Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jesus of the Deep Forest

I've googled "Jesus of the Deep Forest" without much joy. There are lots of articles that reference it, (this one looks specially worth investigating further) but nothing more from the work itself. Here's the information from the footnotes in the Cambridge Companion
Afua Kuma Jesus of the Deep Forest eds & Trans Peter Kwas Ameyaw, Fr Jon Kirby SVD et al (Accra:Asempa Press 1980)...The rendering I quoted is by Mercy Amba Aduyoye.
These words of hers about the text hit me quite forcibly too..

"She (Afua Kuma) represents the women who weave lyrics about Jesus and pour their hearts out in prayer and praise at all times and in all places, the women whose theology gets reduced into writing by those who can write"

Our culture is so firmly based upon the written word, it's almost impossible to envisage thinking aloud in that creative way and then not writing it down. But perhaps it's our urge to confine our thoughts and visions to paper that has so narrowed our horizons that we find it hard to ever look beyond them. Our God-talk, and our God-thoughts are shaped by the cadences of the Scripture and liturgy we grew up with...which can be so dangerously close to becoming a substitute for a first-hand relationship with the God who is more than any words.

Meanwhile, these are the only texts from Madame Afua Kuma that I could actually find on the web...and they bear repeating too, as we seek a wider vision for our place, our time.

"Chief, who listens to the poor,Humble King
Your words are precious jewels.
We don't buy them, we don't beg for them;
You give them to us freely!
Giver of good gifts we are waiting for you,
And the sick are waiting for medicine.
O Jesus, you have swallowed death,
and every kind of disease,
And have made us whole again."

"He is the great Grass Hut, the Shed which shelters mice
The "thump thump" of the pestle, he beats down our hunger
Hard wood hoe-handle, which brings us our food
Onyankopon Amponyinam; God the provider"


John said...

Many thanks for this extra info, Kathryn!

pax et bonum

Gordon said...

off teh subject but...

I was sent this link and thought it might be a useful tool for your travelling offspring. I love the way it maps out your journey.

Kwaku said...

I grew up with the book. After spending 11 years in Canada, I came home for a visit. I now long for a 'traditional' appreciation of God. I find it very thrilling to hear such seemingly spontaneous poetic exaltation of God separate from indoctrination.

Spambot3049 said...

This is a paper given by Kwame Bediako, "Cry Jesus! Christian Theology and Presence in Modern Africa." It seems to have more excerpts from 'Jesus of the Deep Forest' than you found previously.