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On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Color of Compromise

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, by Jemar TisbyThe Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism

In The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racismauthor Jemar Tisby uncovers the roots of sustained injustice in the American church, highlighting the cultural and institutional tables that need to be turned in order to bring about real and lasting progress between black and white people. Tisby walks the reader through a historical journey, starting at  America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, covering the tragedy of Jim Crow laws and the victories of the Civil Rights era, and ending at today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Through these time periods, he reveals the subtle and not-so-subtle ways the American church has compromised what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality.

However, Tisby does not just diagnose the persistent problem of racism within the church, he proposes a way to solve it. Through The Color of Compromise, he charts a path forward with intriguing ideas that further the conversation as he challenges us to reverse these patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, and immediate action.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“In giving us a history of America and the Protestant Church, Jemar Tisby has given us a survey of ourselves-the racial meanings and stratagems that define our negotiations with one another. He points courageously toward the open sore of racism-not with the resigned pessimism of the defeated but with the resilient hope of Christian faith. The reader will have their minds and hearts pricked as they consider just how complicit the Church has been in America’s original sin and how weak a word ‘complicit’ is for describing the actions and inactions of those who claim the name of Christ!”—Thabiti Anyabwile, Pastor, Anacostia River Church

“With the incision of a prophet, the rigor of a professor, and the heart of a pastor, Jemar Tisby offers a defining examination of the history of race and the church in America. Comprehensive in its scope of American history, Tisby presents data that provides the full truth and not a sanitized version that most American Christians have embraced. Read this book. Share this book. Teach this book. The church in America will be better for it.”Soong Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary


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.

Call for Applications: Summer Internship in Lived Theology 2020

2020 InternshipNow Accepting Applications for Summer 2020

The Project on Lived Theology is now accepting applications for the 2020 Summer Internship in Lived Theology, a service learning immersion that offers undergraduates an opportunity to think and to write theologically about social justice and human rights in the context of community service in North America. To download an application, click here.

The internship is open to UVA undergraduate students in any field of study. Selected participants spend the summer interning with the partnering institution of their choice. Each intern works directly with a UVA faculty member who acts as a theological mentor, offering guidance in reading, discussing, and writing about selected texts. Each intern also has a site mentor who shapes his/her work experience and may act as a conversation partner in the intern’s academic and theological exploration. Throughout the summer, interns blog for the Project on Lived Theology website; at the end of the internship, interns complete a final project and present their work at a public event.

The deadline for application submission is February 21, 2020.

For more information on the internship and to read blog posts and biographies from past interns, click here.

For online updates about the PLT Summer Internship, please use #PLTinterns, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Martin’s Dream

Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., by Clayborne CarsonMy Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

In Martin’s Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.author Clayborne Carson chronicles a decades long quest to understand Martin Luther King, Jr. the man, delves into the construction of his legacy, and tries to understand how King’s “dream” has evolved. This all began on August 28, 1963, when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flocked to the nation’s capital for the March on Washington.

Carson was only 19 at the time, and had hitched a ride to Washington to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. As a black student from a working-class family in New Mexico, this speech was a life-changing occasion for Carson, and it launched him on a career to become one of the most important chroniclers of the civil rights era. Two decades later, as a distinguished professor of African American History at Stanford University, Mrs. King picked Dr. Carson to edit her late husband’s papers. In this book, Carson draws on new archives as well as unpublished letters to take the reader on a journey of rediscovery of the King legend.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Clay Carson’s compelling personal story confirms Coretta King’s wisdom in entrusting the Martin Luther King papers to his care. We owe Clay a tremendous debt of gratitude for bringing us a richer understanding of Martin King and the philosophy of creative non-violence to which he gave his life. We are still on a journey to Martin’s ‘Beloved Community’ and we are fortunate Clay Carson has shared his own journey with us.” ―Andrew Young, author of Walk In My Shoes

“A remarkably candid memoir. . . No matter how much you may think you know about the Civil Rights Movement, you will learn from Carson’s journey and will likely be surprised by the many challenges he faced as he struggled to define and to preserve Dr. King’s many contributions for posterity.” ―Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling The New Jim Crow

“Clayborne Carson’s compelling memoir is full of meaningful insights. This book is a must-read!” ―Clarence Jones, author of Behind the Dream

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.

PLT Seeks Grant Coordinator

Project on Lived Theology Logo

The Project on Lived Theology is seeking a grant coordinator to join our group. We are a research community that convenes religion scholars and writers, students and practitioners, across diverse academic fields and confessional traditions to understand the social consequences of theological ideas and religious commitments. This position includes both administrative and outreach duties, including in-office tasks, events coordination, local and community outreach, social media and general correspondence, overseeing website content, and related duties as they arise.

Minimum Requirement. Bachelor’s degree in a field related to the program and two years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience. Some formal training in contemporary Christian Thought is a plus.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS 

  •       Strong organizational skills.
  •       Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  •       Demonstrated ability to multi-task and attention to detail.
  •       Website experience.
  •       Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  •       Experience with social media content creation and management.
  •       Strong interpersonal skills and ability to interact with Project participants and staff.
  •       Experience working in academic institutions.

$22 – $25/hour commensurate with experience with an excellent state benefits package.

For more information on the forthcoming job, please contact Jessica Seibert, Operations Manager: jrs6dd@virginia.edu. She can provide more information on the official university job posting.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Laughter of the Oppressed

The Laughter of the Oppressed: Ethical and Theological Resistance in Wiesel, Morrison, and Endo, by Jacqueline BussieEthical and Theological Resistance in Wiesel, Morrison, and Endo

In The Laughter of the Oppressed: Ethical and Theological Resistance in Wiesel, Morrison, and Endo, author Jacqueline Bussie attempts to tackle the following unanswered questions: What is the theological and ethical significance of the laughter of the oppressed? And what does it mean to laugh at the horrible–to laugh while one suffers? While the majority of ethical philosophical theory and western theology maintains that laughter is nihilistic and irresponsible, especially if occurring within tragic circumstance, Bussie argues that the dominant social location of these theologians and theorists has led to a gap in inquiry, to a failure to consider laughter “from below.”

In this book, Bussie broadens the Judeo-Christian theological lens to examine the multicultural, modern historical fiction of Elie Wiesel, Toni Morrison, and Shusaku Endo as case studies. These authors’ well-respected texts, in dialogue with voices from within and beyond their traditions, help us construct a theology of laughter. The Laughter of the Oppressed not only interrupts the banality of evil and the dualism of faith and doubt, but also deconstructs the dominant consciousness. Such laughter challenges theology to rearticulate the relationships between God and evil, theology and theodicy, theology and language, paradox and faith, tragedy and hope, and oppression and resistance.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Jacqueline Bussie reads familiar texts with a keen theological eye and provides fresh and innovative insights into these literary classics. With exquisite literary sensibility and bold theological imagination she helps her readers to understand how genuine laughter emerges from the depths of suffering. This is theological writing of the highest order — intelligent, faithful, and deeply moving.” —Ronald F. Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology, Harvard Divinity School

“Bussie listens deeply to the voices of people traditionally marginalized to discover how they have given expression to the paradox of ‘colliding narratives’ and responded creatively to tragic suffering…The Laughter of the Oppressed…is indispensable for those concerned with theodicy and the problem of suffering, the theology of the cross, liberation theologies, and the use of fiction as a theological resource.”Karen Teel, Catholic Books Review

“Political jokes arise in dictatorships and their laughter is liberating oppressed and silenced people. They are nothing less than a resonance of the laughing God in heaven. “The Lord shall have them in derision.” (Ps 2,4). The arrogance of power is ridiculous because God is God. I read this fascinating study with growing admiration. It is a masterpiece and a great contribution to every liberating theology.” Jurgen Moltmann

For more information on the publication, click here.

Dr. Jacqueline Bussie is an award-winning author, professor, and theologian. An active servant-leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Jacqueline teaches religion, theology and interfaith studies classes at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she also serves as the Director of the Forum on Faith and Life.

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: Dear Church

Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US, by Lenny DuncanA Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US

In Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US, Reverend Lenny Duncan uses his unique background and perspective to point out the problems he sees in his denomination, and in the Christian community at large. Formerly incarcerated, Duncan is now a black preacher in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which is the whitest denomination in the United States. Although many people may blame shifting demographics and shrinking congregations for a less vibrant community, Duncan sees something else at work, and draws a direct line between the church’s lack of diversity and the church’s lack of vitality.

Dear Church is a book that is part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, and encourages the church to rise up, dust itself off, and take on forces of this world that act against God: whiteness, misogyny, nationalism, homophobia, and economic injustice. Duncan calls everyone—leaders and laity alike—to the front lines of the church’s renewal through racial equality and justice.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Rev. Lenny Duncan is a voice calling in the wilderness. I am deeply grateful for the comfort and the discomfort his book brought me. I dare you to read this book, church. I dare you to be open to the repentance it calls for, to the grace it manifests, to the pain it witnesses to. I dare you to be changed by the truth in its pages. I dare you to not look away. It’s time.” Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastor and New York Times bestselling author of Shameless: A Sexual Revolution

“Our brother Lenny Duncan has crafted a masterful and heartbroken indictment of where the Lutheran Church could be and where it is instead. He stands fiercely grounded in the Lutheran tradition of revealing our own brokenness, proclaiming our hope in Christ, and challenging us to live into love of neighbor. His individual experiences and our churchwide practices are woven together in an unsettling illustration of how the American idol of white supremacy has laid the foundation for a wide array of vitriol, from Dylann Roof to transphobia to the election of the forty-fifth president. Prepare yourself, church. This is a love letter you have to read–and a proclamation that will leave you convicted.” Emmy Kegler ELCA Pastor and author of One Coin Found

“Lenny Duncan has given us a bold and fearless book filled with unsettling but indispensable insights into the stranglehold white supremacy inflicts upon our churches. At the same time, we feel a holy, ferocious love radiating from every page. This book should be required reading for all who love our church and lament our failures. If you don’t come away breathless, hope-struck, and fired up for revolution, check your pulse.” Heidi Neumark, Trinity Lutheran Church Manhattan

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 Enchantments of Mammon

The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity, by Eugene McCarraherHow Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity

In The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity, Eugene McCarraher argues that capitalism is full of sacrament, whether or not it is acknowledged. This runs counter to the traditional view of capitalism as part of the “disenchantment” of the world, stripping material objects and social relations of their mystery and sacredness.

McCarraher contends that capitalist enchantment first flowered in the fields and factories of England and was brought to America by Puritans and evangelicals whose doctrine made ample room for industry and profit. Later, the corporation was mystically animated with human personhood,and by the twenty-first century, capitalism had become thoroughly enchanted by the neoliberal deification of “the market.” In this impassioned challenge, McCarraher makes the case that capitalism has hijacked and redirected our intrinsic longing for divinity—and urges us to break its hold on our souls.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“With this book McCarraher aspires to nothing less than a history of the soul under capitalism. Far from living in a secular, disenchanted world, he argues, ours is a world of ‘misenchantment,’ in which longings for communion are perverted into a religion of plunder and technological control. Capitalism emerges here not as a system of market exchange or class domination but as an affront to the divine creation of which we are a part. An astonishing work of history and criticism.”—Casey Nelson Blake, author of The Arts of Democracy

“A tour de force. McCarraher argues that capitalism is a successor faith, rather than a successor to faith. The capitalist faith in this telling is a heretical, blaspheming Black Mass of perverse sacramentality that sanctions domination by pretending to the status of immutable, impersonal laws of nature. In the world of economic enchantment masquerading as hard-eyed realism, McCarraher urges us to keep open an imaginative window through which to glimpse alternatives. His magnificent intellectual history recovers many such opportunities and invites us to appraise them with fresh eyes.”—Bethany Moreton, author of To Serve God and Wal-Mart

For more information on the publication, click here.

Eugene McCarraher is an associate professor of humanities and history and the associate director of the honors program at Villanova University. A former Charles Ryskamp Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (2005-2006), he has written for Books and Culture, Commonweal, Dissent, In These Times, The Nation, the Chicago Tribune, The Hedgehog Review and Raritan.

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: One Soul at a Time

One Soul at a Time: The Story of Billy Graham, by Grant WackerThe Story of Billy Graham

In One Soul at a Time: The Story of Billy Graham, Grant Wacker records the story of one of the most influential voices in the Christian world. Billy Graham was a hugely successful preacher for more than five decades, and nearly 215 million people around the world heard him preach in person or through live electronic media. While he remained orthodox over the course of his career, over time his approach on many issues became more irenic and progressive, and his preaching continued to resonate. For many people, Graham was less a preacher than a Protestant saint.

Wacker conducted personal interviews, engaged in archival research, and gathered never-before-published photographs from the Graham family and others to tell the remarkable story of one of the most celebrated Christians in American history.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A beautifully crafted, eloquent, and deeply illuminating account of Billy Graham’s unparalleled evangelistic career, penned by one of the most eminent American religious historians of our time.”R. Marie Griffith, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics

“When I hear the word ‘evangelist,’ the first face I imagine is always that of Billy Graham. And when I think of careful analysis of Graham’s monumental reshaping of the world religious landscape, the only name I can imagine is that of renowned historian Grant Wacker.”—Russell Moore, author of The Storm-Tossed Family

“This fast-paced biography cuts through Billy Graham mythology to reveal who the great evangelist really was as a human individual.”—Molly Worthen, author of Apostles of Reason

“Grant Wacker is the finest Billy Graham scholar in the world today. . . . A must read for anyone interested in the amazing story of evangelical revivals in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.”—Harry S. Stout,Yale University

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: #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

 

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.

PLT Alum Kelly Figueroa-Ray Presents at the AAR

Transformative Scholarship and Pedagogy Unit

Kelly Figueroa-RayOn Saturday, November 23, PLT alum Kelly Figueroa-Ray of St. Olaf College will take part in a session at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The session is titled, Transgressing Borders: Immigration and Transformative Pedagogy in Religious Studies Classrooms. The theme of the session is:

In light of the Annual Meeting’s location in San Diego and the recent changes in immigration policy that serve to limit the entry of immigrants into the United States, this panel will outline transformative pedagogical strategies for teaching about the politics of immigration and Religion. The papers examine models and best practices of community-engaged learning and describe partnerships with faith-based organizations and community groups to support learning on the topic of immigration.

Professor Figueroa-Ray’s presentation is titled, Even the Cartel Members Pray: Studying Immigration through the Lens of Lived Theology. The abstract for her talk reads:

Competing and contradictory beliefs and interests propel a variety of actors each day as they attempt to cross, guard, and make peace with a line that in turn shapes their lives, relationships, communities, and in too many cases, their deaths. In this paper, I will demonstrate how a pedagogy of lived theology can introduce students to the politics of immigration by framing it first as a human issue, not merely an abstraction. Core to this pedagogy is the intersectional examination of first-hand accounts of border encounters through ethnographic fieldwork, reading memoirs, and watching films. This narrative framework is scaffolded by examination of the US-Mexico border as a racial and political construct and an introduction to relevant theological themes. Learning about immigration through the lens of lived theology challenges students to expand what Nancy Pineda-Madrid terms their “social imaginations,” by recognizing that they, too, are actors shaped by US immigration policy (2011).

Two of Kelly’s students will be presenting with her, Bronwynn Woodsworth and Maeve Atkinson. This will be a brief presentation, then a pedagogical exercise meant to lead people into lived theological analysis, then a reflection from each of the students about how this pedagogy transformed their understanding of immigration policy and their role in it.

There are two additional presentations in this session. Cassie Trentaz of Warner Pacific College will present, Crossing Borders and Raising the Stakes: Bridging Higher Education and Community Organizing to Get Real Shit Done in Real Time, a Model and Suzanne Klatt of Miami University will present, On the Borders: A Multiaxial Approach to Transformative Pedagogy on Immigration.

The session will take place from 3:30 – 5:00 pm in the Convention Center-28B (Upper Level East) with Michael Brandon McCormack, University of Louisville, presiding. For more information, please see the AAR website.

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 resources from our Fellow Travelers, click here. For more news from PLT, click here. Engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology newsletter, click here.