On the Lived Theology Reading List: Sanctuary

Being Christian in the Wake of TrumpSanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump, by Heidi Neumark

In Sanctuary, Heidi Neumark uses her 40 years in ministry to explain what she believes is the true Christian calling: to live out a counterpoint to today’s prevailing spirits of exclusion and hatred. Neumark has always strived to make her church a sanctuary for people, and after the election of Trump in 2016 she realized it was more necessary than ever to work against the cruel, dehumanizing, and dangerous rhetoric threatening to consume communities like hers.

Neumark begins each chapter with a quote from Donald Trump that she defies and dismantles with her own stories; stories about supporting immigrants and asylum-seekers being harassed by ICE, offering shelter for queer youth in her city, and embracing her church’s diversity with a Guadalupe celebration. Using her own bilingual, multicultural congregation as a model, she reflects on what it looks like to live out essential Christian convictions in community with others. With this book, Neumark speaks to the deep wounds of this era, inflicted before and during the Trump presidency, and which will remain long past its end.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Sanctuary is a must read. Throughout the book, Neumark weaves together stories from those bruised, battered, and abandoned in the midst of abundance and puts them in stark relief with the oppressive decrees of Donald Trump and his enablers. Neumark’s stories, from her own lived experience, embody the call of the gospel to preach good news to the poor and bring comfort to the broken amid bedbugs, detention centers, and systemic violence and injustice.”— Liz Theoharis, cochair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

“Passionate, luminous, inspired, and practical, Neumark’s Trinity Lutheran Church on Manhattan’s West 100th Street is a place where the simplicity of play meets a righteous rage for change, where faith and morality attain true meaning. Sanctuary takes on the problems of the USA—and of humanity—while recounting, with rich stories and vivid details, how a small church can carry an inclusive vision that transcends boundaries. This is a fine example of the resistance, vision, and transformation that, in her words, ‘these days, and the gospel, require.’”— Joan Juliet Buck, author of The Price of Illusion

“Pastor Heidi Neumark’s intensely personal telling of her wildly diverse congregation’s quest to create community against the backdrop of Trump’s presidency and NYC’s gentrification is inventive, humorous, painful, and oh so inspiring. Our world needs more pastors like Heidi, more congregations like Trinity Lutheran, and more books like Sanctuary. All three offer a divided nation reasons to be hopeful and paths toward healing.”— Cynthia Nixon, actor and activist

For more information on the publication, click here.

Heidi Neumark is an author, speaker and Lutheran pastor who has served congregations in the South Bronx and Manhattan. She is also the executive director of a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth.

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