Writer. Witness. Agitator.
Lenny Duncan is the author of “United States of Grace” & “Dear Church”. Born on 62nd and Race in West Philly, he now lives in the Pacific Northwest. Lenny is a nationally recognized writer, speaker, preacher, thinker, and agitator who has centered most of his theological work in the task of dismantling White Supremacy in Christian community.
Lenny is just another Black queer writer trying to survive America. He loves hip hop, tattoos, Jesus, liberation, and most likely you.
In 1991, when he was 13 years old, Lenny Duncan stepped out of his house in West Philadelphia, walked to the Greyhound station, and bought a ticket–the start of his great American adventure.
Today Duncan, who inspired and challenged audiences with his breakout first book, Dear Church, brings us a deeply personal story about growing up Black and queer in the U.S. In his characteristically powerful voice he recounts hitchhiking across the country, spending time in solitary confinement, battling for sobriety, and discovering a deep faith, examining pressing issues like poverty, mass incarceration, white supremacy, and LGBTQ inclusion through an intimate portrayal of his life’s struggles and joys. United States of Grace is a love story about America, revealing the joy and resilience of those places in this country many call “the margins” but that Lenny Duncan has called home. This book makes the bold claim that God is present with us in the most difficult of circumstances, bringing life out of death.
More about “Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S”
Lenny Duncan is the unlikeliest of pastors. Formerly incarcerated and homeless, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the United States: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Shifting demographics and shrinking congregations make the all headlines, but Duncan sees something else at work—drawing a direct line between the church’s lack of diversity and the church’s lack of vitality. The problems the ELCA faces are theological, not sociological. But so are the answers.
Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church offers a bold new vision for the future of his denomination and the broader mainline Christian community of faith. Dear Church rejects the narrative of ‘church decline’ and calls everyone—leaders and laity alike—to the front lines of the church’s renewal through racial equality and justice.
It is time for the church to rise up, dust itself off, and take on forces of this world that act against God: whiteness, misogyny, nationalism, homophobia, and economic injustice. Duncan gives a blueprint for the way forward and urges us to follow in the revolutionary path of Jesus.