The Formative Power of One’s Personal Story

Photo from Andy Savage’s Facebook profile.


Speech is power. And because speech is power, stories are powerful. Our stories help determine who we are. The way we narrate our stories determines how we define ourselves. But when our stories get wrested from us and revised by others, it inevitably does injury to our self-identity. Silencing someone’s narration of their own story is an act of oppression and violence. When we tell our own stories, we defy the attempts of others to control and define us.
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Book Review: Doctrine and Race

Mathews, Mary Beth Swetnam. Doctrine and Race: African American Evangelicals and Fundamentalism Between the Wars. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2017. 157pp.


The basic thesis of Doctrine and Race is that during the interwar period (c. 1920-1940), which was dominated by the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, African-American Christians largely adhered to fundamentalist doctrine but adapted modernist views of social justice and race relations. To support this thesis, Mathews shows that the constructs of “fundamentalism” and “modernism” were “racialized term[s]” (7). The category of fundamentalism was created and defined by white Christians, and modernism was also a primarily white phenomenon. Therefore, African-American churches do not fit this binary, so the polarity of fundamentalism-modernism is an inadequate lens through which to view African-American churches during this period.

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