A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed: Race, Memory, and Eucharist in White-Dominant Churches

ABodyBroken_330wBy Marcia W. Mount Shoop and Mary McClintock Fulkerson

Published by Cascade Books, Fall 2015

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Race and privilege are issues that cry out for new kinds of attention and healing in American society.

More specifically we are being called to surface the dynamics of whiteness especially in contexts where whites have had the most power in America. The church is one of those contexts—particularly churches that have been traditionally been seen as the stalwarts of the American religious landscape— Mainline Protestant churches.

Theologians and Presbyterian Ministers, Mary McClintock Fulkerson and Marcia Mount Shoop, invite us to acknowledge and address the wounds of race and privilege that continue to harm and diminish the life of the church. Using Eucharist as a template for both the church’s blindness and for Christ’s redemptive capacity, this book invites faith communities, especially white-dominant churches, into new ways of re- membering what it means to be the Body of Christ.

In a still racialized society, can the Body of Christ truly acknowledge and dress the wounds of race and privilege? Re-membering Christ’s broken and betrayed body may be just the healing path we need.

Marcia W. Mount Shoop is a theologian, minister, and author of Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ (2010) and Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports (2014).

Mary McClintock Fulkerson is Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina and an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is the author of Changing the Subject: Women’s Discourses and Feminist Theology (1994) and Places of Redemption: Theology for a Worldly Church (2007).


“The problem this volume addresses–the quiet, subtle way race deforms predominantly white, Presbyterian congregations–couldn’t be more timely. Its authors bring to this fraught subject a well-honed commitment to racial justice and a wealth of experience in Presbyterian congregational life. . . . Clergy, scholars, and laity have much to gain from this insightful and accessible blend of trenchant academic analysis, theological wisdom, and genuine compassion.”

–Ellen T. Armour
Carpenter Associate Professor of Feminist Theology, Vanderbilt Divinity School

”[This book] guides us through the painful process of acknowledging the existence of racism in the church. It calls us to the difficult spiritual practice of self-reflection, self-examination, and truth-telling. . . . This book is an invitation to approach the Lord’s Table in authenticity to receive the nourishment that can foster reconciliation on a personal and communal level.”

–Wanda M. Lundy
Director of Doctor of Ministry program, New York Theological Seminary

“A bold invitation to explore the healing opportunities that Jesus offers us through a life together at the table, where denial, fear, betrayal, and abuse can be explored and cured, creating the possibility that we might move beyond the dismemberment of the body of Christ.”

–Magdalena I. Garcia
Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Chicago, hospice chaplain

”A prayer request is being answered with this book by two of this country’s premier feminist theologians. . . . Before we can understand the Eucharist as an answer to the racial condition we first must grasp how it questions white privilege, and Fulkerson and Shoop help us do this.”

–Willie James Jennings
Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies, Yale Divinity School