On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Wretched of the Earth

The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz FanonAn Analysis of the Psychology of the Colonized

The Wretched of the Earth was originally written by Frantz Fanon in 1961, and explored the psychology of colonized people and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of post-independence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other.

Fanon’s analysis has been a veritable handbook of social reorganization for leaders of emerging nations. A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. The Wretched of the Earth has had a major impact on civil rights, anti-colonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world, and this bold new translation by Richard Philcox reaffirms it as a landmark.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“The writing of Malcolm X or Eldridge Cleaver or Amiri Baraka or the Black Panther leaders reveals how profoundly they have been moved by the thoughts of Frantz Fanon.” —The Boston Globe

“Have the courage to read this book.” —Jean-Paul Sartre

“This century’s most compelling theorist of racism and colonialism.” —Angela Davis

“This is not so much a book as a rock thrown through the window of the West. It is the Communist Manifesto or the Mein Kampf of the anti-colonial revolution, and as such it is highly important for any Western reader who wants to understand the emotional force behind that revolution.” —Time

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: A Christian and a Democrat

A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, by John F. Woolverton and James D. BrattA Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

A work begun by religious historian John Woolverton (1926-2014) and recently completed by James Bratt, A Christian and a Democrat is an engaging analysis of the surprisingly spiritual life of one of the most consequential presidents in US history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

When asked at a press conference about the roots of his political philosophy, FDR responded simply, “I am a Christian and a Democrat.” This is the story of how the first informed the second—how his upbringing in the Episcopal Church and matriculation at the Groton School under legendary educator and minister Endicott Peabody molded Roosevelt into a leader whose politics were fundamentally shaped by the Social Gospel.

A Christian and a Democrat chronicles FDR’s response to the toxic demagoguery of his day, and will reassure readers today that a constructive way forward is possible for Christians, for Americans, and for the world.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This timely, inspiring portrait of the role of Christianity in the life and presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt helps us better understand one of the influential leaders of the twentieth century. Woolverton has made a great contribution here that should lead us to reevaluate our view of the role of faith in the progressive movement, the Democratic Party, and American politics generally, while also stoking our imagination for how Christian principles might guide us today.”—Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America

“Rare is the opportunity to read a biography by someone who ran in the same circles as the author but who was not an acquaintance. Through a collective biography of FDR’s many influences and their religious backgrounds, we learn that Franklin Roosevelt had the Social Gospel imprinted on his character. His boarding school teachers, as well as those of his wife Eleanor and his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, raised him with a strong sense of responsibility toward the less fortunate. This Social-Gospel-sense of “Christian charity” drove both his concern for the poor and his rejection of authoritarian methods of establishing justice. Woolverton and Bratt depict a man whose ‘simple faith’ drove his decisions in both domestic and foreign policy. It was this faith, they suggest, that helped save the prospects for democracy in the United States.”—Janine Giordano Drake, University of Providence

“With James D. Bratt’s deft revision, this study of Franklin Roosevelt’s religious life by respected Episcopal historian John Woolverton arrives at just the right time. Woolverton’s warm but frank spiritual biography describes a president who practiced a Christianity based on hope, charity, and faith and grounded in a deep sense of mutual responsibility. This book is a reminder that American Christianity might have followed an alternative trajectory into the twenty-first century.”—Alison Collis Greene, Emory 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: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila

The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila: A Biography, by Carlos EireA Biography

The original book entitled The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila is an autobiography of sorts, a confession written for inquisitors by a nun whose raptures and mystical claims had aroused suspicion. In it, St. Teresa details one of the most remarkable accounts ever written of the human encounter with the divine.

In The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila: A Biography, Carlos Eire tells the story of this incomparable spiritual masterpiece, examining its composition and reception in the sixteenth century, the various ways its mystical teachings have been interpreted and reinterpreted across time, and its enduring influence in our own secular age. The book has had a profound impact on Christian spirituality for five centuries, and has also been read as a feminist manifesto, a literary work, and even as a secular text. But as Eire demonstrates, Teresa’s confession is at its core a cry from the heart to God and an audacious portrayal of mystical theology as a search for love.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Carlos Eire analyzes Teresa of Avila’s Life and chronicles its reception from the late sixteenth century to the present with profound erudition, insight, and conviction. His carefully documented survey of trends in editing, translation, and artistic production makes a significant contribution to the history of the book and readership, as well as women’s writing, spirituality, and the Catholic intellectual tradition.”—Jodi Bilinkoff, author of The Avila of Saint Teresa: Religious Reform in a Sixteenth-Century City

“Carlos Eire leads readers expertly and learnedly through the composition of the Life and its fortunes over the centuries. Not only does he slice, dice, and classify with the skill of a medieval theologian, he does so with the wit of a philosophe and with an unusually sensitive understanding of the mystical Teresa. I loved this book even more than I expected I would.”—Craig Harline, author of A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation

“Eire has an uncanny ability to write scholarly work in an engaging and accessible style. He knows how to get to the heart of the matter. This is the story of a mystic and her book but also a story of how reactions to extreme religious experiences have changed—and been deployed—over centuries.”—Alison Weber, author of Teresa of Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity

For more information on the publication, click here.

Carlos Eire is a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University in 1996. He specializes in the social, intellectual, religious and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Europe.

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: Stay in the City

Stay in the City: How Christian Faith Is Flourishing in an Urban World, by Mark Gornik and Maria Liu WongHow Christian Faith Is Flourishing in an Urban World

In Stay in the City Gornik and Liu Wong look at what is happening in the urban church—and what Christians everywhere can learn from it. We live in an urban age. To a degree unprecedented in human history, most of the world’s people live in cities. Once viewed suspiciously for their worldly temptations and vices, cities are increasingly becoming centers of vibrant Christian faith. It is thus vital, say Mark Gornik and Maria Liu Wong, for Christians to think constructively about how to live out their faith in an urban setting.

Writing from their experience living and working in New York City, Gornik and Liu Wong invite readers everywhere to join together in creating a more flourishing—and faith-filled—urban world.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“If you need encouragement about the vibrant future of the church or if you are looking for a place to start in reflecting on Christian faithfulness in the city, this little book is a great resource. In an accessible and engaging way, the authors communicate the energy, passion, and creativity that is alive in urban congregations. Highly recommended!”— Christine D. Pohl, Asbury Theological Seminary

“I love the holistic vision of Stay in the City. Mark Gornik and Maria Liu Wong challenge us to see the amazing ways God’s at work in the city through every language, culture, and people. This is a great practical resource for individuals and groups to follow Jesus through our day jobs, our friendships, our art, our children, and even our churches.”— Kathy Tuan-MacLean, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

“Cities are now hip and cool, drawing a new and sometimes controversial wave of urbanites. Stay in the City tells the stories of those who are not new converts to urban life but have stayed and have learned that staying is part of their own thriving as they contribute to the flourishing of the city. I will recommend this volume widely.”— Jude Tiersma Watson, Fuller Theological Seminary

For more information on the publication, click here.

Mark Gornik is the director of City Seminary of New York. He has spent the last 25 years of his life as a pastor, community developer and researcher in African churches in New York City and beyond.

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: Crossroads at Clarksdale

Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II, by Françoise HamlinThe Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II

In Crossroads at Clarksdale, Françoise Hamlin chronicles the slow struggle for black freedom through the history of Clarksdale, Mississippi by using the stories of the daily lives and familiar places of local residents. Hamlin creates a full picture of the town spanning over a period of fifty years, recognizing the accomplishments of its diverse African American community and strong NAACP branch, and examining the extreme brutality of entrenched power there. But Clarksdale is not a triumphant narrative of dramatic change; instead, it embodies a layered, contentious, untidy, and often disappointingly unresolved part of the civil rights movement.

Following the black freedom struggle in Clarksdale from World War II through the first decade of the twenty-first century allows Hamlin to tell multiple, interwoven stories about the town’s people, their choices, and the extent of political change. She shows how members of civil rights organizations worked to challenge Jim Crow through fights against inequality, police brutality, segregation, and, later, economic injustice. With Clarksdale still at a crossroads today, Hamlin explores how to evaluate success when poverty and inequality persist.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A beautifully written book, strong in its ability to capture the different organizing strategies pursued in one community. . . . A major contribution to civil rights historiography.”—Journal of American History

“Adds much to the story of civil rights in Clarksdale and beyond . . . [and] provides an incredibly rich account of race, class, gender, generational, and organizational tensions within the civil rights movement.”—Journal of Southern History

“[This book] is a much-needed additive to the already-extant literature on the Mississippi civil rights movement, not only for its artful prose, but also because it sets a high standard for future researchers, pushing scholars to expand their source base and periodization. Hamlin’s book should be widely read.”—The Historian

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.

Lenten Reading Guide: Mary Stella Simpson

Lysaught’s brilliant and moving chapter on Sr. Mary Stella provides a fitting benediction and charge for this collection and for the Lenten season.

“When Sr. Mary Stella arrived, 59 percent of all the babies born in Bolivar County, Mississippi, were dying every year….But as the story of Shiphrah and Puah attests, God works grace through those who defy the pharaohs of the world. The Israelites multiplied and grew very numerous. Sr. Mary Stella, in her six years in Mound Bayou, never lost a baby.”

Join the conversation in our special Lenten Can I Get a Witness? Facebook group.

 

On the Lived Theology Reading List: This I Trust

This I Trust: Basic Words of Christian Belief, by Wolfgang HuberBasic Words of Christian Belief

Today, many people believe that the question of faith is one purely of belief. Wolfgang Huber, however, argues that it is actually one of trust, and our willingness to trust in God and His promises. In This I Trust, Huber engages in meditations on classic words of the Christian tradition, from the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer to the stories of the birth and parables and death of Jesus. Through these works, he searches for for the fiery core and world-defying implications of Christian faith today.

Although he is fully cognizant of  the complexities and ambiguities of contemporary life, he nonetheless asserts, “If we trust in God we can endure the uncertainties, accept the limitations, and receive the fullness of life as a gift.” For those who struggle with the meaning of faith and Christian discipleship in their personal, familial, professional and political lives, Huber offers deep assurance and steep challenge.

For more information on the publication, click here.

Wolfgang Huber is a prominent German theologian and ethicist. Engaged in both church and politics, he has served on numerous boards of ethics and public policy, as a professor of theology in the universities of Marburg and Heidelberg, and as Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg from 1993 to 2009.

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.

Lenten Reading Guide: Richard Twiss

Soong-Chan Rah writes on his friend, mentor, and colleague Richard Twiss:

“To a largely evangelical audience [Richard Twiss] introduced the narrative of Native American Christianity, presenting his perspective with humor as he challenged US Christian captivity to white supremacy: ‘And the Bible says when you come…to Christ, you become a new creation. All things pass away and all things become white. Amen'” (265).

Join the conversation in our special Lenten Can I Get a Witness? Facebook group.

 

On the Lived Theology Reading List: We the Resistance

We the Resistance: Documenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States, edited by Michael G. LongDocumenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States

Have you ever wondered about the history of activism in the United States? Curious about what protests looked like before the modern methods pioneered by the civil rights era? We the Resistance showcases a number of historic activists to give curious citizens and current resisters an insight into the history of American activism. Beginning with the pre-Revolutionary War era and continuing through to the present day, readers will encounter the voices of protestors sharing instructive stories about their methods (from sit-ins to tree sitting) and opponents (from Puritans to Wall Street bankers), as well as inspirational stories about their failures (from slave petitions to the fight for the ERA), and successes (from enfranchisement for women to today’s reform of police practices).

In an effort to combat histories of America that focus on our military past, this book provides an alternate history of the formation of our nation and its character, one in which courageous individuals and movements have wielded the tools of nonviolence to resist unjust, unfair, and immoral policies and practices. Instruction and inspiration run throughout this captivating reader, generously illustrated with historic graphics and photographs of nonviolent protests throughout U.S. history.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This book fights fascism. This books offers hope. We The Resistance is essential reading for those who wish to understand how popular movements built around nonviolence have changed the world and why they retain the power to do so again.”—Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life

“This comprehensive documentary history of non-violent resisters and resistance movements is an inspiring antidote to any movement fatigue or pessimism about the value of protest. It tells us we can learn from the past as we confront the present and hope to shape the future. Read, enjoy and take courage knowing you are never alone in trying to create a more just world. Persevere and persist and win, but know that even losing is worth the fight and teaches lessons for later struggles.”Mary Frances Berry, author of History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times

“We the Resistance illustrates the deeply rooted, dynamic, and multicultural history of nonviolent resistance and progressive activism in North America and the United States. With a truly comprehensive collection of primary sources, it becomes clear that dissent has always been a central feature of American political culture and that periods of quiescence and consensus are aberrant rather than the norm. Indeed, the depth and breadth of resistant and discordant voices in this collection is simply outstanding.”—Leilah Danielson, author of American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of American Radicalism in the Twentieth Century 

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.

Lenten Reading Guide: Lucy Randolph Mason

Susan M. Glisson and Charles H. Tucker write on Lucy Randolph Mason:

“There are no accounts of the reaction of the union reps who waited for the CIO organizer at the train depot when the ‘roving ambassador’ for the CIO stepped down onto the platform. Most likely, they expected the fearless CIO organizer to be a man, tall and broad shouldered with big hands scarred by work and knuckles deformed from a dozen fights on docks and loading platforms. Most likely they were still looking for him when a slight, bespectacled, fifty-five-year-old white woman carefully made her way down the metal steps and stepped lightly onto the platform. The woman was physically small, with fine, white hair. Lucy Randolph Mason had arrived.”

Join the conversation in our special Lenten Can I Get a Witness? Facebook group.