Thandeka to Preach This Sunday

Thandeka, from her website.
Thandeka, author of Learning to be White and The Embodied Self, will be the guest preacher at my church, Zion “Goshert’s” United Church of Christ, in Lebanon, PA, this coming Sunday, Jan. 22, at 10 AM.  If you’re in the area, stop by.
Thandeka was my D.Min. thesis advisor; this is the same thesis that is now published as The Synaptic Gospel.  Much of my renewed interest in the church as an institution was ignited while taking a class on liturgical theology from a liberation perspective at Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2003.  She is in the central PA area while teaching a weeklong class at Lancaster Theological Seminary.
I have said this before on AUFS, but I cannot recommend her book Learning to Be White any higher.  It is the best book on race and class that I have encountered.
The following is her biography from her website:
Thandeka, as scholar, theologian, ordained minister, and journalist, investigates the links between religion and emotions. She is the founder of Affect Theology, which investigates the links between religion and emotions using insights from affective neuroscience. The author of The Embodied Self: Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Solution to Kant’s Problem of the Empirical Self, and Learning to be White: Money, Race and God in America, and contributor to books including The Cambridge Companion to Schleiermacher and The Oxford Handbook on Feminist Theology and Globalization (forthcoming), her numerous publications include essays in American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, The International Journal of Practical Theology, Harvard Theological Review, Process Studies, and Tikkun.

Before receiving her Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Theology from Claremont Graduate University, Thandeka was an Emmy award-winning television producer for sixteen years. She was given the !Xhosa name Thandeka, which means “beloved,” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984.

Thandeka has taught at San Francisco State University, Meadville Lombard Theological School, Williams College, Harvard Divinity School, and Brandeis University, and has been a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center at Stanford University and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont California and Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

6 thoughts on “Thandeka to Preach This Sunday

  1. Christopher,
    Thanks for the reference to the site. The article by Thandeka on Future Directions of Liberal Theology connects issues of piety/affect, poverty, and addiction in a fascinating way even for those who follow a more traditional theology.

  2. Christopher,

    Thanks for the biographical information. Thandeka is now at the top of my wishlist. The information on Learning to be White is kind of thin on Amazon. Do you think it would be appropriate for adult education in a congregational setting?

  3. Ben B: I did notice that there isn’t a lot of information there. Well… the book is accessible but it’s not 12th grade reading, especially when she gets into stuff on the psychology of childhood. Depends on your group. I taught it last semester in a 100 level college course and the reaction wasn’t too surprising, though the chapter on blackface really struck a nerve in a good way with the students.

    What I would suggest is perhaps having a few people read it together and then find ways to discuss the issues with your adult class. A lot of the first chapter, for example, is recognizing how much race fills the tapestry of our childhood memories and how white guilt functions. I think you could probably teach a lot of the main points without having folks read it.

    Also, I supplemented the book with the film American History X and numerous videos by the Insane Clown Posse. The film is perhaps a little hyperbolic but it really speaks, surprisingly well, as to the class struggle of white America and how racism functions to maintain the status quo.

  4. The other thing I’ll mention about Learning to be White is that the end of the book really sees the religious community to be at the heart of her audience, and a good question here is where the church responds. Part of where my students got lost a little is in her discussion of the Promise Keepers movement, which isn’t well known to them anymore and doesn’t make much sense to the contemporary situation.

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