Contemporary Christian theology continues to struggle with the tragedy of inexplicable human suffering and the endurance of evil. The pressing issue of "Where is God?" in seemingly godless situations provides the focus of Were You There? Godforsakenness in Slave Religion. In this book, David Emmanuel Goatley investigates the doctrine of God in relation to the experience of those living under conditions of extreme oppression. In this experience of "Godforsakenness" Goatley finds an echo of Jesus' poignant cry from the cross, "My God, why have you forsaken me?"
Were You There? approaches this question through a narrative methodology, particularly by examining the slave narratives as well as the spirituals that were products of the same era. Both these sources provide important ways of viewing the experience of "Godforsakenness" and the problem of God's presence or absence in the extremities and absurdities of human suffering. Using these insights as a hermeneutic, Were You There? then proceeds to an interpretation of Jesus' cry of dereliction in Mark.