A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering (Bishop Henry McNeal Turner Studies in North American Black R #8)
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 studies.