Duke Chapel Reads

Update: Watch a conversation about Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race among Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery and two leading scholars in fields that are important to the book:

Through Duke Chapel Reads, the Chapel aims to curate spaces for reflection and conversation based on a common book reading each semester.

This year, the Duke Chapel Reads series will promote conversations about race, shared humanity, and God’s gift of diversity by organizing reading groups for the book Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race by Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery.

Becoming Human contrasts a view of humanity that sees race as essential and valuing some bodies over others with a theological understanding of humanity, shaped by the biblical account of Pentecost, that sees the diversity of human bodies as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“The Spirit as a person of the Trinity has no color or race, yet the Spirit takes on human flesh, even flesh that has been racialized, thus dehumanized, in order to rehumanize God’s blessed creation,” Dean Powery writes in the book’s introduction. “This means that not even the Spirit is color-blind; she takes on the hues and colors of all of humanity by indwelling them, not to enthrone color or feed the raced imagination but to affirm the beauty of God on all flesh.”

As part of Duke Chapel Reads, students in the Chapel Scholars program will read the book in the spring semester and discuss it with Dean Powery.

“Students often wrestle with issues of race and identity in college and afterwards,” Chapel Assistant Dean Bruce Puckett said. “Reading Becoming Human together will give us a chance to explore those issues with the benefit of Dean Powery’s theological depth and insight.”

Also in the spring semester, the Congregation at Duke Chapel will hold online book groups for Becoming Human that are free and open to the public. The groups will meet via Zoom from January 11 to February 1 on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. To participate in a book group, sign up here.

Dean Powery will lead a seminar on his book on Saturday, February 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Trinity Ave. Presbyterian Church in Durham. Hosted by the Congregation, the seminar will begin with refreshments and conclude with a catered lunch. The seminar is open to the public with a fee of $10 per person, which offsets the cost of the lunch. Click here to register for the seminar.

Previous Duke Chapel Reads Books