What should a business do when there are no customers?

What should a business do when there are no customers?

Lounge Lizard

Posted by: Lounge Lizard
Categories: blogBusinessMarketingFree Site Audit

Due to the recent pandemic, the global economy has hit the brakes hard, sending all its passengers scrambling to find something to hang on to. For some, work is continuing albeit with numerous changes. But what about those businesses and industries that had to slow down or effectively close their customer-facing aspects? What do you do when there are no customers buying your products or services? The simple answer is – do all the tasks every business should do, but bypasses because they are too busy.

There is an enormous number of things every business should be doing regularly in the pursuit of optimization, functionality, and creating new opportunities. The simple fact is, there just isn’t enough time and these things keep falling down the priorities list. It looks like it is time to dust off that list and start knocking a few things out.

Not only does it provide people with something to do (shockingly people get tired of binge-watching Netflix and staying inside when other options are removed), but it also can help with creating a more efficient business. For many of us, it is going to be rough sailing for the next few quarters. Rather than just worrying about the money we aren’t making now, take time to control the things you can and actively plan for the future.

Things to Do During Downtime

  • Step Process Review – Every business that operates online has some variation of step-processes in place. This can be a simple newsletter sign-up to more complex e-commerce shopping. Whatever the case may be, step-processes should be regularly reviewed to look for anything that is causing you to lose customers at this point. From copy to the number of steps, to location of buttons, and more there are small adjustments that can be made which will streamline the process for the user. Easier and faster equals more conversions.
  • Website Maintenance – A website is like a car; it needs regular maintenance to run effectively. A site should be audited for better speed and performance as well as ensuring all front-end and back-end functionality is running smoothly. Speed is important for customer satisfaction, conversion rate, and SEO. In some cases, a site can become bloated due to the continual addition of content and features. An audit can help find redundancies, remove waste, and help find and fix broken links or pages.
  • Test New Software – There are a ton of great apps and fantastic software available, but who has the time to try them out to see how they could improve your business? For those that don’t already offer a free trial, ask. Plenty of B2B businesses will be happy for a potential lead. Look for software and apps that can improve productivity, increase efficiency, and improve customer interactions.
  • Brainstorm Content Ideas – Plenty of us create content on the fly without a plan. Of course, this is simply not as effective as having a content calendar and planning ideas and campaigns. One reason a business doesn’t always do that is a lack of ideas. It takes time and energy to brainstorm content ideas. Give your teams some suggestions to get them started and make a game out of it. Start tossing the idea ball back and forth and develop a strong list of content ideas for when the economy gets stabilized.
  • Content Audit – Content is like a tree. Over time it grows bigger and bigger, but to stay healthy you need to regularly prune it remove dead leaves and broken branches. This is important for two reasons: SEO and site speed. Take the time to remove outdated content, redundant content and content that doesn’t still provide value. This can also be an appropriate time to review that content for repurposing or generating updated content based on that topic.
  • Analyze Past Marketing Campaigns – Ideally, this is a regular step when designing new campaigns. But if you have the time take a long look at campaigns for the past five years or more. Look for what seemed to work and analyze why or why not one was more effective than another. Sometimes a long view can provide excellent insights.
  • Create Graphics – Update graphics, logos, and pictures used for your website or social media accounts. They don’t have to be implemented right now but can provide a fresh look in the coming months.
  • Interact on Social Media – Consumers are sitting at home. Some are bored and some are worried and stressed out. While a business might not be in a position to sell anything to their customers, they can still work on fostering stronger relationships by reaching out and interacting. Provide useful information or look to entertain customers.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that we all need to do our best in these challenging times. Looking for opportunities and staying engaged is better than worrying and doing nothing. What should a business do when there are no customers buying products or services? Plan for the future and do all of the little things that get skipped because there isn’t enough time!

Be sure to check back every week for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.



17 African American Women Theologians You Should Know About

By Emmanuella Carter

Series Editor for the Mosaic Bulletin: Juliany González Nieves

Series Editor: Graham Joseph Hill

I have studied at Christian schools my entire life. After graduating from high school, I went on to pursue a B.A. in Theology at a well-known evangelical institution. In all those years, I never had an African American woman as a professor of Bible or theology. Moreover, I did not even have a required textbook written by an African American female author. Now, as a third-year M.Div. student, things haven’t changed.

My experience is not unique. However, I am frustrated by the effects. Consider the issue of representation. It does not seem like a big deal until one day you realize that without representation, you are invisible. It does not happen all at once. It is a long process. It is a “Shhh” that is ever-increasing until, eventually, you are unable to hear yourself in the narrative. Your perspective, your experience, your voice will not be heard. There is just silence. And with that silence comes the invisibility, the erasure.

However, the erasure does not happen because African American women are not speaking or because they are not present. There are voices. Black women have been theologizing for a long time. But for a significant extent of our history, African American women had no official office in theology departments. Although they were not acknowledged as theologians, you can hear their theology in the poetry of Phyllis Wheatley, the activism of Sojourner Truth, and the preaching of Jarena Lee. These women and many others refused to be quiet. Wherever there were ideologies that declared their invisibility, these women preached, marched, wrote, and spoke their way into existence.

Today, black women theologians are still speaking and teaching us about God. For this reason, we have decided to feature 16 African American women theologians and biblical scholars you should know.

17 African American Women Theologians You Should Know About.CLICK TO TWEET

Andrea C. White

Rev. Dr. Andrea C. White serves as Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She specializes in constructive Christian theology, particularly womanist theology, and postmodern religious thought. Dr. White also serves as the Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and as the co-chair of the Black Theology Group of the American Academy of Religion.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Philosophy from Oberlin College, a Master of Divinity with a concentration in philosophy of religion from Yale University Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

In 2018, she presented a keynote address titled “Political Apostasy, Black Nihilism, and Barth” at the Karl Barth Annual Conference in Princeton Theological Seminary. This year, she delivered a sermon titled “A Vocation of Agony” for the King and Faith Lecture Series for the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation in San Francisco.

Her forthcoming publications include The Back of God: A Theology of Otherness in Karl Barth and Paul Ricoeur, The Scandal of Flesh: Black Women’s Bodies and God Politics, and Feminist and Womanist Theologies.[1]

Joanne Marie Terrell

Dr. Joanne Terrell is a native of Springfield, Massachusets. She holds a dual B.A. in Philosophy and Religion and Behavioral Science from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida; and an M.Div., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Currently, she serves as Associate Professor of Theology, Ethics & the Arts at Chicago Theological Seminary, where she specializes in black theology.

In 2018, she presented the Grawemeyer Religion Award lecture on behalf of Dr. James H. Cone, who could not make it to Louisville to discuss his book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Dr. Terrell is a former doctoral student of Dr. Cone.

An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, she is the author of Power in the Blood?: The Cross in the African American Experience (Wipf and Stock, 2005).[2]

Diana L. Hayes

Dr. Diana L. Hayes is a womanist theologian in the Roman Catholic tradition. She is Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology in the Department of Theology at Georgetown. Her areas of expertise are Black Theology, U.S. Liberation Theologies, Contextual Theologies, Religion and Public Life, and African American and Womanist Spirituality.

Dr. Hayes holds several doctoral degrees, including a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University, a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. She is the first African American woman to receive the Pontifical Doctorate of Sacred Theology Degree from this institution.

In 2004, she received the Elizabeth Seton Medal for Outstanding Woman Theologian from Mt. St. Joseph College in Cincinnati. She also received the U.S. Catholic Award for Furthering the Role of Women in the Church.

She is well-published, having written seven books and over 85 articles. Her publications include And Still We Rise: An Introduction to Black Liberation Theology (Paulist Press, 1996), Taking Down Our Harps: Black Catholics in the United States (1998), and Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made: A Womanist Theology (Fortress Press, 2010).[3]

Eboni Marshall Turman

Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman is the former director of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School. Now, she serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and African American Religion at Yale University Divinity School. Dr. Turman holds an M.Div., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. Additionally, Turman is the youngest woman to be named Assistant Minister of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City (2002-2012), and the second woman to preside over the ordinances in its 210-year history.[4]

Her writings include Toward a Womanist Ethic of Incarnation: Black Bodies, The Black Church and the Council of Chalcedon (Palgrave, 2013), and her forthcoming monograph Black Women’s Burden: Sexism, Violence, and the Black Church.

Jacquelyn Winston

Rev. Dr. Jacquelyn E. Winston is a patristics scholar, with an emphasis on the history of the first five centuries of the Christian Church. Her areas of interest include the uses of religious rhetoric to marginalize “the other,” cultural and religious constructions of identity, martyrdom and a theology of suffering, Jewish Christian relations, and material cultural analysis.

As an ordained minister with the Foursquare denomination, her approach to the academic setting is to make theology relevant and living. She states, “Theology is not a dry set of theories devoid of their social and cultural context. It is the living Body of Christ attempting to come to grips with the way that Jesus reveals Himself in our current settings.” In 2007, Dr. Winston became Associate Professor in Church History at Azusa Pacific University, and in 2010, she became the director of the Theology Program.

She earned both her M.A. in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Urban Ministries and her M.Div. from Azusa Pacific and received her Ph.D. in History of Christianity from Claremont Graduate University.[5]

Her publications include The Assassin of a Prophetic Imagination: Imperialistic Rhetoric in Ancient Rome and Contemporary America (2012), and Listening to the African Witness (2013).

Stephanie Crumpton

In 2017, Rev. Dr. Stephanie M. Crumpton joined the faculty at McCormick Theological Seminary as Assistant Professor of Practical Theology. Currently, she serves there as Associate Professor of Practical Theology. Dr. Crumpton holds a Doctor of Theology, Pastoral Care & Counseling from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA; an M.Div. from Johnson C. Smith Presbyterian Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta; and a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Oklahoma’s Langston University.
She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Dr. Crumpton specializes in pastoral theological methodology, theories of personality development, historical and social dimensions of pastoral counseling, pastoral counseling as a specialized form of the church’s ministries, and family systems theory.[6]

Her major publications include A Womanist Pastoral Theology Against Intimate and Cultural Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and After the 911 Call: A Pastoral Theologian Reflects on Family Violence Advocacy (2013).

Katie Geneva Cannon

On August 9, 2018, the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon went home to be with the Lord. Dr. Cannon was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. At a very young age, she became a member of the United Presbyterian Church. On April 24, 1974, she became the first African American woman to be ordained by the denomination.

Cannon earned a Master of Divinity from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. In 1983, she became the first African American woman to receive the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Dr. Cannon became the Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2001. Her outstanding work merited her many awards, including the 2018 Excellence in Theological Education Award.[7]

Her co-edited publications include Inheriting Our Mothers’ Gardens: Feminist Theology in Third World Perspective (Westminster John Knox Press, 1988), Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), and The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Keri L. Day

Dr. Keri L. Day is an Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research interests include womanist/feminist theologies, social critical theory, cultural studies, economics, and Afro-Pentecostalism. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in Religion and Ethics from Yale University Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee State University.[8]

Dr. Day has authored two books: Unfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America (Orbis Books, 2012); and Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Kelly Brown Douglas

In 2017, Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas was named Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary. Within the same year, she became the Canon Theologian for the Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC.

Dr. Douglas was the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese and among the first ten to be ordained nationwide. She is one of the leading voices in the development of womanist theology, racial reconciliation, and sexuality and the black church. As a result, she is widely published in national and international journals and other publications. Her publications include The Black Christ (Orbis Books, 1994), Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (Orbis Books, 1999), Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (Orbis Books, 2015), and What’s Faith Got to Do With It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls (Orbis Books, 2005).

Dr. Douglas holds a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in Psychology from Denison University, and an M.Div. and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary.[9]

Delores S. Williams

Delores S. Williams is the Paul Tillich Professor Emerita of Theology and Culture at Union Theological Seminary. She is considered the founding foremother of Womanist theology, and is best known for her 1993 book Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk.[10]      

Emilie M. Townes

The Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, a native of Durham, NC, is a womanist theologian, distinguished scholar, and leader in theological education. She is the Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society. Formerly, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Yale Divinity School.

Townes is an ordained American Baptist minister, and she earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the University of Chicago. She also holds two doctoral degrees: a D.Min. from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from the Joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/ Northwestern University Program in Religious and Theological Studies. Furthermore, Dr. Townes is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from Washington and Jefferson College and Franklin College.

In 2015, she was awarded the Pacesetter Award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. She has authored multiple publications, including Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil (2006), Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Care and A Womanist Ethic of Care (Wipf & Stock, 2006), In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness (Abingdon Press, 1995) and Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope (1993). She co-edited Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), and Faith, Health, and Healing in African American Life (Praeger, 2008).[11]

Jacquelyn Grant

Dr. Jacquelyn Grant is one of the three founders of Womanist Theology and Ethics, along with Katie Cannon and Delores Williams. Currently, she serves as the Fuller E. Callaway Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA.

Originally, from Georgetown, SC, she was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1974. Additionally, she is the founder of The Black Women in Church and Society (BWCS) program, The Womanist Scholars Program (WSP) and Black Women in Ministerial Leadership Program (BWML).

Dr. Grant holds a B.A. from Bennett College and an M.Div. from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center. She went on to receive an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary, becoming the first African American woman to earned the latter. Dr. Grant also holds several honorary doctorate degrees from Turner Theological Seminary, ITC; Payne Theological Seminary; Bennett College and Chicago Theological Seminary.[12]

Her publications include White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response ( Scholars Press, 1989), Perspectives on Womanist Theology (ITC Press, 1995), and the book chapter “The challenge of the darker sister,” in Feminism and Theology (Oxford University Press, 2003).

Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan

Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan is currently Professor of Theology and Women’s Studies at Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC. She earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and was the recipient of the Excellence in Academic Research Award from Shaw University in 2009.

An ordained elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Kirk-Duggan is the author of over 20 books including Exorcizing Evil: A Womanist Perspective on the Spirituals (Orbis Books, 1994), Misbegotten Anguish: A Theology and Ethics of Violence (Chalice Press, 2001), and Violence and Theology (Abingdon Press, 2006).[13]

Monica Coleman

Dr. Monica Coleman is a theologian, scholar, activist, and Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware. Formerly, she served as Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology, and as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Dr. Coleman became an ordained elder in the Michigan Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at age 19. She went on to receive her B.A. in African American Studies from Harvard University, and her M.Div. from Vanderbilt University School. She also holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Theology from Claremont Graduate University.[14]

Dr. Coleman’s publications include Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith (Fortress Press, 2016), Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression (Inner Prizes Inc., 2012), and Making a Way Out of No Way: a Womanist Theology (Fortress Press, 2008). Additionally, she is the co-editor of Creating Women’s Theologies: A Movement Engaging Process Thought (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and the editor of Ain’t I a Womanist Too?: Third Wave Womanist Religious Thought (Fortress Press, 2013).

M. Shawn Copeland

Dr. M. Shawn Copeland is Professor Emeritus of Theology at Boston College, the institution from where she graduated with her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. Before being appointed to that position, she served as Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University. From 1994 to 2016, Copeland worked for The Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana.

In 2018, she was awarded the American John Courtney Murray Award, becoming the first African American woman theologian to receive such honor. She is also the first African American president of the Catholic Theological Society.[15]

Her publications include Knowing Christ Crucified: The Witness of African American Religious Experience (Orbis Books, 2018); Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being (Fortress Press, 2009); and Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience (Orbis Books, 2009).

Mitzi J. Smith

Dr. Mitzi J. Smith is the J. Davison Philips Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Previous to this position, Dr. Smith served as the Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Detroit, MI. She holds a B.A. in Theology from Columbia Union College in Maryland; an M.A. in Black Studies from The Ohio State University; and an M.Div. from Howard University School of Divinity.

Additionally, Dr. Smith is the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard. Her edited book I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader (Cascade Books) was chosen as one of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles in 2015.[16]

Her other publications include Womanist Sass and Talk Back: Social (In)Justice, Intersectionality, and Biblical Interpretation (Cascade Books, 2018); Insights from African American Interpretation (Fortress Press, 2017); and Teaching All Nations: Interrogating the Matthean Great Commission (Fortress Press, 2014), co-edited with Jayachitra Lalitha.

Traci C. West

Rev. Dr. Traci C. West is Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School. She holds a B.A. from Yale University, an M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. West is an ordained elder in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.[17]

Her publications include Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality: Africana Lessons on Religion, Racism, and Ending Gender Violence (New York University Press, 2019); and Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter (Westminster John Knox Press, 2006).

The Challenge: The Church Must Listen to Itself

Can you imagine our Western theology without the German voice of Martin Luther or the Swiss voice of Ulrich Zwingli? What if we did not have the French voice of John Calvin, the Polish voice of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or the Canadian voice of Don Carson? If we cannot imagine our theology without their voices, we must ask ourselves, “Why can we imagine our theology without the voices of Asian women, USA Latinas, Caribbean and Latin American women, Indigenous women, White women, Black women?” They, too, are a part of our Christian history. They also give shape to our theology. They, too, are the voice of the Church. The Church is speaking. Can you hear her? Will you listen to her?

Further Reading and Resources

This post is part of a series we are running profiling female theologians from all over the globe — see our other articles in this series:

Series Editor: Graham Joseph Hill

Stephanie A. Lowery, “9 African Women Theologians You Should Know About”

Juliany González Nieves, “23 Latin American Women and USA Latinas in Theology and Religion You Should Know About”

Emmanuella Carter, “17 African American Women Theologians you Should Know About”

Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen and Graham Joseph Hill, “18 Arab Female Theologians and Christian Leaders You Should Know About”

Jessie Giyou Kim and Graham Joseph Hill, “18 Asian Female Theologians You Should Know About (Plus Others For You To Explore)”

Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker, “20 Australian and New Zealander Female Theologians You Should Get to Know in 2020”

Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker, “160+ Australian and New Zealander Women in Theology You Should Know About”

Graham Joseph Hill and Jessie Giyou Kim, “12 Women on Changing the World: A 12-Session Film Series on Transforming Society and Neighborhoods”

Juliany González Nieves, “Caribbean Christian Theology: A Bibliography”

Juliany González Nieves offers “A Reading List on Latinx and Latin American Theologies” HERE and downloadable HERE. See “A Latinx Theology Reading List” by Santi Rodriguez, HERE.

Mosaic Bulletin

This article will be published in the upcoming issue of the Mosaic Bulletin, a publication of Mosaic Ministries at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The Mosaic Bulletin aims to be a platform that amplifies the voices of seminary students, especially those at the margins, discussing everything from theology, race, and gender to bridging the gap between the seminary and the community, culture, and art.


Emmanuella Carter holds a B.A. in Theology from Moody Bible Institute and is currently completing her M.Div. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She serves in the leadership team of Mosaic Ministries, and as minister and women’s ministry leader at Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago.



Cover Image by Alexandria McCrory: Alexandria McCrory is a freelance graphic designer based in Lake County, IL. She earned her Bachelor of Social Science in Graphic Design from Trinity International University. She loves to fuse her passion for art and faith through the designs she creates. You can follow her on IG @agmalley95 and visit her website zamccror.myportfolio.com.


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How to write a lament

How to write a lament

A Guide for Writing a Lament

Here is a guide for how to write a lament. It has been put together by Jenna from “The Practice” in South Barrington, Illinois.

As you write your lament, you may choose to write a parapragh or two on each point.

Here are the nine steps of lament:

  1. Cry out to God (your address to God);
  2. Complaint (your anger, pain, heartache, or sadness);
  3. Affirmation of Trust (your remembrance of God’s presence in your past);
  4. Petition/Request (your deepest desire);
  5. Additional Argument (anything more, why God should intervene);
  6. Rage against Your Enemies (bringing your enemies before God);
  7. Assurance of Being Heard (what you need to feel heard);
  8. Promise to Offer Praise to God (the promise you can offer to God); and
  9. Assurance (the attribute of God you are thankful for in the moment).

What Do Laments Look Like?

Alternatively, you may like to write a lament like the two examples below.

Here are two examples of laments. Both are adapted from Lamentations 5.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim wrote the first one, as a lament for Sandra Bland. Sandra Bland was found hanged in a jail cell in Texas on July 13 2015. This was three days after being arrested during a traffic stop and her death was ruled as a suicide and was followed by public protests that disputed the cause of death and instead alleged racial violence. Graham Joseph Hill wrote the second one, as a lament for Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

You may design different kinds of laments. But we hope these can serve as examples to get you started.

A Lament for Sandra Bland

1 God who creates and loves us all,

We turn to you as we lament the death of Sandra Bland.

2 You are a creative God,

You made Sandra and each of us in your image.

3 Yet society failed to welcome Sandra, rejecting her and her beautiful, young, black body.

She died hanging in a jail cell.

4 Her unexplained death rips an unspeakable hole in her family as they lose a daughter and a sister.

Her friends experience a profound loss. Grief remains.

5 You are a comforting God. You understand the sorrows, grief, and agony of your children.

You stand with Sandra’s family and friends in their grief.

6 Inspire us to stand with those who love Sandra,

and demand justice for her death.

7 You are a loving God. You create a diverse humanity to love you and to love one another.

Our value comes from you as our Creator.

8 We confess we fall short of your intentions.

We judge and discriminate against one other; we wound and violate each other.

9 We have created and sustained a system based on the sin of racism,

which proclaims that the color of our skin gives us value.

10 Racism denies your love for all your children;

denies your invitation to us to love one another.

11 Racism privileges some of your children and oppresses others,

giving rise to events such as the death of Sandra Bland.

12 You are a merciful God. Forgive us for how we fall short.

Pour your Holy Spirit afresh upon us. Open us to the healing you offer. Draw us together.

13 Lead us from despair to wholeness,

that we might love one another and work to end racism.

14 You are a faithful God.

We give thanks for the life and love and witness of Sandra Bland.

15 We give thanks for the ways you are at work within the brokenness of our lives,

and the woundedness of our communities and nation.

16 We give thanks that through Jesus we are freed to join in your work;

through the Holy Spirit we are empowered to join in your transformational work.

17 Through Jesus we pray,



A Lament for Australia

1 Remember, O Lord, what has happened to us;

look, and see our disgrace.

2 Our nation has ignored and denied the inheritance of ancient cultures,

the desert, fresh water, and sea peoples,

who’ve lived here for 60,000 years.

3 Over 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations have been displaced,

lands and children have been stolen.

4 We ask for recognition and basic human rights,

dignity and freedom for all Australians alike.

5 Those who pursue us are at our heels;

we are weary and find no rest.

6 We submitted to those who introduced new diseases, forcibly acquired lands,

and thrived on violent conflict and colonization.

7 Our ancestors invaded this beautiful land and are no more,

but we, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples together,

bear the shame and enmity and suffering.

8 Slavery, colonization, and invasion oppressed us,

and we cried out for freedom from their hands.

9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives,

young and old are imprisoned and forgotten.

10 Our skin is hot as an oven,

chained, beaten, imprisoned, and murdered, in the blazing outback sun.

11 Colonizers have violated women since Australia’s earliest days,

and we mourn Stolen Generations.

12 Children and adults have been hung by their hands, murdered and driven off cliffs,

elders are shown no respect.

13 Children and youth are in our jails, separated from culture and family,

mothers are in refuges or on the streets.

14 The elders still speak, but our nation does not listen,

the Dreamtime continues to show our nation another way.

15 Joy is gone from our hearts;

our dancing has turned to mourning and lament.

16 The crown of colonization and cultural superiority has fallen from our head.

Woe to us, for we have sinned!

17 Because of this our hearts are faint,

because of these things our eyes grow dim,

18 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,

with loan sharks, drug dealers, corrupt officials, and others, prowling about us.

19 You, O Lord, reign forever;

you live among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations,

and among non-Indigenous Australians,

on this beautiful and sacred and ancient land,

since time immemorial.

20 We witness the vibrancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures,

your presence in art, music, languages, beliefs, and practices.

21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;

renew our days as of old,

22 unless you have utterly rejected us,

and are angry with us beyond measure.

23 Restore to us a heart of flesh,

rid us of our heart of stone.

24 Restore in us a desire for justice and truth,

a desire to see all people restored to their place and lands.

25 Speak to us through your Spirit,

present in the voices and cultures and desires of ancient and modern peoples.

26 Rid us of one-sided or superficial calls for reconciliation,

and lead us toward true lament and repentance and justice.


Graham Joseph Hill

Graham Joseph Hill (PhD, Flinders University) is Interim Principal and Director of Research at Stirling Theological College (University of Divinity) in Melbourne, Australia. He has planted and pastored churches, and been in theological education for twenty years. Graham is the author or editor of 6 books including Global Church (IVP, 2016), Healing Our Broken Humanity, (IVP, 2018, with Grace Ji-Sun Kim), and Salt, Light and a City (Cascade, 2017). He also directs The Global Church Project

© 2019 All rights reserved. Copying and republishing this article on other Web sites, or in any other place, without written permission is prohibited.

9 African Women Theologians You Should Know About

9 African Women Theologians You Should Know About

9 African Women Theologians You Should Know About

By Stephanie A. Lowery

Series Editor: Graham Joseph Hill

Africa is vast. It is vibrant and diverse, and a lifetime would not suffice to explore its forests, deserts, mountains, must less its villages, towns, and vast cities. From Coptic Christians in Egypt and the historic Ethiopian church, from African instituted churches to denominations founded by Westerners, the ecclesial terrain is also diverse and beautiful.

I freely admit my own bias here: I’ve spent my formative years, and now nearly half of my life, in Kenya. But my formal theological education was in the United States, which is a very different environment. I began studying theologies in Africa because of my desire to return to Kenya: I felt I had to be informed about the context I was entering if I hoped to be a good teacher.

Along the way, I have realized that whether or not you have any desire or intention of setting foot on this great continent, you ought to have some idea of what is happening here. As I said, Africa is vast, and it is a continent in which Christianity is growing rapidly, as Philip Jenkins and many others have pointed out. It behoves all of us to have some idea of what is happening in Christianity globally, not just in our area. Reading other perspectives will help your perspectives to widen, and hopefully, help you identify some of your blind spots. Besides that, it is an encouragement to know how God is at work around the world!

Modern academic African theology arose in the mid-1950s and developed into various ‘streams’ or emphases since then, such as inculturation, liberation, and others. Each stream shares the conviction that we must contextualize Christianity. The church in each context needs to develop its specific and contextual ‘voice.’ When African theology began, it was mainly produced by men, for obvious reasons. Over the years, however, women too began to share their voices. Given that the majority of those in African churches on any given Sunday are women and children, it is vital to understand the perspective of women. So let me share with you some key women’s voices from Africa, whom I hope you will be willing to hear and learn from!

Mercy Amba Oduyoye

Recommended book: Daughters of Anowa: African Women and Patriarchy (Orbis, 2005).

Sometimes referred to as the mother of African women’s theology, Oduyoye was born in Ghana and founded the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians in 1989. The Circle was created with the desire to represent the voice of African women at the grassroots level, regardless of religious affiliation. The Circle desired to encourage women to research and publish so that their voices would indeed be heard. Unsurprisingly, many of the first women theologians in this online article were involved with the Circle.

Oduyoye earned a master’s degree from Cambridge in 1969. She served with the World Council of Churches for two decades and has taught at Harvard University, Union Theological Seminary, and the University of Ibadan. Oduyoye has been awarded multiple honorary degrees, from Stellenbosch University, the University of the Western Cape, and Yale.

Oduyoye has written multiple books and over 80 articles addressing Christianity from an African woman’s perspective. One of her key concerns is how African religion and culture influence the experiences of African women. Some of her works are Hearing and Knowing: Theological Reflections on Christianity in AfricaDaughters of Anowa: African Women and Patriarchy, and Introducing African Women’s Theology.

Musa Wenkosi Dube

Recommended book chapter: “Fifty Years of Bleeding: A Storytelling Feminist Reading of Mark 5:24-43” in Other Ways of Reading: African Women and the Bible, ed. Musa W. Dube (SBL, 2001).

Musa W. Dube is originally from Botswana. She studied at Durham for her master’s degree in the New Testament and completed a PhD at Vanderbilt University. During her career, Musa has taught in institutions in Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, and the United States as well as her home country, where she currently teaches as a professor of New Testament at the University of Botswana. In 2021 she will begin serving in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

In 2017 Musa won the international Gutenberg Teaching Award. She has also received numerous awards for her research, including awards from the World Council of Churches and Society for Biblical Literature. She is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians (often referred to as the Circle), and a prolific writer, having authored over 200 works including journal articles, books, and editing nearly a dozen volumes.

Mainly known for her work as a postcolonial feminist theologian, her research interests include the Bible, gender, postcolonialism, translation, and HIV/AIDS. Among her many publications are included Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible and The HIV and AIDS Bible: Selected Essays, “Talitha Cum Hermeneutics: Some African Women’s Ways of Reading the Bible”, and “Searching for the Lost Needle: Double Colonization and Postcolonial African Feminisms”.

Musimbi R. A. Kanyoro

Recommended book: Introducing Feminist Cultural Hermeneutics: An African Perspective (Pilgrim, 2002).

Musimbi R. A. Kanyoro is a Kenyan who has earned two doctorates: one from the University of Texas at Austin in linguistics, and the other in feminist theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is also a human rights advocate, involved in a variety of organizations, including leading the Global Fund for Women for eight years.

In her career, she has served with the Lutheran World Federation, worked as a Bible translation consultant, and served as a Hebrew and Old Testament visiting scholar at Harvard. She is also a member of the World Health Organization. Her research interests include gender issues, HIV/AIDS, among others.

Her publications include Groaning in Faith: African women in the household of God (as a co-editor), Introducing Feminist Cultural Hermeneutics: An African Perspective, “Cultural Hermeneutics: An African contribution” in Other Ways of Reading: African Women and the Bible, and “Engendered Communal Theology: African Women’s Contribution to Theology in the 21st Century.”

Philomena Njeri Mwaura

Recommended book chapter: “Gender and Power in African Christianity: African Instituted Churches and Pentecostal Churches” in African Christianity: An African Story, ed. Ogbu U. Kalu (Africa World Press, 2007).

Philomena N. Mwaura is a Kenyan and received her PhD from Kenyatta University, where she teaches in their Philosophy and Religious Studies department, specifically the Center for Gender Equity and Empowerment at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.

Her areas of specialization are African Christianity and new religious movements, and her research interests include Christian Religious Education, church history, gender and theology, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Africa, and African Instituted Churches.

Philomena was co-editor of Theology in the Context of Globalization: African Women’s Response and Challenges and Prospects of the Church in Africa: Theological Reflections of the 21st Century. She has also written various works, including “A History of the Akurinu Churches with Particular Reference to the Holy Ghost Church of East Africa” and “Concept of Basic Human Rights in African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa and Jesus is Alive Ministries.”

Nyambura J. Njoroge

Recommended book: Kiama Kia Ngo: An African Christian Feminist Ethic of Resistance and Transformation (Legon Theological Studies, 2000).

Nyambura J. Njoroge is the programme executive for Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy at the World Council of Churches since 2007. She previously coordinated Ecumenical Theological Education at the World Council of Churches. Nyambura is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Kenya and earned her doctorate in African Christian Theology and Ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary, USA.

She is also a long-serving director of the HIV and Aids Advocacy and Initiatives by the WCC and passionate about sexual violence issues and made history by being the first Presbyterian woman to be ordained minister by the PCEA in 1982.

She is co-editor of Treatment Adherence and Faith Healing in the Context of HIV and AIDS in Africa; and co-editor with Musa Dube of Talitha Cum: Theologies of African Women. She has written on the participation and inclusion of women in the church, for example in “Groaning and Languishing in Labour Pains” in Groaning in Faith: African Women in the Household of God (mentioned earlier under Musimbi Kanyoro’s name) and Kiama Kia Ngo: An African Christian Feminist Ethic of Resistance and Transformation.

Teresa Okure

Recommended book chapter: “The Will to Arise: Reflections on Luke 8:40-56” in The Will to Arise: Women, Tradition, and the Church in Africa (Orbis, 2005).

Teresa Okure is from Nigeria and is a sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. She is a New Testament scholar who earned her PhD at Fordham University. She is professor of New Testament and gender hermeneutics at the Catholic Institute of West Africa in Nigeria. She has served in various leadership roles there, including head of the Department of Biblical Studies. Okure is a member of various national and international theological and biblical associations and the founding president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Nigeria.

She is a co-editor of the biblical commentary series Texts @ Contexts and Global Bible Commentary. Other publications of hers include “The Significance of Jesus’ Commission to Mary Magdalene,” “The Global Jesus” in The Cambridge Companion to Jesus, and The Johannine Approach to Mission: A Contextual Study of John 4:1-42.

Isabel Apawo Phiri

Recommended publication: “Major Challenges for African Women Theologians in Theological Education (1989-2008),” International Review of Mission 98, no. 1 (2009).

Phiri is from Malawi. After earning a master’s in religious education from the University of Lancaster in England, she earned a PhD from University of Cape Town, South Africa, where she majored in African theology, feminist theology, and mission history. Phiri has been engaged with churches and the ecumenical movement for two decades. She has served with the World Council of Churches and as the coordinator for the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians for several years.

Phiri’s interests are in research in the following areas: gender justice, HIV and AIDs, and African theology. Her publications include Women, Presbyterianism and Patriarchy: Religious Experiences of Chewa Women in Central Malawi; co-editor of Handbook of Theological Education in Africa. Among her works are a variety of articles and book chapters, including “Major Challenges for African Women Theologians in Theological Education (1989–2008)” and “What’s in a Name? Forging a Theoretical Framework for African Women’s Theologies” (with Sarojini Nadar) in Biblical Studies, Theology, Religion and Philosophy.

Sarojini Nadar

Recommended publication: “What’s in a Name? Forging a Theoretical Framework for African Women’s Theologies” (co-author with Isabel Apawo Phiri) in Biblical Studies, Theology, Religion and Philosophy (Zapf Chancery 2010).

Nadar is a South African, of Indian descent, who received her PhD in Biblical Hermeneutics and Gender from the University of Natal. Her career has so far included Professor at University of KwaZulu-Natal, Director of the Gender and Religion Programme 2005 to 2012, and Dean of Research in the College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Nadar’s research interests include gender issues and education issues. She has co-authored (with Isabel Phiri), “HIV Research, Gender and Religion Studies” In Handbook of Theological Education in Africa; as sole author, the chapter “Her-Stories and Her-Theologies: Charting Feminist Theologies in Africa” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to African Religions; co-editor with Isabel Phiri of African Women, Religion, and Health: Essays in Honour of Mercy Amba Oduyoye. Her articles include “‘Stories are Data with Soul’ – Lessons from Black Feminist Epistemology.”

Elizabeth W. Mburu 

Recommended book: African Hermeneutics (Langham Global Library, 2019).

Elizabeth Mburu is from Kenya, and received her PhD in New Testament from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, as that school’s first female PhD graduate in 2008. Her expertise is New Testament and Greek. Mburu has taught in the United States as well as in Kenya at several universities, including Africa International University.

She serves as a curriculum evaluator for the Association of Christian Theological Education in Africa. Mburu is the African regional coordinator for Langham Literature, a member of the Africa Bible Commentary Board and New Testament editor for its revision, and commissioning editor for Langham Publishing and Africa Regional Coordinator for Langham Literature. She is the author of Qumran and the Origins of Johannine Language and SymbolismAfrican Hermeneutics, and “Realized Eschatology in the Soteriology of John’s Gospel.”

Whereas many of the theologians listed here are ones who established women’s theology in Africa, Mburu is a younger scholar who has the potential to contribute significantly to the future of evangelical theology.

Take Up and Read

To appropriate the words of that famous North African, St. Augustine, “take up and read, take up and read”! These works are by Christian women whose perspectives and insights can expand your thinking and draw you closer to Christ. You may never be able to visit the stunning continent in person, but you can easily learn from African brethren – take up and read.

Further Reading and Resources

This post is part of a series The Global Church Project team are running profiling female theologians from all over the globe — see our other articles in this series:

Series Editor: Graham Joseph Hill

Stephanie A. Lowery, “9 African Women Theologians You Should Know About”

Emmanuella Carter, “17 African American Women Theologians You Should Know About”

Juliany González Nieves, “23 Latin American Women and USA Latinas in Theology and Religion You Should Know About”

Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen and Graham Joseph Hill, “18 Arab Female Theologians and Christian Leaders You Should Know About”

Jessie Giyou Kim and Graham Joseph Hill, “18 Asian Female Theologians You Should Know About (Plus Others For You To Explore)”

Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker, “20 Australian and New Zealander Female Theologians You Should Get to Know in 2020”

Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker, “160+ Australian and New Zealander Women in Theology You Should Know About”

Graham Joseph Hill and Jessie Giyou Kim, “12 Women on Changing the World: A 12-Session Film Series on Transforming Society and Neighborhoods”

Juliany González Nieves, “Caribbean Christian Theology: A Bibliography”

Juliany González Nieves offers “A Reading List on Latinx and Latin American Theologies” HERE and downloadable HERE. See “A Latinx Theology Reading List” by Santi Rodriguez, HERE.

Stephanie A. Lowery

Stephanie A. Lowery is a lecturer in theology and coordinator of the BTh & DTh programmes at Africa International University, and also teaches at Kalamba School of Leadership as well as serving part-time in the Africa Inland Church, Kalamba district. She grew up in Kenya and considers Ukambani home. Her research interests include African theologies, African ecclesiological models, missional theology and hermeneutics, and the Trinity. She is the author of Identity and Ecclesiology: Their Relationship among Select African Theologians, “Ecclesiology in Africa: Apprentices on a Mission” (in The Church from Every Tribe and Tongue) and “Missio Dei: A Way to Value the Present and Future World” (in God and Creation, ASET series).

Cover Image by Charis Tsevis: The Pap Lady

© 2020 All rights reserved.
Copying and republishing this article on other Web sites, or in any other place, without written permission is prohibited.