Charles Marsh is Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies and director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia. Shea Tuttle is editorial and program manager of the Project on Lived Theology. Daniel P. Rhodes, clinical assistant professor of social justice at the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University, Chicago. They have edited this stirring and enlightening collection of 13 brief profiles of Catholic and Protestant men and women, gay and straight, who have sought to transform America through peacemaking, community building, and protest.
Each chapter is written by a different author who seeks to illuminate themes of interest to all who are animated by creating a better world — farmworker justice, no unjust imprisonment, a living wage, witness through music, and dignity for American workers.
We were very much taken by Cesar Chavez's marches of "pilgrimage of penance and revolution," the tenderness of theologian Howard Thurman who talked to trees as a part of his spiritual practice, the humble service of the poor by Howard Kester who saw himself as a modern-day disciple of St. Francis, the refusal of Catholic activist Dorothy Day to demonize immigrants and their implied links to communism, the bravery of Richard Twist as a witness to Native American humanity, and Daniel Berrigan's creative use of stagecraft to shift public perceptions.
Brenda Ueland has observed: "Inspiration does not come like a bolt nor is it kinetic energy striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time." Don't expect big fanfare or boisterous firepower while you are reading Can I Get a Witness? Just relax into the genuine and free-flowing inspiration it provides.