The Universe Bends Toward Justice
By: Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.
"Who but Obery Hendricks would dare to read the parable of 'vines and branches' in the Fourth Gospel through the lens of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath? Such a connect is characteristic of the way in which Obery articulates the racial and class inequities pervasive in our society and, with the same intensity, occupy the biblical text. He has written a provocative and persuasive primer on how to read the Bible faithfully and knowingly upstream against the religious pabulum that endlessly seduces us." --Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Obery Hendricks is one of the last few grand prophetic scholars in these dark and difficult times. This book exemplifies his courageous and visionary vision. Don't miss it." --Cornel West, Princeton University
"Obery Hendricks has written a tour de force, exposing the American conservative movement for its ability to use Christian rhetoric to hide the most un Christian behavior."--Gov. Howard Dean, former chair, Democratic National Committee
"Only a scholar with the intellectual versatility and depth of Obery Hendricks could create this provocative and passionate critique of philosophies, policies, and practices that masquerade as Christian and conservative, but which show no mercy and do great harm to the poor, the elderly, and the very young."--Barbara D. Savage, Univ. of Penn.
"Hendricks is unflinching in his criticism of conservative impulses in the church and in the government that prey on the most vulnerable."--Melissa Harris-Perry, Tulane University; MSNBC commentator
"The Universe Bends Toward Justice confirms that Obery M. Hendricks, Jr. is one of the greatest intellectuals and most exciting scholars in America today. His range and depth in this book are astonishing." --Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University
In these passionate and wide-ranging essays Obery Hendricks offers a challenging engagement with spirituality, economics, politics, contemporary Christianity, and the abuses committed in its name. Among his themes: the gap between the spirituality of the church and the spirituality of Jesus; the ways in which contemporary versions of gospel music "sensationalize" todays churches into social and political irrelevance; how the economic principles and policies espoused by the religious right betray the most basic principles of biblical tradition they claim to hold dear; and the domestication of Martin Luther Kings message to foster a political complacency that dishonors Kings sacrifices.
Hendricks concludes with a stinging rebuke of the religious rights idolatrous "patriotism" in a radical manifesto for those who would practice "the politics of Jesus" in the public sphere.
Obery M. Hendricks, Jr. is one of todays most provocative and innovative commentators on the intersection of religion, politics, and social policy. He has been featured on C-SPAN, PBS, NPR, Fox News, and the Bloomberg Network. A former Wall Street investment executive and past president of Payne Theological Seminary (the oldest African American theology school in the U.S.) he is currently professor of biblical interpretation at New York Theological Seminary and visiting scholar in religion and African American studies at Columbia University. A featured writer for Godspolitics.com, his books include The Politics of Jesus (Doubleday, 2007), which The Washington Post called ""essential reading for Americans,"" and a novel, Living Water (HarperCollins, 2004).