On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Radical King

The Radical King, Cornel West and Martin Luther King Jr.A revealing collection that restores Dr. King as being every bit as radical as Malcolm X

In the introduction to The Radical King, Cornell West declares that this new collection of King’s writings presents “a radical King that we can no longer sanitize.” West argues that King was a revolutionary figure, one who called for “a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and average citizens.” Containing twenty-three selections of King’s writing and oratory, the collection shows how King’s message of radical love was simultaneously political and religious. The collection makes clear that King’s prophetic nonviolent witness was not just intended to advance civil rights, but also aimed to address poverty, inequality, war, antisemitism and colonialism.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“King’s skills as a preacher and rhetorician are amply in evidence, as is his profound empathy with others.”—Publishers Weekly

“This useful collection takes King from the front lines of Southern segregation to a national movement for economic equality to an international condemnation of imperialism and armed intervention.”—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.

Charles Marsh and John Perkins Speak at Pepperdine University

Keynote speaker Rev. John PerkinsOn the Question of God and Justice

On Tuesday, March 27th, Charles Marsh and PLT contributor John M. Perkins presented a feature entitled “Does God Care About Justice?” at the Veritas Forum at Pepperdine University. The Veritas Forum is an organization that facilitates conversations between students and faculty on a range of beliefs and life’s hardest questions in pursuit of truth.

Marsh spoke of Bonhoeffer’s reflections on the church while in prison, comparing the Nazi’s appropriation of the Christian church to the way white southern churches of his youth distorted the word of God in their own prejudice. In his talk, he noted:

“My own culture and my own taste had constructed a God that had very little to do with the gospel… the church… exists fundamentally beyond national boundaries, political boundaries, social boundaries, racial boundaries… Those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord are quite necessarily… members of the global fellowship.”

Perkins reflected on the great societal changes he had seen in his life, particularly in the church, and how those related to the historical changes in the church started by Martin Luther and Bonhoeffer. In his discussion of of the current state of society, he expressed his conviction that the church, and indeed society as a whole, could become more equal and accepting, explaining:

We might be at a sacred moment in history… I believe that we can form multicultural churches. I believe that we can be intentional in our love.”

To watch the talk in its entirety, along with the following Q&A, click here. For more information on the Veritas Forum, visit their website 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.

PLT event updates can be found online using #PLTevents. To browse our PLT resource collection, click here. Updates on our resources can be found online using #PLTresources. To get these updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology.

In Commemoration of MLK: Clayborn Temple to Present “Union”

Historic Memphis Temple Plans Theater Tribute to King

In 1968, Clayborn Temple was home to the Memphis Sanitation Workers during their strike for economic justice. Within its sanctuary they organized their efforts, and from its steps they marched daily into the streets of Memphis. As they went, they carried the iconic “I AM A MAN” signs that bore witness to the very meaning of the movement: the pursuit of human dignity.

Today, fifty years later, Clayborn Temple is developing “Union,” a musical play that inspires audiences with the powerful story of the Sanitation Workers and continues their journey toward social justice.

Set to debut in 2019, this production will tour cities across the United States and invite audiences into active conversations about the ongoing need for equity, the enduring power of community, and the future possibilities of democracy.

On April 4th, 2018, the eyes of the world turned to Memphis as thousands gathered to remember, embrace, and advance the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

As part of this commemoration, Clayborn Temple presents three preview performances of “Union: A Musical” and a community conversation that that brings together community members, activists, artists, influencers, and civic leaders to discuss the ongoing work of democracy in our city and in our nation.

Friday, April 6th, 2018

On opening night, we feature narration of local pastor. Friday night will be a VIP night and will be a fundraiser for “Union”.

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

On Saturday night, we feature narration of actress, Jurnee Smollett and performance by singer/songwriter Josiah Bell.

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

On Sunday afternoon, we will turn our attention toward the young people of Memphis.The show will feature narration of Erica Perry and Patrick Ghant and a youth led post-show conversation featuring young people (middle school – college) from communities and organizations all over Memphis. (we are working on a special appearance by members of The Invaders). Before the show we will be conducting a community organization workshop for members of the community that want to be more involved in the work for racial and economic justice.

For event information and ticket purchase, visit Clayborn Temple’s website 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 news from PLT fellow travelers, 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.

PLT Contributor Patricia Hampl to speak at UVA

Patricia Hampl posterThe Art of the Wasted Day

On April 24th, 2018, Professor Patricia Hampl will be giving a lecture at 2:00 pm in Nau Hall 211, with a Q&A to follow. Afterwards, at 5:00 pm, she will be discussing her book, The Art of the Wasted Day, at the Bonhoeffer House at 1841 University Circle. There will also be a book signing following the talk. Admission is free for both events, and the public is invited to attend. Parking for the Bonhoeffer House event is available at the International Center.

For more information on additional resources and occasional lectures, click here.

Patricia Hampl is a Regents Professor and the McKnight Distinguished Professor in the English department at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches creative writing.

For more event details and up-to-date event listings please click here to visit the PLT Events page. We also post updates online using #PLTevents. To get these and other news updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: An American Conscience

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story, by Jeremy L. SabellaThe Reinhold Niebuhr Story

Reinhold Niebuhr was among the most influential American theologians in the twentieth century. The author of Moral Man and Immoral Society, he emphasized the need to guard against the evil inherent in humanity, and his ideas ultimately helped inform the Civil Rights movement. This new biography by Jeremy Sabella is a companion to the recent documentary on Niebuhr’s life. It uses material from interviews with a number of prominent figures, including former President Jimmy Carter, to evaluate the impact of Niebuhr’s career. Sabella’s book is a valuable introduction to the thought of an important thinker.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Reinhold Niebuhr makes me shake and tremble as a human being when I think of the depths of his courage, his vision, his determination, his discipline, his willingness to expose himself publicly and to continually grow and mature. That’s why I consider him a soul mate.”—Cornel West

“Niebuhr had audacity. He wrote with audacity. He took big public stands. . . . There are not too many theologians who have that kind of courage anymore.”—David Brooks

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: At the Dark End of the Street

At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, by Danielle L. McGuireBlack Women, Rape, and Resistance–a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power

Danielle L. McGuire’s At the Dark End of the Street documents the widespread rape of black women by white men in the south, and argues that responding to these crimes served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights movement. While such rapes were common, they were rarely prosecuted, and seeking justice became a key demand of civil rights workers. McGuire tells how Rosa Parks’s activism began long before her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when she was sent by the NAACP to investigate the rape of Recy Taylor, a twenty-four-year-old mother. At the Dark End of the Street not only recovers the truth of these horrific incidents of sexual violence, but ultimately reveals a heretofore under-studied aspect of the Civil Rights Movement.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This gripping story changes the history books, giving us a revised Rosa Parks and a new civil rights story. You can’t write a general U.S. history without altering crucial sentences because of McGuire’s work. Masterfully narrated, At the Dark End of the Street presents a deep civil rights movement with women at the center, a narrative as poignant, painful and complicated as our own lives.” —Timothy B. Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story 

“Valuable for reminding us of Parks’s radicalism. She was not a frail old lady who wouldn’t get up from her bus seat ‘because she was tired and her feet ached.’ . . . A welcome corrective.” —The Independent Weekly (Raleigh, NC)

“One of those rare studies that makes a well-known story seem startlingly new. Anyone who thinks he knows the history of the modern civil rights movement needs to read this terrifying, illuminating book.” —Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age

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.

Charles Marsh and John Perkins to Present at Pepperdine University

Keynote speaker Rev. John PerkinsIn Conversation on God and Justice

On Tuesday, March 27th, Charles Marsh will co-present a feature entitled “Does God Care About Justice?” with PLT Contributor John M. Perkins at the Veritas Forum at Pepperdine University.

The Veritas Forum helps students and faculty ask life’s hardest questions on a range of beliefs to explore big questions and pursue Truth together. With a mission to confront the big “why” questions anew, the forum is committed to courageous conversations, placing the historic Christian faith in dialogue with other beliefs and invite participants from all backgrounds to pursue Truth together.

For more information on the event, visit the Veritas Forum website 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.

PLT event updates can be found online using #PLTevents. To browse our PLT resource collection, click here. Updates on our resources can be found online using #PLTresources. To get these updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Going Down Jericho Road

Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign, by Michael HoneyThe Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign

When Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, he was in Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers. Michael K. Honey’s Going Down Jericho Road is a detailed and readable history that examines both the local history of black workers’ struggle for union rights and King’s Poor People’s Campaign. A work that is equally a labor history and a history of civil rights, Honey’s book is an important contribution to our understanding of the last phase of King’s career.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Brilliant in the way it delineates the economic benefits to Southern society of American apartheid… it is also stirring in portraying the strike leaders, ordinary workers who risked everything to establish their basic rights in the face of arrogant and condescending power.”—Michael Carlson, The Spectator

“Although many people know Martin Luther King Jr. died in Memphis, few know what he was doing there, observes labor historian Honey in this moving and meticulous account of the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis between January and April 1968. Marrying labor history to civil rights history, the University of Washington professor fluently recounts the negotiations that ensued after black sanitation workers revolted over being sent home without pay on rainy days, although white workers were paid. While showing how their work stoppage became a strike, then a local movement, before coalescing in the Poor People’s Campaign, Honey also reveals King’s shift in emphasis ‘from desegregation and voting rights to the war and the plight of the working class.'”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

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.

From the Resource Archives: Paul Gaston Reflects on the Civil Rights Movement in Charlottesville

Paul GastonHighlighting a Local Activist’s Role in Securing Civil Rights

On September 24, 2014, Paul M. Gaston, professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia, captivated a large audience with his guest lecture on his experience as a local activist in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Focusing his lecture around the theme “how you bring about change,” Gaston used the University of Virginia as his primary example and also included personal anecdotes on the process of integration in the Charlottesville community.

Raised in Fairhope Colony, an idealistic community founded by his grandfather on the principles of justice and equality, Dr. Gaston learned at an early age of the racial prejudice and economic disparity that divided America. After moving to Charlottesville, Dr. Gaston became deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement and participated in many rallies and protests, including the 1963 sit-ins at Buddy’s Restaurant, which ultimately played a critical role in spurring desegregation of the region. In an interview with the University of Virginia Magazine, Dr. Gaston stated, “The early 1950s was a time when it was clear… that great changes were coming to the South, and I wanted to take part in it.”

On his discussion of students’ stance on civil rights at the University, Gaston shared:

“Each year the cadre of protesting students was enlarged. And I think it was enlarged because there were students who in high school had been watching television, and they’d been watching the white Southerners, and some white Northerners too, express with crow bars, burnings, everything horrible about the nature of the opposition to integration. And they began to think at home that this isn’t right. Something ought to be done about it.”

Watch Gaston’s full lecture here.

Paul Gaston is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Virginia, a local civil rights activist, and the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Arabella Carter Award for Community Service and the Legendary Civil Rights Activist Award from the Charlottesville-Albemarle branch of the NAACP. 

For more featured resources from our PLT Contributors, click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #PLTresources. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Paradise Lust

Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden, Brook Wilensky-LanfordSearching for the Garden of Eden

In Paradise Lust, Brook Wilensky-Lanford introduces readers to the enduring modern quest to locate the Garden of Eden on Earth. It is an obsession that has consumed scientists and theologians alike, including the first president of Boston University and a knighted British engineer. Today the search has been taken up by amateurs. Inspired by an Eden seeker in her own family, Wilensky-Lanford writes of these unusual men and women with sympathy and wit. Paradise Lust is a century-spanning history that provokes surprising insights into where we came from, what we did wrong, and where we go from here.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Paradise Lust is a pleasure. Wilensky-Lanford tackles her subject with an appealing mix of serious research and tongue-in-cheek humor. Neither too academic nor too whimsical, the storytelling in Paradise Lust is often irresistible.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A gloriously researched, pluckily written historical and anecdotal assay of humankind’s age-old quixotic quest for the exact location of the Biblical garden.” —Elle 

“Absorbing . . . in writing Paradise Lust, Ms. Wilensky-Lanford faced the unenviable task of translating intellectual history into popular history. . . . But her interest in her subject is deep, her narrative is expertly layered, and her interpretations of the seekers’ motives are more than convincing.” —The Wall Street Journal 

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.