On the Lived Theology Reading List: #Charlottesville

#Charlottesville: White Supremacy, Populism, and ResistanceWhite Supremacy, Populism, and Resistance

In #Charlottesville: White Supremacy, Populism, and Resistance, readers are asked to grapple with the fact that it may no longer be possible to be a moderate in this political climate. When white nationalists and their supporters clashed with counter-demonstrators in the college town of Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue, resulting in the death of one anti-racist activist and the wounding of thirty-five more, it fundamentally changed the way many people thought about America.

Suddenly, U.S. citizens who had previously thought of themselves as moderate began to wonder whether violence in defending their values against fellow citizens was not only an option, but a necessity—whether the way American history has been commonly presented is not only unfair but inaccurate; whether the current President is to blame for the sudden visibility of white supremacist groups; and finally, whether a surge in racism and ultra-nationalism is irrevocably re-shaping the country.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Decent American citizens currently find themselves facing what daily feels like social and political disaster. The presidency of Donald Trump is not the first to sympathize with white supremacy, but his and the present administration’s shameless racism raises fresh questions about recent narratives of America’s post-racial triumph. #Charlottesville: Before and Beyond is a crucially timely volume collecting an impressive and necessary range of activists, public figures, and academics ruminating on the precedents of alt-right white supremacists descending on Charlottesville, VA in 2017, the resulting death of Heather Heyer, and, importantly, how we should measure our expectations and actions in putting America on a more firm footing in the project of racial redemption. An essential volume for all concerned citizens: academics, students, and the general public.” ―Chris Lebron, Professor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins, author of The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of An Idea

“It’s one thing to deplore the events at Charlottesville and another to probe the circumstances that rendered them possible. This book admirably fulfills the second need without ever losing sight of the first.” —Nancy Fraser, Henry and Louise A. Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research, author of Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis

 

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White, by William SturkeyAn American City in Black and White

In Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White, William Sturkey tells the story of the Jim Crow South by bringing the readers into the homes of Hattiesburg families who lived through that era, those who struggled to uphold their southern “way of life” and those who fought to tear it down. He explores historical figures such as William Faulkner’s great-grandfather, a Confederate veteran who was the inspiration for the enigmatic character John Sartoris, and black leader Vernon Dahmer, whose killers were the first white men ever convicted of murdering a civil rights activist in Mississippi.

Sturkey introduces us to Jim Crow on Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the heart of the historic black downtown. He introduces us to both old-timers and newcomers who arrived in search of economic opportunities promised by the railroads, sawmills, and factories of the New South. Through it all, Sturkey traces the story of the Smith family across multiple generations, from Turner and Mamie Smith, who fled a life of sharecropping to find opportunity in town, to Hammond and Charles Smith, in whose family pharmacy Medgar Evers and his colleagues planned their strategy to give blacks the vote.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Illuminating… Sturkey’s clear-eyed and meticulous book pulls off a delicate balancing act. While depicting the terrors of Jim Crow, he also shows how Hattiesburg’s black residents, forced to forge their own communal institutions, laid the organizational groundwork for the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s.”The New York Times

Sturkey provides a moving account of the evil of white supremacy.”Choice

In this masterful biography of an American place, Sturkey compels us to look anew at the world made by white supremacy and remade by the black freedom struggle. Hattiesburg is a timely reminder of how much remains to be said about our shared, segregated past, and few have said more in a single book than this author. This bold, imaginative book is essential reading for anyone seeking to fathom Jim Crow’s rise, fall, and resilience—in Mississippi and well beyond.—Jason Morgan Ward, author of Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America’s Civil Rights Century

“Hattiesburg is where racial democracy meets white supremacy, where technology meets nature, where old slavery money meets the indebted sharecropper, where imagination meets the unimaginable, where the ballot meets the bullet. Sturkey’s magnificent portrait reminds us that Mississippi is no anachronism. It is the dark heart of American modernity.”—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

 

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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.

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: I Bring the Voices of My People

I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation, by Chanequa Walker-BarnesA Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation

In I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation, Chanequa Walker-Barnes disrupts the racist and sexist biases in conversations on reconciliation. She demonstrates how reconciliation’s roots in the evangelical, male-centered Promise Keepers’ movement has resulted in a patriarchal and largely symbolic effort, focused upon improving relationships between men from various racial-ethnic groups.

Walker-Barnes refutes the idea that race and racism are “one-size-fits-all,” drawing upon intersectionality theory and critical race studies to demonstrate how living at the intersection of racism and sexism exposes women of color to unique experiences of gendered racism. She also argues that highlighting the voices of women of color is critical to developing any genuine efforts toward reconciliation.

Walker-Barnes offers a compelling argument that the Christian racial reconciliation movement is incapable of responding to modern-day racism, and highlights the particular work that White Americans must do to repent of racism and to work toward racial justice.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Finally, someone is inviting us into reconciliation on black womxn’s terms. And who better than Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, who spectacularly shows us in I Bring the Voices of My People that a message that centers black womxn’s experiences is a universally liberating message. I have experienced anti-black oppression in faith-based ‘reconciliation’ contexts, and Dr. Chanequa’s words have invaluably supported my healing journey while also redirecting my steps toward justice practices that are not colonized by whiteness. ‘Trust black womxn’ is a phrase that often gets thrown around with little behavioral follow-up. Dr. Chanequa, a true sage, is telling us how to trust black womxn on the topic and practice of reconciliation. I’m following her lead and I hope you will too.”—Christena Cleveland, Director of the Center for Justice and Renewal.

“Walker-Barnes writes a powerful theological book which challenges common misconceptions about race, ethnicity, and discrimination and works toward a liberative theology. Her personal, soulful reflection lays bare our racially divided world. A beautiful book, I Bring the Voices of My People awakens us to the need for radical reconciliation and stirs us to create a new reality which embraces and uplifts everyone.”—Grace Ji-Sun Kim, author of Embracing the Other

 

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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.

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologians for a Post-Christian World, by Wolf KrötkeTheologians for a Post-Christian World

Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologians for a Post-Christian World, by Wolf Krötke, is a book that demonstrates the continuing significance of these two theologians for Christian faith and life. Krötke is acclaimed as a foremost interpreter of the theologies of Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and in this book offers readers a chance to look with fresh eyes at the theologies of the two men, and offers new insights for reading the history of modern theology.

Krötke helps churches see how they can be creative minorities in societies that have forgotten God, and offers new insights for reading the history of modern theology. This book is necessary reading for those studying Barth, Bonhoeffer, and other developments in modern German dogmatics.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“These essays are a great gift! Wolf Krötke, one of Germany’s leading ‘post-Barthian’ theologians, began his career during the Cold War as a citizen of East Germany who found resources for his theological existence (and resistance) in the writings of Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I have known him to be a scholar of great erudition who carries in himself both moral gravity and a delightful sense of humor. These essays sparkle with insight. They also remind us of what Christian dogmatics once was—and what it can be again—when done at a high level. John Burgess is to be thanked for his fine translation.”—Bruce L. McCormack, Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

“It is wonderful finally to have these essays from one of the greatest theologians of his generation translated into English. Krötke’s work is insightful, careful, and bound to reset current readings of Barth and Bonhoeffer in the English-speaking world. No student of Barth or Bonhoeffer can afford to ignore them, and any student of modern theology would be wise to read them as stellar examples of engagement with the greatest theological thinkers of the twentieth century.”—Tom Greggs, FRSE, Marischal Chair and Head of Divinity, King’s College, University of Aberdeen

“Wolf Krötke is not yet widely known in English-language studies of Barth and Bonhoeffer. It’s high time to catch up! With his distinctive experience of church, politics, and theology in the postwar Germanys, and his high esteem as an interpreter of Barth and Bonhoeffer, Krötke’s essays speak into the crises of the twenty-first century.”—Clifford Green, Bonhoeffer Chair Scholar, Union Theological Seminary, New York

 

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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.

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: God’s Internationalists

God’s Internationalists: World Vision and the Age of Evangelical Humanitarianism, by David KingWorld Vision and the Age of Evangelical Humanitarianism

God’s Internationalists, by David P. King, is the first comprehensive study of World Vision—in fact, it is the first study of any such religious humanitarian agency. World Vision is the largest Christian humanitarian organization in the world, and was founded by evangelist Bob Pierce. Although it was originally a small missionary agency, the most recent World Vision U.S. presidents move with ease between megachurches, the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and the corridors of Capitol Hill.

Though World Vision has remained decidedly Christian, it has also earned the reputation as an elite international nongovernmental organization. King chronicles the organization’s transformation from 1950 to the present as a way to to explore shifts within post-World War II American evangelicalism as well as the complexities of faith-based humanitarianism. King’s pairing of American evangelicals’ interactions abroad with their own evolving identity at home reframes the traditional narrative of modern American evangelicalism while also providing the historical context for the current explosion of evangelical interest in global social engagement.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

God’s Internationalists is a fascinating new narrative about American evangelicals and politics in the 20th century . . . [T]his is an important book that complicates our understanding of how evangelicals came to see social issues as a key part of their Christian witness.”—Christianity Today

“David P. King constructively upends long-standing narratives of modern evangelicalism’s development in the twentieth century that tend to emphasize its politicization on American soil. Offering a refreshingly nuanced reading of World Vision, he uses the organization’s history to illustrate how modern evangelicalism’s work abroad unfolded independently of domestic political developments dictated by the Religious Right. Along the way, he raises intriguing and important claims about the nature of church-state relations, secularization, and religion and public life in contemporary America.”—Darren Dochuk, University of Notre Dame

 

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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.

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, by Barbara RansbyA Radical Democratic Vision

In Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker’s long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Baker was a gifted grassroots organizer, a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She managed to made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles, all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

Beyond documenting the extraordinary life of Ella Baker, Ransby uses this book to paint a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Ransby, a historian of indisputable talent and skill, provides numerous intricate, heretofore unknown facts and details of Ella Baker’s life while growing up in the South and the path that led her to involvement in civil and human rights efforts. . . . This is a superb book.”—Encounter

“A critical and useful analysis of the role of this largely unsung heroine of the movement. . . . This well-researched study of the life of Ella Baker will make a valuable contribution to the voluminous literature on the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century.”—Journal of Southern History

“The strength of Ransby’s work is in her detailed accounting of Baker’s political life, accompanied by an analysis of Black struggle in the 20th century.”—The Crisis

“The definitive biography of one of America’s most important civil rights leaders in the twentieth century.”—Religious Studies Review

 

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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: You Can’t Eat Freedom

You Can’t Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement, by Greta de JongSoutherners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement

In You Can’t Eat Freedom, Greta de Jong explores the link between the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty through examining the history of rural organizing.

In the mid-1960s, two events were rocking the American south at the same time: the political revolution wrought by the passage of civil rights legislation, and the ongoing economic revolution brought about by increasing agricultural mechanization. De Jong focuses on the plantation regions of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to analyze how social justice activists responded to mass unemployment by lobbying political leaders, initiating antipoverty projects, and forming cooperative enterprises that fostered economic and political autonomy.

Through this thoroughly researched book, de Jong shows how responses to labor displacement in the South shaped the experiences of other Americans who were affected by mass layoffs in the late twentieth century, shedding light on a debate that continues to reverberate today.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Beautifully written, elegantly argued, and exhaustively researched, You Can’t Eat Freedom provides a cutting-edge outlook on just how quickly it became dangerous for black southerners to struggle for economic justice in the years after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were passed. Broadening our understanding of what constituted political action in the civil rights and antipoverty struggles, this book offers a completely fresh analysis of post-1965 rural African American social justice activism, highlighting just how inextricable political and economic justice were in activists’ vision for change.”—Annelise Orleck, Dartmouth College

“One of the most important books about the black freedom struggle in a generation.”—Journal of Southern History

“With an impressive breadth of research, You Can’t Eat Freedom takes us inside communities fighting for civil rights after 1965, looking beyond the much studied earlier period to show us how these ongoing racial struggles were contested on the ground. This book does not shy away from highlighting the prevalence of black poverty after 1965, avoiding the temptation to find silver linings in what is quite a sobering–even bleak–story. This is a nice corrective to the triumphal nature of some civil rights historiography.”—Timothy J. Minchin, coauthor of After the Dream: Black and White Southerners since 1965

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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.

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Rational Southerner

The Rational Southerner: Black Mobilization, Republican Growth, and the Partisan Transformation of the American South, by M. V. Hood III, Quentin Kidd, and Irwin L. MorrisBlack Mobilization, Republican Growth, and the Partisan Transformation of the American South

Since 1950, the South has undergone the most dramatic political transformation of any region in the country. The Solid (Democratic) South is now overwhelmingly Republican, and long-disenfranchised African Americans vote at levels comparable to those of whites. In The Rational Southerner, the authors explore the theory of relative advantage to provide a new perspective on this party system transformation.

Written more than six decades ago, V. O. Key’s seminal work on the region highlighted the fact that the politics of the South was permeated by the issue of race. The central finding of his work is that race was, and still is, the locus of political change in the South. This conclusion stands in stark contrast to recent scholarship that points to in-migration, economic growth, or religious factors as being more pivotal agents of change.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Scholars have long been fascinated by the transformation of the South from a Democratic bastion to a Republican stronghold. Hood, Kidd, and Morris develop an innovative theoretical argument, denoted relative advantage theory, to explain this transformation, and they document convincingly the causal pas de deux that has taken place in the South over time between the growth of the Republican Party and the mobilization of black voters. The authors have written a superb book that will quickly become a major work in the study of southern politics, political realignments, and racial politics.”—James C. Garand, Emogine Pliner Distinguished Professor and R. Downs Poindexter Professor, Louisiana State University

“Southern whites found a comfortable new home in the GOP. Unable to dominate the Democratic Party after Jim Crow fell, whites found a home where political compromise was Unnecessary. As The Rational Southerner shows, this trend toward ‘white flight’ was also an act of political flight that enabled a two-party South.”—Ronald Keith Gaddie, The University of Oklahoma; co-author of The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South

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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.

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On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Voice of Conscience

The Voice of Conscience: The Church in the Mind of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Lewis BaldwinThe Church in the Mind of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In The Voice of Conscience, Lewis V. Baldwin  points out that although Martin Luther King, Jr. is celebrated widely as the quintessential model of Christian activism in his time, his understanding of and vision for the church has been surprisingly neglected. By taking the reader on a tour through King’s theological life, Baldwin contends that King was fundamentally a man of the church.

Beginning with King’s roots in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Baldwin traces the evolution of King’s attitude toward the church through his college, seminary, graduate school, and civil rights years. Baldwin persuasively claims that King challenged the church over the need for a higher spiritual and ethical ideal, and emphasizes King’s concept of the church as “the voice of conscience,” showing how King’s moral leadership and eventual martyrdom did much to reestablish the credibility of the church at a time when some theologians were declaring the death of God.

Baldwin concludes by critiquing the contemporary church on the basis of King’s prophetic model, and insisting that this model, not the entrepreneurial spirituality of the contemporary megachurches, embodies the best potential for much-needed church renewal.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“I have read many volumes on Martin Luther King, Jr. over the past decade. Voice of Conscience eclipses them all. Impeccably researched and masterfully written, it propels Lewis V. Baldwin to the rank of top King scholar in the world. King lives in this lively and instructive book.” —Rufus Burrow, Jr., author of Martin Luther King Jr. for Armchair Theologians

“Dr. Baldwin’s work places Martin Luther King, Jr. at the forefront of ecclesiastical life and thought. That in no way detracts from his standing as a champion of freedom. Dr. Baldwin is uniquely qualified to see the two as belonging together.” —Rev. Will Campbell, Civil Rights activist and author of Robert G. Clark’s Journey to the House

“A uniquely complete and brilliantly documented contribution to our understanding of the actual roots of the theology of Martin Luther King, Jr., both directly stated and implied. Baldwin writes from the position of one who shares King’s angle of spiritual vision from deep inside the Black Church of the deep South, frankly facing its faults, and lovingly affirming and adding to its immense contributions. This work is without parallel, for thoroughness and authenticity in its field.” —Rev. Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, author of Black Church Beginnings, 1650-1990

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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 Wretched of the Earth

The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz FanonAn Analysis of the Psychology of the Colonized

The Wretched of the Earth was originally written by Frantz Fanon in 1961, and explored the psychology of colonized people and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of post-independence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other.

Fanon’s analysis has been a veritable handbook of social reorganization for leaders of emerging nations. A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. The Wretched of the Earth has had a major impact on civil rights, anti-colonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world, and this bold new translation by Richard Philcox reaffirms it as a landmark.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“The writing of Malcolm X or Eldridge Cleaver or Amiri Baraka or the Black Panther leaders reveals how profoundly they have been moved by the thoughts of Frantz Fanon.” —The Boston Globe

“Have the courage to read this book.” —Jean-Paul Sartre

“This century’s most compelling theorist of racism and colonialism.” —Angela Davis

“This is not so much a book as a rock thrown through the window of the West. It is the Communist Manifesto or the Mein Kampf of the anti-colonial revolution, and as such it is highly important for any Western reader who wants to understand the emotional force behind that revolution.” —Time

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.