“Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.”
These words preached by Sojourner Truth at the Woman's Rights National Convention on May 29, 1851, in Akron, Ohio ring out across time. They give testimony to a host of other African-American voices of women preachers throughout American history who courageously spoke "truth to power." According to Homiletics Professor Kenyatta Gilbert, the greatest challenge in teaching preaching to new students is to "stretch their theology: namely, how to perceive who God is and convey what God is like in their sermons."
Joining with several progressive churches (listed below), we've helped sponsor a series of sermons from modern-day "activist preachers." They are important voices that broaden the theological landscape and help us imagine the work of God in Christ in revelatory ways. The theme we've asked these preachers to explore is "What the World Needs Now." All of these sermons were written and recorded during our Pandemic struggles and most of these churches used these sermons continuously during the month of August as a part of their weekly online services.
Our participation will offer one of these sermons monthly. The first one takes place this week in our regular YouTube Sunday worship service. Afterward, I will lead a Zoom conversation to further discuss the sermon and what we might apply from what we've heard and have been challenged to consider. This week we will hear from Rev. Nichola Torbett and her sermon: "What the World Needs Now Is Our Longing for Life." It's based on the question of the rich young ruler to Jesus asking what must be done to inherit eternal life, found in Mark 10: 17-31. You can learn more about Nichola here.
It's a stimulating sermon and may make us squirm a little, but that's okay. Because it will also spark many ideas about how our faithfulness to Christ can be expanded and energized. I'm looking forward to your viewing it and our conversation by Zoom immediately after the service is over. I'll be joining you remotely from North Carolina after officiating at the wedding of Audra Montgomery to Evan Barnes.
As we face the challenges of this Pandemic crisis, I'm grateful for all these creative ways we can work, learn, and worship together. These emerging vitural formats are presenting amazing opportunities and I'm thankful to be a part of it with you.
Participating Congregation in the Activist Preachers series are:
Wake Forest Baptist Church and Parkway United Church of Christ, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Commonwealth Baptist Church in Alexandra, Virginia; Ravensworth Baptist Church in Annandale Virginia; and Peace Community Church in Oberlin, Ohio.
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