This book examines the impact of white racialization in homiletics. The first section, Racial Hegemony, interrogates the white, colonial bias of Euro-American homiletical practice, pedagogy, and theory with particular attention to the intersection of preaching and racialization. The second section, Resistance and Possibilities, contributes diverse critical homiletical approaches emerging in conversation with racially-minoritized scholarship and racially subjugated knowledge and practice. By reading this book, preachers and professors of preaching will encounter alternative, non-dominant homiletical pathways toward a more just future for the church and the world.
Lis Valle-Ruiz is assistant professor of homiletics and worship and director of community worship life at McCormick Theological Seminary.
Andrew Wymer is assistant professor of liturgical studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Racial Hegemony in Homiletics
1. The Missionary Connection: White Preaching in the British Colonies of the Caribbean
Gennifer Benjamin Brooks
2. Unmasking the Homiletical Whiteness of Jerry Falwell Sr. and the Moral Majority
Debra J. Mumford
3. The Towering Sermon: Duke Chapel as Monument to White Supremacy
Peace Pyunghwa Lee and David Stark
4. Theorizing about the Whiteness of Asian American Homiletics Gerald C. Liu
5. White Mainline Protestant Preachers Addressing Racial Issues: 2017 v. 2021 Leah D. Schade
6. Civility and the “Purple Church”: An Insufficient Response to White Supremacy
Andrew Thompson Scales
7. Resisting White Fragility: Preaching towards Indigenous-Settler Reconciliation in Canada Sarah Travis
8. Through a Glass Dimly: White Preaching and Epistemological Ignorance Christopher M. Baker
Resistance and Possibilities in Homiletics
9. Multi-Tasking Preaching: The Liberating Power of Unmasking Whiteness from the Pulpit
10. Wrestling with Whiteness in Homiletic Pedagogy: A Reflection on Teaching “Proclaiming Justice in the Church & Public Square” Richard W. Voelz
11. Of Handmaids, Mediatrixes and Mothers: The Idealized Feminine and Rhetorics of Whiteness Jerusha Matsen Neal
12. Betraying White Preaching: Homiletical Domination, Racial Treason, and the Pursuit of Abolition Andrew Wymer
13. Who Are You?: White Identity Formation and Re-Formation in Homiletics
Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne
14. Non-Preaching?: Unmasking [White] Preaching Through Negation Lis Valle-Ruiz
15. An Icon of Exclusion: Deconstructing the Pulpit through the Homiletical Practice of Black Women
Chelsea Brooke Yarborough
How can the United States be a “Christian nation” given its history of racism, sexism, homophobia, and its stunning tolerance of poverty? The answer to this perplexing question is found among the essays in this book. White preaching and white preachers are partially to blame. People in this country have been fed a diet of sermons that either vocally support or silently consent to a worldview that celebrates and seeks to preserve white supremacy and especially white male privilege. Rather than the sovereignty of God, these essays point us to a history of racial hegemony at home in the pulpit of far too many white churches.
This critically important collection of essays not only offers a bold critique of the white homiletical tradition, but also celebrates a dynamic, polyvocal approach to preaching. The essays provide valuable historical and theoretical analyses of white, colonial domination in homiletics, as well as practical guidance for resisting systemic racism. Including essays by both senior and emerging scholars, Unmasking White Preaching is one of the most significant books about preaching to be published in a long time. It will unsettle and inspire and, one hopes, contribute to a more vital, diverse, and courageous homiletical future.
White preaching has been at the center of the historical construction of white supremacy in this country. Claiming “the word of God,” whiteness has crushed forms of differences and differences of forms. This powerfully edited collection brings mighty voices that challenge and counter preaching practices and content that sustain white supremacy. This book is a fantastic resource towards this ongoing fundamental necessary work of dismantling white supremacy. The precious writers who contribute to this book bring another word of God and breathe new life into worlds that have always struggled to survive, showing ways not only to exist but also to flourish. We so need it! Let them preach!
This volume is a very much needed collection of prolific homileticians who reflect on the legacy and the power of Whiteness in the practice of preaching as well as in homiletical theory and pedagogy. It seeks to disrupt deeply engrained constructions of White supremacy in its myriads nuances as well as the global legacy of settler colonialism as it is entrenched in the reading of the bible and in the ways how the world of the hearers is depicted.
Homiletics has evolved within the tight and enduring grip of whiteness, so a reckoning is in order. Each voice in this volume dismantles an essential dimension of white hegemony and together the authors help readers dive into the mess. Unmasking White Preaching marks a sea change in mainline American homiletics. Anyone who is committed to realizing a new future should read this formidable book.
This anthology breaks with St. Augustin´s first ever homiletics treatise, with his dismissal of the deaf by quoting ‘Faith comes out of hearing,’ and with his missionary zeal ‘compel people to enter’ through the ‘epistles-pistols.’ À la Fanon, these authors decolonize white-hetero-patriarchal-capitalism, epistemology, ontology, power, pulpit, platform, lectionary, phallogocentrism, liturgy, language, color. Although their audience is Turtle Island—rebaptized as ‘North-Amerikkka’—the message is of Abya Yala—current Caribbean and Latin America—concern and beyond. Unmasking White Preaching aligns with the mission of preachers: ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’
Unmasking White Preaching is an album of truth-telling that contains the much-needed soundtrack for our preaching today if we hope to be preaching tomorrow. Engaging it will lead some to confession and others to thanksgiving, some to lament and others to praise. I experienced each response (sometimes within a chapter) as the authors encourage and compel me to unmask my own privilege as a white preacher. Be sure to read ‘Learnings from Our Journey’ in the ‘Beginnings’ chapter and then seek partners with whom you will continue to ‘envision and implement alternative possibilities.’ It is not too late to join this ‘beautiful and messy’ endeavor.