Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder provides an engaging womanist reading of mother characters in the Old and New Testaments. After providing a brief history of womanist biblical interpretation, she shows how the stories of several biblical mothers—Hagar, Rizpah, Bathsheba, Mary, the Canaanite woman, and Zebedee's wife—can be powerful sources for critical reflection, identification, and empowerment. Crowder also explores historical understandings of motherhood in the African American community and how these help to inform present-day perspectives. She includes questions for discussion with each chapter.
"Through Crowder's illuminating perspective, biblical mothers from Hagar to Mary, Rizpah to Bathsheba come to new life. With references to "game of thrones," Whitney Houston, and the corporate boardroom, she merges contemporary culture and these ancient texts with grace and an eye toward justice. This is a book inspired and shaped by the diverse experiences and courage of black mothers; it is also a book for all of us seeking to read Scripture in all its richness and depth."
—Eric D. Barreto, Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary
"Following a womanist maternal hermeneutic, Crowder explores the intersection between gender, class, and race as it pertains to biblical motherhood and African American motherhood in the United States. Readers will walk away amazed by the dynamic tension biblical mothers and African American mothers balance between a commitment to personal well-being and communal wholeness. This book is a fresh and approachable reading that inspires us to listen and act accordingly, when momma speaks."
—Lt. Monya A. Stubbs, Chaplain, United States Navy, United States Coast Guard Academy
"Through incisive readings of six biblical mothers, Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder clothes the complex realities of contemporary mommas with holy honor. Grounded in the lived experience of African American women, this book will introduce many readers to the cultural resources of womanist thought. I needed to read this book, and you do too."
—Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament, Lancaster Theological Seminary
"Crowder draws our attention to the realities of mothering at the intersection of race, class, and religion. She weaves the narratives of mothers from the Bible into our present-day contexts to help us think critically about what it means to be a black mother in today's world. Crowder opens the door of womanist maternal thought for scholars, pastors, and laypeople alike to enter into an emergent school of thought and depart with new and transforming insights for the academy, church, and home. A refreshing read!"
—Leah Gunning Francis, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, Christian Theological Seminary
"When Momma Speaks is a powerful resource for the academy and the church. Crowder lifts up and reflects on the lived experiences of African American women with integrity, honesty, wholeness, and deep beauty. An African American woman's experience has always been more socially, financially, culturally, and biblically complicated than traditional discourse has allowed. When Momma Speaks gives voice and texture to those complexities in ways women of color can embrace and celebrate."
—Charisse L. Gillett, President, Lexington Theological Seminary
“When Momma Speaks advocates for a view of motherhood absent from our Bible studies and pulpits. Crowder encourages readers to connect the stories of modern women of color to the biblical stories of women who fought fiercely for their families and their faith.”