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About this online book list: Along with our commitment to highlight the best books on our topic, we are also deeply committed to distributing free PDF books, and we are continually expanding our free book download page.
Religiously-inspired Witnesses for Peace/Justice/Ecological Sanity
Jesus and the Disinherited
by Howard Thurman
Jesus and the Disinherited is the centerpiece of the Black prophet-mystic’s lifelong attempt to bring the harrowing beauty of the African-American experience into deep engagement with what he called ‘the religion of Jesus.’ Ultimately his goal was to offer this humanizing combination as the basis for an emancipatory way of being, moving toward a fundamentally unchained life that is available to all the women and men everywhere who hunger and thirst for righteousness, especially those ‘who stand with their backs against the wall.’
—Vincent Harding, from the Foreword
In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins
by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
A seminal text that restores women’s stories to early Christian history and reclaims the place of women in a groundbreaking analysis of how power politics influenced the content and interpretation of the bible.
Reviews and endorsements as shown on the publishers website:
“This work is a first within the discipline of New Testament Studies.”
—New York Times Book Review
“A brilliant scholarly treatise which succeeds in bringing to our consciousness women who played an important role in the origins of Christianity.”
“One of those mind-arresting thought-turning books that angles the reader’s way of seeing old texts in new and fruitful ways . . . The vision she offers is engaging, enlightening and utterly interesting. Most important, it is plausible.”
—The Christian Century
“Ground-breaking, quietly but completely radical, thoroughly in union with Christian tradition at its best, and a cause for great hope in the church of the future.”
Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service. Over the past half century the issues facing activists have changed, as has our understanding and awareness of spirituality. For activists, spiritual philosophy is rising up the agenda because it offers distinct, tried and tested approaches to deep questions: Where did it all go wrong? What does it mean to be human? What is the place of leadership? What is the nature of power?
The book begins by defining spirituality for a modern audience of all faiths and beliefs, and goes on to consider the problems and necessities of true leadership. Drawing on a rich history of spirituality and activism, from The Bhagavad Gita, to the Hebrew prophets, to Carl Jung, it is both guide and inspiration for people involved in activism for social or environmental justice.
The text is enriched with tales from the authors’ own experiences. It contains case studies of inspirational spiritual activists (including Mama Efua, Desmond Tutu, Gerrard Winstanley, Sojourner Truth and Julia Butterfly Hill), which demonstrate the transformative power of spiritual principles in action. Read more…
Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist
Quaker peace activist David Hartsough knows how to get in the way. He has used his body to block Navy ships headed for Vietnam and trains loaded with munitions on their way to El Salvador and Nicaragua. He has crossed borders to meet “the enemy” in East Berlin, Castro’s Cuba, and present-day Iran. He has marched with mothers confronting a violent regime in Guatemala and stood with refugees threatened by death squads in the Philippines. Hartsough’s stories inspire, educate, and encourage readers to find ways to work for a more just and peaceful world. Inspired by the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Hartsough has spent his life experimenting with the power of active nonviolence. Engaging stories on every page provide a peace activist’s eyewitness account of many of the major historical events of the past 60 years, including the Civil Rights and anti–Vietnam War movements in the United States as well as the little-known but equally significant nonviolent efforts in the Soviet Union, Kosovo, Palestine, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Waging Peace is a testament to the difference one person can make; however, it is more than one man’s memoir: it shows how this struggle is waged all over the world by ordinary people committed to ending the spiral of violence and war. Read more…
Arrested for his acts of faith-inspired civil disobedience, Norman Lowry reflects from his prison cell on what it means to follow Jesus in a culture of perpetual war-making.
From the Foreword by Eileen Fleming:
Prophets do not necessarily predict the future but the prophetic voice points out the danger ahead and reminds those so inclined to think about God; to THINK about what God might say about the present. ??Like the saints, Norman takes the nonviolent Jesus very seriously and he views his time behind bars as “Investing my life in prison, with those who are enslaved there, makes more sense to me than investing my life with the slave-making/owning society outside of prison.”
Like the prophets Norman personally repents for the misery inflicted upon the innocent by those with political power…
Introducing Liberation Theology by Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff
Liberation Theology: an Introductory Guide by Robert McAfee Brown
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor by Leonardo Boff In his latest work, the noted Latin American theologian Leonardo Boff extends the intuitions of liberation theology, showing how they contribute to answering urgent questions of poverty and ecological degradation. If faith fails to appreciate the ecological paradigm, Boff argues, it only adds to the crisis and begs for reform. Focusing on the threatened Amazon of his native Brazil, Boff traces the economic and metaphysical ties that bind the fate of the rain forests with the fate of the Indians and poor of the land. He shows how liberation theology must join with ecology in reclaiming the dignity of the earth and our sense of a common community. To illustrate to possibilities, Boff turns to resources in Christian spirituality, ancient and modern, including cosmic Christology and the vision of St. Francis of Assisi.
Books by Gustavo Gutiérrez We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People
This is the credo and seminal text of the movement which was later characterized as liberation theology. The book burst upon the scene in the early seventies, and was swiftly acknowledged as a pioneering and prophetic approach to theology which famously made an option for the poor, placing the exploited, the alienated, and the economically wretched at the centre of a programme where “the oppressed and maimed and blind and lame” were prioritized at the expense of those who either maintained the status quo or who abused the structures of power for their own ends. This powerful, compassionate and radical book attracted criticism for daring to mix politics and religion in so explicit a manner, but was also welcomed by those who had the capacity to see that its agenda was nothing more nor less than to give “good news to the poor”, and redeem God’s people from bondage. (15th Anniversary Edition with New Introduction by Author) [Description from Fishpond Books Australia].
Books by and about Archbishop Oscar Romero:
The Four Pastoral Letters discuss themes of the Resurrecting Church, the Church as the Body of Christ at work in history, The Church at work with the people, and the Church’s mission within the National Crisis, and the National Security State which sacrifices people, their rights and their lives for the interests of a powerful few. Clearly and independently from the mystery of the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero, these four documents have much to tell us today therefore about our own present situation, about ecclesiology and the prophetic obligation and mission of the Church in the modern world, and they more than merit our close reading now as we struggle still as an oppressed and a pilgrim Catholic Church in America. [Description from a reader’s review on Amazon.com.]
Archbishop Romero: Memories and Reflections (by Jon Sobrino)
Books by (and articles about) Jon Sobrino
No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (2008) The provocative title of these essays plays on a traditional Catholic slogan: “No salvation outside the church.” But as Fr. Sobrino notes, salvation has many dimensions, both personal and social, historical and transcendent. Insofar as it implies God’s response to a world marked by suffering and injustice, then the poor represent an indispensable test, a key to the healing of a sick society. more…
Systematic Theology: Perspectives from Liberation Theology (Readings from Mysterium Liberationis) Jon Sobrino and Ignacio Ellacuría
Mysterium Liberationis: Fundamental Concepts of Liberation Theology Ignacio Ellacuría and Jon Sobrino
Article: Jon Sobrino and the Vatican judgment [against him] by Andrew Hamilton
Article: Reflections on the Sobrino Notification by Michael O’Sullivan, SJ
African-American Liberation Theology
NEW BOOK (2009): The Segregated Hour: A Layman’s Guide to the History of Black Liberation Theology
James Cone Explains Black Liberation Theology (streaming audio 13 min)
God of the Oppressed by James H. Cone
Asian Liberation Theology
Overview article: Liberation Psychology: Learning From Latin America Mark Burton, Manchester Learning Disability Partnership 2002
Ignacio Martín-Baró: Writings for a Liberation Psychology By Ignacio Martín-Baró (Adrianne Aron and Shawn Corne, Editors) “In your country,” Ignacio Martín-Baró remarked to a North American colleague, “it’s publish or perish. In ours, it’s publish and perish.” In November 1989 a Salvadoran death squad extinguished his eloquent voice, raised so often and so passionately against oppression in his adopted country. A Spanish-born Jesuit priest trained in psychology at the University of Chicago, Martín-Baró devoted much of his career to making psychology speak to the community as well as to the individual. This collection of his writings, the first in English translation, clarifies Martín-Baró’s importance in Latin American psychology and reveals a major force in the field of social theory. more…
Toward Psychologies of Liberation Critical Theory and Practice in Psychology and the Human Sciences By Mary Watkins and Helene Shulman Psychologies of liberation are emerging on every continent in response to the collective traumas inflicted by colonialism and globalization. The authors present the theoretical foundation and participatory methodologies that unite these radical interdisciplinary approaches to creating individual and community well-being. They move from a description of the psychological and community wounds that are common to unjust and violent contexts to engaging examples of innovative community projects from around the world that seek to heal these wounds. The creation of public homeplaces, the work of liberation arts, critical participatory action research, public dialogue, and reconciliation are highlighted as embodying the values and hopes of liberation psychology. Drawing on psychoanalysis, trauma studies, liberation arts, participatory research, and contemporary cultural work, this book nourishes our understanding of and imagination about the kinds of healing that are necessary to the creation of more just and peaceful communities. In dialogue with cultural workers, writers, and visionaries from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States, and the Pacific Islands, Toward Psychologies of Liberation quickens a dialogical convergence of liberatory psychological theories and practices that will seed individual and community transformation. Download Introduction as PDF file. Book info and purchase links.
The Insanity of Normality Toward Understanding Human Destructiveness By Arno Gruen In The Insanity of Normality, the psychoanalyst Arno Gruen challenges the assumption, made popular by Freud in the twentieth century, that humans are born with an innate tendency to destruction and violence. Gruen argues instead that at the root of evil lies self-hatred, a rage originating in a self-betrayal that begins in childhood, when autonomy is surrendered in exchange for the “love” of those who wield power over us. To share in that subjugating power, we create a false self, a pleasing-to-others image of ourselves that springs from powerful and deep-seated hopes of being loved and fears of being injured and humiliated. Gruen traces this pattern of over-adaptation and smoldering rebellion through a number of case studies, sociological phenomena — from Nazism to Reaganomics — and literary works. (Full disclosure: Dennis Rivers, the editor of www.LiberationTheology.org and this page, owns the small publishing firm, Human Development Books, that publishes Arno Gruen’s two books available in English: The Insanity of Normality and The Betrayal of the Self.) more…
Additional Perspectives (under construction)
Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing by Rosemary Radford Ruether
Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation by Marc Ellis
The Cambridge Companion to Liberation Theology (book review)
Orbis Books Catalog (Orbis Books is a major publisher of books on liberation theology.)