Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church (2nd edition) Second Edition

Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church (2nd edition) Second Edition

by Barbara Holmes


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Joy Unspeakable focuses on the aspects of the Black church that point beyond particular congregational gatherings toward a mystical and communal spirituality not within the exclusive domain of any denomination. This mystical aspect of the black church is deeply implicated in the well-being of African American people but is not the focus of their intentional reflection. Moreover, its traditions are deeply ensconced within the historical memory of the wider society and can be found in Coltrane's riffs, Malcolm's exhortations, the social activism of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. The research in this book-through oral histories, church records, and written accounts--details not only ways in which contemplative experience is built into African American collective worship but also the legacy of African monasticism, a history of spiritual exemplars, and unique meditative worship practices. A groundbreaking work in its original edition, Joy Unspeakable now appears in a new, revised edition to address the effects of this contemplative tradition on activism and politics and to speak to a new generation of readers and scholars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506421612
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 10/15/2017
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 291,455
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Barbara A. Holmes is author of Dreaming (Fortress Press, 2012), Liberation and the Cosmos: Conversations with the Elders (Fortress Press, 2008), Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently (Fortress Press, 2002), A Private Woman in Public Spaces (2000), and other publications. She is president emerita of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and formerly professor of ethics and African American religious studies and vice president of Academic Affairs at Memphis Theological Seminary.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition ix

Preface to the First Edition xiii

Introduction: An Unlikely Legacy xix

1 Contemplation: A Cultural and Spiritual History 1

2 Retrieving Lost Legacies: Contemplation in West Africa 23

3 Every Shut Eye Ain't Sleep: The Inner Life During Slavery 45

4 Come Ye Disconsolate: Contemplation in Black Church Congregational Life 67

5 Joy Comes in the Morning: Contemplative Themes in African American Biblical Interpretation 93

6 Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Contemplation, Activism, and Praxis 111

7 Black Lives Matter and the Black Church: Twenty-First-Century Contemplative Activism 141

8 Deep Rivers: The Contemplative Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama 163

9 At the Crossroads: Art, Activism, and the Contemplative Life 183

Afterword: Toward a Future Together 199

Suggested Readings 203

Index of Subjects and Names 209

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