to feel she could “no longer trust in the God she’d been taught to worship—a God who, she realized, did not affirm a Black woman like Christena.”
This crisis of faith led her to pursue the “healing power” of the “Sacred Black Feminine.”
All the same, “God is a Black Woman” tells of how “America’s collective idea of God as a white man has perpetuated hurt, disillusionment, and racial and gender oppression” and “invites us to dismantle the cultural ‘whitemalegod.’”
Of course, it must be stated that the God of the Bible affirms every human being; He just doesn’t tell us that we are free to turn Him or His works into someone or something they’re not. Sorry. It is as absurd to portray him as a “whitemalegod” as it is to suggest that he raped Mary.
One certainly sympathizes for any hurt or suffering, particularly at the hands of professing Christians, that these individuals may have experienced, but no amount of sin they may have suffered solidifies any claim that the biblical narrative of Christ’s conception is simply a tool of white, male oppression, much less a justification for one of the most heinous acts a person can commit against another one of God’s image-bearers.
It may seem like wild, absurd, hateful slander against the God of the Bible, but you have to understand that neither Cleveland, the author of this quote, nor the editors of this book have any authority to claim that they follow the God of the Bible, because they clearly and openly reject the authority of the Bible itself.
It just doesn’t work like this.
As an adult convert to Christianity who spent my whole childhood and young adulthood immersed in a culture in which such wild ideas about spirituality and textual authority as “the Virgin Mary was basically raped” or “I bet God is a black woman!” were commonplace, it’s always been rather amusing to me how many people love to cling to a belief in the God of the Bible while firmly rejecting virtually everything else in the Word of God, which tells us who he is and tells us about morality, spirituality and reality.
Cleveland and her literary cohorts pick and choose (with extreme discretion, apparently) the parts of the Bible that appeal to them — such as that they were created by a loving God — and reject the parts that don’t vibe with their modern, secular, intersectional feminism or decidedly unbiblical interest in things like witchcraft or the idea of a female God.
They likely think that the Bible is a dusty old book written by patriarchal monsters who wanted to keep women in subjugation, so why would she have any regard for the importance of the nativity account and the virgin birth?
Here’s the very painful and sad irony which I sincerely hope will drive home to Christian readers the importance of not just sharing the Gospel to a deceived and dying world, but getting the Gospel right when we do.
There is no foundation to believe in a Creator God who made us in his image and redeems us of our sins if, by rejecting the authority of the Word of God, we concede that it is flawed and thus undermine the most important aspect of the whole tremendous piece of divinely inspired literature.
In other words — how can you believe that any of the Bible is true if you believe that parts of it are not only false, but false to the point that they were created to normalize heinous, wicked sins against women?
That’s easy — you simply can’t.
The virgin birth is an essential aspect of Christ’s personhood and work on earth, which ultimately resulted in His death, resurrection and completed work of redemption for all of humanity — the victims of sexual assault most especially included, by the way.
The thing is, every woman, man and “marginalized person” is offered this incredible gift of salvation, which comes along with relief for the burdens of the fallen world. But we must all repent of our sins and accept Christ as Lord to receive it.
This act of accepting Christ is inextricably linked with accepting the Word of God as the ultimate authority in our lives.
God is the all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal and perfectly just Lord of the universe. He is utterly incapable of sinning against his creation in any way, much less by violating the Virgin Mary in the most despicable way.
If you destroy the bedrock that is the Word of God, you destroy the bridge that connects you to this God. You cannot rightly claim to know Him at all and you’ll end up saying wild, crazy things like “the story of Christ’s conception normalizes rape.”
The growing movement of progressive Christianity, quite plainly, takes a woke approach to the Word. This is the same approach employed by the serpent in the Garden:
“Did God really say … ?”
As soon as we ask this question and try to redefine biblical authority, we begin to worship a god of our own making, who will inevitably lead us to peril and the eternal anguish of our souls.
Dismantling the whole of the scripture to build up woke narratives about Jesus is absolutely not worth that price.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.