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Race, Memory, and Eucharist in White-Dominant Churches

By Marcia W. Mount Shoop and Mary McClintock Fulkerson

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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 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. 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).

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). She blogs at www.test.marciamountshoop.com.

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About the Authors

Marcia Mount Shoop is a theologian, author, and minister as well as a mother and football coach’s wife. She has a PhD in Religious Studies from Emory University and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University.

She is the author of, Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ, released by Westminster/John Knox Press in 2010, and Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports, released by Cascade Books in 2014.

For most of her life she has worked on issues of dialogue and relationship around race, political polarization, and religious differences in academic, church, and community contexts. She blogs on everything from faith to football at test.marciamountshoop.com. Her husband of twenty years, John Shoop, has coached in the NFL and in Division I College football for over twenty years.

Marcia is the fourth generation in her family ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. While completing her dissertation at Emory in 2002, Marcia received her first call to the ministry. Since then she has served the Presbyterian Church and in other denominational settings in many different capacities across the country as pastor, theologian in residence, preacher, teacher, and consultant. She has also served the national church in leadership positions with stints as Moderator of the Presbyterian Multicultural Network (PMN) and as Vice Moderator of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA).

Mary McClintock Fulkerson teaches theology at Duke Divinity School and is an ordainedMary McClintock Fulkerson minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Her book, Changing the Subject: Women’s Discourses and Feminist Theology, examines the liberating practices of feminist academics and non-feminist church women. Based upon an ethnography of an inter-racial church, her book Places of Redemption: Theology for a Worldly Church, explores ecclesial practices that resist racism and other forms of social brokenness. She co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theology is a collection of essays on feminist theology and globalization with Sheila Briggs. Fulkerson is currently involved in the “Pauli Murray Project: Activating History for Social Change,” a Duke Human Rights Center project on racial healing and reconciliation.

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