Blackness has become the discursive site for assessing, negotiating, and appropriating the meaning of spirituality as socioeconomic dislocations of Nigeria mingle with an increasing awareness of the “lowly lot of black humanity.” The discourse began with disciplining the body but quickly moved on to the normalization of a nation chosen by God to spearhead the final evangelization of the world and to lead the black race into global technological and economic supremacy. Here I want to trace a line from the ways the body is disciplined to the protocols of race and discourse of sovereignty. In other words, I want to map the movement of pentecostal thought from spirituality that focuses on the purity of the body to spirituality that focuses on the purity of the body politic. Unlike the Duke School, I place the belief in chosenness that permeates the Abrahamic religions at the core of the emerging pentecostal “racial theology.”
Avi BekerThe Chosen: The History of an Idea and the Anatomy of an Obsession (New York: Palgrave Macmillan2008). See also Cain Hope Felder Troubling Biblical Waters: Race Class and Family (Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books 1989) 43–46.
See Hannah ArendtThe Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press1958). I have used Arendt’s categories to name the kind of hierarchy that is emerging in discussing the different kinds of Pentecostals and their commitment to the movement. See Wariboko Nigerian Pentecostalism chapter 9 n. 77 for details.