Dr. Caryn Riswold Connecting the Anniversary of the March on Washington to the Hymn Video “O Spirit of Power”


Dr. Caryn D. Riswold




Last week in a post on her blog “feminismxianity” on “Patheos,” Dr. Caryn Riswold connected the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the March on Washington with the hymn video,” O Spirit of Power” that I posted on my blog. She draws the title for her blogpost from one of the lines in the hymn.

“Challenge Our Labor to Set People Free”

Daisy Bates

“Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Pictured here is Daisy Bates, “the only female organizer who spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.” The commemoration this year has turned a lot of people’s attention to the ongoing work for justice, jobs, and freedom.  It also rightly reminded the world about the sermonic ending of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech that day, after Mahalia Jackson said, “Tell them about the dream, Martin, tell them about the dream.”

He did.  And we still listen to that preacher’s words.  And some of us are paying more attention to the women who’ve been written out of many accounts of that monumental day.

So if the work for justice is really going to continue, and if preachers and churches are going to be true allies in setting all people free, images and language for God has to continue to expand.  So I’m happy to share today another video resource for expanding our understanding and use of biblical images for the divine, “O Spirit of Power.”  Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton wrote the words and in this recording the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Chancel Choir sings them to the tune composed by Rev. Larry Schultz.”


Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Among the books she has published are Feminism and Christianity: Questions and Answers, in the Third Wave: http://www.amazon.com/Feminism-Christianity-Questions-Answers-Companions/dp/1556358377. Also, check out her blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carynriswold/



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