Deirdre Jonese Austin is a minister, writer, scholar, and womanist whose work focuses on religion, race, gender, and sexuality. You can learn more about her and also read her blog posts at DeirdreJoneseAustin.com.

Posts By This Author

‘The Hero and the Whore’ Offers Hope for Redemption

by Deirdre Jonese Austin 09-27-2023
Camille Hernandez reinterprets biblical characters through the lens of sexual exploitation.
The picture is of Camille Hernandez's book

Westminster John Knox Press 

HAVE YOU EVER heard a sermon on Dinah? Have you read many commentaries on Hegai? In The Hero and the Whore: Reclaiming Healing and Liberation Through Stories of Sexual Exploitation in the Bible, Camille Hernandez, a trauma-informed educator and minister, interprets the narrative of these lesser-known biblical characters. She also reinterprets the stories of well-known figures — such as Eve, Rahab, and Potiphar’s wife — through the lens of sexual exploitation. For too long, stories of women in the Bible have been interpreted in religious cultures rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. As a result, many Christians have stripped these characters of their agency and voice, demonized them, and sometimes ignored them altogether.

Hernandez provides language to reclaim our own narratives and process our own trauma. She encourages imagining a future where all people are safe and protected from sexual violence and other forms of oppression — both in the church and in society at large.

‘Red Lip Theology’ Lets Black Christian Women Be Ourselves

by Deirdre Jonese Austin 01-18-2022

In her new book, theologian Candice Marie Benbow takes readers on a journey through some pivotal and transformational moments in her life, highlighting the conversations she had with her mother, the theology informing her, and the sources — such as literature and hip-hop — that have shaped who she is. Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough is an invitation to reflect on the moments, the people, and the religious institutions that have contributed to making us who we are.

Who Remains for the Families of the Slain?

by Deirdre Jonese Austin 01-13-2020

This is what slow death looks like for the families of victims of police brutality.

The Long Road to Decriminalizing Blackness

by Deirdre Jonese Austin 06-04-2019
'When They See Us' and the Central Park Five

From Netflix's 'When They See Us'

I watched Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series When They See Us and found myself angered by the people and systems that had a role in the incarceration of five innocent boys. The Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Saalam, and Korey Wise, were wrongfully convicted and later exonerated of a variety of charges related to the rape and assault of a white female jogger in 1989. While the series itself honors the stories of the Central Park Five, in choosing to title the series When They See Us, DuVernay invites us into a broader conversation on the criminalization and mass incarceration of young boys and girls of color, and challenges us to define our own role within this system.