"Tell Me What Your God Look Like": A Study of African Americans and the God-Image.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Metoka L. Welch (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
L. DiAnne Borders

Abstract: The purpose of this research study was to investigate the Image of God and Racial Identity of African American attendees of Black Churches in rural areas, where religious activity is said to permeate everyday life (Hunt & Hunt, 2001). Eight African Americans over the age of 25 who attended a rural Black Church at least once a month were interviewed and given a racial identity assessment. Results from the qualitative interview were analyzed using Hill, Thompson, and Williams' (1997) Consensual Qualitative Research. Qualitative analyses indicated that participants' Image of God included visual images, thoughts, feelings, characteristics of God, and beliefs about God. At least half of the participants in the study indicated a belief that God identified with the struggle of Black Americans. Further influences on participants' Image of God were childhood psychodynamic influences, church-going behaviors, and personal experiences. Data analysis of the racial identity assessment, the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (Sellers et al., 1998), yielded a very discernable divide between younger participants (age < 50) and older participants (age > 50). Overall, older participants were less likely to indicate that being Black was central to their identity and were less likely to indicate that the Black Church was important to them, as opposed to younger participants. The findings suggested that the Black Church is an important institution for participants who strongly identify as Black American. Broadly, the findings in this study suggested that participants' thoughts, feelings, imagery, and characteristics of God operated in a realm independent of race and church. However, in terms of beliefs about God, at least half of the participants in the study expressed the belief that God had an affinity for African Americans, supporting the claim of scholars who have posited that the God of African Americans differs from the God of other Americans (Calhoun-Brown, 1999; Lincoln, 2003). Implications for counselors and counselor educators, as well as future research studies and limitations of the study also are included.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
African American, Black Church, Image of God, Racial Identity
Subjects
African Americans $x Religion.
African Americans $x Race identity.
Image of God.
Black theology.
African American churches.