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The Roberson Project

Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation

The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South is a six-year initiative investigating the university’s historical entanglements with slavery and slavery’s legacies. This project seeks to honor Houston Roberson, a long time professor and the first African American to earn tenure at the University of the South. His teaching was devoted to the subjects of African American history and culture.

In 2009 Dr. Roberson published an essay, “The Problem of the Twentieth Century: Sewanee, Race and Race Relations,” in the University’s sesquicentennial volume, Sewanee: Perspectives on the History of the University of the South. This essay directly addressed the history of race on campus and the larger community. It was the first piece of written scholarship to tackle these subjects, and helped to change how we think about the history of this community and university.

The Roberson Project hosts events related to scholarship and social justice, confronting history to seek a “more just and equitable future for our broad and diverse community.” These initiatives are a memorial to Roberson, honoring his historic contributions to the University of the South. This initiative also seeks to create a comprehensive history of the University of the South in relation to slavery, race, and racial injustice. In addition, it will work with existing campus groups to develop curricula and programs to enrich perspectives and equitable opportunities for students.

Roberson Project

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

 

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: 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.

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.

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.