Der verklärte Fremde: A German Translation of Strange Glory

German Bonhoeffer book coverGütersloher Verlagshaus has published the German translation of Charles Marsh’s Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The book, entitled Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Der verklärte Fremde, Eine Biografie, was released on March 23, 2015.

To purchase Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Der verklärte Fremde from the publisher’s website, click here. To read a synopsis of Strange Glory, click here. To find future book events with Charles Marsh, click here.


Fannie Lou Hamer’s speeches published in first collection

Speeches of Fannie Lou HamerMaegan Parker Brooks and Davis W. Houck have compiled a volume of twenty-one of Fannie Lou Hamer’s most important speeches spanning her civil rights career, entitled The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is. Published by University Press of Mississippi, this is the first collection of her speeches ever published.

Fannie Lou Hamer was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi. In 1962 she entered the struggle for civil rights by becoming a voting rights activist and eventually a civil rights leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  In 1963, Hamer barely survived being jailed in Winona, Mississippi after a cruel and vicious beating, in which white police forced African American inmates to take turns beating her throughout the night. This tragic experience marked her and yet strengthened her resolve to remain in the struggle for civil rights. Hamer was instrumental in the organization of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project in 1964. Along with Annie Bell Robinson Devine and Victoria Gray Adams, she was among the first African American women to speak before the United States House of Representatives; all three were elected state representatives for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party for the National Democratic Convention in August of 1964 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

From the publisher’s website:

Brooks and Houck have coupled these heretofore unpublished speeches and testimonies with brief critical descriptions that place Hamer’s words in context. The editors also include the last full-length oral history interview Hamer granted, a recent oral history interview Brooks conducted with Hamer’s daughter, as well as a bibliography of additional primary and secondary sources. The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer demonstrates that there is still much to learn about and from this valiant black freedom movement activist.

To purchase this book from the publisher’s website, click here. To read exclusive excerpts of Fannie Lou Hamer, visit our civil rights archive here.


Virginia Seminar Member Featured in Christianity Today

Russell JeungOn March 12 and 20, 2015, Virginia Seminar member Russell M. Jeung was featured in Christianity Today. The articles, a two-part collection entitled “Raising a Generation of Peacemakers,” are excerpts of Jeung’s Virginia Seminar book project about his Hakka (Guest People) background and his life among refugees and immigrants in San Francisco.

Russell M. Jeung is associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. Russell’s research interests include race and religion and community organizing. He’s the co-producer of the video documentary, The Oak Park Story, about his faith-based community organizing in East Oakland with Cambodians and Latinos.

To read “Raising a Generation of Peacemakers, Part One,” click here. To read “Raising a Generation of Peacemakers, Part Two,” click here.

2015 Showers Lecture to feature Charles Marsh

BPK 40.575On Monday, March 30, Charles Marsh will deliver the 2015 Showers Lectures at the University of Indianapolis. The lectures will cover the life and legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and are scheduled for 4:00pm and 7:00pm in the McCleary Chapel in the Schwitzer Student Center. Each lecture will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. L/P credit is available to students.

The University of Indianapolis has hosted the annual Showers Lectures in Christian Religion since 1962. Dr. J. Balmer Showers, a bishop of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, established the lecture series with an endowment gift to the University of Indianapolis. The lectures commemorate the service of Bishop Showers in Christian endeavors. His career included ministerial work in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Ohio, education duties as a professor at Bonebrake Seminary (now United Theological Seminary), and publications work with the official E.U.B. journal, The Religious Telescope.

For more information, contact the Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs at (317) 788-2106.

For directions to the Schwitzer Student Center, click here. To find future book events with Charles Marsh, click here.

Kingdom Politics: PLT-supported book coming soon

Kristopher Norris20150319 Sam Speers headshot webreadyKingdom Politics: In Search of a New Political Imagination for Today’s Church, a book supported by the Project on Lived Theology, will be published at the end of April. The book’s authors–U.Va. graduate student and Project alum Kristopher Norris and U.Va. alum Sam Speers–offer the following preview of the research and insights presented in the book:

Just as the 2012 election season began picking up steam, we embarked on a journey to explore the ways churches engage and avoid politics in the midst of a fraught political climate. Equipped with the freedom of summer break, and a generous grant from the Project on Lived Theology, we set off for our first church visit, just a short drive from the wide sandy beaches of Southern California.

Five congregations, thirteen plane rides, two stolen iPhones, and nearly two years later, we concluded our research in the middle of a Polar Vortex in Atlanta, thankful to finally retreat indoors, sift through hours of interviews and pages of notes, and begin to answer our core questions: What does it mean for the church to be political? How should the church make decisions about when to engage or avoid politics? And what visions of politics are communicated by the actual practices of congregations—their lived theologies?

A popular book by two political scientists recently declared that “there is little politics in church.”[1] We came to believe that this claim profoundly obscures the deeply and inherently political character of the church—which is, at its core, a community defined by its allegiance to a new King and its citizenship in a new Kingdom. The church is an inescapably political body, called to embody a new and different form of politics to the world. However, American culture teaches us to think of politics fundamentally in terms of partisanship. In the absence of compelling alternative models for faithful Christian political engagement, churches often fall into one of two traps—avoiding politics entirely, or pledging allegiance to a particular issue or party.

Both responses reflect a poor understanding of the church’s political identity. The church needs a new political vision, one that takes its cues about the nature of politics not from the state, but from another political reality: the Kingdom of God. And during our visits to churches around the country, we caught glimpses of ordinary practices that have the potential to help the church build just such a vision.

Take Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, which has established partnerships with Catholic Charities USA, local government, and secular nonprofits to serve its inner-city neighbors. Or First & Franklin Presbyterian in Baltimore, whose congregation reads aloud the names of people killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan—from both sides of the conflict. Or Saddleback Church in California, whose medical missionaries are so effective that they were asked to testify before Congress about global healthcare strategy. These actions may not seem political in the way we have been taught to understand that word—but, as we claim in the book, each demonstrates a way the church can allow its allegiance to Christ’s mission to break down dividing walls and offer a vision of the Kingdom to their congregation, their neighbors, and the world.

These ordinary practices (and many others like them) show that the church’s response to an overly partisan public arena need not be to join a camp, nor to abandon politics altogether, but to orient its allegiance toward the only political reality that transcends parties and nations, tribes and tongues, cultures and generations. The church must learn to understand politics not fundamentally as divisive, but as a framework that unites believers in allegiance to a common King and Kingdom. And maybe—just maybe—a church that takes this posture could find greater unity with people who do not share its ultimate allegiance, by identifying and pursuing common loves with and for them.

Our book, Kingdom Politics: In Search of a New Political Imagination for Today’s Church (Cascade Books, 2015), traces our visits to these five congregations and offers snapshots of the ways their ordinary practices of worship, leadership, and missions can shape and reshape the church’s political imagination. The stories in this book demonstrate that churches are inherently political in the deepest and most basic sense, and offer glimpses of the kind of political imagination we need in churches—not conservative politics, liberal politics, or anti-politics, but Kingdom politics.

[1] Robert Putnam and David Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012), 442.

Charles Marsh to commemorate Bonhoeffer with New York lecture

ChurchdoorB&W webreadyOn Wednesday, April 8, Charles Marsh will deliver the lecture, “For Such a Time as This,”at Saint Peter’s Church in New York. This event will commemorate the 70th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s death. Marsh will speak on Strange Glory and focus on Bonhoeffer’s lived theology for today’s church. Vespers will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the presentation at 7:00pm. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend both events.

For directions to Saint Peter’s Church, click here. To find future book events with Charles Marsh, click here.

To read Charles Marsh’s reflection on Bonhoffer’s time in prison before his execution, click here.

The Institute for Practical Ethics & Public Life to host Stanley Hauerwas for Luncheon Lecture on March 16th

Stanley HauStanley Hauerwaserwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke University, will join us in the Department of Religious Studies at U.Va. on Monday, March 16th, for a luncheon seminar entitled: “Why I Am a Pacifist.” 

The seminar will in Nau 342 at 12:30-2:00pm. This Institute for Practical Ethics & Public Life sponsored luncheon will be catered by HotCakes. Please email to rsvp for this event by Thursday March 12th. 

Stanley Hauerwas is an internationally renowned theological ethicist based on his numerous invigorating and influential books and articles. His biography on the Duke Divinity School website notes: “Professor Hauerwas has sought to recover the significance of the virtues for understanding the nature of the Christian life. This search has led him to emphasize the importance of the church, as well as narrative for understanding Christian existence. His work cuts across disciplinary lines as he is in conversation with systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social sciences and medical ethics. He was named ‘America’s Best Theologian’ by Time magazine in 2001.”  

Charles Marsh to speak at the Virginia Festival of the Book

VAFestivalofBook2015logo2 webreadyOn Thursday, March 19, Charles Marsh will present his lecture, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer in America,” as the featured author for the Senior Center Event of the 2015 Virginia Festival of the Book. He will discuss how Bonhoeffer’s visit to America in 1930-31 impacted his work in Germany through the end of his life.

The presentation will begin at 4:00 p.m. at the Senior Center. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

To go to the Virginia Festival of the Book’s website, click here. To find future book events with Charles Marsh, click here.

Jenny McBride and Jürgen Moltmann–featured in the New York Times for making a Theological Difference in the life of Kelly Gissendaner scheduled to die today by lethal injection in Georgia

Two Project fellow travelers were featured last Friday in the New York Times for their work with Kelly Gissendaner who is scheduled to die today by lethal injection in the state of Georgia. From the New York Times article:

In 2010, Ms. Gissendaner enrolled in a theology studies program for prisoners, run by a consortium of Atlanta-area divinity schools, including the one at Emory University. During her year of study, she became a passionate student of Christian thinkers like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned and killed by the Nazis, and Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury.

She was also moved by the work of Professor Moltmann, who is 88 and lives in Germany. When she learned that Jennifer McBride, her teacher, knew him, Ms. Gissendaner decided to reach out.

“She asked if it would be appropriate to write him,” recalled Professor McBride, who now teaches at Wartburg College, in Iowa. “I said, ‘Absolutely.’ She wrote to him, and a friendship developed.”

Ms. Gissendaner sent Professor Moltmann a paper that she had written on Bonhoeffer. He was impressed, and he wrote back. The two Christians — a convicted murderer in Georgia and a retired theologian in Tübingen — became pen pals. In four years, they have exchanged “20 or 30 letters,” Professor Moltmann said, speaking from his home in Germany.

They discuss “theological and faith questions,” he said. “And I have found her very sensitive, and not a monster, as the newspapers depicted her. And very intelligent.” She has been rehabilitated, he said. “She has changed her mind, and her life.”

In October 2011, Professor Moltmann, in Atlanta to lecture at Emory, asked Professor McBride if he could visit Ms. Gissendaner in prison. His visit coincided with a graduation ceremony for the 10 or so theology students at the prison, and he agreed to give a commencement address.

After the ceremony, “the three of us sat together,” Professor McBride recalled. “They talked about their mutual experience in prison, and about how they both had time in the military” — a German soldier in World War II, Professor Moltmann was a prisoner of war afterward. “They talked about what it was like to read the Bible in prison.”

To read more click here. The sign the  petition “Faith Leaders Unite to Call for the Life of Kelly Gissendaner to be Spared,” click here. To read “Killing Kelly: An open letter to Georgia’s Christian citizens” by of another Project Contributor, David Gushee, click here.