A Rumor of Black Lutherans: The Formation of Black Leadership in Early American Lutheranism

Pre-Order   Ships May 28, 2024
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$24.00  $22.32
Fortress Press
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0.0 X 0.0 X 0.0 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author
James R. Thomas is a retired associate professor of church and ministry and worship from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University and a visiting professor of church history and ministry at Good News Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, he attended Lutheran colleges and earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota. An ELCA pastor, he served parishes in New York City and was an assistant to the bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod.

A Rumor of Black Lutherans finally allows Black Lutheran scholars to tell the story of our ancestors, innovators, and powerful elders who came before us. It outlines struggles any Black Lutheran clergy person or congregation would instantly recognize, resistance to white supremacy through the means of grace provided by the church, and hope in the stories laid out before us by Dr. Thomas's loving and careful scholarship. Whole stories for whole people--that's what's offered in this volume. --Rev. lenny duncan, PhD student, Graduate Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California

Beyond the very rumor of biblical angels themselves, could there possibly be any rumor more timely or more fitting for North American Lutherans to hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest than A Rumor of Black Lutherans! Years into the future, many will remain indebted, myself first of all, to Professor James Thomas for rendering public these ten profiles in courage at a time when such a dearth of leadership seems evident at nearly every turn. --Rev. Dr. Gary M. Simpson, professor emeritus of systematic theology and emeritus Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary Chair of Theology, Luther Seminary

James Thomas's book provides a welcome contribution to a long-overlooked subject, the history of African American leaders within the larger story of Lutherans in America. Through ten brief biographies of individuals who lived between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries, he illuminates this often-invisible history, emphasizing the ministry and witness of these pioneers in a church that often barely acknowledged their presence. This work is a thoughtful contribution that both broadens our understanding of what constitutes Lutheran history and contributes to contemporary discussions about Lutheran identity, culture, and context. --Dr. Susan Wilds McArver, H. George Anderson Professor of Church History, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary

As provocative as it is informative, James Thomas's A Rumor of Black Lutherans serves as a painful reminder of the role white mainline denominationalism has played in giving divine sanction to Black subordination. In paying homage to the ten profiles in courage selected for the work, Thomas reminds us of the continual tragedy/triumph nature of the African American journey. It has been tragic in the sense that even our most cherished religious symbols have made their way into the legitimation of white privilege. The triumph lies in the protracted yet redemptive struggle of these stalwart figures to overcome that legitimation by choosing human dignity over staid genuflecting, and in so doing, choosing freedom over bondage. Those with a deep concern for the current pretensions to post-racialism and how Christian faith can rediscover its liberating conscience will find this work a remarkable treasure. --Dr. Harry H. Singleton III, former professor of religion and theology, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina; instructor in African American studies and religious studies, University of South Carolina