â€œWe have seen that colonization materially kills the colonized. It must be added that colonization kills [us] spiritually. Colonization distorts relationships, destroys or petrifies institutions, and corrupts [humans], both colonizers and colonized.â€
The current state of Protestant Christianity within the U.S. context calls for prophetic pastoral leaders who resist and disrupt empire and colonial being-thinking-acting, creating space for re-envisioning and re-existencing within faith communities. Presented here is the first in a two-part series introducing post/decolonial pastoral leaderships, with this article focusing on grounding definitions and frameworks that challenge constructed westernized notions of leadership and church. The second article in the series, to be published in the following issue, will highlight various processes for engaging and embodying post/decolonial pastoral leaderships.
Postcolonial and decolonial theories and theologies, though acknowledged widely and engaged across various disciplines, have remained largely within the realms of academia due in part to their philosophical and theoretical underpinnings. In this moment of time, however, these frameworks contain critical relevance as events and circumstances have exposed not only the deeply racist systems of policing in the United States, but also the short- and long-term effects of racialized access to health care, mortality rates, and employment security in the context of a global pandemic, among other dynamics.