Carter Heyward is a pioneering feminist theologian. She taught at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, beginning in 1975, and was Howard Chandler Robbins Professor of Theology there when she retired in 2006. She was one of 11 women who paved the way for the recognition of women as priests in the Episcopal Church, which occurred in 1976. She is the author of 11 other titles including God in the Balance. Heyward continues to write, travel, and lecture while engaging activists in the areas of human, earth, and animal rights.
She writes in the foreword: "I am still enthusiastically committed, as a Christian, to struggles dedicated to building a world in which every person is entitled, by law, to basic human rights. I have come to realize, as I move along into my mid-sixties, that what justice-loving people most need in these times, and in all times, is the courage to speak and act on behalf of this world. My desire in this book is to spark such courage and stir imagination."
Heyward has divided this collection of essays, speeches, and sermons written over the past decade into three sections: Messages to the Empire (the ongoing struggles for justice), Remembering Who We Are (the ties which bind us together and with all the creatures of the earth), and Celebrating Our Friends (the power of relation in our lives and work). Behind all of these writings is Heyward's dismay at the pervasive fear in our culture: fear about the "other" and the stranger; fear about our safety in the face of terrorism; fear of women; fear of homosexuals and lesbians; fear as expressed in the anger and rage of right-wingers; and fear as the animating force behind Christian fundamentalism.
She writes about the spiritual resources that can address this toxic atmosphere of fear: compassion; enemy-love; forgiveness; stubbornness in the Spirit; taking care of ourselves, animals, and the good earth; acknowledging God's "fierce whimsy"; and "knowing deep in our bones that we are surrounded by God in all times and all places for ever and ever."