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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

 

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.

How Faith Shapes Social Justice: UVA Summer Internship Reports from the Field

The 2019 Summer Interns in Lived Theology will give their final presentations on Thursday, October 17 at Common Grounds, located at Rugby Rd. and Gordon Ave. in Charlottesville. The presentations will begin at 7 pm. The public is invited, and admission is free.

Zoe LarmeyZoe Larmey

Zoe (Col ’21) is majoring in political and social thought and in studio art. As a summer intern, Zoe worked at the City Seminary of New York‘s Walls-Ortiz Gallery, a non-profit space committed to creating community and conversation around art in Harlem.

 

 

Nan MarshNan Marsh

Nan (Col ’21) is majoring in english with a focus in poetry, and a minor in art history. This summer, Nan worked with Arts & Minds in New York City, an organization committed to improving quality of life for all people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through engagement with art.

 

Kate Parker

Kate (Col ’20) is majoring in political philosophy, politics, and law. This summer, Kate worked with The Haven, which provides resources for homeless or financially struggling people in the city of Charlottesville.

The Summer Internship in Lived Theology is an immersion program designed to complement the numerous existing urban and rural service immersion programs flourishing nationally and globally by offering a unique opportunity to think and write theologically about service. For more information on this initiative, please click here.

For updates about the PLT Summer Internship, click here. We also post updates online using #PLTinterns. To get these updates please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

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

 

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: 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

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.

Witnessing Whiteness

Confronting White Supremacy in the American Church (Oxford University Press, coming spring 2020)

By Kristopher Norris

Book Description

Witnessing Whiteness is a scholarly yet accessible book that analyzes the current racial climate of American Christianity. It argues that, due to its role in the origins and proliferation of white supremacy, the white church and its theology (and theologians) have a special responsibility to work to dismantle racism. This work begins by witnessing our own whiteness, or uncovering the ways that our theology and church practices are influenced by white supremacy. The white church must then engage an ethic of responsibility to confront our racism through practices of remembrance, repentance, and reparation.

The book uncovers this responsibility ethic at the convergence of two prominent streams in theological ethics: the predominantly white witness theology and black liberation theology, specifically examining the work of the major figures of these two streams: Stanley Hauerwas and James Cone. Then, employing their shared resources and attending to the criticisms liberation theology directs at traditionalism, it proposes concrete practices to challenge the white church’s and white theology’s complicity in white supremacy.

For a preview of some of the arguments in the book, check out his article in the Journal of Religious Ethics, “Witnessing Whiteness in the Ethics of Hauerwas.”

Bio

Kristopher Norris is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary where he works for the Center of Public Theology and co-directs its National Capital Semester for Seminarians program. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia in Theology, Ethics, and Culture, as well as Masters degrees from Duke Divinity School and Candler School of Theology. He is also the author of two previous books, Pilgrim Practices and Kingdom Politics: In Search of a New Political Imagination for Today’s Church, as well as numerous articles.

 

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

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 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

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.

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast: Update

If you are trying to listen to our wonderful new podcast, you have likely discovered that the program disappeared from iTunes. This is a technical issue we are addressing and will be resolved soon. Thanks for your patience, and in the meantime you can still access the podcast on our site and on many other podcast platforms:

Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast

For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. 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.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: A Christian and a Democrat

A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, by John F. Woolverton and James D. BrattA Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

A work begun by religious historian John Woolverton (1926-2014) and recently completed by James Bratt, A Christian and a Democrat is an engaging analysis of the surprisingly spiritual life of one of the most consequential presidents in US history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

When asked at a press conference about the roots of his political philosophy, FDR responded simply, “I am a Christian and a Democrat.” This is the story of how the first informed the second—how his upbringing in the Episcopal Church and matriculation at the Groton School under legendary educator and minister Endicott Peabody molded Roosevelt into a leader whose politics were fundamentally shaped by the Social Gospel.

A Christian and a Democrat chronicles FDR’s response to the toxic demagoguery of his day, and will reassure readers today that a constructive way forward is possible for Christians, for Americans, and for the world.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This timely, inspiring portrait of the role of Christianity in the life and presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt helps us better understand one of the influential leaders of the twentieth century. Woolverton has made a great contribution here that should lead us to reevaluate our view of the role of faith in the progressive movement, the Democratic Party, and American politics generally, while also stoking our imagination for how Christian principles might guide us today.”—Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America

“Rare is the opportunity to read a biography by someone who ran in the same circles as the author but who was not an acquaintance. Through a collective biography of FDR’s many influences and their religious backgrounds, we learn that Franklin Roosevelt had the Social Gospel imprinted on his character. His boarding school teachers, as well as those of his wife Eleanor and his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, raised him with a strong sense of responsibility toward the less fortunate. This Social-Gospel-sense of “Christian charity” drove both his concern for the poor and his rejection of authoritarian methods of establishing justice. Woolverton and Bratt depict a man whose ‘simple faith’ drove his decisions in both domestic and foreign policy. It was this faith, they suggest, that helped save the prospects for democracy in the United States.”—Janine Giordano Drake, University of Providence

“With James D. Bratt’s deft revision, this study of Franklin Roosevelt’s religious life by respected Episcopal historian John Woolverton arrives at just the right time. Woolverton’s warm but frank spiritual biography describes a president who practiced a Christianity based on hope, charity, and faith and grounded in a deep sense of mutual responsibility. This book is a reminder that American Christianity might have followed an alternative trajectory into the twenty-first century.”—Alison Collis Greene, Emory 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.