Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation Ellen Ott Marshall has co-edited a new book called Parenting for a Better World: Social Justice Practices for Your Family and the Planet (2022, Chalice Press). In it, she and fellow mother and ethics professor Susanna Snyder have gathered wisdom from parents in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to form an insightful collection of practical ways parenting can incorporate social justice work. The book weaves together spiritual practices, family life and activism, highlighting how parenting practices can contribute to justice and justice work can inform parenting. The desired result is a generation of individuals intent on and equipped to make their world better than they found it.
Marshall and Snyder, who is a lecturer in ethics and theology at Ripon College Cuddesdon in England, met at Candler in 2009 when Marshall joined the faculty and Snyder was a postdoctoral fellow in religious practices and practical theology. The two remained in touch because of common interests and connected regularly during the isolation of Covid, forming a writing group called “Moms Writing.” Marshall describes it as “a place of joy and accountability and company” as participants tried to keep their work going while simultaneously juggling caregiving 24/7. They noticed that what Covid isolation had made acute was actually a perennial reality: how difficult it is to juggle the daily tasks of parenting with the monumental call to justice.
“We began talking about a book project that would bring together people from a variety of parenting contexts who integrate parenting and justice work in their lives. How do they do it? What works for them? What insights might we share and practices might we suggest? The result is this really lovely, honest and hopeful book that proclaims what we deeply believe to be true: parenting is an act of faith and an opportunity to change the world,” explains Marshall.
The contributing authors are parents of more than two dozen children through natural birth, adoption, and fostering. They include Chine McDonald (Theos), Ingrid C. Arneson Rasmussen 10T (Holy Trinity Lutheran, Minneapolis), HyeRan Kim-Cragg (University of Toronto), Carlton Mackey 05T (Black Men Smile, Emory University), Luke Larner (St. Paul’s Church, Bedford), Brian Brock (University of Aberdeen), Anton Flores-Maisonet (Casa Alterna), Leah Gunning Francis 01T (Christian Theological Seminary), Melissa Pagán (Mount Saint Mary’s University), Keith Hebden (Community Organizer, UK), and Don E. Saliers (Emory University).
The book was featured in the Religion and Spirituality Department in the May 23 issue of Publisher’s Weekly.