In Kincraft Todne Thomas explores the internal dynamics of community life among black evangelicals, who are often overshadowed by white evangelicals and the common equation of the "Black Church" with an Afro-Protestant mainline. Drawing on fieldwork in an Afro-Caribbean and African American church association in Atlanta, Thomas locates black evangelicals at the center of their own religious story, presenting their determined spiritual relatedness as a form of insurgency. She outlines how church members cocreate themselves as spiritual kin through what she calls kincraft--the construction of one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Kincraft, which Thomas traces back to the diasporic histories and migration experiences of church members, reflects black evangelicals' understanding of Christian familial connection as transcending racial, ethnic, and denominational boundaries in ways that go beyond the patriarchal nuclear family. Church members also use their spiritual relationships to navigate racial and ethnic discrimination within the majority-white evangelical movement. By charting kincraft's functions and significance, Thomas demonstrates the ways in which black evangelical social life is more varied and multidimensional than standard narratives of evangelicalism would otherwise suggest.
About the Author
Todne Thomas is Assistant Professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University and coeditor of New Directions in Spiritual Kinship: Sacred Ties across the Abrahamic Religions.