On the Lived Theology Reading List: Welcoming Justice

Welcoming Justice: God's Movement Toward Beloved Community, Expanded Edition, By Charles Marsh and John M. PerkinsGod’s Movement Toward Beloved Community, Expanded Edition

In Welcoming Justice, authors Charles Marsh and John M. Perkins attempt to chronicle God’s vision for a more equitable and just world by reflecting on their own pasts as well as America’s past as a whole. Perkins looks back on his long ministry and identifies key themes and lessons he has learned, while Marsh highlights the legacy of Perkins’s work in our society. Together they show how abandoned places are being restored, divisions are being reconciled, and what individuals and communities are doing now to welcome peace and justice. Now updated to reflect on current social realities, this book reveals ongoing lessons for the continuing struggle for a just society by taking a look at lessons from the past.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“For years, John Perkins and Charles Marsh have been two of our most important figures in the discussion—and pursuit—of reconciliation. Now, from their passion for justice, their love of the gospel, and their friendship with one another, comes this gem, which may be the most important book either of them has written yet.”—Lauren F. Winner, author of Wearing God

“Growing up in a Korean American immigrant church context, I did not hear the name John Perkins all that often. Since those early years, I have made a concerted effort to learn as much as possible about the work of one of the most important American Christian voices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This book provides important insights into the life, testimony, theology and ministry of John Perkins. It is both a work of inspiration and a work of history (reflecting the leanings of the dual authors) that must be read by any student or practitioner of social justice ministry. The book provides novices, faithful servants and even the weary laborers the inspiration to persevere in God’s kingdom work. John Perkins and Charles Marsh provide for us a view of compassion, mercy, and justice ministry that needs to be heeded in the context of a new evangelicalism in North America.”—Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary, author of Prophetic Lament

For more information on the publication, click here.

John M. Perkins is a leader and major figure of the civil rights movement of the 1960s who founded Voice of Calvary Ministries, a Christian community development ministry, with his wife, Vera Mae. 

Charles Marsh is the Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and the director of the Project on Lived Theology. His research interests include modern Christian thought, religion and civil rights, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and lived theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: In Defense of Charisma

A Discussion of Moral Charisma

In Defense of Charisma, by Vincent W. Lloyd, attempts to discuss moral charisma by bringing together insights from politics, ethics, and religion with reflections on contemporary culture. Although charisma is viewed as an unstable source of authority, and not often used in contemporary politics, Lloyd argues that charisma is still flourishing today in multiple aspects of society. Lloyd also distinguishes between authoritarian charisma, which furthers the interests of the powerful, and democratic charisma, which prompts observers to ask new questions and discover new possibilities. Drawing from classical texts as well as recent tweets from the Black Lives Matter movement, In Defense of Charisma challenges readers to turn away from the blinding charisma of celebrities toward the humbler moral charisma of the neighbor, colleague, or relative.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“In this wonderfully provocative book, Vincent Lloyd explores the theory and practice of charisma in their kaleidoscopically varied forms. Ranging through literary and philosophical and theological texts, through movies and TV and Twitter, through proclamations and arguments and performances, he shows us a big world of ideas. After reading this book I find myself seeing the effects of charisma everywhere. A truly remarkable work of humanistic scholarship, In Defense of Charisma is also a great deal of fun.”—Alan Jacobs, author of The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography

“What is charisma and can it be used well? In this book, Vincent Lloyd offers creative and important reflections for our networked age.”—Cathleen Kaveny, Libby Professor of Law and Theology, Boston College

“In In Defense of Charisma, Vincent Lloyd elucidates a compelling and unique definition of democratic charisma as something overlooked and valuable. It is overlooked partly because it is fleeting, partly because it is overshadowed by the more widely understood and unappealing concept of authoritarian charisma. Democratic charisma gives us an innovative angle on a central concept and could enter the mainstream of discussion in multiple disciplines, perhaps even broader consciousness.”—Mark Roche, University of Notre Dame

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Reports from the Field: Lived Theology Summer Interns to Give Final Presentations

SeedlingsThe 2018 Summer Interns in Lived Theology will give their final presentations on Wednesday, October 3rd at Common Grounds, located at Rugby Rd. and Gordon Ave. in Charlottesville. The presentations will begin at 7 pm. The public is invited, and admission is free.

Jon DetersJon Deters

Jon (Col ’19) is majoring in government. As a summer intern, Jon worked at the Center for Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary, which helps people navigate the connection between faith and public policy. Jon is interested in studying public theology, and the interplay between theology and politics in our current environment.

 

Isabella HallIsabella Hall

Isabella (Col ’19) is majoring in religious studies in addition to social ethics and community development. This summer, Isabella worked with The Abundant Table, an organic farm and faith-based nonprofit which seeks to create sustainable relationships to the land and local community in Ventura County in Southern California. Isabella is interested in theology and how it relates to, and can create, community.

Kate BadgettKate Badgett

Kate (Col ’19) is majoring in religious studies. She worked at The Haven this summer, which provides resources for homeless or financially struggling people in the city of Charlottesville.

The Summer Internship in Lived Theology is an immersion program designed to complement the numerous existing urban and rural service immersion programs flourishing nationally and globally by offering a unique opportunity to think and write theologically about service. For more information on this initiative, please click here.

For updates about the PLT Summer Internship, click here. We also post updates online using #PLTinterns. To get these updates please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Moral Combat

Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics, by R. Marie GriffithHow Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics

In Moral Combat, historian R. Marie Griffith studies the history of the views that many American Christians have on divisive political issues such as Gay marriage, transgender rights, and birth control–sex. Griffith argues that these modern disagreements were started in the 1920s, when liberal Protestants sparred with fundamentalists and Catholics over questions of obscenity, sex education, and abortion. People on both sides of the debate turned to politics to pursue their moral vision for the nation, creating factions we can still see at work today. In this book, Griffith shows how the Christian consensus on sex unraveled, and how this unraveling has made our political battles over sex so ferocious and so intractable.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“The story Griffith tells is crucial…. Her contribution is part of a much-needed sex education, and like all good teachers she presents it vividly.”—Linda Gordon, New Republic

“For those of us wondering how the United States got to be the way it is today–religiously, sexually, and politically–Moral Combat is essential reading. R. Marie Griffith, a distinguished historian of American religion, shows that the fierce and bitter contests among Christians in the twentieth century over good religion vs. bad religion, good sex vs. bad sex, have been and remain at the core of the most explosive issues of American public life. Women’s health, African American civil rights, marriage, the cruel fantasy of white supremacy, workplace behavior, the public reputation of science, and more–God and sex are implicated in all of them. The United States is not a God-obsessed nation, as some would have it; it is a God-and-sex-obsessed nation. And the stakes are high: at the heart of this brilliant work of religious and political history is the question of the future of American democracy itself.”—Robert A. Orsi, author of History and Presence

“Thoughtful study of the great schism between religious conservatives and progressives about women’s control over their own bodies.”—Kirkus Reviews

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Fearless Benjamin Lay

The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist, by Marcus RedikerThe Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist

In this new biography, historian Marcus Rediker, author of Many-Headed Hydra and Slave Ship, documents one of the most idiosyncratic figures in eighteenth-century America, abolitionist Benjamin Lay. Lay was a Quaker dwarf who lived in a cave-like home and was known for his dramatic protests against slavery, once kidnapping the child of a slaveholder to demonstrate the evil of separating families. Lay’s zealous witness against slavery put him into conflict with wealthy slaveholders and many of his fellow Quakers, but it also won him the respect of allies like Benjamin Franklin. Rediker demonstrates how Lay’s Christianity and Quakerism informed his radicalism and inspired a later generation of abolitionists.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A modern biography of the radical abolitionist Benjamin Lay has long been overdue. With the sure hand of an eminent historian of the disfranchised, Marcus Rediker has brought to life the wide-ranging activism of this extraordinary Quaker, vegetarian dwarf in a richly crafted book. In fully recovering Lay’s revolutionary abolitionist vision, Rediker reveals its ongoing significance for our world.”—Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition

“Lay, a lover of books, would have appreciated this one, less for the praise lavished on him than the attention given his message. As Mr. Rediker says, ‘Benjamin’s prophecy speaks to our time.”—The Pittsburgh Post–Gazette

“The unswerving eighteenth-century abolitionist Benjamin Lay, maligned when not ignored for many generations, has at last found his sympathetic biographer. In this captivating, must-read book, Marcus Rediker shows that Lay’s disfigured body contained a mind of steel and a heart overflowing with compassion for victims of the Atlantic slave trade. Lay’s place in the annals of American reform is now secure. If you’re ready to have your mind changed about received wisdom on the eccentric, lonely early abolitionist who blazed the way for later antislavery stalwarts, read this brilliantly researched and passionately written book.”—Gary Nash, author of Warner Mifflin, Unflinching Quaker Abolitionist

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: To Shape a New World

To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Tommie Shelby and Brandon M. TerryEssays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, this new collection offers a reappraisal of King’s political thought and legacy. Of particular contemporary relevance is the consideration of King’s views on nonviolence and the strategies that made it an effective force for social change. With contributions from a number of distinguished scholars including Cornell West, Martha Nussbaum, Danielle Allen, Laurie Balfour, and many others, the book makes a strong argument for the originality of King’s political vision.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“[A] robust and wide-ranging collection… The book as a whole displays the pliability and dynamism of King’s thought, applying it to circumstances both recent (Barack Obama’s presidency) and far in the past (the practice of slavery in 18th- and 19th-century America). Throughout, King’s voice is placed within a community of philosophers… As the nation approaches the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, this work demonstrates, for anyone who needs convincing, the continued and vital importance of his thinking.”—Publisher’s Weekly

King’s theology, philosophy, and nonviolent prophetic engagement are needed now more than any time since his death. In his last speech, Dr. King said that when it comes to the struggle for love and justice, ‘nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now.’ We must embrace his challenge in this moment and commit to go forward together, not one step back.”—Rev Dr. William Jay Barber II

To Shape a New World is a milestone in the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., essentially a sanctified figure in American life, whose actual ideas are rarely interrogated in any depth, either in the public realm or in academic circles. What makes this volume particularly striking is the exceptionally high quality of the essays, which are analytically rigorous, impressively researched, and often profoundly original. They highlight the limits of common narratives about King and the civil rights movement, showing the shifts in his own thinking and the unconventional nature of many of his arguments. This is a path-breaking book.”—Aziz Rana, Cornell University

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass: America's Prophet, by D.H. DilbeckAmerica’s Prophet

In his new biography Frederick Douglass: America’s Prophet, historian D.H. Dilbeck seeks to focus on an underexplored aspect of the prominent abolitionist’s life, his Christian faith. Dilbeck- who previously wrote A More Civil War– portrays Douglass’ religious life as complex, combining both youthful evangelicalism and a growing hostility towards churches complicity with slavery and bigotry. The book shows how Douglass came to represent a prophetic black Christian vision, and his life showed the tension between the promise of an inclusive Christianity that embraced social reform and the reality of an American Christianity that was too often simply a religion for slaveholders.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A superb account of one man’s 50-year fight for human rights and freedom in America. Recommended for those interested in the U.S. Middle Period, Civil War, African American history, and all readers.”—Library Journal, starred review

“D. H. Dilbeck does a very fine job assessing and then discussing the importance of the black prophetic voice to this reformer and Christian activist.”—Spirituality & Practice

“An original and often moving account of a complex but endlessly interesting figure, a giant in his time who still speaks to Americans today. Dilbeck has treated Douglass’s religious faith and prophetic character more carefully than any previous scholar.”—George C. Rable, author of God’s Almost Chosen Peoples

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Langston’s Salvation

Langston's Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem, by Wallace D. BestAmerican Religion and the Bard of Harlem

In Langston’s Salvation, Princeton University Religion scholar Wallace D. Best offers an important evaluation of the place of religion in the work of the great poet of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes. Langston’s Salvation is not strictly a religious biography of Hughes, but rather a study of how Hughes engaged with religion as an intellectual and how he thought theologically. Hughes was raised in the AME Church, and as an adult wrote about religion extensively, particularly in his poetry. Hughes vocally insisted that he was not an atheist or antireligious, and Best is able to document his complex attitude towards faith. As Best observes in the book’s preface, “Hughes seemed to have existed somewhere between a religious past and a present that was always in flux on matters of God, faith and the Church.”

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“[A] meticulous account of Hughes’s religious provocations in his literary work…Offering astounding historical and literary analysis to some of his widely popular and some of his lesser -known works such as “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Tambourines to Glory respectively, Best explicates Hughes’s works to explore the religious orientation in his writings.”—Black Perspectives

“As Wallace Best portrays him in this stunning, brilliantly argued and written work, Langston Hughes is a poet and prophet who spoke to the deepest dilemmas of African American Christianity in the uncompromising language of religious and artistic modernism. The road to Langston’s “salvation” was not straight, and as he charts its course over time, Best enlarges the field of American religious history and the meaning of modern ‘religion’ itself.” —Robert A. Orsi, Professor of Religious Studies and History, Northwestern

“With close readings of Langston Hughes’s poetry and with finely tuned arguments about the place of religion during the early twentieth century, Wallace Best provides what none has offered before: he shows the beautiful mind of Langston Hughes as a ‘thinker about religion.’ Langston’s Salvation heralds a new day, perhaps even a renaissance, not only in the study Hughes and his poetry, but also of liberal religion in the United States. It is impossible to read Langston’s Salvation and fail to wonder what other great writers of the past have to offer if we follow Best’s lead and approach them as thinkers about religion. This book is like Hughes’s poetry: an invitation to see more than what’s on the surface.”—Edward J. Blum, author of W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet

For more information on the publication, click here.

Wallace Best is a member of the department of religious studies at Princeton University, where his research and teaching center on African American religious history, religion and literature, and gender and sexuality and womanist theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Accidental Theologians

Accidental Theologians: Four Women Who Shaped Christianity, by Elizabeth DreyerFour Women Who Shaped Christianity

In Accidental Theologians, Religious Studies professor Elizabeth A. Dreyer examines the theology and lives of Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Thérèse of Lisieux. These four are the only women out of the thirty-five people who have been declared “Doctors of the Church” by the Roman Catholic Church, a title that requires theological acumen, holy living and recognition by the Pope. These women largely did not write conventional academic theology, but their writings could often be more religiously insightful because of their popular style. Dreyer makes a strong case for the continued importance of these women to the present.

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Trouble in Mind

Trouble in Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years - What Really Happened, by Clinton HeylinBob Dylan’s Gospel Years: What Really Happened

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan has long been an enigmatic figure. Perhaps the most controversial period in his career was between 1979 and 1981, when the Jewish-born Dylan began espousing Christianity. In Trouble in Mind Clinton Heylin – Dylan’s most meticulous biographer- argues that this period was one of the most creative and generative of Dylan’s life. Heylin documents the influences in Dylan’s life, such as the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, that led to his brief and highly visible conversion.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Trouble in Mind documents the tours and recording sessions with an obsessive detail that, at the very least, encourages the reader to come at it all afresh. . . . his interrogation of what it was all for is, to fans like me, highly illuminating.” —NewStatesman

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.