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From the Publisher
"Michael Battle's book is a wise and bold treatment of the most complex phenomenon in Afro-American life: The Black Church. We need to listen to his words." Cornel West, Princeton University
"The key to understanding Battle's fine study of the black church is found in his background as an African American Episcopal priest. His major thesis is that a strong sense of community pervades African American spirituality, which comes from communal African religious traditions and the survival needs of enslaved Africans in a hostile American environment. Although Battle's treatment of the historical material is not new, his emphasis on the communal worship and spirituality of African American Christianity is an important theological direction. Deeply influenced by the theology of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who ordained him, Battle (Virginia Theological Seminary) argues that the communal spirituality of African Americans should be inclusive, eventually "inviting others to be black." He pushes this theme of community and reconciliation with a chapter that elaborates on Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of "the Beloved Community," indicating that the black church can be the fulfillment of that view. He concludes the study with two challenges: a "Churchless Black Church" and a "Womanless Black Church." The book includes a historical time line and a bibliography. Summing Up: Recommended. Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and specialists in the field." Choice
"The African American churches need less absolutizing in order to undertake their great task of addressing the still rampant inequality and structural racism that criminalizes so many of their young males and reduces others to passivity. A radical gospel is needed more than ever, and it is to be hoped that this book will stimulate research to galvanize the churches into reflective action."
Theological Book Review
"An intriguing attempt at building a case for an African American Spirituality that is communal and relational in nature."