Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard, by Clare Carlisle

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Philosopher of the Heart

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Søren Kierkegaard is often regarded as the founder of existentialism, writing about his new philosophy for almost a decade in the 1840s and 1850s until he died in 1855 at the age of 42. In Philosopher of the Heart, author Clare Carlisle writes this biography as far from Kierkegaard’s original perspective as she can in order to convey what it was like actually being this Socrates of Christendom—as he put it, living life forwards yet only understanding it backwards. Read More

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

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Free All Along

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. Read More

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

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Rapture Culture

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. Read More

European Mennonites and the Holocaust, by Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen

On the Lived Theology Reading List: European Mennonites and the Holocaust

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. Read More

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

On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Movement

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. Read More

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

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement

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. Read More

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

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Dangerous Mystic

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. Read More

Modern Religion, Modern Race by Theodore Vial

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Modern Religion, Modern Race

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. Read More

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

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Reading While Black

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. Read More