Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Molly & Peace Camp Friends

molly-at-peace-camp.jpgThe girl on the right in the foreground is my eldest daughter, Molly White (12),  sharing a quiet moment with some friends at this year’s “peace camp.”  This was Molly’s 1st year with the youth and not the children’s program.  All week long people came up to me and told me how impressed with Molly they were–so her mother must be doing some good parenting and maybe I’m not messing up too badly.  Molly worked on the peace mural and took 3 pictures of it which I promised to share on this blog.  She also participated in the youth-led worship service in a segment called, “If you ask me,” (She said, “If you ask me there would be no wealth or poverty.”) and she sang the closing song at Friday night’s open mic session–a setting of I Cor. 13 called, “Love Is.”


August 1, 2007 Posted by | Baptists, family, peacemaking | Comments Off on Molly & Peace Camp Friends

Evelyn and the State of the Baptist Peace Fellowship

evelyn-hannemann-bpfna-coordinating-director.jpg Our first plenary session at “peace camp,” the summer conference of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (23-28 July 2007), Evelyn Hanneman, the Coordinating Director of the BPFNA gave us the “State of the Fellowship address.” Although it was far more interesting than the U.S. presidential “State of the Union,” we refrained from giving standing ovations at every pause for breath as our ridiculous Congress does for whichever president is giving the annual borefest. 🙂

Evelyn described some of our finances, our partner congregation program, the plan to start campus chapters at universities and colleges, reviving our old “friendship tours” of other nations, Churches Supporting Churches (matching BPFNA partner congregations up with devastated churches in New Orleans to help rebuild as part of rebuilding ruined neighborhoods) and other programs.  After 22 years, we have no plans for resting on our laurels.

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Baptists, peacemaking | Comments Off on Evelyn and the State of the Baptist Peace Fellowship

A Legal Case that Reeks of Racism

All those who are under the illusion  that racism has been abolished from the U.S., or, at least, from our legal system should think again.  My fellow Baptist blogger (and peace blogger), Dr. Mikeal Broadway, who teaches Christian ethics at Shaw University Divinity School, has alerted me to the case of the Jena Six in Louisiana.  As Mike notes, this has not made much mainstream news.  Persons of faith and all those concerned with justice should endeavor to change this by writing op-eds and letters to the editor, etc.  Some much-needed light needs to be shown on these dark doings.  These young men’s very lives could be in danger because they decided to sit (with the principal’s permission) under a school tree that whites STILL (in the 21st C.) believed was reserved for them–and because of a scuffle that they did not initiate but for which they are being blamed.  Scary stuff, folks.

August 1, 2007 Posted by | race | Comments Off on A Legal Case that Reeks of Racism

Some Belated Birthdays

26 July 1856 was the birthday of the great Baptist educator, William Rainey Harper (1856-1906), who revamped Yale’s Semitics Department while still in his 20s and then was founding president of the University of Chicago.  Harper was an innovator in educational theory, promoting an undergraduate curriculum based on “The Great Books of the Western World,” with numerous graduate research facilities, but also promoting the “junior college” trend in U.S. education.

28 July 1924 Cordy Tindall (C. T.) Vivian was born.  An amazing giant in the struggle for civil and human rights, C. T. is also one who launched the “Churches Supporting Churches” movement to help struggling New Orleans pastors and churches become the anchors for rebuilding the city–especially its poorer neighborhoods.

29 July 1912 Clarence Jordan, Baptist prophet and saint in blue jeans, was born.  I put this up before going to peace camp, but it was easy to lose this in the shuffle.

01 August 1895 was the birthday of Benjamin Elijah Mays (1895-1984), the great African-American Baptist educator and theologian. (HT: Travis Norvell for catching this. I can’t believe I missed it.) Mays  began his postsecondary education at Virginia Union University before finishing his B.A. at Bates College in 1920. Refused admission to Andover-Newton Theological Institute because of race (which left an emotional scar that never healed according to his autobiography), Mays decided not to go to seminary anywhere. Instead, he entered the University of Chicago (which still had strong Baptist ties in those days), earned an M.A. in sociology in 1925 and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion in 1935. His education at Chicago was repeatedly interrupted because of his work as a Baptist minister.  From 1934-1940, Mays was dean of the School of Religion (now School of Theology) at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  He traveled to India and met at length with Mohandas K. Gandhi. Mays became one of several major African-American figures who spread Gandhi’s teachings about nonviolent direct action throughout African-American circles in the U.S.—preparing the way for the Civil Rights movement’s success.  From 1940 to 1967, Mays was president and professor at Morehouse College, where he became mentor to a young Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Baptists | 2 Comments