On the Lived Theology Reading List: Free All Along

Free All Along: The Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Interviews, edited by Stephen Drury Smith and Catherine EllisThe Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Interviews

In 1965, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and poet Robert Penn Warren published Who Speaks for the Negro?, a personal narrative that blended his own experiences and reflections with quotes from interviews he had done with prominent Civil Rights leaders a year earlier. The full interviews, however, were never released, and the audiotapes stayed largely unknown until recent years. In Free All Along, editors Stephen Drury Smith and Catherine Ellis have compiled and transcribed the never before seen interviews into one book.

In 1964, in the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Robert Penn Warren set out with a tape recorder to interview leaders of the black freedom struggle. He spoke at length with luminaries such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Ralph Ellison, and Roy Wilkins. In Harlem, a fifteen-minute appointment with Malcolm X unwound into several hours of vivid conversation. The interviews were long and detailed, eliciting reflections and frank assessments of race in America and the possibilities for meaningful change. A major contribution to our understanding of the struggle for justice and equality, these remarkable long-form interviews are presented here as original documents that have pressing relevance today.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“The conversations feel immediate and are thoroughly engaging, and it seems as though this was organically the case; when Warren interviewed Malcolm X, he was in such high demand that he committed to only 15 minutes for the interview, but ended up staying for over an hour. Free All Along is the book Warren should have published: It’s a product of careful listening to people more than qualified to speak for themselves.”―The Progressive Populist

“There are times when voices from the past speak directly to our present. Free All Along is a rare and electrifying document, one that reveals the enduring connections between the long struggle for civil rights in the last century to the fight for justice in our own.” ―Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of What Truth Sounds Like

“An anthology that arguably holds more contemporary importance as an historical document than the original release.”―Kirkus Reviews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.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Rapture Culture

Rapture Culture: Left Behind in Evangelical America, by Amy Johnson FrykholmLeft Behind in Evangelical America

In Rapture Culture, Amy Johnson Frykholm explores the remarkable phenomenon of “rapture fiction,” a genre popularized by the Left Behind series. Depicting the rapture and subsequent apocalypse, the main characters of the series suffer through a world ruled by the antichrist, one that is wracked with plagues, famine, and suffering. The series culminates with Christ’s return and the defeat of the antichrist, showcasing a scenario that is anticipated by millions of American evangelicals. The genre is wildly popular, with Left Behind having over 40 million copies now in print, and in Rapture Culture Frykholm explores why the idea of the rapture itself is so compelling.

Tracing the evolution of the genre of rapture fiction, Frykholm notes that at one time such narratives expressed a sense of alienation from modern life and protest against the loss of tradition and the marginalization of conservative religious views. Yet even as evangelism has gained popularity and the themes become obsolete, the genre has yet to see a correlated decline. In order to explain this, Frykholm argues that the books provide a sense of identification and communal belonging that counters the “social atomization” that characterizes modern life. This also helps explain why they appeal to female readers, despite the deeply patriarchal worldview they promote. Drawing on extensive interviews with readers of the novels, Rapture Culture sheds light on a mindset that is little understood and far more common than many of us suppose.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“An informative, brightly written analysis of apocalyptic sentiment on the popular level. This is a most interesting book and an important contribution to the growing literature on evangelicalism.” —Randall Balmer, author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America

Rapture Culture offers fresh and illuminating insights into one of the most significant cultural phenomena of our era, the explosion of interest in biblical prophecies of the end times. Drawing on in-depth interviews, Amy Johnson Frykholm shrewdly explores the popular reception of the bestselling Left Behind prophecy novels as readers share their responses in the context of family, church, and other social networks. This eminently readable book explores the interaction of contemporary American religion, cultural politics, gender issues, and the mass media. Highly recommended.” —Paul S. Boyer, author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture

“This fascinating book is a one-of-a-kind look at how people read religious literature. Thoroughly engaging, it asks us to consider the importance of imagination in the construction of a spiritual life. The author gives us an inside view of often conflicting interpretations that Christians give of the drama of the End Times.” —Colleen McDannell, author of Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America

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: European Mennonites and the Holocaust

European Mennonites and the Holocaust, by Mark Jantzen and John D. ThiesenTransnational Mennonite Studies

After the Second World War, much of the Mennonites’ history was forgotten as they sought to rebuild or find new homes as refugees. This created a myth of Mennonite innocence and ignorance, one that European Mennonites and the Holocaust sets out to dissipate. This book identifies a significant number of Mennonite perpetrators, along with a smaller number of Mennonites who helped Jews survive, and examines the context in which they acted.

During the war, Mennonites in the Netherlands, Germany, occupied Poland, and Ukraine lived in communities with Jews and close to various Nazi camps and killing sites. In some cases, theology led them to accept or reject Nazi ideals. In others, Mennonites chose a closer embrace of German identity as a strategy to improve their standing with Germans or for material benefit. By examining this difficult and oft-forgotten history, European Mennonites and the Holocaust uncovers a more complete picture of Mennonite life in these years, underscoring actions that were not always innocent.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Grounded in literature on the Holocaust, German, Dutch, Ukrainian, and Mennonite history, editors Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen, along with the authors in this volume, demonstrate how collective memory can be made oblivious to collaboration with evil, and the responsibility of scholars to ruthlessly and compassionately alter past narratives. The research represented here is crucial to better understand the multilayered Mennonite past, and offers broader implications for how small and seemingly benign groups become complicit in mass violence.”—Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo

“What makes European Mennonites and the Holocaust important is the bringing together of the most active scholars in this emerging field. It serves as a case study for the ways in which cultural and ethnic minorities reacted to and engaged in the Holocaust, as well as an exploration of the transnational reality of the Holocaust. A fine work of scholarship edited by experienced scholars, this book will be of great interest to those interested in Holocaust and memory, and to members of the Mennonite community – a subculture deeply interested in and committed to its own history.”—Kyle Jantzen, Department of History, Ambrose University

“A particularly interesting case study, European Mennonites and the Holocaust is a valuable collection representing topics, such as ecclesiology and other branches of theology, often neglected by historians. Situating itself into the wider historical literature, especially the literature on the Holocaust, there is a lot in this book to chew on.”—John-Paul Himka, Professor Emeritus, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta

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 Movement

The Movement: The African American Struggle for Civil Rights, by Thomas C. HoltThe African American Struggle for Civil Rights

Although the civil rights movement was one of the most important mass movements of the twentieth century, and an incredibly pivotal moment in American history, it is often misrepresented and misunderstood by the general American public. In The Movement, Thomas Holt revisits the freedom struggle to provide an informed and nuanced understanding of its origins, character, and objectives, privileging the aspirations and initiatives of the grassroots people who made it possible.

The civil rights movement decisively changed the legal and political status of African Americans, and prefigured the moral premises and methods of struggle for other historically oppressed groups seeking equal standing in American society. Despite that, much of its context and impact has been stripped away, leaving a singular moment, frozen in time at the Lincoln Memorial, to sum up much of what Americans know about an entire decade of struggle. In this book, Holt emphasizes the conditions of possibility that enabled the heroic initiatives of the common folk over those of their more celebrated leaders, and conveys a sense of these developments as a social movement, one that shaped its participants even as they shaped it.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Thomas C. Holt’s The Movement is a succinct and powerful book… A skilled historian whose powers are on full display in The Movement, he knows the moments when it is best to let the participants themselves summarize the extraordinary power of their struggle.”—The American Scholar

“Covering less discussed moments from America’s struggle for equality, The Movement is a nuanced history that takes layered ideologies and obscured figures into account.”—Foreword Reviews

“Rooted in the author’s personal experience of the movement, this book is a marvelous balance between economy of expression and complexity of thought. Even those well-versed in recent movement scholarship will learn something from this engaging and challenging work. Some parts of the history are more telling than others and Holt has an unerring eye for just those parts.”—Charles M. Payne, author of I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle

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: Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement

Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home, edited by Sheila R. MorrisCommitted to Home

In Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement, Sheila Morris has collected nineteen essays from South Carolinians who have taken public roles in the gay rights movement. The diverse voices include a drag queen from a family of prominent Spartanburg Democrats, a former Catholic priest and his tugboat dispatcher husband from Long Island, a Hispanic American who interned for Republican strategist Lee Atwater, and a straight attorney recognized as the “Mother of Pride” who became active in 1980, when she learned her son was gay.

The essays span thirty years, from activism during the HIV-AIDS pandemic to the realization of marriage equality in South Carolina, and all of them challenge the conventional view of the LGBTQ movement in the United States. Typically associated with the “Stonewall Rebellion” in New York City and the pride marches and anti-AIDS activism on both the east and west coasts, little attention has been payed to the Southern variants of the queer liberation movement, especially considering that queer political organization was a late-comer to the region. This book intends to challenge that perspective by giving a voice to Southerners to discuss hesitant coming-out acts, the creation of grassroots organizations, and anything in between.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Sheila Morris has edited a volume of essays that recover and expand on the southern contribution to the struggle for our people to find an identity in the South, where our adaptations to the culture landscape were many, varied, and sometimes dangerous. This is a vital book for anyone who wants to understand the shape of the gender movements of the last decades.”—Jim Grimsley, author of Dream Boy and How I Shed My Skin

“I’ve got a sign up on my wall, a quote from Lillian Smith that says The winner names the age and I know that is mostly true. But I know too that we can defy ignorance and prejudice and fear with our own matter of fact stories of how all of us dangerous provocative people account for our lives. Thirty years of history retold from the inside is in this anthology. The people who stood up and risked their homes, their families and their very lives to make the world safer and more just for all of us tell us how they did it, day by day, year by year. So put up another notice, one that defies denial as this wonderful anthology does. We can claim our history one story at a time, and the stories rename the age.”—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina and Cavedweller

Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement is special. Really special. It’s rare to find a collection of personal essays so rich and compelling, its contributors sharing the journeys that frequently took them into regions unknown but eventually lead them back home—to themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. What a wonderful book! Read it and celebrate!”—Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina

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: Dangerous Mystic

Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart’s Path to God Within, by Joel F. HarringtonMeister Eckhart’s Path to the God Within

Meister Eckhart was a medieval Christian mystic who was one of the most learned theologians of his day, but was also a man of the world who had worked as an administrator for his religious order and taught for years at the University of Paris. In this book, Joel Harrington traces Eckhart’s path from conventional friar to professor to lay preacher, culminating in a spiritual philosophy that combined the teachings of pagan and Christian writers, as well as Muslim and Jewish philosophers. This “dangerous mystic’s” teachings challenge the very nature of religion, yet the man himself never directly challenged the Church.

In the modern era, Eckhart’s writings have struck a chord with thinkers as diverse as Heidegger, Merton, Sartre, John Paul II, and the current Dalai Lama. A variety of Christians, as well as many Zen Buddhists, Sufi Muslims, Jewish Cabbalists, and various spiritual seekers, all claim Eckhart as their own. He was not always this influential, however. Eckhart preached a personal, internal path to God at a time when the Church could not have been more hierarchical and ritualistic. After his death and papal censure, many religious women and clerical supporters, known as the Friends of God, were forced to keep his legacy alive underground until his modern rediscovery. Then and now, Eckhart’s revolutionary method of direct access to ultimate reality offers a profoundly subjective approach that is at once intuitive and pragmatic, philosophical yet non-rational, and, above all, universally accessible.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“In this engrossing and compelling book, Joel Harrington offers a profound, moving, and accessible portrayal of one of the greatest yet most enigmatic figures of medieval Christianity. Meister Eckhart gave expression to humanity’s yearning for union with God, and for a pure and selfless knowledge of the divine. With a masterful touch, Harrington places the Dominican mystic in the changing, febrile world of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and guides the reader through the development and expanse of Eckhart’s sublime thought and interior spirituality. We encounter the men and women to whom Eckhart preached, his teachers, his friends and enemies, and popes and inquisitors, all of whom are cast in bold profile in the author’s stylish and vivid prose. Eckhart’s life was filled with visions, charity, politics, and controversy, and ended with papal censure. His legacy continues to be debated. This life of one of Western Christianity’s great mystics is an astonishing achievement.”—Bruce Gordon, author of CALVIN, Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School

“A rare combination of sweeping historical narrative, penetrating biography, and profound spiritual elucidation. Joel F. Harrington elegantly shows why Meister Eckhart is reclaimed as a touchstone of humane holiness in every era – especially ours. This is a book to read, to save, and to give.”
― James Carroll, author of THE CLOISTER

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: Modern Religion, Modern Race

Modern Religion, Modern Race by Theodore VialUnderstanding Their Connection

Theodore Vial calls religion and race “conjoined twins” in the first line of Modern Religion, Modern Race, in an immediate acknowledgement of the fact that religion is a racialized category, even when race is not explicitly mentioned. In this book, Vial argues that because the categories of religion and race are rooted in the post-Enlightenment project of reimagining what it means to be human, we cannot simply will ourselves to stop using them. Instead, we must examine these concepts critically, and be fully conscious of the ways in which religion always carries with it dangerous ideas of race.

By examining the theories of Kant, Herder, and Schleiermacher, among others, Vial describes how race and religion became building blocks of the modern world, and shows that while we disdain the racist language of some of the founders of religious studies, the continued influence of the modern worldview they helped create leads us, often unwittingly, to reiterate many of the same distinctions and hierarchies. Although it may not be time to abandon the very category of religion, with all its attendant baggage, only by acknowledging that religion is already racialized can we begin to understand how the two concepts are intertwined and how they operate in our modern world.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“[I]n Modern Religion, Modern Race Vial makes a very important contribution to debates on how the study of religion needs to explore its past, and in particular the often ignored overlap between categories of race and religion. For those interested in seeing how white male Enlightenment thinkers helped to create such a mess, this book needs to be read and taught widely.” — Malory Nye, Reading Religion

“Theodore Vial has given us a wonderfully learned and rich treatment of race and religion in the German Idealist tradition. Long established as one of the leading Schleiermacher scholars in the English speaking world, Vial has done us an enormous service in this text. It not only brilliantly explains the thought of Schleiermacher, Herder, and Kant on race and religion, but he also gives us a beautiful genealogy that brings us to our present moment. His work complements and expands the seminal work of Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze and helps us see the racial architecture of modern religious studies. Yet what also commends this book is the clarity and precision with which Ted Vial writes. Generations of students will sing his praises for giving them a text that they will understand and remember.”—Willie James Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale University

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: Reading While Black

Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope, by Esau McCaulleyAfrican American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope

At a time in which some within the African American community are questioning the place of the Christian faith in the struggle for justice, Reading While Black is a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black biblical interpretation. In this book, New Testament scholar Esau McCaulley argues that reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition is invaluable for connecting with a rich faith history and addressing the urgent issues of our times. This ecclesial tradition is often disregarded or viewed with suspicion by much of the wider church and academy, but McCaulley insists it has something vital to say.

Growing up in the American South, McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in the African American context. He discovered that a key element in the fight for hope was the practice of Bible reading and interpretation that comes out of traditional Black churches. Now he continues to advocate for that hope, and for a model of interpretation that involves an ongoing conversation between the collective Black experience and the Bible, in which the particular questions coming out of Black communities are given pride of place and the Bible is given space to respond by affirming, challenging, and, at times, reshaping Black concerns. Ultimately, McCaulley calls the church to a dynamic theological engagement with Scripture, in which Christians of diverse backgrounds dialogue with their own social location as well as the cultures of others.

Esau McCaulley was also recently involved in an event where he discussed Reading While Black with a number of other participants. You can find the event on youtube here.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Although the African American Christian experience is not monolithic, we have generally sought to understand the Bible and live according to its teachings. Along the way, many of us have rejected white supremacist readings of the Bible while clinging to the God of the Bible. In Reading While Black, McCaulley does careful exegetical and historical analysis, explaining and illustrating how interpretations of Scripture by Black people can bolster faith in a liberating God. McCaulley gives us more than a theoretical methodology; he demonstrates how we can approach and apply texts―even ones that were previously used against us―without jettisoning our faith or succumbing to oppressive readings. Reading While Black is a welcome addition to the study of African American hermeneutics.” —Dennis R. Edwards, associate professor of New Testament at North Park University

“When I was a student, I was explicitly and implicitly trained to focus exclusively on the ancient context of Scripture and read ‘objectively.’ Bible study could easily become a disembodied experience. McCaulley makes a compelling case, in this engagement with African American biblical interpretation, that not only is the reader’s culture and experience not a hindrance to interpretation per se but can enrich it greatly. Reading While Black is a unique and successful blend of biblical hermeneutics, autobiography, black history and spirituality, incisive cultural commentary on race matters in America, and insightful exegesis of select New Testament texts.” —Nijay K. Gupta, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary

“Esau McCaulley’s voice is one we urgently need to hear. This book is prophetic, biblical, measured, wise, friendly, and well-reasoned―and thus all the more hard-hitting. A powerful word for our times.” —N. T. Wright, professor of New Testament at the University of St Andrews, senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

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: Raising Racists

Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South, by Kristina DuRocherThe Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South

Between 1890 and 1939, white children rested at the core of the system of segregation, as their participation was crucial to ensuring the future of white supremacy. In Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South, author Kristina DuRocher reveals how white adults in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continually reinforced race and gender roles to maintain white supremacy.

White southerners recognized that the perpetuation of segregation required whites of all ages to uphold a strict social order, and that the young members of the next generation would be particularly important players. DuRocher examines the practices, mores, and traditions that trained white children to fear, dehumanize, and disdain their black neighbors, and offers an examination of white supremacy from the inside, showcasing the culture’s efforts to preserve itself by teaching its beliefs to the next generation. Raising Racists combines an analysis of the remembered experiences of a racist society, how that society influenced children, and, most important, how racial violence and brutality shaped growing up in the early-twentieth-century South.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Raising Racists is a well-written, well-researched account of the ways white supremacists systematically indoctrinated children into a way of life that made rational the cruel, often lethal violence directed toward African Americans.” —Louisiana History

“Hard-hitting…. Examining white Southerners’ memoirs, advertisements for household products, school textbooks, parenting manuals, children’s literature, toys and games, and dramatic productions, Raising Racists reveals the multiple interlocking and mutually reinforcing methods white Southerners used to perpetuate white supremacy in the post-Reconstruction South.”—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Raising Racists reveals the interlocking practices, mores, and traditions that trained white children to fear, disdain, and dehumanize their black neighbors. Through crisp, compelling, and trenchant discussions of school texts, consumer goods, violent rituals of black debasement, and day-to-day lessons in Jim Crow etiquette, DuRocher reminds us how much energy and care went into each successive generation of white southerners the ideology of white supremacy.” —W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of A Socialist Utopia in the New South: The Ruskin Colonies in Tennessee and Georgia, 1894-1901

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: And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy

And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy: Stories from the Byways of American Women and Religion, by Adrian ShirkStories from the Byways of American Women and Religion

Much of the religious discourse in America has been shaped by men, but in And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy author Adrian Shirk chronicles the prophetesses, feminists, and spiritual icons who have shaped this country into what it is today. By weaving in her own spiritual experiences, Shirk creates a powerful, personal exploration of American women and their theologies, ones which are often overlooked.

Laced throughout this hybrid memoir are stories of American religious traditions revised by women, with each woman presenting a pathway for Shirk’s own spiritual inquiries: the New Orleans high priestess Marie Laveau, the pop New Age pioneer Linda Goodman, the prophetic vision of intersectionality as preached by Sojourner Truth, “saint” Flannery O’Connor, and so many more. All of these women have had to find their own ways toward divinity outside prescribed patriarchal orders, and Shirk concludes that more and more Americans are yearning for alternative, individualized, feminist routes through religion. As religious discourse reaches its peak and institutional trust dwindles, women, who have spent so much time at the margins of religious practice, can help to illuminate its darkened corners.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This book is a pilgrimage. It takes us across the country, following in the footsteps of women who heard callings, strange knocks on the walls, and the voice of God. These spiritual geniuses shaped America’s path, and were often disregarded as kooks or charlatans by both the religious and secular world. Shirk treats these women with compassion and restores their dignity, while also candidly and with good humor exploring her own religious questions. This is a beautiful book written with great wit and a tremendous intelligence.” —Jessa Crispin, author of The Dead Ladies Project and Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, founder of Bookslut

And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is the perfect hybrid of memoir and history. A stunning literary debut that will inspire you to reimagine everything you thought you knew about religion and politics in America. Here, feminism and God, poetic clarity and mental illness, love and spiritual questing, all come together like old friends who’ve missed each other for too long. Adrian Shirk is one of the great millennial thinkers. Read this book and be exhilarated.” —Ariel Gore, author of We Were Witches

And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is a powerful, even jubilant, reinterpretation of–and introduction to–female figures from America’s strange spiritual history as well as a tough-minded, open-hearted exploration of family mysteries. Full of righteous fire, and full of grace on the level of the sentence, it’s a passionate act of recovery that will speak to anyone who’s ever been beguiled by the unseen and unsaid.” —Carlene Bauer, author of Not That Kind of Girl and Frances and Bernard

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.