Hollering Theology: Exploring liberation theology in Central Appalachia and its power to transform students at the University of Pikeville
Robert Dale Musick D.Min.
Central Appalachia is a complex and beautiful region that has been historically mislabeled, misrepresented, and shamed as the land of hillbillies. Suffering in this region is deep and broad as poverty, addiction, and disparities are statistically evident. Although the region is filled with churches, missionary endeavors, and government programs, places like Eastern Kentucky continue to struggle. As the Church seeks to address these diseases of despair, it is imperative for Christian universities to address this suffering through critical pedagogy and a contextualized theology. By the development of an Appalachian liberation theology known as hollering theology, this research project took this new theology and imbedded it in two different college classes at the University of Pikeville. Through this project, it was discovered that the fundamental source of oppression in Central Appalachia is the damning stereotype of the hillbilly. This stereotype has been internalized and is now killing Appalachian Americans. In this study, hollering theology will be offered as a way to challenge the stereotype, give a new vision for God’s work in the region, and make known a hillbilly Christ, which seeks to empower students at UPIKE to engage themselves and their community in a critical and engaged way.