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Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology (Innovations: African American Religious Thought)

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In her new book, Monica A. Coleman articulates the African American expression of "making a way out of no way" for today's context of globalization, religious pluralism, and sexual diversity. Drawing on womanist religious scholarship and process thought, Coleman describes the symbiotic relationship among God, the ancestors, and humanity that helps to change the world into In her new book, Monica A. Coleman articulates the African American expression of "making a way out of no way" for today's context of globalization, religious pluralism, and sexual diversity. Drawing on womanist religious scholarship and process thought, Coleman describes the symbiotic relationship among God, the ancestors, and humanity that helps to change the world into the just society it ought to be. Making a Way Out of No Way shows us a way of living for justice with God and proposes a communal theology that presents a dynamic way forward for black churches, African traditional religions and grassroots organizations.


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In her new book, Monica A. Coleman articulates the African American expression of "making a way out of no way" for today's context of globalization, religious pluralism, and sexual diversity. Drawing on womanist religious scholarship and process thought, Coleman describes the symbiotic relationship among God, the ancestors, and humanity that helps to change the world into In her new book, Monica A. Coleman articulates the African American expression of "making a way out of no way" for today's context of globalization, religious pluralism, and sexual diversity. Drawing on womanist religious scholarship and process thought, Coleman describes the symbiotic relationship among God, the ancestors, and humanity that helps to change the world into the just society it ought to be. Making a Way Out of No Way shows us a way of living for justice with God and proposes a communal theology that presents a dynamic way forward for black churches, African traditional religions and grassroots organizations.

30 review for Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology (Innovations: African American Religious Thought)

  1. 4 out of 5

    E.

    I was fortunate to hear Monica Coleman speak last week, and she is a very engaging speaker, powerfully braiding together process, womanist, and narrative approaches to theology. This book just feels too rationalist, too systematic, too structured for me. I was not as engaged or fascinated with it and by it as I was by her oral presentation or as I had hoped to be by the book. It needed more narrative, for one thing. And the surveys of other thinkers tended to be tedious at times. But her theologi I was fortunate to hear Monica Coleman speak last week, and she is a very engaging speaker, powerfully braiding together process, womanist, and narrative approaches to theology. This book just feels too rationalist, too systematic, too structured for me. I was not as engaged or fascinated with it and by it as I was by her oral presentation or as I had hoped to be by the book. It needed more narrative, for one thing. And the surveys of other thinkers tended to be tedious at times. But her theological instincts and ideas are interesting to powerful. I was particularly engaged by her treatment of ancestors -- she has made a unique contribution to eschatology by drawing upon the role of ancestors in African religions and explaining that within a process worldview. It helped to explain the power of the novel Beloved, for one thing. And I was also drawn to the role of memory in salvation, which I blogged about earlier in the week. So, there are fascinating ideas here that I think could have been made even more captivating with a different style of presentation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dwight Davis

    Making a Way Out of No Way is Monica Coleman's attempt to construct a postmodern womanist theology in conversation with Whitehead and process theology. She finds in process thought a valuable ally in understanding the problem of evil and suffering, thus offering "a way out of no way" for black women who are stuck in systems of oppression and suffering. I think that chapter 1 and 2 were probably the strongest, where Coleman is moving succinctly but brilliantly through multiple thinkers and offeri Making a Way Out of No Way is Monica Coleman's attempt to construct a postmodern womanist theology in conversation with Whitehead and process theology. She finds in process thought a valuable ally in understanding the problem of evil and suffering, thus offering "a way out of no way" for black women who are stuck in systems of oppression and suffering. I think that chapter 1 and 2 were probably the strongest, where Coleman is moving succinctly but brilliantly through multiple thinkers and offering critiques and proposals based on their thought. Chapter one sees Coleman covering five womanist theologians on salvation. She does so brilliantly, I am honestly in awe of how she was able to comprehensively cover these thinkers so quickly. Honestly, I'm a little jealous. In chapter two, Coleman moves on to Whitehead and other process theologians. Chapters 3-5 contain Coleman's constructive proposal, consisting of a de-centering of Christ in theologies of salvation, making room for ancestor possession, and redefining what a Savior can be (namely, black women leading communities of salvation). There's a lot to like here. Coleman offers helpful interactions with process and womanist theology, and I find her interpretations of Whitehead to be fair and compelling (unsurprising from a Claremont graduate). And while I appreciate her work, I do come from a perspective where de-centering Christ and redefining salvation in a primarily anthropocentric model is troubling. I maintain convictions to the broader Christian tradition, one in which the work of Christ remains the center of salvific activity, but I agree with Coleman that salvation is something experienced communally and that salvation needs to be broadened beyond the eschatological — that is, salvation must necessarily entail concrete liberation of the marginalized and oppressed. In the end, my complaints with this book are primarily to be attributed to the different lenses through which Coleman and I approach theology and do not reflect on the quality of the work and the depth of thought. This is an amazing contribution to both womanist theology and process thought and is well worth reading and engagement.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    I love Monica Coleman’s works and approach to theology and am deeply grateful for this work. The womanist inflected process theology she systematically unpacks is powerful. What I longed for that the book didn’t offer is a socio-historical context and critique of early process theologians (all the white males), who were presented differently from the womanist theologians. Moreover, because this book is more a primer, the work of more modern process theologians were absent/limited, and the review I love Monica Coleman’s works and approach to theology and am deeply grateful for this work. The womanist inflected process theology she systematically unpacks is powerful. What I longed for that the book didn’t offer is a socio-historical context and critique of early process theologians (all the white males), who were presented differently from the womanist theologians. Moreover, because this book is more a primer, the work of more modern process theologians were absent/limited, and the reviews of both womanist and process theologies felt sweeping.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Blackwell

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather Harris

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie Clawson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter Walker

  8. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Hooker

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katharine

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krystle

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elgin Bailey

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mariam Youssef

  15. 4 out of 5

    Taida

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christe

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Mosier

  19. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Reilly

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Cook

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael Manley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Greene

  23. 4 out of 5

    Savannah Phelan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rica Kaufel

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda Parrington

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cana

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rod

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Green

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Winn

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