Amos Yong: 5 picks
Essential theology books of the past 25 years
Nancy L. Eiseland, The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability. This volume opened a new field at the intersection of disability studies and theology and remains that field's classic text. Eiesland interrogates the ableist assumptions of our "normal" worldview and challenges the ekklesia to become more aware of how people with disabilities are marginalized in every sphere of life, including the church. Our perspectives on the nature of God and of the imago Dei will never be the same.
Clark H. Pinnock, Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. Pinnock's pioneering work addresses the doctrine of the Spirit, long ignored and overlooked as the "silent and shy member of the Trinity," by rethinking not just pneumatology but also systematic theology as a whole from the starting point of the third article of the Apostles' Creed. These are first steps toward the promise of a fully trinitarian theology.
Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. There is an urgency to this volume in the wake of the genocidal movements of the 20th century. Volf provides not just a theological anthropology but also a systematic and trinitarian theology of the political in the face of war, violence, injustice and "ethnic cleansing." Herein we find an anticipation of the shalom of the coming reign of God that is reparative, reconciling and redemptive—that is hopeful but not naive.
J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account. Carter's book drops like a bombshell on the playground of 21st-century theologians (to echo Karl Adams's words on Barth's Römerbrief). It challenges black theologians to provide a more theological account of race while opposing the entire project of modern (white) theology as being infused with the racist rejection of the Jewish character of the Christian religion during the early modern period. Yet it constructively retrieves the biblical and patristic traditions, read through the lens of slave narratives, for the purpose of articulating a postmodern, post-Western and post-Shoah theology for our time.
Paul F. Knitter, Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian. The question today is not whether Christian theology can be done without serious engagement with other religions, but how such an undertaking should be pursued. Knitter's bold embrace of a theological hybridity reveals the possibility of other faiths coming to the rescue of Christian identity, commitment and authenticity. In this case, the Buddha and Buddhist beliefs and practices make credible—salvaging and even saving—Christianity in a pluralistic world.
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