News

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.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Love Without Limits

Love Without Limits: Jesus' Radical Vision for Love with No Exceptions, by Jacqueline BussieJesus’ Radical Vision for Love with No Exceptions

In Love Without Limits, Jacqueline Bussie imparts practical solutions for people of faith who yearn to love across division and difference in these troubled times. Every day, millions of people lament the loss of civility, respect, and hope, and they wonder if it’s possible to cultivate a love big enough to overthrow hate and heal our hurts. Bussie says yes, it is possible, and shows how to do it in this engaging book about life and love. Through poignant personal memoir, engaging theological reflection, inspiring true stories of boundary-busting friendships, creative readings of scripture, and surprising shout-outs to some of love’s unsung heroes, Bussie challenges readers to answer God’s call to practice a love so deep, it subverts the social order; so radical, it scandalizes the powerful; so vast, it excludes no one. She urges readers to widen love’s wingspan and to love as God loves–without limits or exceptions.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“If you believe, as I do, that love is the heart of Jesus’ message and should be the point of the Christian life, then you’ll be surprised to see how few books there are that aim specifically to help you become a better practitioner of love. And you’ll be thrilled when a book like this comes along—super well-written, really inspiring and practical, deeply engaged with scripture, and joyfully celebrating the primacy of love.”—Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

“This is a book about love, but not just any love. It’s about cosmic love, deep-faith love, break-down-walls love. Every page pulses with that same radical love. Read it and let the contents pour into you and make you better.”—Eboo Patel, author of Acts of Faith

Love Without Limits is more than a book; it is a profound and witty guide to a way of life—no, not just a way of life, but the way of life Jesus outlined for us in his life and teachings, if we would only pay attention. Over and over again this gracious book reminds us that “love without limits” is not only our goal, but is possible if we have the courage to attempt it and to pay, if necessary, the price. I love this book. It has become part of me.”—Anthony S. Abbot, author of The Angel Dialogues and winner of the North Carolina Award for Literature

For more information on the publication, click here.

Jacqueline Bussie is a professor of religion at Concordia College and is the director of the Forum on Faith and Life.

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.

Summer Internship in Lived Theology celebrates 2018 season

The Project’s ninth class of interns partnered with organizations in Charlottesville, DC, and Southern California

On October 3, the 2018 class of summer interns in Lived Theology gave their final presentations at a celebration of the program’s 2018 season.

Jon Deters, a government major, worked with Wesley Theological Seminary’s Center for Public Theology in Washington, DC. He spent time working with organizations such as Bread for the World, New Baptist Covenant, and the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, and he visited important sites such as the Newseum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Jon also observed and participated in protests, lobbying, and letter-writing. You can read about his summer work on the internship blog, and view his final project, a photo collection with written reflections, here.

Isabella Hall picking strawberries

Isabella Hall, a Perkins House resident studying social ethics, community development, and religious studies at UVA, spent the summer interning with The Abundant Table, a grassroots, nonprofit organization that seeks to change lives and systems by creating sustainable relationships to the land and local community. Isabella’s summer work included farm labor, community development, and participation in the Abundant Table’s liturgical community. Read her reflections on our blog, and view her final project, a liturgy for the winter solstice, here.

Kate Badgett, who is studying religious studies and bioethics, worked this summer at The Haven, a multi-resource day shelter in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. She joined volunteers for kitchen work and led a writing group for guests.

The application for the 2019 season of the Summer Internship in Lived Theology will be available in December. Please visit the internship page to learn more, or contact us.

 

On the Lived Theology Reading List: One in Christ

One in Christ: Chicago Catholics and the Quest for Interracial Justice, by Karen J. JohnsonChicago Catholics and the Quest for Interracial Justice

In One in Christ, Karen J. Johnson tells the story of Catholic interracial activism through the lives of a group of women and men in Chicago who struggled with one another, their Church, and their city to try to live their Catholic faith in a new way. It started when black activists joined with a handful of white laypeople who believed in their vision of a universal church in the segregated city, and began to fight to make that vision a reality. In the end, not only had Catholic activists lived out their faith as active participants in the long civil rights movement and learned how to cooperate across racial lines, but they had changed the practice of Catholicism. They broke down the hierarchy that placed priests above the laity and crossed the parish boundaries that defined urban Catholicism. In this book, Johnson shows the ways religion and race combined both to enforce racial hierarchies and to tear them down, and demonstrates that we cannot understand race and civil rights in the North without accounting for religion.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Karen J. Johnson’s One in Christ has it all: white versus black and white with black; Catholic versus Protestant and Catholic with Protestant; Catholic versus Catholic and Catholic with Catholic. Widely researched, analyzed with precision, and focused on the magical messiness of everyday life, this book is necessary reading for anyone interested in race, religion, and justice in the past and present.”—Edward J. Blum, co-author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

“Karen J. Johnson has made a remarkable contribution to scholarship on interracial civil rights activism in the Northern United States. One in Christ is balanced in its attention to clergy and laity, and innovative in its intersectional placement of religion, race, gender, sexuality, class, and place at the heart of its analysis. Rigorous and passionate in its research and presentation, One in Christ will be appreciated as a cornerstone achievement in the history of the Catholic interracial justice movement.”—Omar M. McRoberts, author of Streets of Glory: Church and Community in a Black Urban Neighborhood

“A tour de force. One in Christ takes us into the streets and parishes of Catholic Chicago, richly exploring the much understudied work of the laity-particularly women-in shaping, defining, and acting for interracial unity and justice. In a delightfully engaging text, Johnson draws us into the messiness of human interaction for change and resistance during the long civil rights movement of the 1930s to the 1960s. Her findings and interpretations have deep meaning for our current times. A must read for anyone wanting to understand civil rights and racial change.”—Michael O. Emerson, author of Divided by Faith, United by Faith, and Transcending Racial Barriers

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.