You Shall Not Condemn

You Shall Not Condemn

by Jennifer M McBride
You Shall Not Condemn

You Shall Not Condemn

by Jennifer M McBride


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This book tells the story of Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia's death row until her execution in 2015, and highlights the role theological studies played in her faith and in advocacy efforts on her behalf. Central to the book is the written correspondence between Kelly and German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, known internationally as the "theologian of hope."

After reading Moltmann's work in a course taught by McBride at the prison, Kelly began a five-year correspondence with him. When Kelly was denied clemency, a local and international advocacy movement arose that was rooted in her theological studies and friendship with him. The advocacy campaign challenged Christians who supported the death penalty to re-examine basic truths of Christian faith. As it was unfolding, the story of Kelly's transformation changed people's minds, not only about her case, but also about the death penalty itself. Weaving together powerful storytelling and theological expertise, McBride recounts that story again here, with an aim toward abolition, and offers practical ways that readers may enter the work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781725263796
Publisher: Cascade Books
Publication date: 06/13/2022
Pages: 210
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Jennifer M. McBride is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics and Associate Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She is author of The Church for the World: A Theology of Public Witness (2011) and Radical Discipleship: A Liturgical Politics of the Gospel (2017).

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This beautifully written narrative theology of hope points us to the heart of the gospel, fleshing out the contours of repentance, forgiveness, transformation, resistance, and the struggle for God’s justice in the here and now.”

—Nancy Elizabeth Bedford, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

“This is a compelling redemption story. . . . McBride invites us into the theological depths of redemption, where accountability for wrongdoing brings both healing and continued resistance to the powers of sin and death manifest in the criminal justice system and the death penalty.”

—Peter R. Gathje, Memphis Theological Seminary

“For those of us who worship a Savior who was executed by the state, death row is a place for theology. Yet, the church has had little opportunity to hear and learn from the God talk that happens among the condemned. Jenny McBride has given us a gift in You Shall Not Condemn. . . . May we receive it and let its truth change us.”

—Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of Revolution of Values

You Shall Not Condemn is both a powerful text in Christian lived theology and an indictment of the US criminal justice system. Jenny McBride draws upon experience, official documents, and the remarkable letters between Jürgen Moltmann and Gissendaner to construct a multilayered theology. Against the background of the cruelty of capital punishment, this book reveals the ongoing power of friendship, faith, and hope.”

—Elizabeth M. Bounds, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“Jenny McBride narrates the powerful story of Kelly Gissendaner, a condemned occupant of death row forgiven and transformed, . . . inspired by her exchange of beautiful letters with Jürgen Moltmann, upheld in hope by a community of love, full of God’s power of resurrection. Entering this story will be a blessing, urging you to stand up against unjust legal and prison systems and shaking you to the core by our self-imprisonment through our condemnation of others.”

—M. Douglas Meeks, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

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