On February 21, 2022, I signed a contract with Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company to publish a book on child liberation theology. Currently titled The Kingdom of Children, my book draws from sacred texts, other liberation theologies, educational pedagogy, and social science to break through the silence surrounding children and their undermined spiritual agency in America faith communities. It argues that not only is a child liberation theology necessary, but that it is possible for children to do that theology themselves. Like adults, children can be prophets, leaders, and theologians.
Liberation theology, which originated from African American theologian James Cone and Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez in the 1960s and 1970s, is a theology of self-determination. It aims to uplift and empower marginalized people groups by looking at God and the Bible in liberative ways. Child liberation theology is similar. It takes Jesus’s act of placing a child in his disciples’ midst as more than a metaphor; it sees that act as a radical call to center children in our beliefs and practices.
If you’re new to child liberation theology, here is an introduction.
I hope my book shows Christian leaders, theologians, and parents that there are alternatives to the prevailing attitudes and practices promoted by evangelicalism concerning children. And I pray that it will improve the lives of children everywhere. As much as I have changed and evolved over the years, I still find Jesus’s advocacy for children powerful and revolutionary. That advocacy is desperately needed in American faith communities.
I am grateful to my agent, David Morris of Hyponymous, and my acquisitions editor at Eerdmans, Trevor Thompson, for making this dream of mine a reality. Many thanks to Bradley Onishi of the Straight White American Jesus podcast for introducing me to David. (If you’re looking for an agent, I can’t recommend David highly enough!) And thanks to everyone else who has loved and supported me over the years, most of all my spouse Scarlettah Schaefer. I couldn’t have reached this point without all of you.
To stay in the loop about the book as it gets prepared for publication in 2023, be sure to sign up for my email list here. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and be sure to like and follow the Child Liberation Theology Twitter and Facebook accounts, too.