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When Mamma Speaks, Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder.

October 16, 2016

When Mamma Speaks:  The Bible and Motherhood from a Womanist Perspective.  Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder. Westminster/John Knox Press, 2016.  FORTHCOMING

3 stars

Sermon-like essays by a black woman religious scholar stressing the relevance of women in the Bible to the problems that black mothers face today in a society that discriminates against them and their children on the basis of race, class, and gender.

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder is an ordained Baptist and Disciples of Christ minister who teaches New Testament at Belmont University. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Howard University; a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary, and Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Religion from Vanderbilt University.  She is active in the church world and the scholarly one.  With a particular interest in pop culture and R and B music, her writings frequent appear online in publications like Sojourners and Huffington Post, and she tweets at #womanistmomma. She is married to a minister, has two sons, and claims to enjoy pop culture, preaching and parenting.

Crowder grounds her book in her extensive knowledge of the Bible and in her understanding of “womanism,” a term popularized by Alice Walker and others to point a type of feminism that focused on problems of race and class as well as gender.  The first chapters explain why she is committed to both.  The following chapters each focus on a woman or group of women from the Bible giving a detailed interpretation of their stories.  Then Crowder relates each subject to a contemporary issue like police violence or the need to stand up for a child.  She goes on to point out the connection and message in the readings.

I think that Crowder’s book will be most valued by church women, black or white, who share her Biblical outlook.  When I first saw her book, I hoped she would analyze how and why black women tend to think as they do.  While I can’t blame her for not writing the book I wanted, I have to admit that I had trouble getting excited by what she has written.  For others who share my interests in black women’s patterns of understanding, I recommend Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women, by Melissa Harris Perry, and Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, by Patricia Hill Collins.

The cover is wonderful!

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