Date: April 15, 2021
We are in the midst of our marking of the martyrdom of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Yesterday at our community service, we had a powerful sermon from the Rev. Dr. Joseph Thompson. The theme “Lord it is so difficult to continue to love those who hate with such vitriol and persistence” is a challenge. At the end of the service, I emailed Joseph to thank him and found myself writing that I will continue to think about the sermon.
Then last night, we had the Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, who gave a talk on “Slain… in the Spirit: A Black Womanist Pneumatological Aesthetic of the Movement for Black Lives.” Dr. Turman outlined the ways in which a black woman participation of “falling” is a challenge to patriarchy. The truth of being slain is indeed of the Spirit, but it can also be interpreted as a cathartic expression of “death within the Church.” She linked this movement of a woman’s body with the “die in” protests that have emerged. The crucial step in all cases is that they rise back up. This movement down to the ground and then rising back up again is an act of resistance that stresses that “Black Lives Matter.” I will continue to think about this talk, as well.
A seminary seeks to prepare seminarians for service in the world. This program is essential for such preparation. Discipleship requires us to hear, listen, and appreciate the importance of challenging racism in the world.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President