Is God a White Racist? and other Scholarly Books on African American Christian Theologies

As a continuation of our themed book list series intersecting faith and social justice, we compiled another reading list for those specifically interested in African American Christian theologies and traditions.
  1. Is God a White Racist?: A Preamble to Black Theology  by William R. Jones is landmark critique of the black church’s treatment of evil and the nature of suffering.
  2. Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk  by Delores Williams uses the image of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael who was cast into the wilderness by Abraham and Sarah as a prototype for African American women
  3. Black Theology and Black Power by James Cone is an essential read for understanding Black Liberation
  4. A Black Theology of Liberation by James Cone offers a searing indictment of white theology and society
  5. God of the Oppressed by James Cone reflects on God, Jesus, suffering, and liberation and relates the gospel message to the experience of the black community
  6. Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice
  7. White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus by Jacqueline Grant proposes a womanist theology and christology that emerge from and are adequate to the reality of contemporary Black women
  8. Beyond Ontological Blackness: An Essay on African American Religious and Cultural Criticism by Victor Anderson is a thoughtful critique of contemporary African American cultural, political, and religious thought.
  9. Handbook of Unites States Theologies of Liberation by Miguel De La Torre explores the interrelationship between religion, community, and culture in the social context of marginalized groups
  10. Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective by Kelly Brown Douglass tackles the “taboo” subject of sexuality that has long been avoided by the Black church and community
  11. The Black Messiah by Albert Cleague is a presentation on black consciousness and black power by one of America’s most influential Black religious leaders
  12. Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South by Albert J. Raboteau analyzes the transformation of the African religions into evangelical Christianity
  13. The Sanctified Church by Zora Neal Hurston is a collection of Hurston’s essays on Afro-American folklore, legend, popular mythology, and the unique spiritual character of the Southern Black Christian Church
  14. We Have Been Believers by James H. Junior Evans overcome the chasm between church practice and theological reflection to situate theology squarely in the nexus of faith with freedom
  15. Yet With a Steady Beat: Contemporary U.S. Afrocentric Biblical Interpretation by Randall Bailey is a collection of essays written by Black biblical scholars
  16. Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets  by Renita Weems  explores the puzzling ways in which the Hebrew prophets’ portrayals of divine love, compassion, and conventional commitment often became associated with battery, infidelity, and the rape and mutilation of women
  17. Representations of Homosexuality: Black Liberation Theology and Cultural Criticism by Roger A. Sneed challenges Black religious and cultural critics to rethink theological and ethical approaches to homosexuality
  18. Loving the Body edited by Dwight Hopkins and Anthony Pinn argues that the Black Church must begin to address the significance of sexuality if it is to actually present liberation as a mode of existence that fully appreciates the body
  19. Race and the Cosmos by Barbara Holmes suggests that theoretical physics and cosmology have the power to break through our stalled and difficult discussions about race
  20. Stony the Road We Trod by Cain Hope Felder is a collection of essays considering biblical authority, African American sources for enhancing biblical interpretation, and the issue of race in the Bible.
  21. Malcolm and Martin and America by James Cone examines the two most influential African-American leaders of this century to reveal two men whose visions were moving toward convergence
  22. I May Not Get There With You by Michael Eric Dyson restores Martin Luther King’s true vitality and complexity and challenges us to embrace the very contradictions that make King relevant in today’s world
  23. Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zora Neal Hurston features bittersweet tales and one-liners about God, the Devil, white folk, and mistaken identity to reveal attitudes about faith, love, family, slavery, race, and community

The full schedule for the Race, Religion and Representation Symposium is now available for download. Relevant sessions to African American Christian Theology include:

  • Session II B: Africological Approaches to Race and Religion includes a talk about the social, political, religious and economic influences from early America to the Reagan Administration on the construction of race, racism and white supremacy.
  • Session III A: Race, Religion and the Body includes presentations such as Queering Africana Christianities: Blackness, Masculinity and the Rise of Gay, Black Evangelicals and The Embodiment/(Dis)embodiment of Canon: Maps, Bodies, Boundaries and Theological Knowledge 
  • Session III C: Sacred Text as Literature – A Theory and Practice in Interpretation is a workshop that focuses on the Christian Bible as literature and asks the question: can one use scripture as the impotence for contemporary creative writing and storytelling?
  • Session IV A: Emerging Scholars Panel includes topics such as Precious Lord: The Politics of Redemption in the Black Public Sphere and A Radical Christian Contradiction: Religion + Racism + Politics + Media
  • Session IV B: Jesus Walks or Takes the Wheel – Faith and Race in Hip Hop and Pop is a multimedia presentation about specific ways in which hip hop and pop country music interact with and communicate about God

Tomorrow, March 15, at 7pm, Dr. Anthony Pinn will be kicking off our symposium with his talk Body Language: Embodiment, Materiality and the Reframing of African American Religion in the Red Gym’s On Wisconsin Room. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of books themed around Varieties in African American Religious Expression.

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2 thoughts on “Is God a White Racist? and other Scholarly Books on African American Christian Theologies

  1. Pingback: Recommended Reading: Varieties in African American Religious Expression | Threads

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