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On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer

The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is, edited by Maegan Parker Brooks and Davis W. HouckTo Tell It Like It Is

Many people know about Fannie Lou Hamer’s impassioned speech delivered at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, but far fewer people are familiar with the speeches Hamer delivered at the 1968 and 1972 conventions, to say nothing of addresses she gave closer to home, or with Malcolm X in Harlem, or even at the founding of the National Women’s Political Caucus. The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer, edited by  is a collection of twenty-one of Hamer’s most important speeches and testimonies which are meant to highlight her skill as an orator in oft-overlooked situations.

This book includes speeches from many different parts of Hamer’s fifteen year career as an activist, including her responses to events such as a Vietnam War Moratorium Rally in Berkeley, California, and a summons to testify in a Mississippi courtroom. The speeches in this book are coupled with with brief critical descriptions that place Hamer’s words in context, and there are additional materials within the book such as the last full-length oral history interview Hamer granted and a recent oral history interview Brooks conducted with Hamer’s daughter.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Fannie Lou Hamer lives within the pages of To Tell It Like It Is, a collection of her speeches and interviews prefaced by a short biography. Those who knew her will know her better, and those who didn’t will meet a humane, relevant, inspirational leader who can inspire us all to action right now.”—Gloria Steinem

“The single best primary source anthology available for studying the grassroots sharecropper activist turned warrior”—P. Harvey (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs), CHOICE, January 2015 issue

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.

Call for Applications: Summer Internship in Lived Theology 2019

Summer Internship 2019Now Accepting Applications for Summer 2019

The Project on Lived Theology is now accepting applications for the 2019 Summer Internship in Lived Theology, 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. To download an application, click here.

The internship is open to U.Va. undergraduate students in any field of study. Selected participants spend the summer interning with the partnering institution of their choice. Each intern works directly with a U.Va. faculty member who acts as a theological mentor, offering guidance in reading, discussing, and writing about selected texts. Each intern also has a site mentor who shapes his/her work experience and may act as a conversation partner in the intern’s academic and theological exploration. Throughout the summer, interns blog for the Project on Lived Theology website; at the end of the internship, interns complete a final project and present their work at a public event.

The deadline for application submission is February 11, 2019.

For more information on the internship and to read blog posts and biographies from past interns, click here.

For online updates about the PLT Summer Internship, please use #PLTinterns, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Freedom Schools

The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, by Jon N. HaleStudent Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

In The Freedom Schools, Jon N. Hale discusses the Mississippi Freedom Schools, which were  formed during 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer. These schools were started by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy, and had a crucial role in the civil rights movement as well as the development of progressive education in the United States as a whole. Forming a political network, the Freedom Schools taught students how, when, and where to engage politically, shaping activists who trained others to challenge inequality.

This book is based on dozens of first-time interviews with former Freedom School students and teachers, and shows the side of the civil rights movement that is often looked over in favor of the stories of national leadership or college protesters. Students and teachers that attended the schools speak eloquently about the principles that informed their practice and the influence that the Freedom School curriculum has had on education, as well as offering key strategies for further integrating the American school system and politically engaging today’s youth.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Jon N. Hale’s work hits the mark! It is accurate and timely in refocusing our attention on the profound power of African American youth and education. The activists and young learners who made the Freedom Schools possible have greatly gone unsung. In the midst of imminent danger, they learned and experienced democracy while illustrating the efficacy of community participation in education. Hale rightly places them at the forefront of the struggle for freedom. His book reminds us of those who saved the nation’s soul.” — Stefan M. Bradley, author of Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s

“Hale’s groundbreaking examination of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s tireless efforts to provide free educational opportunities for Mississippi’s African American children is an often overlooked yet instrumental component of the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The Freedom Schools offers a greater understanding of the schools’ lasting legacy and the profound impact of the Freedom Schools on Mississippi’s black students as they later engaged in boycotts and school walkouts, influencing public school desegregation efforts and the civil rights movement.” — Sonya Ramsey, author of Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville

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 World Made Otherwise

The World Made Otherwise: Sustaining Humanity in a Threatened World, by Timothy GorringeSustaining Humanity in a Threatened World

In The World Made Otherwise, acclaimed author Timothy Gorringe tackles the topic of climate change, which many natural scientists believe will bring civilizational collapse. Gorringe argues that behind this threat is a commitment to false values, embodied in our political, economic, and farming systems. He points out that millions of people the world over—perhaps the majority—are committed to alternative values and practices. In this book, Gorringe explores how these values, already foreshadowed in people’s movements all over the world, can produce different political and economic realities which can underwrite a safe and prosperous future for all.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Over the last several decades, Timothy Gorringe has established himself as an indispensable theological guide in matters relating to culture and the built and natural environments. In The World Made Otherwise, he shows how theological insights can help us address what is likely the most pressing, planetary issue of our time—creating societies, economies, and infrastructures that will be livable and just and, dare we hope, even beautiful.”—Norman Wirzba, Duke Divinity School

“In this deeply researched and finely crafted volume Tim Gorringe presents the ecological crisis above all as a moral crisis. Gorringe develops an insightful ecological reading of the modern revival of virtue ethics, and an investigation of its implications for the core practices of human life—including building, economics, food growing and politics . . . This is interdisciplinary moral theology of a high order, reflecting the prophetic insight and wisdom of one of Britain’s finest theologians who is also a vegetable gardener, beekeeper, and shepherd.”—Michael Northcott, University of Heidelberg, Seminar of Practical Theology

For more information on the publication, click here.

Timothy Gorringe is St. Luke’s Professor of Theological Studies at the University of Exeter, where his academic interests focus on the interrelation between theology, social science, art and politics.

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.

Something Is Happening in Memphis: Greg Thompson Delivers Guest Lecture

On Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last Campaign

On Tuesday, October 30, Greg Thompson delivered a guest lecture entitled “Something Is Happening in Memphis: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last Campaign.”

Detailing the vision of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Thompson reflects on King’s work in Memphis with the Sanitation Workers’ Strike. King believed the rich, poor, white, black, gentile, Protestant, and Catholic needed to be united in collaboration. When all people are unified, beloved community will truly exist. King anchored his movement in love and he was inspired by the movement in Memphis. Thompson traces the history of civil rights in Memphis to the city’s continuing evolution today. This includes the restoration of Clayborn Temple and the surrounding community.

Excerpt: “It was love that propelled him forward, and love that held him back from places that other people would go. And lots of people thought King’s insistence on love was naive. And it’s hard to blame them. Faced with hate, love can seem impossible. Faced with violence, love can seem irresponsible and immoral. And so, lots of people tried to root the Civil Rights Movement in an ethic not of Christian love, but of a generalized democratic vision of equity. In his commitment to nonviolence, King believed that nonviolent direct action was the highest expression of civic love.”

Listen to the entire lecture through its resource page here.

Greg Thompson serves as Director for Research and Creative Strategy for Clayborn Temple, a historic civil rights site in Memphis, Tennessee. In this capacity he is responsible for the creative storytelling at the heart of Clayborn’s programming and the creative strategy at the heart of Clayborn’s art-based community redevelopment. He is also the co-writer of a new musical production called “Union: A Musical” that tells the story of the Memphis Sanitation Worker’s strike of 1968, Martin Luther King Junior’s last campaign. He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Virginia.

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: Myths America Lives By

Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories That Give Us Meaning, by Richard T. HughesWhite Supremacy and the Stories That Give Us Meaning

In this revised second edition of Myths America Lives By, Richard T. Hughes delves anew into the thought of black critics dissatisfied with America’s betrayal of its foundational beliefs. Hughes posits that six myths lie at the heart of the American experience. Taken as aspirational, four of those myths remind us of our noblest ideals, challenging us to realize our nation’s promise while galvanizing the sense of hope and unity we need to reach our goals. But when these myths are misused, they allow for illusions of innocence that fly in the face of white supremacy, the primal American myth that stands at the heart of all the others.

Speaking for people often marginalized in American life, prominent thinkers such as  Malcolm X, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Martin Luther King Jr. offer important perspectives on African American experiences, the pervasiveness of white supremacy, and the ways America can embrace, and deliver on, its egalitarian promise.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Richard Hughes’ Myths America Lives By was already required reading when it was released back in the pre-Trump era. With this update of his lacerating critique of the sordidness of American civil religion and other destructive myths, Hughes now indicts white supremacy as the foundational myth providing the most accelerant to those other myths that have burned through our history. Richard Hughes thinks hard and listens even harder to the historians, the scholars and, most of all, the prophets who understood the malignancy of white supremacy long before he did. The result is Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Gives Us Meaning. Once again, Hughes’ willingness to tell the truth about the myths we live by has put us all in his debt.”—Tony Norman, columnist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A fearless, well-researched, searing critique that shatters the underpinnings of white racial superiority in America and abroad.”—Joseph Robinson Jr., president, Martin Luther King Leadership Development Institute

“Myths America Lives By is prophetic–not merely in the predictive sense, so evident in the first edition, but in the far more consequential sense of prophecy as calling us to repentance and to our better selves. This is a very fine book, offering both a searing critique and a summons to embrace our common humanity.”—Randall Balmer, author of Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter

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.

A Catholic Looking In: Reporting from CCDA’s 30th Annual Conference

On November 1-2, 2018, PLT graduate research student Tim Shriver attended his first CCDA National Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The conference encourages participants to “gain a fresh perspective on how to encourage wholistic restoration in our communities.” The 2018 conference theme was ROOTED. The conference is a place for Christians to meet to discuss their faith and commitment to community. The CCDA movement started in Chicago 30 years ago, and is rooted in establishing relationship and reconciliation.

Shriver writes a reflection paper on his experience at the CCDA conference. Shriver has worked extensively in the Catholic social justice movement, but he was unfamiliar with the evangelical community. His paper details the kinship he found, as well as the unfamiliarity of the whole ecosystem. Read his paper here.

Excerpt: “The importance of deep rootedness—in place, scripture, memory, community and God—echoed through our two days together. The theme played most powerfully for me in the back-to-back talks of Dr. Ray Bakke and Pastor Enid Almanzar. Dr. Bakke called on the crowd to remember the various taproots of faith from Luther, John Edwards, and John Wesley but also from the Catholic, Orthodox and various Coptic Christian churches of early Christianity. These interwoven tap roots, often forgotten, shape the church today.”

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 #PLTfellowTravelers. 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: I Must Resist

I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters, by Bayard RustinBayard Rustin’s Life in Letters

I Must Resist is a collection of letters written by Rustin himself, giving a glimpse into the mind of one of the most important civil rights organizers of the era. Rustin, a master strategist and tireless activist, is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and played a deeply influential role in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to mold him into an international symbol of nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin often remained in the background. He was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.

Although Rustin was often not in the spotlight, this book aims to rectify that by showing how his contributions were integral to the development of a movement. I Must Resist includes 150 of Rustin’s eloquent, impassioned letters; his correspondents include the major progressives of his day — including Eleanor Holmes Norton, A Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Ella Baker, and of course, Martin Luther King Jr.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Rustin was a life-long agitator for justice. He changed America—and the world—for the better. This collection of his letters makes his life and his passions come vividly alive, and helps restore him to history, a century after this birth. I Must Resist makes for inspiring reading.”—John D’Emilio, author of Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin

“These letters–poetic, incisive, passionate, and above all political in the broadest meaning of the word–span almost four decades not only of Bayard Rustin’s life but of the emotional and spiritual life of America. There is hardly a social justice movement during this time in which Rustin was not involved from pacifism to ending poverty to battles for sexual freedom. Michael Long’s brilliant editing has created a compelling historical narrative and reading these letters is to be witness to the ever-evolving conscience that guides our country’s endangered, but surviving, commitment to freedom.”—Michael Bronksi, author of A Queer History of the United States

“A vital addition to the history of the civil rights movement by an exceptionally determined, vital and creative force who was invaluable to Martin Luther King Jr and A. Philip Randolph among many others.”—Nat Hentoff

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 Delivers DuBose Lectures at Sewanee University

Can I Get a Witness? Explorations in an Amen

On September 26 and 27 Charles Marsh delivered three lectures at the School of Theology at Sewanee University as the 2018 DuBose Lecturer. Marsh built upon the theme of witness by presenting three different lectures.

The first lecture “Aristocrats of Responsiblity: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Quest for a New Nobility” details the theology and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Marsh collects Bonhoeffer’s theological journey from gatherings in the dissident Church in Germany, his spiritual awakening during his trip through the Jim Crow south, and his late writings from Gestapo prison. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer came to a heightened and expansive sense of God’s presence and of what he called the ‘polyphony,’ the great richness and depth and textures of Christian faith.” Watch the first lecture here.

The second lecture”‘Better than Church’: The Civil Rights Movement and Religionless Christianity” explores the theology of the Civil Rights Movement, drawing on stories of Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, SNCC, and other pivotal figures. Marsh highlighted Hamer’s role in the movement: “She gave voice to an exuberant love of Jesus of Nazareth, an immersive intensive incarnational spirituality. I would say evangelical in the most important and robust sense of the word. A parable of God’s resounding yes and Amen spoken in Jesus and to be shared with everyone. And a love of the whole miraculous story, of the death and burial and resurrection of Christ. And her love, because of that particular conviction, was a great big open love, open to anyone who cared for the weak and the poor.” Watch the second lecture here.

The third lecture “Visions of Amen: On the Judgment of God and the Splendor of the World” draws on Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and delves into the complicity of the white churches’ response to the Civil Rights Movement. “Wandering in wastelands of our own design, we wonder, has not the judging, righteous God traveled to save us as well? Isn’t this the message of the gospel? There is a place beyond judgment and wrath? This place of course, cannot be reached without repentance, metanoia, beyond judgment and wrath is the forgiveness of sin. Attention to the sacrifices of Jesus and the excellences of Christ. Attention to the christological incognito, to the distressed and excluded. And the hope for the return of splendor in the world.” Watch the third lecture here.

Find more information on Marsh’s DuBose Lectures on Sewanee University’s website here. For a full listing of our spring speaking engagements with Charles Marsh and others, visit our events calendar here.

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. His publications include Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2014) and God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (1997), which won the 1998 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

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: Laughing at the Devil

Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich, by Amy Laura HallSeeing the World with Julian of Norwich

In Laughing at the Devil, Amy Laura Hall invites people to see the world through the eyes of a medieval visionary now known as Julian of Norwich, believed to be the first woman to have written a book in English. Although we don’t know much about Julian personally (we don’t even know her given name, because she became known by the name of the church she lived in), she left behind a wealth of writings to study.

Julian “saw our Lord scorn [the Devil’s] wickedness” and noted that “he wants us to do the same.” In this impassioned, analytic, and irreverent book, Amy Laura Hall emphasizes Julian’s call to scorn the Devil. Julian of Norwich envisioned courage during a time of fear, and Laughing at the Devil describes how she transformed a setting of dread into one of hope, solidarity, and resistance.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Laughing at the Devil with these two exceedingly clear-eyed women—Julian of Norwich and Amy Laura Hall—is compelling, enlightening, and joyous, all in one. The two have created texts, each for their own time, that together bear witness, at points defiant, at points mischievous, to a profoundly God-sustained world. What a wonderful, grace-filled vision.” — Teresa Berger, author of @ Worship: Liturgical Practices in Digital Worlds

“Amy Laura Hall’s masterful Laughing at the Devil is a rewarding joy to read, at once a profound dialogue with the great mystic Julian of Norwich, and a beautiful, raw, funny, audacious, and insightful invitation to the contemporary audience. We laugh with Hall and Julian, and we too yearn to pull closer to God not through fear and trembling, but through an aching heart bursting open with joy. This is the kind of raw, gritty, grounded, and real spiritual exploration that calls to all Christians, and to all people of faith. Strongly recommended!” — Omid Safi, author of Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition

“You might not expect to find references to Game of Thrones, West Texas, barfing bears, divorce, and Machiavelli in a book on Julian of Norwich, but you will find all these and much more in this volume. Julian of Norwich is a most unusual theologian, and Amy Laura Hall has given us a most unusual book: it is engaging and illuminating, a personal, passionate, and political reflection on and with Julian.” — Karen Kilby, coeditor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology

For more information on the publication, click here.

Amy Laura Hall is an associate professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.

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.