The Ground Has Shifted

The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America

304 pages

October, 2018

ISBN: 9781479897186



Add to Cart Available: 9/1/2018

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Walter Earl Fluker is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership, the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project, and the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative for the Development of Ethical Leadership (MLK-IDEAL) at Boston University School of Theology and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

All books by Walter Earl Fluker

A powerful insight into the historical and cultural roles of the black church, the dilemmas it faces, and the roadmap for an ethical path forward.  
Honorable Mention, Theology and Religious Studies PROSE Award 
If we are in a post-racial era, then what is the future of the Black Church?  If the U.S. will at some time in the future be free from discrimination and prejudices that are based on race how will that affect the church’s very identity?

In The Ground Has Shifted, Walter Earl Fluker passionately and thoroughly discusses the historical and current role of the black church and argues that the older race-based language and metaphors of religious discourse have outlived their utility.  He offers instead a larger, global vision for the black church that focuses on young black men and other disenfranchised groups who have been left behind in a world of globalized capital.

Lyrically written with an emphasis on the dynamic and fluid movement of life itself, Fluker argues that the church must find new ways to use race as an emancipatory instrument if it is to remain central in black life, and he points the way for a new generation of church leaders, scholars and activists to reclaim the black church’s historical identity and to turn to the task of infusing character, civility, and a sense of community among its congregants.


  • "This is the most decisive statement on post-racialism, the American dilemma, and black church positive agency. On each page, Fluker's writing moans and wails us out of southern African American religiosity, up north into the fragmentation of black urban life, and into an ethical world of hope for an America becoming. A defining direction and persuasive proposal on how to get us to healthy community."

    —Dwight N. Hopkins, author of Being Human: Race, Culture, and Religion

  • "The Ground Has Shifted puts forward a passionate challenge to the Black Church and all those who profess to stand in the prophetic Black Church tradition. It is a powerful and provocative treatment of the role and place of this venerable institution and the Gospel that gives it life. But more than that, the book offers a blueprint for a way forward—a pathway that involves "reclaiming [our] humanity through the integrity of the act"; to find beauty and grace in the dark places of what it means to live in this world without the burdens of ghosts.  Beautiful written; passionately argued.  A must read!"

    —Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., author of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul

  • "The Ground Has Shifted addresses questions being posed by a historical Black Church caught between its piety, the politics of respectability, and a cataclysmic shifting of the taken-for-granted realities of a besieged/blessed people. I will buy and teach this book as often as I can. What an amazing contribution to the literature."

    —Barbara A. Holmes, President Emerita of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

  • “Fluker’s judicious use of personal reflection provides an exciting affirmation that our black lives and our black churches really do matter as important standpoints for engaging spirituality, renewing the national imaginary, and enhancing the human condition.”

    —Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Colby College

  • "Walter Fluker is the towering theorist of the Black Church and the unapologetic lover of the black prophetic tradition. This powerful and timely book is sophisticated, subtle, and rich. And it soars with a deep, long memory alive in the present – a present that reeks of a 'cultural asylum' that he notes the Black Lives Movement is shattering!"  

    —Dr. Cornel West

  • "An exuberant, thought-provoking assessment of the dilemmas facing black churches.  [A] passionate analysis and call for change."

    STARRED Publishers Weekly

  • “Fluker’s book is thoroughly interesting as he studies the history and present of the black church… Fluker brings us a work for today’s church and a charge to connect that church to the world house.”

    Journal of the American Academy of Religion

  • "[T]imely and fascinating...The Ground Has Shifted does a masterful job of blending black religious thought, literature, critical theory, memoir, and personal experience."

    Religion Dispatches

  • "Fluker has a fresh approach to deal with the subject and provides new insights on the subject.  It is meticulously researched and well-referenced. Walter Earl Fluker's scholarship is unmatchable."

    The Washington Book Review

  • "An important and perceptive contribution to the literature on religion and race."