I have been enjoying theologian Matthew Bates’s Twitter series of not yet classics, books that are neither “new nor a universally known classic,” but yet still merit our careful reading and reflection. Bates is author of the new book Gospel Allegiance, and also of Salvation by Allegiance Alone (One of our Best Books of 2017!)
Taking Bates’s lead, I offer this list of theology books that are not yet classics in my estimation, yet are ones that I have read, re-read, and regularly share with others. All of these have been released in the last quarter century, and most of them within the last decade.
Kelly Brown Douglas
The 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager in Florida, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, brought public attention to controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws. The verdict, as much as the killing, sent shock waves through the African-American community, recalling a history of similar deaths, and the long struggle for justice. On the Sunday morning following the verdict, black preachers around the country addressed the question, “Where is the justice of God? What are we to hope for?” This book is an attempt to take seriously social and theological questions raised by this and similar stories, and to answer black church people’s questions of justice and faith in response to the call of God.
But Kelly Brown Douglas also brings another significant interpretative lens to this text: that of a mother. “There has been no story in the news that has troubled me more than that of Trayvon Martin’s slaying. President Obama said that if he had a son his son would look like Trayvon. I do have a son and he does look like Trayvon.” Her book will also affirm the “truth” of a black mother’s faith in these times of stand your ground.
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