On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Failure and the Hope

The Failure and The Hope: Essays of Southern Churchmen, edited by Will D. Campbell and James Y. HollowayEssays of Southern Churchmen

During the 1960s, the Committee of Southern Churchmen began publishing a journal entitled Katallagete: Be Reconciled. Will Campbell and James Holloway, who helped edit the journal as well as publish this book, were convinced that the church and Christianity had failed to stay grounded in scripture and fight injustices through Christian means. Katallagete featured a number of essays from prominent people of the time, including some civil rights leaders, and ran for 8 years before this anthology of selected essays was published in 1972. Recently republished in 2004, The Failure and the Hope showcases some of the essays from Katallagete that Campbell and Holloway hope will be applicable to all people, whether they are southern or not.

In the foreword, Campbell and Holloway say that this is not “the best of Katallagete,” and in regards to the essays “there is no theological line common to them all.” They are all simply meditations on the failures and hopes of Christians at the end of the twentieth century, both personal and in regards to the church itself. Some of the essays include:

Events and pseudo-events : letter to a Southern churchman — Thomas Merton

An open letter to Billy Graham — Will D. Campbell and James Y. Holloway

Sick and tired of being sick and tired — Fannie Lou Hamer

The plutocrats and the po’ folks — William Paul Randall

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This volume brings the reader face to face with just where we are in the struggle for racial justice. It consists of penetrating and provocative essays by persons who write out of their own struggles with racism. These people not only ‘tell it like it is,’ but also ‘tell it like it ought to be.'” — Henlee Barnette, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

For more information on the publication, click here.

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