THE ALUMNI LECTURES
Dr. Emilie Townes was the School of Theology's 2019 guest lecturer. As the current dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, she leads future clergy in growing their faith and understanding how they can use it to spark change. The focus of Townes’ lectures was how modern Christians can bring about such change. She sees the need for change through the works of the Church as important now as ever: “you and I look out and live in a troubled country,” she said; “we are not happy with one another.” She believes that justice can be achieved if the church takes courage and, with God’s provision, works toward the morning light. As to what work is needed to achieve this justice, Townes quoted the author James Baldwin, saying that we must “do our first works over.” To prepare to do these works over, Townes said that “an honest, personal inventory” is first needed. Doing so will reveal the unconscious bias in everyone’s life.
In 2018, Dr. Charles Marsh in 2018, ended his third lecture by playing Bernice Reagon’s version of “Come and Go with Me (to that Land),” a gospel song from 1930. The lyrics of the song—We’re all together in that land where I’m bound, There’s no more hatred in that land—served as a poignant reminder of the hope Marsh’s work encourages us to find in both the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and in the Civil Rights Movement: the revivification of the spirit that allows us to truly comprehend the shared humanity of all people on earth, and to believe in the possibility of both redemption and reconciliation.
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