In A Troubling in My Soul, well-known womanist theologians explore the
persistent question of evil and suffering in compelling new ways.
Committed to an integrated analysis of race, gender, and class, they
also address the shortcomings of traditional, feminist, and Black
theologies in dealing with evil. Taking Alice Walker's definition of
"womanist" as a framework, in Part I, "Responsible, in Charge, " Clarice
J. Martin explores "If God exists, why is there evil?"; Frances E. Wood
shows how Christianity's idealization of suffering has harmed
African-American women; and Jamie T. Phelps recounts the historic
exclusion of African-American women - and men - in the Roman Catholic
church. Part II, "It Wouldn't Be the First Time, " includes Marcia Y.
Riggs on the 19th century Black club women's response to moral evil;
Emilie M. Townes on a womanist ethic based on the example of Ida B.
Wells-Barrett; and Rosita deAnn Mathews on the role of
chaplain-clergyperson as priest, prophet, and employee. Part III,
"Love's the Spirit, " includes M. Shawn Copeland on the narratives of
enslaved and/or emancipated women of African descent; Delores S.
Williams on sin and suffering in Black Christian theology; Cheryl A.
Kirk-Duggan on the spirituals as an Afrocentric Christian response to
evil; and Karen Baker-Fletcher on the life of Dr. Anna Julia Cooper and
the vitality of voice in womanist experience. In Part IV, "As Purple Is
to Lavender, " Patricia L. Hunter exposes the cosmetics industry's
impact on Black women's self-understanding as creations of God. There is
also Jacquelyn Grant on how a theology of servanthood degenerates into
an apologetics for exploitation; Katie Geneva Cannon on the
African-America folk sermon as genre; and, finally, Cheryl Townsend
Gilkes on how Alice Walker's observations that one "loves food, " "loves
roundness, " and "loves oneself" stand in opposition to the dominant
culture's dictum that one can never be too rich or too thin. Vigorous
and forthright, A T