In A Troubling in My Soul, well-known womanist theologians explore
the persistent question of evil and suffering in compelling new
ways. Committed to an integrated analysis of race, gender, and
class, they also address the shortcomings of traditional, feminist,
and Black theologies in dealing with evil. Taking Alice Walker's
definition of "womanist" as a framework, in Part I, "Responsible,
in Charge", Clarice J. Martin explores "If God exists, why is there
evil?"; Frances E. Wood shows how Christianity's idealization of
suffering has harmed African-American women; and Jamie T. Phelps
recounts the historic exclusion of African-American women - and men
- in the Roman Catholic church. Part II, "It Wouldn't Be the First
Time", includes Marcia Y. Riggs on the 19th century Black club
women's response to moral evil; Emilie M. Townes on a womanist
ethic based on the example of Ida B. Wells-Barrett; and Rosita
deAnn Mathews on the role of chaplain-clergyperson as priest,
prophet, and employee. Part III, "Love's the Spirit", includes M.
Shawn Copeland on the narratives of enslaved and/or emancipated
women of African descent; Delores S. Williams on sin and suffering
in Black Christian theology; Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan on the
spirituals as an Afrocentric Christian response to evil; and Karen
Baker-Fletcher on the life of Dr. Anna Julia Cooper and the
vitality of voice in womanist experience. In Part IV, "As Purple Is
to Lavender", Patricia L. Hunter exposes the cosmetics industry's
impact on Black women's self-understanding as creations of God.
There is also Jacquelyn Grant on how a theology of servanthood
degenerates into an apologetics for exploitation; Katie Geneva
Cannon on the African-Americanfolk sermon as genre; and, finally,
Cheryl Townsend Gilkes on how Alice Walker's observations that one
"loves food", "loves roundness", and "loves oneself" stand in
opposition to the dominant culture's dictum that one can never be
too rich or too thin. Vigorous and forthright, A Troubling in My
Soul is must-reading for students, scholars, and everyone
interested in African-American, women's, and contemporary religious
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