Thursday, May 20, 2021

Book Review: YOU CAN TALK TO GOD LIKE THAT by Abby Norman

You Can Talk to God Like That: The Surprising Power of Lament to Save Your Faith
by Abby Norman
200 pages
Published May 18th, 2021 by Broadleaf Books 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Abby Norman is a pastor and a gifted writer and it shows. The first thing that jumped off the page as I started reading this book was Abby’s pastoral tone. She is not preaching at you about lament. She is coming alongside you to encourage you as she talks about how lament can draw us in closer to God.

Abby tweeted in December of 2020 that she didn't mean to write an increasingly relevant book, but she did! The past year and a half of dealing with the pandemic and the chaotic political nonsense, along with the ongoing violence against Black people by police officers, mass shootings… there is no shortage of things to lament. 

Abby is a great writer and I am sure she is a great pastor. Abby and I have been internet friends for longer than I can remember now, and I even got to meet her in person at Evolving Faith in 2018. She has been such an encouragement to me in ways big and small over the years. And I am so thankful she wrote this book! I think it could encourage a lot of people. I know it encouraged me. I ended up reading it in one sitting but I definitely want to go back through it and take my time with it.

One particularly moving part was when Abby talked about how we can hold hope for each other, and sometimes we need that because hope is too heavy for us sometimes.

My favorite part (if I have to choose just one thing) is the prayers Abby prays for her readers at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book. These prayers wash over me like the ones Sarah Bessey often prays for her readers and listeners. This is the prayer at the end of chapter 1:
“I pray that you are comforted. May the outpouring of your grief be accompanied by the outpouring of God’s love. May you work through the practice with patience and mercy for yourself and your circumstances. May your wounds be covered in balm. May you be close to God.”
And this one at the end of chapter 3:
“I know this can be scary. Not all of us have had a lot of practice talking back to God. As you embark on this exercise I pray that you land in the arms of a God who is good and holy and big enough to handle every single bit of your sorrow and rage. I pray that you would not be afraid of the strength of your own sorrows. I pray that you would land in strong arms.”
And also this one at the end of chapter 5:
“It is not lost on me that continually I am asking you to do hard things. This may be the hardest thing of all. Being wrong can be such a gift to us if only we embrace it. I pray that you will be so grounded in your belovedness that you will be open to the Holy Spirit changing your mind. I pray that you will be open to a bigger God, a bigger grace, a bigger community. May you experience your belovedness together.”
Then, at the very end of the book, she brought tears to my eyes as she prayed for us, her readers, in a closing benediction: 

“Imagine me in my collar and my bright-red lipstick, my eyes shut tight behind my cat-eye glasses and one hand held in the air, hovering over your head, as I cry, 

May you go into the world trusting the God who sees you just as Haggai trusted the God who saw her. May you feel known and validated in your deepest struggles and greatest heartaches. May you always know that you are not alone, that God is with you, that God sees you. 

May you go into the world with the willingness of Ruth, to lament with others, to see their pain, to identify with them. May your heart break for those who are not like you, for those who have been forgotten by the powers and principalities of this world. May your presence remind them that Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us. May you cry hot tears over other people’s suffering. May you be filled with a compassion that will draw you closer to God. 

May you go into the world crying out, weeping like the Holy Mother herself, broken at the sight of her child being broken by the empire. May you weep and gnash your teeth and make a holy scene. May you refuse to get up out of the streets until the ways of the world are changed, until the most vulnerable among us are included, until the church means it when they say, “All are welcome, all are beloved by God.” 

May you go into this world lamenting like Mary Magdalene in the garden, who had been just hoping to bury her beloved rabbi. May Jesus meet you in the places of your deepest grief and invite you into a new and holy way of being, for the kingdom of God is coming, and the kingdom of God is here. Amen.”

What are you waiting for? Go get her book and read it! :-) 

You Can Talk to God Like That Affiliate Purchase Links: Bookshop.org (supports local bookstores)


Abby Norman is a writer, blogger, speaker, and licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church. Her writing has been featured in Huffington Post, SheLoves Magazine, and The Mudroom. Abby lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her college sweetheart, two daughters, and a very bad dog.

Follow Abby on Twitter: @abbynormansays

I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and Amazon and I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

How to Earn Badges in Audible's Mobile Apps (2021 Update)

I originally published this post in June of 2015 and it has the most hits of any of my posts at 15,411 as of today (5/20/2021). Since Audible just updated the badges for the first time since then, I thought I should update this post.

I still do most of my audio-book listening using Audible, specifically, the Audible app on my iPhone. One of the extra features of the app is that you can earn badges as you listen to your books. There are now 18 different badges you can earn. From what I understand, Android devices and Kindle Fire devices utilize the same feature.

The badges you earn on one device from an Audible app syncs between devices (like when I listen from my iPad at night vs. my iPhone in the car).

There are three different levels of badges you can obtain: silver, gold, and platinum.

Mount Everest:
Complete an Audible book that is longer than 24 hours long. (Infinite Jest did the trick for me!)

Watchtower:
Look at your profile page and badge page and switch back (in and out) over 50 times to obtain the Watchtower badge.

7-day-stretch:
Read in at least 2 books in the course of any consecutive 7 day period.

Weekend Warrior:
Listen to an audible book for at least a total of 10 hours on a weekend.

Night Owl:
Listen to any selection of books for a course of at least 8 hours on any given night.

Repeat Listener:
Listen to the same book 3 or more times in a given day or week.

Daily Dipper:
Listen to books on any 7 consecutive days.

High Noon:
Read a book for at least 3 hours during a lunchtime stretch between 11am and 3pm.

The Closer:
Complete an entire book in one session.

Marathoner:
Listen to an Audible book for at least 2 consecutive hours in a day.

Nibbler:
Listen to 3 book titles in one day.

The Stack:
Have at least 50 Audible audiobooks in your library.

Social Butterfly:
Share your badge progress 5 times on Twitter and Facebook.

Stenographer: 
Place 10 bookmarks in a single book.

Dabbler (the only one I don't have yet):
Hey! They finally fixed this and now it shows that I have this badge too! (as of 5/20/2021)

They've also added 3 badges:

Collector:
You get this badge for earning badges... you get the gold ring for having earned 10 badges.

Sampler:
"If you like to try before you buy, then this badge will soon apply." (I don't have this one yet so I don't know how many books you have to try before you buy or if it gives you credit for listening to the free sample of a book if you don't end up buying the book.)

Alexa:
"To your Echo utter 'Alexa, read my book', and you'll get a badge for the effort it took."
This one annoys me because I don't own an Amazon Echo and I don't want or need an Echo device. But I get it. They want to promote their product.



Try Audible Plus

Friday, March 12, 2021

Book Review: The Disabled God - Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability by Nancy L. Eiesland

The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability 
by Nancy L. Eiesland, 140 pages

Finished reading on 3/10/2021 for my seminary class on political and liberation theologies. What follows is an edited version of my summary of the book I wrote for an assignment.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think pretty much everyone should read this: pastors, leaders of all kinds, and really just, everyone.

This book was published in 1994 but it started out as Nancy Eiesland’s Master’s thesis at Candler School of Theology. It seems significant that The Americans with Disabilities Act was just passed in 1990. She also writes out of her own experience of lifelong disability.

Eiesland argues that disabled people are a marginalized, minority group that society and churches have a responsibility to include and not discriminate against. The expectation should not be put on the disabled person to adjust and just have to figure it out for themselves as an individual. Disabled people do not need to be “fixed” and that mentality has been very damaging. Sadly, churches in the United States fought to be excluded from the requirements of The Americans with Disabilities Act so they would not have to bring their buildings up to the new accessibility requirements.

Chapter Three: The Body Politics “offers a social framework for reconceiving disability, incorporating the history of the civil rights struggle.” She examines a shift in the sociology of disability where the person with disabilities becomes the subject instead of the object of inquiry which led to “the emergence of the disability rights movement and continues to offer a theoretical construct for empowerment and liberation” for disabled people.

Chapter Four: Carnal Sins - Disability has never been religiously or theologically neutral. Eiesland talks about three themes that illustrate the theological obstacles encountered by people with disabilities seeking inclusion in Christian communities: 1) sin and disability conflation (blames the disability on the person’s sin and/or lack of faith), 2) virtuous suffering, and 3) segregationist charity. Eiesland spends the rest of this chapter talking about a particular case within the American Lutheran Church where their supposed theology of access for disabled people did not match their policies for ministerial qualification that rejected many disabled people as “categorically unsuitable for ordained ministry” (70).

Chapter Five: The Disabled God - This chapter explores the revolutionary implications of the resurrected Christ as the disabled God as a divine affirmation of the wholeness of “nonconventional bodies” (87). She opens by describing an epiphany where she saw God “in a sip-puff wheelchair,” the kind used mostly by quadriplegics. She writes, “I beheld God as a survivor, unpitying and forthright. [...] This theology of liberation emerged from those conversations, our common labor for justice, and corporate reflection on symbol.”

Chapter Six: Sacramental Bodies: The main focus of this chapter is on the centrality of the Eucharist in the symbolic and actual inclusion of disabled people. In the Eucharist the disabled God. In the resurrected Christ, “the nonconventional body is recognized as sacrament” (116).

View all my book reviews

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Book Review: A Black Theology of Liberation by James H. Cone

A Black Theology of Liberation: 50th Anniversary EditionA Black Theology of Liberation by James H. Cone, 200 pages
Finished reading on 2/11/2021 for my seminary class on political and liberation theologies.

James H. Cone (1938-2018) published this book in 1970. In the preface to the 1986 edition, Cone writes, “This book cannot be understood without a keen knowledge of the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s and a general comprehension of nearly four hundred years of slavery and segregation in North America, both of which were enacted into law by government and openly defended as ordained of God by most white churches and their theologians” (Loc 186). Cone also says his style of doing theology was “influenced more by Malcolm X than by Martin Luther King, Jr.” (Loc 255). Peter J Paris points out in his forward to the 2020 edition that there was little to no conversation in their seminaries in the mid-twentieth century about Martin Luther King, Jr, and the civil rights movement as it was considered out of bounds for theological inquiry. This silence around all of that is what Cone would have been experiencing in seminary. Paris also tells us that Cone was not familiar with the rise of liberation theology in Latin America at the time he wrote this book. Instead, he took his seminary training and used those tools to construct his own theology of liberation (Loc 84). I appreciate what Cone wrote in his preface to the 1986 edition acknowledging his failure to pay attention to sexism in the black community and society at large, and so he changed the exclusive language from 1970 to more inclusive language (Loc 266).

Cone directly states in the preface to the 1986 edition: “A Black Theology of Liberation was first published in 1970, and it was written for and to black Christians (and also to whites who had the courage to listen) in an attempt to answer the question that I and others could not ignore, namely, “what has the gospel of Jesus Christ to do with the black struggle for justice in the United States?” (Loc 186).

Cone interacts extensively with many of the classical (white) theologians, especially Karl Barth. He mentions Paul Tillich a lot too, and Bultmann. I thought it was interesting that in the preface to the 1986 version he said that if he were writing the book at that time he would not follow the theological structure “that begins with a methodology based on divine revelation, and then proceeds to explicate the doctrines of God, humanity, Christ, church, world, and eschatology” (Loc 319). His reason for saying that is that he now believes that “Revelation as the word of God, witnessed in scripture and defined by the creeds and dogmas of Western Christianity, is too limiting to serve as an adequate way of doing theology today” (319).

This book is James Cone’s “attempt to construct a new perspective for the discipline of theology, using the Bible and the black struggle for freedom as its chief sources” (Loc 329). Liberation became the “organizing principle” (329). He explores the implications of this within the framework of classical theology, fully showing off all of the training he had received in seminary about the traditional (white) theologians. Chapters three through seven tackle Revelation, God, human beings, Jesus, the church, the world, and eschatology, always emphasizing "blackness" as opposed to "whiteness." He is writing a theology that is liberated from the racism of white supremacy and oppression. Over and over again he says in many different ways, that any message or theology that is not about the liberation of the poor is not Christ’s message. It’s not the Gospel. It’s not Christian theology. In his preface, he writes, “It is my contention that Christianity is essentially a religion of liberation. The function of theology is that of analyzing the meaning of that liberation for the oppressed so they can know that their struggle for political, social, and economic justice is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ's message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology” (Loc 345).

View all my book reviews

Mini Book Reviews (February 2021)

A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for RenewalA Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal by Sarah Bessey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finished reading on 2/20/21

I have savored every word of this book. I’ve gone back over most of the prayers at least twice already. I have fallen asleep listening to the audiobook multiple times. (Is it any wonder I had a dream last night where Sarah Bessey was comforting me? 😂)

Anyway, do yourself a favor and read this book. Buy it if you can, you’re going to want to come back to it again and again.

A passage I love from the introduction:
"Often when we find ourselves at a crossroad in our faith, rethinking everything from church to scripture to family to art to politics to science to prayer, we think we have only two options: double down or burn it down. So when it comes to prayer, we might mistakenly believe that if we can’t pray the way we used to or the way we were taught, somehow that means we can’t or don’t pray anymore, period. [...] So no, the point of this is not to give you prayers to pray but to show you: you still get to pray. Prayer is still for you. You still get to cry out to God, you still get to yell, weep, praise, and sit in the silence until you sink down into the Love of God that has always been holding you whether you knew it or not. [...] I want this to help you feel a bit less alone. My hope is that you’ll borrow language from these prayers and be reminded that you are held—always, fully, completely—in the Love of God. I want this to be an act of resistance at this moment in our time, a way for us to fling wide the doors to prayer, to set up a few tables in your wilderness so that we can feast together on truth, justice, and goodness." - Sarah Bessey  

Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A storyJonathan Livingston Seagull: A story by Richard Bach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finished reading on 2/23/21

I loved this book so much! It is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. This allegory/fable reminds me in some ways of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

"Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again, for most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight."

*****
“He spoke of very simple things- that it is right for a gull to fly, that freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form.

"Set aside," came a voice from the multitude, "even if it be the Law of the Flock?"

"The only true law is that which leads to freedom," Jonathan said. "There is no other.”

queering lentqueering lent by slats
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published 1/7/2018
Finished reading on 2/25/2021

I loved this short collection of poems/prayers so much. They wrote 40 poems, one for each day of Lent, and included a sermon they preached on Easter Sunday. Absolutely beautiful!

This was one of my favorite parts: 

"maybe it's because i grew up 
in churches 
crawling under pews 

and i know You don't 
constrict Yourself to churches 
but so often i just want 
to slump against church walls, 
to be absorbed into the plaster 
to kiss the stone 

because i need somewhere to pour this love. 
i need somewhere to find my rest. 
and curling up underneath Your pews 
is the closest thing i've got 
to falling asleep in Your arms."
- slats 
Finished re-reading on 2/24/21

This is a great resource for anyone who is wrestling with theology around transgender people and is wanting to understand and learn more. Highly recommend.


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Discussing "The Universal Christ" by Richard Rohr (Reclaiming Christianity Podcast)


In June of 2019, I recorded three episodes with John Weldy on his Reclaiming Christianity podcast discussing The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. This post has been in my draft folder for some reason for a long time but I'm going to go ahead and post it now. So if you are interested in listening, here are the links to those episodes and the bullet points of what we talked about.
  • 2.5: Christ is Not Jesus' Last Name (Chapter 1)
    • Jesus & Christ
    • Creation: the first incarnation
    • Supernatural & natural
    • God loves things by becoming them
    • The eternal Christ
    • Names of God
    • Incarnational worldview

  • 2:6: Worldviews (Appendix 1)
    • Material worldview
    • Spiritual worldview
    • Priestly worldview
    • Incarnational worldview
    • Which of these worldviews sounds like the way you see the world?

  • 2.7: Deconstruction and Reconstruction (Appendix 2)
    • Order
    • Disorder
    • Reorder
    • Where do you see yourself in this process right now?



If you want to read and discuss those books with us, join the facebook group: Progressive Theology Book Club

Monday, February 01, 2021

5 scholars articulation of what womanist biblical interpretation entails

Pictured in the top row from left to right are Rev. Yolanda Norton and Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney.
On the bottom row from left to right are Rev. Dr. Renita Weems, Rev. Dr. Mitzi J. Smith, and Rev. Dr. Vanessa Lovelace

So what exactly does womanist biblical interpretation entail? Dr. Nyasha Junior states, “I wish that I could provide a definition of womanist biblical interpretation, but I confess that I cannot offer a clear definition because one does not exist” (Loc 2639). Junior says the lack of consensus about what womanist biblical interpretation is “is somewhat masked by the generalizations made by some womanist scholars in describing womanist biblical interpretation in terms that may give the mistaken impression that a consensus position exists” (Loc 3000). She criticizes the lack of consistency and says their “loose usage” of Alice Walker’s definition means that the word itself ends up being the main thing their interpretations have in common. But I’m not sure I agree with her assessment. It seems to me that each of the five womanist bible scholars pictured and listed above is not only informed by Alice Walker’s definition of “womanist” but doing similarly inspired things in their womanist interpretation. First, they emphasize "talking back to the text" and "interrogating the text" and other interpretations of the text that have harmed people. Secondly, they each emphasize an intersectional approach that prioritizes the experiences of Black women and oppressed people in their interpretation. I will highlight these points for each of these five scholars below.

1. The first part of Alice Walker's definition describes a womanist as a “black feminist or feminist of color” and explains how the term came from a “black folk expression” when an adult would say a girl was acting “womanish” (like a woman), “acting grown-up” or “trying to be grown” (xi). I see each of these scholars using that as a point of emphasis for "talking back to the text" and "interrogating the text".

Gafney: “Above all, this work is womanist because it is womanish. That is, I am talking back to the text, challenging it, questioning it, interrogating it, unafraid of the power and authority of the text, just as a girl-growing-into-a-woman talks back to her elders, questioning the world around her in order to learn how to understand and navigate it” (9).

Smith: She says she writes "as an act of womanist resistance, an act of sass and talk-back to (con)texts that disturbingly re-inscribe structures of oppression and are oppressive, that invite us to be complicit in oppression, that primarily depict God as a violent male, that subordinate the other, and that embody and sacralize (the secular is elevated to the level of the sacred) androcentrism, patriarchalism, and misogyny" (3).

Lovelace: In the introduction to Womanist Interpretations of the Bible, she co-wrote with Gay L. Byron, "all interpreters of sacred texts are responsible for exposing and analyzing the power dynamics in both the ancient texts and the interpretations of the texts that have been used to further injustices and global systemic challenges" (15). Exposing and analyzing power dynamics in the texts themselves and the interpretations is the work of "talking back to the text" and "interrogating the text."

Weems: "The Bible cannot go unchallenged in so far as the role it has played in legitimating the dehumanization of people of African ancestry in general and the sexual exploitation of women of African ancestry in particular. It cannot be understood as some universal, transcendent, timeless force to which world readers—in the name of being pious and faithful followers—must meekly submit. It must be understood as a politically and socially drenched text invested in ordering relations between people, legitimating some viewpoints, and delegitimizing other viewpoints." (46) 

Norton: The power of womanism is its refusal to try to “explain away elements of biblical literature that modern sensibilities might find problematic or objectionable in order to produce a more congenial text,” and its willingness to expose those elements and look at the implications for today (266). (In other words, the power of womanism for Norton is its willingness to talk back to the text.)

2. The second part of Walker's definition of womanist says, “a woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility...  and women’s strength….  Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female." (xi). And part four of Walker's definition says “Womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender” (xii.). 

I see these five scholars using these parts of Walker's definition as related to their intersectional emphasis which prioritizes Black women's experiences in their interpretation and keeps them concerned with the oppressions that happen at the intersections of race/gender/sex/class etc. All of them emphasize intersectionality and the way multiple oppressions compound each other. 

Gafney lists the primary womanist principles that shape her book, Womanist Midrash, as: "(1) the legitimacy of black women’s biblical interpretation as normative and authoritative, (2) the inherent value of each member of a community in the text and interpreting the text, (3) talking back to the text, and (4) making it plain, the work of exegesis from translation to interpretation”(8). Gafney also talks about "privileging the crossroads between our Afro-diasporic identity (embodiment and experience) and our gender (performance and identity)" in the process of interpretation (7).

Smith says her reading perspective is "a womanist intersectional approach that privileges or prioritizes the experiences, voices, traditions, and artifacts of African American women (and their communities) as sources of knowledge production, critical reflection, and ethical conduct" (2). 

Lovelace writes that she hopes their work "will lead to even more collaboration and conversations that will help keep the interests of black women and other women of color "at the forefront of interpretations of biblical and extrabiblical sources" (16).

Weems says womanist hermeneutics of liberation starts with African American women’s "will to survive and thrive as human beings and as the female half of a race of people who live a threatened existence within North American borders" (46). The interests and experiences of Black women are privileged over theory and harmful interpretations of ancient texts, even sacred ancient texts (46).

Norton: In her essay, “Silenced Struggles for Survival: Finding Life in Death in the Book of Ruth”  Norton argues that the book of Ruth is a more complicated narrative than traditional interpretations have permitted. Norton says “the text masquerades as a treatise on the inclusion of the other” when it actually seems to be “a commentary on the assumed virtue of membership and participation in the Israelite community” (265). Norton is criticizing the implication that it is a good and honorable thing to sacrifice everything - one’s land, people, god, even one’s own self, “for the supposed privilege of participating in what the text depicts as the most desirable community,” in this case, Israel (265). Her entire essay is concerned with an intersectional approach to interpretation that is prioritizing the experience of the character who is most marginalized in this story.

***************

Works Cited

Byron, Gay L. and Vanessa Lovelace. Womanist Interpretations of the Bible : Expanding the Discourse. SBL Press, 2016.

Gafney, Wilda C. Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

Junior, Nyasha. An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2015.

Norton, Yolanda. “Silenced Struggles for Survival: Finding Life in Death in the Book of Ruth,” in  I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader, edited by Mitzi J. Smith, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. 2015.

Smith, Mitzi J. Womanist Sass and Talk Back: Social (In)Justice, Intersectionality. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018.

Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc., 1983.

Weems, Renita. “Re-reading for liberation: African American women and the Bible,” in I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader, edited by Mitzi J. Smith, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. 2015.

This is part of my final project for my class on Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. You can see the intro post here which is a linked table of contents.

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Rev. Dr. Mitzi J Smith: “This Little Light of Mine” The Womanist Biblical Scholar as Prophetess, Iconoclast, and Activist

Rev. Dr. Mitzi Smith, mitzijsmith.com
Twitter: @MitziJSmithPhD 

Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.
You can read more about Dr. Smith and read my summary of her introduction to her book, Womanist Sass and Talk Back, here

Essay: “'This Little Light of Mine' The Womanist Biblical Scholar as Prophetess, Iconoclast, and Activist" 

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In this essay, Smith shows how womanist biblical scholars, like so many Black women who came before them, can function as prophetess, iconoclasts, and activists (126). Through these three roles Black women seek to "dismantle racism, sexism, classism, neocolonialism, and heterosexism as interconnected oppressions and systems that invade and infiltrate the lived realities of black women and marginalized communities" (126). Smith writes, "We recognize that God dwells in us as peripheral prophetesses, that God resides in the margins with the oppressed, and that from the margins we can and are called to speak truths to powers, to shatter oppressive strongholds, iconic traditions and beliefs, and to actively participate in the revolution to transform this world into the likeness of God’s incarnate justice, peace, and love" (126).

Main points:

  1. Womanist biblical scholars acknowledge their social location and the lenses with which they read the Bible, understanding that every interpreter’s “context both limits and illumines interpretation,” (Weems 52) whether or not the person is aware of it and admits it: "All readers, readings, and texts are contextual and subjective (112).

  2. A womanist biblical scholar is a Prophetess, "infused with and guided by the Spirit of God.. as [she] confronts and names oppressions in texts, contexts, readers, readings, and cultures" (112. Womanist biblical scholars, like "proto-womanists and Civil Rights activist Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer" go beyond their written work to "raise their voices, and lift their feet to write and right, to teach and to preach, and to sing “truth to power” with a goal toward transformation and the dismantling of oppressions and oppressive structures, toward revolutionary change (113).
    "Womanist biblical scholars declare that black women and other women of color experience and produce truth and light; they are repositories and creators of legitimate epistemologies. All knowledge production is subjective. Womanist biblical scholars acknowledge the existence of more than one truth, especially with regard to biblical texts, contexts, readings, and readers; truths and potential truths exist; malestream biblical scholars have no monopoly on truths." (113).
  3. Womanist biblical scholars know that "the God of the Bible is the God of the oppressed, the God of liberation and they interpret Scripture "within the overarching hermeneutic of liberty and justice for the oppressed and most marginalized" (115).

  4. A womanist biblical scholar is an Iconoclast, knowing that many times the knowledge and systems that have been "produced, petrified, and sacralized by malestream (white men and other men) and white feminist scholars" will not address the needs of black women and will be oppressive. Therefore, the work of womanist biblical scholars "is necessarily sometimes iconoclastic" needing to challenge things that have been revered as holy (119).
    "In confronting biblical texts, contexts, and interpretive traditions, including long-held theological constructions and commentaries that fail to consider the implications of race, gender, class, and empire womanist biblical scholars must sometimes break down and discard traditional, putative interpretive icons or images and paradigms that are oppressive of women of color and our communities and dismissive of our struggles and concerns. (119).
  5. The womanist biblical scholar is an Activist, concerned with the everyday lives of black people "and their access to necessary resources, the recognition of their civil rights, and the exercise of agency and the negotiation of power as it relates to the health and wholeness of every member of the community and in the world" (122). Therefore they "read, exegete, and write as agents of social change in the church, in the community, and in the world" (122).

  6. Finally, womanist biblical scholars also challenge (and seek to change) "unjust interpretations, theologies, and pedagogies of our sisters" while also allowing God "to read, indicted or convict, and transform her [own] soul so that she will speak the truths to powers wherever injustice is found. She must constantly make available to God her fallible humanity so that God might continually encourage, transform, and regenerate her for the work she is called to do for herself and her community" (123).

Works Cited

Smith, Mitzi J. “'This Little Light of Mine' The Womanist Biblical Scholar as Prophetess, Iconoclast, and Activist" in I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader. Edited by Mitzi J. Smith, Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2015.

Weems, Renita, “Re-Reading for Liberation: African American Women and the Bible,” in Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader, ed. Katie Geneva Cannon, Emilie M. Townes, and Angela D. Sims. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2011. 

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Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas: “Marginalized People, Liberating Perspectives: A Womanist Approach to Biblical Interpretation”

Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas is an African-American Episcopal priest, womanist theologian, and the inaugural Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary. She is also the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral. She is widely published in national and international journals and other publications.  Her groundbreaking and widely taught book Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (1999) was the first to address the issue of homophobia within the black church community.  Her book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (2015), examines the challenges of a “Stand Your Ground” culture for the black church.

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Essay: “Marginalized People, Liberating Perspectives: A Womanist Approach to Biblical Interpretation” 

Thesis: We are called to listen to and learn from those on the underside of church and society (46). We need to value the perspectives of the “least of these,” the underside,” those who are marginalized and oppressed (46). When we view God from the perspective of the most marginalized people in the Bible we will more clearly see that "the God of our theologies is not necessarily the God of our lives," and that God is truly transcendent, and so cannot be contained by any theological system or "exegetical attempt to make simplistic the complexity and mystery of a transcendent God" (46). Reading in solidarity with the underside shows us more clearly what it means "for God to be a liberator with those who are most oppressed, even as they are represented in the Bible" (46). Furthermore, if our claims about God are not liberating for the marginalized and oppressed, then we must reevaluate those claims (46).

Main Points:
  1. Douglas writes as a theologian, not a biblical scholar. Even though the Bible is a significant source for Christian theology, and biblical interpretations have theological implications, the tools of the disciplines are different (44). But in the same way that our theologies tend to reflect more about the person doing them as they do about God, the same is true for our perspectives on the Bible (44). No one does theology or biblical interpretation in a vacuum - it is always informed and influenced by one's social, historical, and cultural context (44). 
    "The texts we go to, the way we read those texts, and the authority we give the Bible itself are inevitably informed by who we are as embodied beings, how we experience life socially and culturally, as well as what we perceive as the meaning and value of life" (44).
  2. This is not an "anything goes" kind of "vulgar relativism". Typically when that accusation is made it is in an attempt to end the conversation, played as a perceived trump card. This kind of mentality would suggest that "slaveholders who used the Bible to place a “sacred canopy” over chattel slavery were just as justified in their use of the Bible as were the enslaved who used the Bible to support their quest for freedom" (44). This kind of approach to the Bible "implies that it is just as appropriate to use the Bible as a weapon of terror and dehumanization as it is to use it as a source for empowerment and liberation” (44).

  3. A womanist approach to biblical interpretation starts by acknowledging the ways our society and many churches still contain "interlocking and interactive structures of domination" which are "characterized by white patriarchal privilege and undergirded by white supremacist ideologies" (44). Douglas also points out that "to be marginalized is not to be powerless... Rather, it signals a certain liberating agency that has several implications for biblical interpretation in our complicated world” (44).

  4. People who exist on the margins of society and church have an epistemological advantage, a way of knowing, "that is fundamental to creating a just society and church” (45). Those on the underside are least likely "to be deceived into thinking that certain systems and structures of domination are not inherently evil but can be mended to be more just" (45). This is in contrast to those who are still outsiders but are able to exist within those structures who might be tempted to protect whatever small amount of privilege/power they have. Because of this, the underside can more clearly see "the radical and revolutionary change required to ensure that all human beings have access to what is needed to live and to fulfill our full human potential” (45). This is similar to what Gustavo Gutiérrez suggested about there being a “preferential option for the poor” because they are perhaps better able to understand the revelation of God (45).

  5. In order to listen and learn from the underside, we must name our own points of privilege so we can even recognize "that our vantage point may indeed not be the best vantage point from which to engage the biblical witness to God" (46). This frees us to appreciate these other perspectives.

  6. Since various biblical texts "lend themselves to oppressive interpretations", we need to adopt a “hermeneutic of suspicion” as we interpret the Bible (46):
    "Inasmuch as any text or interpretation of a text diminishes the life and freedom of any people, then those texts and/or interpretations must be held under “suspicion,” critically reevaluated, and perhaps lose authority. We must fundamentally denounce any attempts to use the Bible in ways that terrorize others, such as women or gay and lesbian persons. Moreover, the perspective of “the least of these,” those who feel the “terror” of a particular text or interpretation, is the adjudicating perspective in this regard.” (46)
  7. It is imperative that we recognize the impact and consequences that our use of the Bible and our theology can have on people's lives. The Bible can be used "as a weapon of oppression or a source of liberation" (46). Therefore, we must do biblical interpretation not only with humility but also with the firm commitment "to nurture a liberating, not terrorizing, biblical tradition” (46).
Works Cited

Douglas, Kelly Brown. “Marginalized People, Liberating Perspectives: A Womanist Approach to Biblical Interpretation” in I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader. Edited by Mitzi J. Smith, Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2015.

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This is part of my final project for "Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.":

Key Terms in Womanist Bible Interpretation

Other essay summaries:

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Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney: Womanist Midrash (Introduction)



Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. wilgafney.com
Twitter: @WilGafney

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The summary of the book on Goodreads says: “Womanist Midrash is an in-depth and creative exploration of the well- and lesser-known women of the Hebrew Scriptures. Using her own translations, Gafney offers a midrashic interpretation of the biblical text that is rooted in the African American preaching tradition to tell the stories of a variety of female characters, many of whom are often overlooked and nameless. Gafney employs a solid understanding of womanist and feminist approaches to biblical interpretation and the sociohistorical culture of the ancient Near East. This unique and imaginative work is grounded in serious scholarship and will expand conversations about feminist and womanist biblical interpretation."

In the introduction, Gafney says this book is an invitation to other readers, hearers, and interpreters of Scripture to read and interpret with her (2). She explains that her exegetical approach which she calls "womanist midrash" was inspired by rabbinic midrash (exegesis) (2). Rabbinic readings reimagine the dominant readings and craft new interpretations to "stand alongside—not replace—former readings" (2). Midrash asks questions of the text, raising as many questions as it answers, often leaving it up to the reader to answer the questions (2, 4). Gafney employs her womanist midrash using the customary tools of the trade for a biblical scholar: "textual criticism, linguistic and literary analysis, even historical-critical approaches," but she does so as a womanist (8).

Main points:
  1. Womanist midrash "is a set of interpretive practices, including translation, exegesis, and biblical interpretation, that attends to marginalized characters in biblical narratives, especially women and girls, intentionally including and centering on non-Israelite peoples and enslaved persons" (3).

  2. Gafney uses her "sanctified imagination", which she describes as "the fertile creative space where the preacher-interpreter enters the text, particularly the spaces in the text, and fills them out with missing details: names, back stories, detailed descriptions of the scene and characters, and so on." Similar to classical and contemporary Jewish midrash, "the sacred imagination tells the story behind the story, the story between the lines on the page." One example she gives is that the sanctified imagination declares that Samson’s locks of hair were dreadlocks. This practice of the sanctified imagination is also a type of reader-response criticism (3).

  3. Gafney says, "most simply, womanism is black women’s feminism," (6) but it is also much more: "It is a richer, deeper, liberative paradigm; a social, cultural, and political space and theological matrix with the experiences and multiple identities of black women at the center" (12). Womanism sets itself apart from the dominant-culture feminism, which is too often only concerned with white women of a certain class (6). Womanists privilege the intersection of their "Afro-diasporic identity (embodiment and experience)" and "gender (performance and identity)". Womanists interrogate "power, authority, voice, agency, hierarchy, inclusion, and exclusion" in the text (6).

  4. Gafney's primary womanist principles that shape her interpretation are:
    1) "the legitimacy of black women’s biblical interpretation as normative and authoritative,
    2) the inherent value of each member of a community in the text and interpreting the text,
    3) talking back to the text
    4) making it plain, the work of exegesis from translation to interpretation.
    " (8)

  5. Gafney also includes a list of 12 questions to ask when interpreting the Bible. I included those questions in this post: Key Questions Womanist Bible Scholars ask when interpreting the Bible.
Works Cited

Gafney, Wilda C. Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

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This is part of my final project for "Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.":

Key Terms in Womanist Bible Interpretation

Other essay summaries:

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Rev. Dr. Renita Weems: "The Hebrew Women are not like the Egyptian Women"

Rev. Dr. Renita Weems 

Essay: "The Hebrew Women Are Not Like the Egyptian Women: The Ideology of Race, Gender and Sexual Reproduction in Exodus 1"

In this essay, Weems points out an ideological conflict within the text of Exodus 1:8-22. The midwives Shiphrah and Puah are able to exploit Pharaoa's assumption that Hebrews and Egyptians are fundamentally different by telling him that Hebrew women give birth more easily. At the same time, they are proving his assumption that women are more compliant than me is false as they deceive him. Weems says the text remains problematic in terms of its usability in liberation struggles because it does not question the ideology of different.

Weems examines the power dynamics in play with the people who actually wrote and read the text (the world behind the text). She examines the ways assumptions about race and gender are depicted within the ideological struggle we see in Exodus 1:8-22.

Main points:

  1. Most of the studies that have analyzed the story of Shiphrah and Puah have viewed the biblical text as primarily a "literary production" and "a document with historical import and ramifications" (25). But by treating the text as "an intellectual transcript of the past" that is constructed by the implied author of the text "the dominant voice becomes the sole one worthy of attending to" (25). These previous studies have not considered the context of the social origins of this story and "the social configurations construed within it' (26).
  2. Biblical texts are social productions: "they emerge out of very particular social and material settings, and as a result, they simultaneously preserve and promote certain views about power relations and social identity" (26). This means we can see biblical texts taking sides in ideological debates, especially around issues of power. For example, at least some of the existing structure of power relations that was in place at the time the text was written is "both embedded in and assumed by the text" (26). In the case of Shiphrah and Puah, the story shows us how women and Hebrew slaves were thought of in the past, but the story also advocates "a similar or a different social ranking for women and Hebrew slaves in the present" (26).
  3. An ideological analysis pays close attention to the "narrative voice and ideological perspective inscribed in the text" (26). We ask questions such as, "From whose point of view is the narrative being told? Whose class, gender, and ethnic interests are being served in the preservation and commodification of this story? (26).
  4. As contemporary readers and interpreters we like the fact that women are highlighted as "setting in motion the liberation of Israel", but ultimately, "the story is as eloquent and aristocratic in what it does not say as in what it does say" (32). Exodus 1 does not actually challenge the idea of differences between men and women or between the Egyptians and the Hebrews (32). Those differences have simply been recast and "co-opted" for the narrator's purposes and ideological interests (32).
  5. Weems concludes by saying that those who are involved in race, gender, and/or class struggles in today's world who want to use this story as a positive example in their struggle for liberation will need to exercise 'due caution" (33).

Works Cited

Weems, Renita J. "The Hebrew Women are not Like the Egyptian Women: The Ideology of Race, Gender and Sexual Reproduction in Exodus 1". Semeia (Volume: 59) 1992. pp. 25-34.

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This is part of my final project for "Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.":

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Key Questions Womanist Bible Scholars are asking when interpreting the Bible


“Womanists and feminists ask different questions of a text than do other readers and different questions from each other. And we also ask some of the same questions, and we arrive at similar and dissonant conclusions. Privileging the crossroads between our Afro-diasporic identity (embodiment and experience) and our gender (performance and identity), we ask questions about power, authority, voice, agency, hierarchy, inclusion, and exclusion. The readings enrich all readers from any perspective. The questions we ask enrich our own understanding and the understandings of those with whom we are in conversation.” - Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, (Womanist Midrash, 7)

The first 12 questions I have compiled are straight from Gafney’s introduction to Womanist Midrash. Questions 13 and 14 I wrote down as I was reading about various consequences of interpretation. The remaining questions came up in various readings and I have cited those sources as well. These are helpful questions for all of us to consider when reading and interpreting the Bible. 

  1. "Who is speaking and/or active? 
  2. Where are the women and girls, what are they doing, and what are their names? 
  3. When women or other marginalized characters speak and act, whose interests are they serving? 
  4. Who (and where) are the characters without which the story could not have unfolded as articulated? 
  5. What are the power dynamics in the narrative? 
  6. What are the ethical implications of the text when read from the perspective of the dominant character(s)? 
  7. What are the ethical implications of previous (especially traditional) readings of the text for black women? 
  8. How have black women historically related to the text? 
  9. In what ways do the contemporary circumstances of black women readers shape new and renewed interpretations? 
  10. How do the values articulated in the text and its interpretation affect the well-being of the communities that black women inhabit? 
  11. How does (can) this text function as Scripture for black women? 
  12. Who is (what is the construction of) God in the text? Is s/he/it invested in the flourishing of black women, our families, and our worlds?" (Gafney 8)
  13. What is the history of consequences of interpretation for this text? 
  14. How has this text been used to harm, oppress, or marginalize people?
  15. What do the specific word choices and narrative choices in the text mean for the women on the margins of society? (Norton 278)
  16. Where is God in all of this? To whom does this God belong? (Norton 278)
  17. Weems asks "From whose point of view is the narrative being told?" (26)
  18. “Whose class, gender, and ethnic interests are being served in the preservation and commodification of this story?” (Weems 26) 
  19. “Can those involved in race, gender, and/or class struggles in modern society use this story as a positive example in their struggle for liberation? (Weems 33) 
  20. When she applies a Black Lives Matter hermeneutic to the biblical text, Gafney is asking: Whose lives are at risk in the text? (Gafney, Reflection on BLM, 206)
  21. Who is subject to oppression or pushed to the margins of the text and considered disposable, especially as a result of "an intersecting element of identity" such as gender and ethnic identity? (Gafney, Reflection on BLM, 206)

Works Cited

Gafney, Wilda C. "A Reflection on the Black Lives Matter Movement and Its Impact on My Scholarship". Journal of Biblical Literature, vol 136, no. 1, 2017. pp 204-207.

Gafney, Wilda C. Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

Norton, Yolanda. “Silenced Struggles for Survival: Finding Life in Death in the Book of Ruth,” in I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader, edited by Mitzi J. Smith, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. 2015.

Weems, Renita J. "The Hebrew Women are not Like the Egyptian Women: The Ideology of Race, Gender and Sexual Reproduction in Exodus 1". Semeia (Volume: 59) 1992. pp. 25-34.

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This is part of my final project for "Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.":

Key Terms in Womanist Bible Interpretation

Essay summaries:

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Causes for Celebration - Celebrating Black Women


Listed below are brief descriptions of five of the major causes of celebration for Black women that we covered in my course on Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. I compiled this information from my class notes as my classmates presented on these topics, except for the one on Black women in higher education which I researched and presented.

1. Black women artists, authors, and musicians

Zora Neale Hurston, author (1891-1960)

Alice Walker, author (b. 1944)
Toni Morrison, author (1931-2019)
Nina Simone, musician (1933-2003)
  • Mississippi Goddam (1964)
  • Sinnerman (1962)
  • I Put A Spell On You (1965)
  • I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (1967)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, musician  (1915-1973)
  • This Train (1939)
  • Shout Sister, Shout! (1941)
  • Didn’t It Rain (1964)
  • Strange Things Happening Every Day (1944)

Aretha Franklin
, musician (1942-2018)
  • A Natural Woman (1968)
  • Respect (1967)
  • Think (1968)
  • You Make Me Feel (1968)

 


2. Black women’s political involvement and activism

  • Meet some of the Black women behind Louisville's movement for racial justice (The Courier-Journal, July 21, 2020)
  • ‘If not now, when?’: Black women seize political spotlight By CLAIRE GALOFARO and KAT STAFFORD, September 17, 2020
    • “People told us that education is key to being successful,” Brown said. “What did Black women do? Black women, out of any constituency group in this country, we enter college more than any other group in this country. Then why does the wealth not reflect that?”
    • "You have taken our votes for granted for years. But guess what?” she said. “It’s payback time: What are you going to do for us?”
    • “It’s about time we represent ourselves,” McNeal said. Now she’s a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
  • Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president (1972). Her motto and title of her autobiography—Unbossed and Unbought—illustrates her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.” Vice President-elect Harris styled her campaign colors after Chisholm’s as a tribute.
  • Septima Clark was a lifelong educator and activist. She received her bachelor’s from Benedict College in Columbia in 1942 and a master’s from Hampton (Virginia) Institute (now Hampton University) in 1945. She was active in the NAACP and involved in a lawsuit that secured equal pay for black teachers. She was known as the Queen Mother of the Civil Rights movement, teaching literacy courses and registering thousands to vote. She coordinated Citizenship Education courses at the Highlander Folk School in rural Tennessee, which is still active today.
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a prominent journalist, activist, and researcher, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In her lifetime, she battled sexism, racism, and violence. Wells-Barnett also used her skills as a journalist to shed light on the conditions of African Americans throughout the South.

3. Embracing diversity of Black gender and sexuality

  • Audre Lorde - Self-described "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet" who dedicated her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and homophobia.
  • The Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, the first out Black lesbian elder in The United Methodist Church, is the author of Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology
    • "My Womanist perspective has been shaped by my experiences of being Black, woman and queer lesbian in a nation filled with people who have been hostile to all these very ways of existing. I try to encourage others to love themselves unconditionally and to do the work to move beyond survival to thriving." - Lightsey

4. Criminal justice reform

5. Black women in higher education

  • Black Women Are the Most Educated Group in the US
  • From 2000–2001 to 2015–2016, the number of bachelor's degrees earned by Black students increased by 75% and the number of associate degrees earned by Black students increased by 110%.
  • The numbers of Black students enrolled in master's degree programs nearly doubling between 1996 and 2016
  • A 2014 study shows the percent of Black women enrolled in college in relation to their other race-gender groups.
  • Black women are also starting to outpace other groups in earning degrees. 
  • Although Black women are 12.7% of the female population in the US, they make up over 50% of the number of Black people who earn postsecondary degrees.
  • Percentage-wise, Black women outpace white women, Latinas, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.
Dr. Kaila Story, Associate Professor/Audre Lorde Endowed Chair, University of Louisville 

PhD-African American Studies, Temple University, 2007.
Podcast: Strange Fruit: Musings on Politics, Pop Culture, and Black Gay Life  

Dr. Story is Associate Professor, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, with a joint appointment in the Department of Pan-African Studies. She holds the Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

She lives in Louisville with her wife, Missy, and has created a number of courses at the university that deal with gender, sexuality, race, and the intersectionality of those identities.

Some of those courses include Black Lesbian Lives and Queer Perspectives in Literature and Film:
“Because my identities rested in those other intersections — being a lesbian and being an African American — I got into a job where I was able to create all these kinds of courses,” Story said.

She had an op-ed published in The Courier-Journal in 2019: “Learning about our black and Latinx LGBTQ+ history is necessary for our survival.”

Dr. Debra J. Mumford, Seminary Dean; Frank H. Caldwell Professor of Homiletics at Louisville Seminary

Howard University B.S.; 
American Baptist Seminary of the West, M.Div.; 
Graduate Theological Union M.A.B.L. and Ph.D.
  • Dr. Mumford, is an ordained minister in American Baptist Churches, USA, and affiliate minister with the Alliance of Baptists.
  • Since 2008, Mumford has served as a mentor for the Louisville Youth Group, a grassroots organization that provides resources and a safe space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people ages 14 to 20.
  • "The world in which we live is desperately in need of prophetic voices: voices that speak against injustice and demand both personal and communal accountability. In my classroom, I help students think critically not only about the biblical text and homiletic theory, but about the living texts of their lives, their communities, and their world so they might find and develop their prophetic voices for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ." -Debra J. Mumford
  • You can listen to the sermon she preached for the Fall 2020 Convocation:

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This is part of my final project for "Womanist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.":

Key Terms in Womanist Bible Interpretation

Essay summaries:

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