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.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Sanctuary

Being Christian in the Wake of TrumpSanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump, by Heidi Neumark

In Sanctuary, Heidi Neumark uses her 40 years in ministry to explain what she believes is the true Christian calling: to live out a counterpoint to today’s prevailing spirits of exclusion and hatred. Neumark has always strived to make her church a sanctuary for people, and after the election of Trump in 2016 she realized it was more necessary than ever to work against the cruel, dehumanizing, and dangerous rhetoric threatening to consume communities like hers.

Neumark begins each chapter with a quote from Donald Trump that she defies and dismantles with her own stories; stories about supporting immigrants and asylum-seekers being harassed by ICE, offering shelter for queer youth in her city, and embracing her church’s diversity with a Guadalupe celebration. Using her own bilingual, multicultural congregation as a model, she reflects on what it looks like to live out essential Christian convictions in community with others. With this book, Neumark speaks to the deep wounds of this era, inflicted before and during the Trump presidency, and which will remain long past its end.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Sanctuary is a must read. Throughout the book, Neumark weaves together stories from those bruised, battered, and abandoned in the midst of abundance and puts them in stark relief with the oppressive decrees of Donald Trump and his enablers. Neumark’s stories, from her own lived experience, embody the call of the gospel to preach good news to the poor and bring comfort to the broken amid bedbugs, detention centers, and systemic violence and injustice.”— Liz Theoharis, cochair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

“Passionate, luminous, inspired, and practical, Neumark’s Trinity Lutheran Church on Manhattan’s West 100th Street is a place where the simplicity of play meets a righteous rage for change, where faith and morality attain true meaning. Sanctuary takes on the problems of the USA—and of humanity—while recounting, with rich stories and vivid details, how a small church can carry an inclusive vision that transcends boundaries. This is a fine example of the resistance, vision, and transformation that, in her words, ‘these days, and the gospel, require.’”— Joan Juliet Buck, author of The Price of Illusion

“Pastor Heidi Neumark’s intensely personal telling of her wildly diverse congregation’s quest to create community against the backdrop of Trump’s presidency and NYC’s gentrification is inventive, humorous, painful, and oh so inspiring. Our world needs more pastors like Heidi, more congregations like Trinity Lutheran, and more books like Sanctuary. All three offer a divided nation reasons to be hopeful and paths toward healing.”— Cynthia Nixon, actor and activist

For more information on the publication, click here.

Heidi Neumark is an author, speaker and Lutheran pastor who has served congregations in the South Bronx and Manhattan. She is also the executive director of a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth.

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: Freedom Farmers

Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, by Monica M. WhiteAgricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement

While existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of black people, Freedom Farmers, by Monica White, showcases agriculture as a site of resistance. It follows the Freedom Farms Cooperative (FFC) started by renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer in 1967, which was a community-based rural and economic development project. Growing from a mere 40 acres to a staggering 600 acres, the FFC was a hallmark of the Mississippi Delta.

By showcasing the FFC, White expands the historical narrative of the black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern black farmers. Life on the cooperative farm presented an alternative to the second wave of northern migration by African Americans–an opportunity to stay in the South, live off the land, and create a healthy community based upon building an alternative food system as a cooperative and collective effort. It offered a community and a sense of purpose to local sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and domestic workers. This book shares a historical story, as well as adding context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces today.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Meticulously researched, trenchantly analyzed, and engagingly written, this book brings to life the culture, the theorists, the scientists, the farmers, and the organizers that have kept agriculture at the center of African American emancipation, civil rights, and present-day movements for human rights and self-determination. From a rising activist-scholar, a visionary book of remembrance and hope.”—Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director of Food First

“A refreshing and potentially paradigm-shifting study, combining narrative and an interdisciplinary methodology that draws on archival research and ethnography. It moves the African American agrarian experience into the twentieth century, reconceptualizing it, not just as an experience of oppression, but as a strategic approach to black liberation.”—Sundiata Cha-Jua, University of Illinois

Freedom Farmers is an incredible love letter helping Black people return to and reclaim our true agrarian, radical, collective selves. Through this important book, Dr. White brilliantly disrupts the disempowering narrative that Black communities have a painful relationship with farming and land. While Black people have suffered tremendously via exploited labor and the violence of slavery in this country, that is not the summation of our history with land. Dr. White documents important historical lessons for us and shows us what we’ve known and at times forgotten–that the land both heals and frees us. This book is an urgent reminder and an absolute must read for all of us.”—Dara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice Alliance

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 Jefferson Bible

The Jefferson Bible: A Biography, by Peter ManseauA Biography

In this book, author Peter Manseau tells the story of the Jefferson Bible, an edition of the New Testament that was edited with a penknife and glue to remove all mention of miracles and other supernatural events. Manseau tells the story of this book not just as an investigation in the fascinating world of Jefferson’s mind, but also to explore how each new generation has reimagined the bible in its own image, and for their own purposes.

Thomas Jefferson created his bible because he was inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, and hoped to reconcile Christian tradition with reason by presenting Jesus as a great moral teacher instead of a divine one. It was completed in 1820 and then lost for decades before being rediscovered, and since it’s republication it has meant many different things to many different people. Some have held it up as evidence that America was founded as a Christian nation, while others see it as proof of the Founders’ belief in separation of church and state; Manseau, however, works to contextualize it as part of Jefferson’s personal philosophy.

The Jefferson Bible is inseparable from American religious disputes over the interpretation of scripture, and the search for the historical Jesus. The Jefferson Bible helps readers grapple with both the legacy of the man who made it and the place of religion in American life.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Excellent. . . . As Manseau observes, the ways in which Americans have received the Jefferson Bible may be more interesting than the ways by which Jefferson conceived it.”—John Miller, Angelus

“A brilliant account. The reader is in for an enlightening foray that explains Jefferson’s book for what it tells us about Jefferson himself, the cultural history of interpreting scripture, and the religious and political import of how Americans have viewed Jesus.”—Sylvester A. Johnson, author of African American Religions, 1500–2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom

“A page-turner for thoughtful readers. Manseau offers a compelling window onto Jefferson’s intellectual processes and a unique perspective on the larger history of religion in America, especially as it relates to American cultural divides concerning efforts to sort out the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith.”—Timothy Beal, author of The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book

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: Biblical Porn

Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll's Evangelical Empire, by Jessica JohnsonAffect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire

In Biblical Porn, author Jessica Johnson delves into the storied history of the Mars Hill Church. A small bible study founded by Mark Driscoll in 1996, it quickly rose to prominence and became a megachurch with 15 total locations. The church closed its doors in 2014 after being beset by scandal, with former attendees testifying to spiritual abuse, emotional manipulation, and financial exploitation.

In this book, Johnson examines not only the history of the church, but also how it is that the Mars Hill congregants became entangled in processes of religious conviction. She contends that they were recruited into sexualized and militarized dynamics of power through the use of what she calls “biblical porn”, which is the affective labor of communicating, promoting, and embodying Driscoll’s teaching on biblical masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. It also simultaneously worked as a marketing strategy, social imaginary, and biopolitical instrument, drawing in more and more followers even as it continued to condition the ones who were already there. Johnson theorizes that the congregants circulated and amplified feelings of hope, joy, shame, and paranoia, which the church capitalized on to grow at all costs.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Jessica Johnson’s Biblical Porn is a magnificent contribution to the field of anthropology, especially given anthropology’s affective turn in recent years. Moreover, it is a meaningful contribution to both religious studies and gender studies given its attention to evangelicalism in the America and masculinist studies. . . . Her attention to affect and affect theory, though, is what makes Biblical Porn stand out as an original contribution to all of these fields.” — Alejandro Stephano Escalante, Religion and Gender

“Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill churches in Seattle took Calvinist insecurity to new levels, producing an everyday world of acute affective precarity. His church people lived in a slurry of shame, fear, threat, care, intimidation, hope, joy, and paranoia. Wives were exhorted to be their husbands’ porn stars 24/7, and men—the victims of a nation ‘pussified’ by feminists—should man-up, have sex on demand with their wives, and pursue air and ground war campaigns of ‘riot evangelism.’ After nearly a decade of summary dismissals, shunning, demon trials, disciplinary interrogations, mass surveillance, and financial scandals, Driscoll’s evangelical empire imploded. Jessica Johnson was there for the long haul and provides us with a theoretically rich and evocative reading of this traumatic episode of pastoral governance.” — Susan Friend Harding, author of The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics

“Johnson’s book reminds us that Driscoll was real, that Mars Hill did loom large over the Seattle skyline, and that Driscoll’s liturgy was just as creepy and harmful as we remember it to be, if not more.” — Paul Constant, Seattle Review of Books

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.

Heather Warren to Study “Protestant Hour” Radio Show

Warren will examine U.S. southern ministers who appeared on radio program

During the mid-1950s and early 1960s, ministers of northern white mainline Protestant churches found in existentialist theology a suitable way to address Americans’ political and private concerns over communism, nuclear war, and the effects of mass culture. Radio programs regularly featured broadcasts of these ministers’ sermons. Was this also the case in the American South where the movement for racial equality was a more pressing public concern?

As a research fellow for the Project on Lived Theology, Heather Warren plans to explore this question by focusing on the southern-centered, Atlanta-based Protestant Hour radio show. Warren will specifically study the years 1953 through 1963, beginning with Americans’ fears over the Soviet Union’s first H-bomb test and ending with the March on Washington.

“Thanks to the Project on Lived Theology, I can now turn my hand to a project that first caught my attention several years ago,” said Warren. “I am excited to mine sources that have barely been touched and to bring these preachers’ messages to our ears so that we can better understand how they lived their faith in complex political and social times. I hope we can learn from these preachers, pitfalls to avoid and practices to appreciate.”

Warren has also authored an essay on Father John A. Ryan for the PLT book Can I Get a Witness? (2019). She also serves as an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, where she specializes in the history of American religious life and thought from the late-nineteenth century to the present. Her research has also carried her into the field of American religious autobiography.

Warren hopes to write an essay for a double-blind peer-reviewed journal on her Protestant Hour radio show research and to present her findings at a conference with two other scholars working on Protestantism and radio in the twentieth century.

The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia is a research initiative, whose mission is to study the social consequences of theological ideas for the sake of a more just and compassionate world.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Life After Privacy

Life after Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society, by Firmin DeBrabanderReclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

Life After Privacy, by Firmin DeBrabander, sets out to discuss privacy during the digital age in a new and innovative way. It is no secret that privacy is in jeopardy, and we, the digital citizens, are its principal threat, willingly surrendering it to gain access to new technology, and granting the government and corporations immense power over us. But what if we can protect our freedom without privacy?

Here, DeBrabander makes that case that privacy is actually a fairly new value that has not often been enjoyed throughout history. He contends that privacy is actually a poor foundation for democracy, that it is constantly persecuted, and it is politically and philosophically suspect. He argues that currently, the more important thing to focus on is the vitality of the public realm, something that is equally at risk during the digital age.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society is an eloquent, compelling call for us to rethink our commitment to privacy by understanding its history and uses. Rather than attempting to double down on a possibly doomed principle, DeBrabander argues that what is really needed is more democracy, and specifically a newly energized commitment to a public sphere that requires open, transparent, and meaningful debate. An indispensable book for our times that does what great political philosophy needs to do – make us question what we mean by our most basic concepts.”William Egginton, author of The Splintering of the American Mind

“In 2020, more so than in 1984, the Big Brother is watching you. But does this really matter? – asks Firmin DeBrabander’s pungent new book. Ranging from intellectual history to contemporary economics, from Big Data to Big Politics, from confession to contestation, Life After Privacy argues that we should finally begin caring for the public realm, rather than obsessing about intrusions into the private domain, which is something of a political fiction. If there is a work with the potential to reframe the very terms of the current debate on privacy, it is the one you are now holding in your hands!”Michael Marder, author of Political Categories: Thinking Beyond Concepts

“This book makes accessible a counter-intuitive (perhaps even seemingly-contrarian) argument about privacy that deserves a hearing. Not all readers will agree with DeBrabander’s conclusion that privacy is pretty much dead. But this is a view murmured often enough in Silicon Valley to warrant serious attention. DeBrabander understands our skepticisms but skillfully argues that we are inexorably drawn to this conclusion nonetheless. Those who care deeply about privacy, as well as those who look forward to the transparent society, will learn much from this book’s subtle arguments. And remember: the best philosophy books are the ones that strike you as implausible by their title but leave you convinced after you’ve read them.”Colin Koopman, author of How We Became Our Data

 

For more information on the publication, click here.

Firmin DeBrabander is professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

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.

“That All Shall Be Saved” by Religion Scholar David Bentley Hart

Author photo by Nicole Waldron

Hart’s book reexamines one of the essential tenets of Christian belief: universal salvation

The great fourth-century church father Basil of Caesarea once observed that, in his time, most Christians believed that hell was not everlasting and that all would eventually attain salvation. But today, this view is no longer prevalent within Christian communities.

In his most recent book, That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation (Yale University Press), David Bentley Hart makes the case that nearly two millennia of dogmatic tradition have misled readers on the crucial matter of universal salvation. On the basis of the earliest Christian writings, theological tradition, scripture, and logic, Hart argues that if God is the good creator of all, he is the savior of all, without fail. And if he is not the savior of all, the Kingdom is only a dream, and creation something considerably worse than a nightmare. But it is not so. There is no such thing as eternal damnation; all will be saved. With great rhetorical power, wit, and emotional range, Hart offers a new perspective on one of Christianity’s most important themes.

David Bentley Hart is an Eastern Orthodox scholar of religion, and a philosopher, writer, and cultural commentator. His books include The Experience of God and The New Testament.


Advance Praise for That All Shall Be Saved

 “[A] provocative, informative treatise…[Hart’s] resounding challenge to orthodox Christian views on hell and his defense of God’s ultimate goodness will prove convincing and inspiring to the open-minded.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“David Bentley Hart, the most eminent living anglophone theologian, asks the fundamental question: Is it possible that anyone is damned? Hart’s answer is no, and that negative is gorgeously elaborated in this book, with unmatched force and brio.” Paul Griffiths, author of Christian Flesh

“If everything and everyone are not finally restored, then God is not God. This is the simple core of Hart’s unanswerable argument, masterfully developed. He calls us back to real orthodoxy, perhaps just in time.” John Milbank, University of Nottingham

“David Bentley Hart never disappoints. Three years ago, he published a translation of the New Testament; now comes a ‘companion’ to take up a question that vexes many Christians. Does the New Testament teach that hell is everlasting? Hart is convinced, having wrestled with the language of the New Testament and plumbed early Christian thought, that it does not. In this original and lively book, Hart shows why most Christian thinking about eternal damnation is unbiblical.” Robert Louis Wilken, author of Liberty in the Things of God

“At last! A brilliant treatment—exegetically, theologically, and philosophically—of the promise that, in the end, all will indeed be saved, and exposing the inadequacy—above all moral—of claims to the contrary.” John Behr, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

“Hart shows with great clarity why the idea that our ultimate freedom lies in accepting or rejecting God as one option amongst others is profoundly mistaken. This is some of the most exacting, perspicuous, and powerful theological writing I have read in recent years.” Simon Oliver, Durham University

The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia is a research initiative, whose mission is to study the social consequences of theological ideas for the sake of a more just and compassionate world.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Jesus and John Wayne

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, by Kristin Kobes Du MezHow White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

Jesus and John Wayne, by Kristin Kobes Du Mez, is an in-depth look into why white evangelicals overwhelming voted for Donald Trump in 2016, despite his obvious lack of knowledge of the Christian faith. In a comprehensive history of the evangelical movement in America, Du Mez challenges the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Trump for purely pragmatic reasons, and reveals that he in fact represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values.

While many people focus only on the religious of aspect of white evangelicals, Du Mez argues that one must understand the role of culture in modern American evangelicalism. They have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism, and they have been helped along by the heroes of evangelical pop culture: Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and, chiefly, John Wayne. All white men who tell it like it is and assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America,” much like what many evangelicals consider Trump to be doing now.

The hateful values at the heart of white evangelicalism today are likely to persist long after Trump leaves office, but even after their strongman has no more power, their support of him and their twisting of Christian views will have lasting consequences for us all.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Jesus and John Wayne demolishes the myth that Christian nationalists simply held their noses to form a pragmatic alliance with Donald Trump. With brilliant analysis and detailed scholarship, Kristin Kobes Du Mez shows how conservative evangelical leaders have promoted the authoritarian, patriarchal values that have achieved their finest representative in Trump. A stunning exploration of the relationship between modern evangelicalism, militarism, and American masculinity.” – Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

“Wielding supreme command of evangelical theology, popular culture, history and politics, as well as rare skill with the pen, Kristin Kobes Du Mez explodes the myth that evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in spite of his crude machismo. It turns out that the opposite is true: for generations, white male evangelical leaders and their supportive wives have been building a movement of brazen masculinity and patriarchal authority, with hopes of finding a warrior who could extend their power to the White House. In Trump they found their man. This is a searing and sobering book, one that should be read by anyone who wants to grasp our political moment and the religious movement that helped get us here.” – Darren Dochuk, author of Anointed With Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America

“I endorse Kristin Du Mez’s lively and readable account of evangelical political history, having personally seen it from the inside during nearly three decades with the National Association of Evangelicals. Those who legitimately ask “How can evangelicals support Donald Trump?” need to read this book to understand why. An extraordinary work.” – Reverend Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

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.