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Inclusive Womanism Book Review: Making A Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology

by Tamice Spencer-Helms

Book Cover "Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology Monica A. Coleman"

Monica Coleman's seminal work, "Making A Way Out of No Way" (2008), presents a compelling challenge to womanism, urging it to widen its embrace beyond Christian norms to include non-Christian Black religious practices and to address postmodern concerns, notably around queerness. This call to action is particularly resonant for Black young adults on college campuses, who find themselves at the crossroads of identity formation and spiritual exploration.

In her discourse, Coleman invites a reconsideration of spirituality and tradition, pushing beyond conventional boundaries. While she does not specifically use the term "conjure," the essence of her argument aligns with the notion of summoning the interconnectedness of past, present, and future. This convergence is where, metaphorically, God and creativity manifest, showcasing the emergence of innovation and resilience as if "out of nowhere." It's this phenomenon that underpins the aptness of her book's title, reflecting a deep-seated tradition within Black spirituality of creating possibilities and sustaining hope even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Coleman's work is a beacon for those seeking to understand the depth and breadth of Black spirituality, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and valuing the rich tapestry of African spiritual practices. Spirit possession, often viewed through a lens of colonial prejudice, is reclaimed as a source of power and guidance. This reconceptualization serves not just as a nod to traditional African religions but also as a bridge to contemporary challenges faced by Black communities, including the quest for identity and belonging among queer Black youth.

By advocating for the inclusion of non-Christian perspectives and the exploration of queerness within womanist theology, Coleman not only broadens the scope of womanism but also offers a more inclusive and affirming framework for Black young adults navigating their spiritual and personal journeys on college campuses. Her work underscores the necessity of embracing a multifaceted understanding of Black spirituality, one that honors its complexity and its capacity to foster community, resilience, and creativity.

Thus, Coleman's "Making A Way Out of No Way" serves as a pivotal text for those endeavoring to understand the dynamic interplay of tradition, spirituality, and identity among Black youth today. It's a call to action for embracing a more inclusive womanism that acknowledges and celebrates the rich diversity of Black religious and spiritual expression, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued in the ongoing discourse on faith, culture, and identity.

Monica A. Coleman


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