The Cultural Soul Project is a church in Portland, Oregon dedicated to addressing the needs of People of Color in inner city urban America through the lens of the African-American experience.
Transforming society and culture through the soul of the people.
A society where People of Color in inner city urban America can live lives of meaning, being, and purpose.
The Cultural Soul Project engages in a theological tradition that centers the experiences of people who have been shaped by life on the margins, and we have a critique on any religious system that normalizes a theology that will care for the eternal soul but has no concern for the present condition of the body that the soul inhabits.
The Cultural Soul Project falls within a rich stream of theological thought backed by thinkers and revolutionaries from all over the world. Prophetic and liberation theological traditions have historically given birth to expressions of Christianity that span from inner city urban America, Latin America, and other places across the world where the gospel has engaged those “whose backs are against the wall.” 1 Moreover, it has provided a place within Christianity for those who have struggled against various forms of injustice and oppression across the lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other historically marginalized identities.
The Cultural Soul Project draws upon the Hebrew Scriptures from the Exodus story and the promises of the prophetic literature for “justice to flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” 2 We center our theology on the prophetic gospel of Jesus Christ, whose liberating power was not understood in his time, and whose liberating power has dissenters in our contemporary time as well. Jesus demonstrated his prophetic gospel by profound engagement with outcasts, critiquing the religious elite, and challenging the embedded class system of the day; he also embodied a prophetic gospel in his leadership and built his movement by giving power to those who were shaped by life on the margins and whose living bodies contested the very systems and structures of unjust power in society.
The Cultural Soul Project engages in a theological tradition that centers the experiences of people who have been shaped by life on the margins, and we have a critique on any religious system that normalizes a theology that will care for the eternal soul but has no concern for the present condition of the body that the soul inhabits. Through an intellectual tradition, prophetic and liberation theology has been articulated best by James Cone, Gustavo Gutierrez, Delores S. Williams, and others; in the church tradition, it has been embodied by the work of the Black Power Statement of 1966 from the National Committee of Negro Churchmen, post-apartheid South Africa, base communities in Latin America following WWII, and Hell’s Kitchen, New York in the 1890s.
The Cultural Soul project joins a group of Christians from all over the world and across centuries who believe in the promise of God for all people; we are intentional about addressing the needs of people who have been shaped by life on the margins, and we are committed to transforming the structures in society that make it difficult for People of Color to live lives of meaning, being, and purpose. Through an innovative collaboration with the progressive strands of the United Methodist Church, we are forming a new expression of what ministry looks like lived out in inner city urban America.
1 Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited
2 Amos 5:24
Centering the voices of people who have been shaped by life on the margins (i.e., "the least of these"), and making their plight and predicament fundamental to, and a central focus of, the gospel.
We recognize the saliency of race in society and advance the proposition that racism is inextricably linked and woven into the everyday fabric of social life.