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Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant

(Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice)

There is a problem in the black church. It is a problem with black bodies and a blues problem. This book addresses these problems head-on. It proclaims that as long as the black church cannot be a home for certain bodies, such as LGBT bodies, then it has forsaken its very black faith identity. The black church must find a way back to itself. Kelly Brown Douglas argues that the way back is through the blues.


Black Bodies and the Black Church

Editorial Reviews

“Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas’ book is a must-read, full of theological insights about personal God-consciousness and prophetic religious vitality embedded in the heavy-hearted music genre, the blues.” – Katie G. Cannon, Union Presbyterian Seminary, USA.

“Kelly Brown Douglas recognizes that the Obama presidential campaign carried the Black Church to a critical crossroads in American life and culture. Black Bodies and the Black Church carries the Calvary cross, the Congo cross and the crises of post-modernity to the social, cultural, and spiritual crossroads confronted by bluespeople like Robert Johnson and Ma Rainey. Douglas’s analysis of blues and boundaries helps us to understand the ways confrontations with white racism drive the Black Church to engage in exclusionary practices, especially with reference to gender and sexality. This book will provoke new conversations and revive old ones about the nature and relevance of the Black Church and its engagements with theodicy. Black Bodies and the Black Church is a serious moving train that will allow no neutrality for its readers.” – Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor, Colby College, USA.

“Once again, Kelly Brown Douglas brilliantly, creatively, and powerfully exposes the unholy alliance between the Black Church and internalized forms of class, gender, and sexual oppression. This blues-oriented analysis of the non-dualistic relationship between the body and the soul, the sacred and the secular, and the haves and the have-nots is a clarion call to the Black Church to set aside narratives that rationalize discrimination and to inclusively open its doors, its arms, and its heart to every child of God.” – Reverend Dr. Dennis Wiley, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., USA.


About the Author

Kelly Brown Douglas is a professor of religion at Goucher College and author of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God.

Review & Commentary