Friday, August 14, 2015

"Ferguson & Faith" book

As soon as my copy of Leah Gunning Francis’ book Ferguson & Faith arrived, I wanted to share information about it here. The subtitle, “Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community,” calls attention to Dr. Gunning Francis’ purpose, to show and discuss the way Michael Brown’s death last year inspired the emergence of leadership “on the ground” in Ferguson, within the context of our contemporary racial justice issues.

The author, who is a professor and associate dean at Eden Theological Seminary, writes how she--as a seminary professor, pastor’s wife, and mother of two sons---felt compelled to action when she saw the local news of Brown’s death. Among her several efforts in teaching and ministry, she interviewed clergy and young local leaders who, in different ways, worked for justice in Ferguson during this past year. The twenty-four faith leaders include those from among several Christian denominations (and two nondenominational clergy) and also a rabbi. Each chapter includes not only the author’s reflections but the transcribed words of her interviewees, making this important book a wonderfully collaborative effort. The author reflects upon their work, and she also writes about how clergy and laity mingled and “created space” to listen to one another during their efforts.

The book has ten chapters. Some focus specifically upon Ferguson: activity around Canfield Green Apartments, a clergy march on October 13, 2014, the arrest of several leaders on October 2, and other aspects, including the role of women in the protests. Dr. Gunning Francis also discusses the larger #BlackLivesMatter movement, theme of “seeing and not just looking away,” the fact that “there is a Ferguson near you,” and she also reflects on ways the church can “ #staywoke " to the deaths of persons of color and to racial justice issues.

Ferguson & Faith is published by Chalice Press. Here is an RNS press release concerning the book. I'm an adjunct teacher at Eden Seminary and know the author.

Here are four other books that have been published concerning faith, race, and reconciliation:

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