The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 23

sTorIes oF PeaCemakers

Theologian and Poet Give Voice to the
Prophets in the Streets
by Katie Cook

i

n May of 2016, Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza contracted
with Augsburg/Fortress Press to produce a book titled Activist
Theology: Recognizing the Prophetic edge in the Streets. henderson-Espinoza is Director of Public Theology Initiatives for Faith Matters
Network at the vanderbilt divinity School in Nashville, tN.
Henderson-Espinoza, or "Dr. Robyn," prefers to be referenced with "they," "them" and "their." They describe themselves
as a "Nonbinary Transqueer mixed-race Latinx." Thus, they
bring to this work the "thoughtful intention of bridging with
their white ancestors and mexican ancestors and with those in
the queer community."
the thesis of the book, from the précis, states:

brown people as well as those of the lBgtQ community and
begin a "revolution" that will destabilize the logic of white supremacy, the culture of police violence and the society that sees
the lBgtQ community as other.
The book will look at historical "moments of public lament
and prophetic grief " from martin luther King, jr. and malcolm
x and oscar Romero to trayvon martin, michael Brown and
Freddie gray:

Theology ought to be understood as activism, and reframing theology thusly allows us to live out the prophetic witness as protest,
achieve new contours of revolution, and then see the emergence of
radical social change.

A unique feature of the book is the inclusion of activist
poetry, which will illustrate new and emerging contours of
activist theology. Dr. Robyn writes, "Because most of my work
is spent translating theory into action, I found it important to
include original poetry in this book to make for the intersection
of different strands of theory."

Activist Theology speaks of placing an active, grassroots
approach to "living theology" over the traditional, more removed academic disciplines, thus moving liberation from being
a "thought exercise" and "puts it back onto the streets where
protest is manifold." This, in turn, mobilizes a framework
of protest, revolution and radical social change:

What these moments...have shown us is an horizon that is
entangled in protest, revolution and radical social change. These
three elements form the foundation of an activist theology we ought
to be doing.

Please see "Activist Theology" on page 25

Theology as taught in the last century did not materialize in the
streets, per se, but in the minds of scholars and deployed in the
form of apologetics and histories and manuals.... Theologians
historically have been more concerned with dogma and confessions
than with ways in which theology stems from the deep angst
and existential realities that are life and death, especially for
marginalized folks.
the book examines the civil rights movement in the
uS, alongside latin American liberation theology, using
them as the analytical framework for the theology of an
activism that is rooted in the lives of the displaced. Where
latin American liberation theology spoke of god's preferential option for the poor, Activist Theology speaks of the
preferential option for the displaced. this is its birthing
point. dr. Robyn writes,
What we are learning from the folks on the ground in Ferguson,
Baltimore, Charleston, oakland and others, is that theology is
active and responsive to pressing social concerns.
the book seeks to embrace the struggles of Black and

Baptist Peacemaker

Oct-Dec 2017 23


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1857622159/making-activist-theology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017

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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/38-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-1
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-4
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-1
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com