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On the Lived Theology Reading List: Crossroads at Clarksdale

Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II, by Françoise HamlinThe Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II

In Crossroads at Clarksdale, Françoise Hamlin chronicles the slow struggle for black freedom through the history of Clarksdale, Mississippi by using the stories of the daily lives and familiar places of local residents. Hamlin creates a full picture of the town spanning over a period of fifty years, recognizing the accomplishments of its diverse African American community and strong NAACP branch, and examining the extreme brutality of entrenched power there. But Clarksdale is not a triumphant narrative of dramatic change; instead, it embodies a layered, contentious, untidy, and often disappointingly unresolved part of the civil rights movement.

Following the black freedom struggle in Clarksdale from World War II through the first decade of the twenty-first century allows Hamlin to tell multiple, interwoven stories about the town’s people, their choices, and the extent of political change. She shows how members of civil rights organizations worked to challenge Jim Crow through fights against inequality, police brutality, segregation, and, later, economic injustice. With Clarksdale still at a crossroads today, Hamlin explores how to evaluate success when poverty and inequality persist.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A beautifully written book, strong in its ability to capture the different organizing strategies pursued in one community. . . . A major contribution to civil rights historiography.”—Journal of American History

“Adds much to the story of civil rights in Clarksdale and beyond . . . [and] provides an incredibly rich account of race, class, gender, generational, and organizational tensions within the civil rights movement.”—Journal of Southern History

“[This book] is a much-needed additive to the already-extant literature on the Mississippi civil rights movement, not only for its artful prose, but also because it sets a high standard for future researchers, pushing scholars to expand their source base and periodization. Hamlin’s book should be widely read.”—The Historian

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: This I Trust

This I Trust: Basic Words of Christian Belief, by Wolfgang HuberBasic Words of Christian Belief

Today, many people believe that the question of faith is one purely of belief. Wolfgang Huber, however, argues that it is actually one of trust, and our willingness to trust in God and His promises. In This I Trust, Huber engages in meditations on classic words of the Christian tradition, from the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer to the stories of the birth and parables and death of Jesus. Through these works, he searches for for the fiery core and world-defying implications of Christian faith today.

Although he is fully cognizant of  the complexities and ambiguities of contemporary life, he nonetheless asserts, “If we trust in God we can endure the uncertainties, accept the limitations, and receive the fullness of life as a gift.” For those who struggle with the meaning of faith and Christian discipleship in their personal, familial, professional and political lives, Huber offers deep assurance and steep challenge.

For more information on the publication, click here.

Wolfgang Huber is a prominent German theologian and ethicist. Engaged in both church and politics, he has served on numerous boards of ethics and public policy, as a professor of theology in the universities of Marburg and Heidelberg, and as Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg from 1993 to 2009.

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.

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast

Can I Get a Witness? The PodcastThis podcast is an audio companion to the book, Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith & Justice. In each episode of this podcast, host Shea Tuttle talks with one of our authors about the person they profiled for the book and about their writing process. These twelve podcasts are a great companion to the book, illuminating new insights and untold stories. Journey with the authors as they explain their personal connection with these witnesses and how these stories transformed their lives.

We Who Believe in Freedom: Ella Baker’s Creed

Nichole M. Flores shares her research and reflections on Ella Baker, a civil rights activist and organizer whose work in the civil rights movement focused on empowering the poor and the young.

The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

On the Lived Theology Reading List: We the Resistance

We the Resistance: Documenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States, edited by Michael G. LongDocumenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States

Have you ever wondered about the history of activism in the United States? Curious about what protests looked like before the modern methods pioneered by the civil rights era? We the Resistance showcases a number of historic activists to give curious citizens and current resisters an insight into the history of American activism. Beginning with the pre-Revolutionary War era and continuing through to the present day, readers will encounter the voices of protestors sharing instructive stories about their methods (from sit-ins to tree sitting) and opponents (from Puritans to Wall Street bankers), as well as inspirational stories about their failures (from slave petitions to the fight for the ERA), and successes (from enfranchisement for women to today’s reform of police practices).

In an effort to combat histories of America that focus on our military past, this book provides an alternate history of the formation of our nation and its character, one in which courageous individuals and movements have wielded the tools of nonviolence to resist unjust, unfair, and immoral policies and practices. Instruction and inspiration run throughout this captivating reader, generously illustrated with historic graphics and photographs of nonviolent protests throughout U.S. history.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This book fights fascism. This books offers hope. We The Resistance is essential reading for those who wish to understand how popular movements built around nonviolence have changed the world and why they retain the power to do so again.”—Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life

“This comprehensive documentary history of non-violent resisters and resistance movements is an inspiring antidote to any movement fatigue or pessimism about the value of protest. It tells us we can learn from the past as we confront the present and hope to shape the future. Read, enjoy and take courage knowing you are never alone in trying to create a more just world. Persevere and persist and win, but know that even losing is worth the fight and teaches lessons for later struggles.”Mary Frances Berry, author of History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times

“We the Resistance illustrates the deeply rooted, dynamic, and multicultural history of nonviolent resistance and progressive activism in North America and the United States. With a truly comprehensive collection of primary sources, it becomes clear that dissent has always been a central feature of American political culture and that periods of quiescence and consensus are aberrant rather than the norm. Indeed, the depth and breadth of resistant and discordant voices in this collection is simply outstanding.”—Leilah Danielson, author of American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of American Radicalism in the Twentieth Century 

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: Hurtin’ Words

Hurtin' Words: Debating Family Problems in the Twentieth-Century South, by Ted OwnbyDebating Family Problems in the Twentieth-Century South

In Hurtin’ Words, Ted Ownby considers how a wide range of writers, thinkers, activists, and others defined family problems in the twentieth-century American South. Rather than attempting to define the experience of an archetypal “southern family,” Ownby looks broadly at contexts such as political and religious debates about divorce and family values, southern rock music, autobiographies, and more to reveal how people in the South used the concept of the family as a proxy for imagining a better future or happier past.

In the civil rights period, many embraced an ideal of Christian brotherhood as a way of transcending divisions. Opponents of civil rights denounced “brotherhoodism” as a movement that undercut parental and religious authority. Others, especially in the African American community, rejected the idea of family crisis altogether, working to redefine family adaptability as a source of strength.

In this engaging work, Ownby shows that it was common for both African Americans and whites to discuss family life in terms of crisis, but they reached very different conclusions about causes and solutions.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Coming from one of the most brilliant and thoughtful analysts of the American South, Ted Ownby’s Hurtin’ Words is indispensable for understanding the many ways that southerners defined the problems of family life and why those definitions mattered so much.”—Marjorie J. Spruill, author of Divided We Stand

“An always-interesting and often-fascinating look into the way the family was written and talked about in the twentieth-century South. Ownby offers a remarkably fresh way to think about family and region, race and gender.”—Richard King, University of Nottingham

For more information on the publication, click here.

Ted Ownby is director of the Center of Southern Culture and a professor in history and Southern studies at the University of Mississippi.

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.

Media Spotlight: Can I Get a Witness?

Can I Get a Witness? The PodcastCan I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith & Justice is our newest publication. There are many ways you can access the prophetic witness of this book. Discover the compelling stories of thirteen pioneers for social justice who engaged in peaceful protest and gave voice to the marginalized, working courageously out of their religious convictions to transform American culture.

On Friday, March 22, Charles Marsh presented a lecture and discussion on the book as part of the Rebels With a Cause symposium at the Virginia Festival of the Book. Along with Hal Crowther, author of Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers: A Gallery of Memorable Southerners, they discussed their collections of biographical essays on unexpected and underappreciated leaders in struggles for justice and equality.

BookTV will present coverage of the Rebels With a Cause symposium:

  • Mar 30, 2019 | 1:00pm EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Mar 31, 2019 | 2:00am EDT | C-SPAN 2

Book Reviews

Lenten Journey

Join us on a journey through Lent with Howard Thurman, Dorothy Day, Mahalia Jackson, Cesar Chavez, and more witnesses to faith and justice. We are reading our new book throughout the Lenten season, and we’d love for you to join the conversation. For each chapter, we’ll post reading guides here on this page as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Those guides will include scripture passages, questions for reflection, and suggestions for other resources, including our companion podcast (links to come). You can also join our Facebook group to participate directly in the conversation.

Podcast

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast is an audio companion to the book. In each episode of this podcast, we talk with one of our authors about the person they profiled for the book and about their writing process. The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

Can I Get a Witness? Charles Marsh to speak at the Virginia Festival of the Book

VA Fest of Book 2019

On Friday, March 22, Charles Marsh will present a lecture on Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith & Justice as the part of the Rebels With a Cause symposium. Along with Hal Crowther, author of Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers: A Gallery of Memorable Southerners, they will discuss discuss their collections of biographical essays on unexpected and underappreciated leaders in struggles for justice and equality. Book sales and signing will follow.

The presentation will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

To go to the Virginia Festival of the Book’s website, click here.

“Can I Get a Witness?” a Lenten Journey

Join us on a journey through Lent with Howard Thurman, Dorothy Day, Mahalia Jackson, Cesar Chavez, and more witnesses to faith and justice. We’ll be reading our new book, Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith and Justice throughout the Lenten season, and we’d love for you to join the conversation.

For each chapter, we’ll post reading guides here on this page as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Those guides will include scripture passages, questions for reflection, and suggestions for other resources, including our companion podcast (links to come). You can also join our Facebook group to participate directly in the conversation.

Stay tuned!

Charles Marsh to Deliver Lecture at UC Berkeley

“From the Phraseological to the Real”: Lived Theology and the Public University

On February 23, Charles Marsh will deliver a lecture at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion as part of their culminating conference for a project focused on the place of theology in the university. 

The BCSR says the main goal of the project “was to challenge narrow conceptions of both secular learning and ‘theology,’ in hopes of fostering robust conversation about the teaching of religion in the pluralist setting of the modern university.” This conference will focus on three major areas of inquiry: Theology and the History of Learning, Theology and Modern Secular Disciplines, and The Limits and Possibilities of Theology in a Pluralist World. It runs from February 22-23, and Marsh will be giving his lecture on February 23 at 4:00.

Find more event information on BCSR’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.

Marie Griffith to Deliver Lecture Series at University Baptist Church

Marie Griffith Lecture Poster

On February 26 – 28, Professor Marie Griffith will be speaking as part of the Richard E. Myers Lecture Series at University Baptist Church. The lectures will be at 5 PM each day. Professor Griffith will be giving a series of lectures entitled “Can a Fractured Nation Make Peace? Facing History and Restoring Our Deepest Values.” The title of the three lectures included in the series are “Legacies of Slavery: The Value of Truthfulness,” “Welcoming the Stranger: The Value of Empathy,” and “Sex and Religious Liberty: The Values of Conscience and Compromise.”

The abstract for this lecture series is included below:

“Countless political and social conflicts in America during recent decades have hinged on divergent ways of telling the nation’s history and describing the values we share in common. Particular disparities appear between different ways of talking about the legacies of slavery and racism, the dehumanizing treatment of native Americans and immigrants, and the bitter struggles over sexuality, women’s rights, and religious liberty. In this era of extreme polarization and deep fracturing within American Christianity as well as U.S. politics, can we cultivate a sense of shared history and a shared future that is truthful about the nation’s past and united in honoring the values that will guide its future? These lectures take on these difficult subjects with an eye toward restoring such values as truthfulness, empathy, conscience, and compromise, so as to foster a bearable peace.”

Professor Griffith is the Director and John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She published Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics in 2017, which connected modern political issues to centuries old debates among American Christians.

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.