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Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US

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"An inherently fascinating, inspired and inspiring read from beginning to end unreservedly recommend and worthwhile reading."—Midwest Book Review

Lenny Duncan is the unlikeliest of pastors. Formerly incarcerated, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the United States: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Shifting demographics and shrinking congregations make all the headlines, but Duncan sees something else at work — drawing a direct line between the church's lack of diversity and the church's lack of vitality. The problems the ELCA faces are theological, not sociological. But so are the answers.

Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church offers a bold new vision for the future of Duncan's denomination and the broader mainline Christian community of faith. Dear Church rejects the narrative of church decline and calls everyone — leaders and laity alike — to the front lines of the church's renewal through racial equality and justice.

It is time for the church to rise up, dust itself off, and take on forces of this world that act against God: whiteness, misogyny, nationalism, homophobia, and economic injustice. Duncan gives a blueprint for the way forward and urges us to follow in the revolutionary path of Jesus.

Dear Church also features a discussion guide at the back — perfect for church groups, book clubs, and other group discussion.

ISBN-13: 9781506452562

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: 1517 Media

Publication Date: 07-02-2019

Pages: 138

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

Lenny Duncan (they/them) is a writer, speaker, scholar, and media producer working at the forefront of racial justice in America. Lenny is the author of Dear Church and United States of Grace and co-creator of the podcast BlackBerryJams with PRX. A PhD student in historical and cultural studies of religion, Lenny is currently investigating the theft of African spiritual thought by white American Esotericism. Lenny is originally from West Philadelphia, has hitchhiked thousands of miles on American byways, and now makes their home in the Pacific Northwest.

Table of Contents

Introduction: How Did We Get Here?

Part 1: Dismantling White Supremacy is the Way of the Cross

Chapter 1: Dismantling White Supremacy and the Power of the Gospel

Chapter 2: The Roots are Infected

Chapter 3: Repentance, Reparations, Reconciliation

Chapter 4: Dylan Roof and I are Lutheran

Chapter 5: Decolonizing the Liturgy and the Power of Symbols

Part 2: Grace is an Ever Widening Circle

Chapter 6: The Church is Queer

Chapter 7: Toxic Masculinity is Killing Us

Chapter 8: Resisting Nationalism is the Way of Jesus,

Part 3: The Church can Lead the Way

Chapter 9: Dear Church, I Love You

Chapter 10: Stretching God's Tent is Front Line Freedom Fighting

Chapter 11: It's Time for a Revolution