Healing can begin by reframing the problem. While cutting someone dead is destructive, it can also serve to prune and repot a disfigured being—giving new possibilities for life. In this provocative book, Ellison shows how caregivers can sow seeds of life, and nurture with guidance, admonition, training, and support in order to help create a community of reliable others serve as extended family.
Through an exhilarating panoply of poetry, psychology, social analysis, and biblical interpretation, all wrapped in unflinching candor, Cut Dead But Still Alive leads us into the harrowing plight of African American young men. While sobering odds against not just their success but their survival remain ever on the surface, Gregory Ellison trains our sights elsewhere, on tiny fissures in the bedrock of their despair. There, he finds small rays of hope that, when exploited by caregivers and communities, can lead to tectonic shifts for positive change. Ellison’s is the freshest new voice on the pastoral care street.
--Robert C. Dykstra, Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Anyone who wants to know how to offer care in today’s complicated cultural and racial climate should read this book. Smart, creative, pragmatic, passionate, pastoral, and profoundly honest—Gregory Ellison gives voice and visibility to the mute, the invisible, and the unacknowledged, and in doing so, reaches out to all of us. Through novels, poetry, empirical data, and wide-ranging scholarship, he cracks open the heart of human pain and shows how we can move forward to healing.
--Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, The Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University, Nashville
At long last a book that addresses a forgotten demographic allowing their voice to be heard, their existence acknowledged by caregivers, and offering hope-filled strategies in the face of nihilism, muteness, and invisibility. Ellison's text employs poetry, prose, cultural criticism, historical analysis, narrative, and personal experience to offer ways to clearly see, hear and care for invisible and muted young African American men. In a courageous, honest and forthright engagement with the horror and tragedy of young people crying out to be seen, heard and taken seriously, Cut Dead but still alive models the path of genuinely liberative pastoral care that does not duck painful realities but rather finds through them ways for hope to break into and transform lives.
--Emmanuel Y. Lartey, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling, Candler School of Theology, Atlanta
Read this book to meet young African American men: scholarly Art, Japanese-speaking Carl, big brother Nathaniel, athletic Stephen, street-worn Thomas—and to meet pastoral theologian Gregory Ellison, their caregiver. In his first book, Ellison shows himself to be scholar, artist, and clinical artisan. In classrooms, this textbook will render the lives of young African American men in 3D, all their diversity and dimension made palpable. For caregivers and clinicians, this text will demonstrate how to be solution-focused in situations toxic with despair, including the despair of careers. And for teachers and researchers, Ellison’s creativity cuts a path toward more communally contextual pastoral theology and spiritual care.
--Kathleen J. Greider, Edna and Lowell Craig Professor of Practical Theology, Spiritual Care, and Counseling at Claremont School of Theology in the Claremont Lincoln University Consortium, Senior Staff Counselor and Clinical Supervisor, The Clinebell Institute for Pastoral Counseling and Psychotherapy