“Finding theological resources for White Christian communities to undertake an institutional audit of illicitly gained wealth and power, and develop a plan for reparation. ”
Recognizing predominantly White institutions as storehouses of illicitly acquired power and wealth, this project extends the research of my book The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism and Religious Diversity in America (Orbis, 2017). The current project reads institutional histories through a theological lens to argue for strategies of reparation for White Christian institutions. It begins with original research in archival depositories for a historical reconstruction of the era of enslavement, investigating the Christian theo-logic expressed by women and men who built these institutions – both enslaved and enslaver. Using sociologist Avery Gordon’s theoretical framing where ghosts of the past are a transformative presence, these chapters read history for patterns of Christian thought and action to mobilize or resist today. The detailed historical accounts are accompanied by more recent activities of institutional change in the 20th and 21st centuries. In the contemporary investigation, we learn further theological strategies of transformation through student organizing and legal activism that precedes institutional change. By encouraging readers to recognize their role as gatekeepers, Grace of the Ghosts aims to offer theological resources for institutional, social and material transformation toward Christian institutions of greater racial justice.