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Book Review: Unfinished Business by Keri Day

Book Review: Unfinished Business by Keri Day

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Published by Rod
This is a book review about Unfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America
This is a book review about Unfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America

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Published by: Rod on Dec 27, 2012
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Book Review:
Unfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrivein America
by Keri Day. Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY, 2012.I would like to thank Orbis Books for sending me a review copy of this book. In the first part of this book review, I offer a brief summary of Day
s work. I don
t want to give to many spoilersaway, just enough for the audience to want to read more as I highly recommend this text. In thesecond part of my review, I would like to offer a brief theological proposal as it pertains totranscendence, economics, and ecclesiology.
:When I first met Dr. Day, it was at the student interview. Brite Divinity School was searching fora Black Church Studies professor and ethicist, and I had concerns about an assortment of economic justice issues in the Fort Worth area, and yes, even the Texas Christian Universitycommunity. After Day gave her presentation, we the students were allowed to have an questionand answer time. I asked Dr. Day what were her thoughts on the prosperity gospel. Although Ido not recall her answer at that time, I would like to believe that this book,
Unfinished Business
 is an answer to my inquiry. Day introduces her project by defining terms such as Black Church;in this case, Black Church means the activity of Black churches in the United States (3). Rightaway, I think that this definition establishes an inclusive ecclesiology and history. Rather thanstrictly defining Black Church/Black Church traditions as monolithic or as only thosedenominations established by African Americans, one could include in Day
s definition of Black Church, the number black churches within predominantly white denominations. Keri Dayquestions historians in their view that the Black church has always served as a prophetic witness(Chapter 1), and whether it is a Wilderness Experience or Surrogate world, Day argues theseterms have been over-utilized when discussing Black Church. Whether we are talking aboutradicals like Adam Clayton Powell or Dr. Rev. MLK Jr. or the Reverend Jesse Jackson, at theforefront of civil and economic rights struggles have been the progressive strain of Black Baptisttradition. I wonder if there is something theological here, that makes Black Baptist both the mostradical and possibly regressive (when it comes to women
s ordination especially) more adaptableto political activism. I
ll give you a hint: the Free Church tradition!I like the term that Day uses for the Black Church, as a community of transcendence. While Iwill talk further about the theological implications of this notion, the way that Day and VictorAnderson understand transcendence, as seeing ultimate value in the world, being open to thisvalue, and rejecting Ayn Rand selfishness in order to work for the good of others (28). Whilethis use of transcendence does allow for womanist and liberationist theologians to be open to theexperiences of others outside of the church, the use of the term
itself is exclusive to theChristian experience. Transcendence, in this light however, can be very helpful in discussing theChurch
s relationship with the World, other social institutions that are non-confessional but thathave become spaces for poor black women to use their agency.In the second chapter, Day gives an overview of the history of Faith-Based initiatives andarguments for and against charitable choice programs/FBIs when it comes to public policy. As astrict church/state separationist, I find the Faith-Based Initiative whether it is ran by PresidentBush or Obama to be offensive and more likely a bribe from the state to religious institutions to

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