I want to tell you about the beautiful side of critical theory– And specifically critical race theory (CRT) for me–as it relates to whiteness work and my religious faith.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) seeks to:

  • Examine
  • Explicate
  • Advocate

Another ways to say it might be that Critical Theory seeks to Interrogate, Expose, and Change – not just explain – culture and society.

Before I get into the beauty of all of that, some back ground. A couple of weeks ago I talked about Critical Theory being our salvation from bad religion, then why Evangelicals can’t do critical theory. I got so much feedback and am now getting some really interesting articles sent to me. It is a conversation that I love and am delighted to be a part of.

One pushback I got was about my calling Critical Theory a ‘toolbox’ and not a worldview. One insightful person pointed out that while I was technically correct, that Critical Theory does have an agenda and is not simply a set of tools.

So let’s be clear. Critical Theory – and Critical Race Theory – does have an agenda. I have summarized it in these three movements or motivations.

Examine or Interrogate

This ties into parables and prophets. Check out “Lessons from Luke”

Expose or Un-Mask

Both Walter Wink’s the Powers That Be and Girard’s Scapegoat theory of atonement tie in here. Ideology is another way of talking about the impulse.

Advocate or Change

It is significant to understand that critical theories are not just theories. Most are concerned with changing the phenomenon being examined not just writing it up as a case-study or deconstructing it. Deconstruction is fine (and essential)but not enough in the end.

The funny thing is that I know Critical Theory is not for everyone. I am not asking everyone to do it – but I am shocked and the number of religious people speaking against it!  So I need to say be careful of anyone who wants to preserve or conserve a notion of the past rooted in the 3 C’s :

  1. Constantine
  2. Christendom
  3. Colonialism

Please let me know your thoughts or questions.