Giving an Account of Our Hope

By | September 4, 2019

– In the previous lecture,
I proposed some tasks for doing political theology
in a global context. These tasks are to
function and facilitating and supporting participation
in the transformation of human society through
critical knowledge born of subject-empowering,
life-giving love and hope. What does it mean to speak of hope? We know that hope is the
subject of manifold meanings and various interpretations
giving differing cultures, mythologies, literatures,
psychologists and religions. Christian teaches holds hope
along with faith and love as one of the three theological virtues. Gracious and gratuitous divine gifts that orient human beings
to supernatural happiness. What Catholic theology
calls the beatific vision. What is the relation of hope
in solidaristic compassion? Hope animates and grounds
Christian moral activity or Christian social practice. In this lecture I want to
explore those questions further by making visible the embodiment
or incarnation of hope as lived by two persons. Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and the Reverend Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. Their lives were a response
to the biblical charge, always be ready to make
your defense to anyone who demands for you an
accounting for the hope that is in you. I’ll begin with brief biographical
outlines of their lives. Then consider meanings
of hope and waiting. And reflect on their praxis,
their solidaristic compassion. The general outline of
Martin Luther King Jr.’s life is by now fairly well known. Deep Christian roots, watered by three generations of ministers. His own response to God’s
call at the age of 18. A relatively comfortable and segregated middle class upbringing. An outstanding academic career at Atlanta’s Moorehouse College. Then Rochester’s Crosure Seminary. And doctoral studies at Boston University. This is the other end
of common wealth avenue. His 1953 marriage to Coretta Scott King, and their decision to return
to the segregated south, to Montgomery, Alabama
where King took up duties as a full time pastor of
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. His leadership in the
Montgomery bus boycott thrust him into an
unparalleled role in national and international affairs. Passionate and prayerful, paradoxical, King’s unflinching
commitment to non-violence and his ability to
articulate and demonstrate a philosophy of action
awakened the moral conscience of the country and gave hope, renewed hope to thousands of oppressed
peoples around the world. He was not yet 40 years old when cut down by an assassin’s bullet. The details of Fannie Lou Hamer’s life may be less well known. Born in 1917 in Jim Crow, Mississippi to sharecroppers Lou Ella
Bramlet and James Lee Townsend, Fannie Lou Townsend was the
youngest of 20 children. James Townsend was a baptist preacher and Lou Ella Bramlet
Townsend did domestic work in white people’s homes. At the age of six, Hamer was reeled into the back breaking labor of cotton picking by a plantation owner’s cruel promise. Pick 30 pounds of cotton
for the sweets she loved, Cracker Jacks and cake. By 13 she was picking
between two and 400 pounds each day for one dollar. The demands of seasonal labor
ended her formal schooling at the age of 12, but
she continued developing her reading skills through Bible study. At 24, Fannie Lou Townsend
married Perry Hamer, a tractor driver in
the Marlowe Plantation. And for 20 years, the
rhythms of family life and plantation work filled
her days and nights. At the same time, Hamer was ever alert to the indignities and injustices
that black people endured. She questioned the iniquities
of their circumstances. She said, “Sometimes I’d
be working in the fields “and I get so tired, I’d say to the people “picking cotton with me, hard
as we have to work for nothing “there must be some way
we can change this.” Fannie Lou Hamer was 44
years old when she began the shift from suffering injury, to speak out against that injury. Hope in waiting and waiting in hope. The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire regards hope as an ontological need. We cannot live without hope. We cannot be human without hope. African Americans had been waiting, hoping for substitutive and thorough going change in American political culture
for more than a century. Moved by prophetic anger
they resisted despair, they lived and practiced
the virtue of hope. Between 1863 and 1963, to
the degree that black women and men had hope, were
hopeful, they lived within a legally contrived space
and time derived and extended from chattel slavery. Their movements and
motions were circumscribed by cruel, divisive,
insulting segregated signs. Whites only and coloreds only. These signs affixed to
doors of restaurants, hotels, restrooms and schools. These signs hung on water fountains and seats on public transportation. These signs carved a
negating social imaginary that defied the Emancipation Proclamation, the 14th and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution. Those signs intended to
weary through the weight of protractive waiting. Those signs intended to wither hope, yet hope resists, is resilient. Hope envisions new possibilities, inspires different futures, generates new social imaginaries. More over, hope as Thomas Aquinas teaches, is conducive to action. The hope of black people
synthesized freedom, decision and action in
order to express itself in healing and creating in history. Yet hope can wait. What might it mean to wait? In the Hebrew Bible,
to wait means to hope. To hope means to wait. In Hebrew linguistic usage,
to wait denotes activity rather than passivity, as if often applies in our English language. Four Hebrew verbs refer to wait. The two most relevant her are yacal, meaning to await with
expectation and with hope. And quava, meaning to wait
for within the tension of enduring waiting. To wait for, to expect. To wait is to hope. To hope is to wait actively as one lives and moves and thinks and
struggles in the tension. From a mountain of
despair, a praxis of hope. One way of deepening our understanding of the Civil Rights
Movement, is to appreciate it as prophetic performance. Through their public prayer
and private meditation, spirituals and hymns, sermons, sit-ins, demonstrations and marches. Through the martyrdom, beatings, the force of water hoses,
snarling dogs and imprisonment, black children, youth, women and men lifted freedom, lifted it
up in their shackled hands. These people set the
nation before its destiny, before its freedom. Through these prophetic performances, these people of the Civil Rights Movement expanded the entrenched horizon
of American possibility. Broadened its landscape
of reality in such a way as to set present circumstances
in wider perspective and thereby rob it of its absoluteness. The prophetic performance
of the Civil Rights Movement offered all Americans a
new way of understanding and living hope as well as faith and love, as theo-political virtues. Such prophetic performance
held the possibility of liberating and invigorating,
of reorienting the nation toward a different future. And most important of all,
such prophetic performance clarified for all who would listen, that God does not
absolute ties the present, thus we should be wary of taking it with excessive seriousness. Martin Luther King Jr. was
motivated by a deep hunger and thirst for justice. A willingness to embody,
to incarnate hope. And by the belief that unearned
suffering is redemptive. For King, the Civil Rights Movement was a spiritual movement. A movement based on hope. And its authentic telos he concluded was neither desegregation nor integration, but the realization of beloved community. Hamer maintained that her Christian faith made her responsible for others. Not only did she adopt
and care for two children whose families could not provide for them, she defended and protected field workers. Speaking about this early
period she remarked, “I asked God to give me a chance, “to just let me do something “about what was going on in Mississippi.” That opportunity present
itself when a young civil rights worker saw her participation and voter registration campaigns. Hamer understood the social
activism of the movement as the consummation of her faith. Faith, she said, is the
substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things
unseen, quoting scripture. We negros, had hoped and
we had faith to hope, though we didn’t know
what we had hoped for. When the people came
to Mississippi in 1964, to us it was the result of all our faith, all that we had hoped for. Our prayers and all that we
had lived for day after day, hadn’t been in vain. And 1964 the faith that we had hope for started to translate into action. Now we have action and
we’re doing something that not only will free the
black man in Mississippi, but hopefully will free
the white one as well. In another speech in 1971, Hamer said, “My whole fight is for the
liberation of all people “because no one is an island. “When a white child is
dying, is being shot “there’s a little bit of
America being destroyed. “When it’s a black child, shot in America “it’s a little bit of
America being destroyed.” 1971, huh. “If they keep this up,
a little of this going “and a little of that
going, one day this country “will crumble, but we
have to try to see to it “that not only the lives
of young and adult blacks “are saved in this country,
but also the whites.” Neither King nor Hamer identified hope with mere progress or liberal optimism. Hope is not an emergency
virtue hauled out for a crisis. Rather, hope functioned
as that distinctive and decisive virtue,
directing the religious, cultural and social experience
of black people in history. In the struggle for civil rights, their active hope was
directed toward a future good considered arduous and difficult,
but possible to achieve. And as much as the Civil Rights
Movement incarnated hope, it created a Christian social praxis rooted in the prophetic task as mediated by the Old Testament, and
fidelity to the mission of Jesus. Their hope oriented them
toward the holy new future who is God. With determination, Hamer
made her first attempt to register for voting. And although this was unsuccessful, she would return to take the test. She did so despite reprisals
against her family, against other blacks and against herself. She continued to struggle for change. In June of 1963, she and four other women who were citizenship school teachers were arrested returning from a meeting when the bus stopped
in Winona, a small town near Greenwood, Mississippi. Taken to the local jail,
Hamer was recognized, singled out and beaten savagely. By the end, Charles Marts writes, “The flesh of her beaten body was hard. “One of her kidneys was
permanently damaged, “and a blood clot that
formed over her left eye “threatened her vision.” In this situation, in
her agony and anguish it was difficult for Hamer
to lead the imprisoned group in prayer and singing. But in hope, she gathered
herself and began to sing Paul and Silas were bound in jail. This brutalization left
Hamer in considerable recurring pain and emotional trauma. But she did not back down. She said, “People need to be serious “about their faith in the Lord. “It’s all too easy to
say, sure I’m a Christian, “and talk a big game. “But if you’re not putting
that claim to the test, “where the rubber meets the
road, then it’s high time “to stop talking about being Christian. “You can pray until you
faint, but if you’re not “going to get up and do something, “God is not going to put it in your lap.” She understood the social activism of the Civil Rights Movement as the consummation of her faith. It was living hope. Early on the bus boycott in a meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association, Martin Luther King stressed
the religious motivation of non-violent social protest. He said, “In all our doings,
in all our deliberations “here this evening, and all of the week “and while whatever we do, “we must keep God in the forefront. “Let us be, in all of
our actions, Christians. “But it is not enough for
us to talk about love. “Love is one of the pivotal
points of the Christian faith. “There is another side called justice. “And justice is really
love in calculation. “Justice is love correcting
that which revolts against love, “standing beside love is always justice. “And we are only using
the tools of justice.” Repeatedly, he emphasized
the importance of love. To meet hate with retaliatory
hate would do nothing, he said, but intensify the
presence of evil in the universe. Hate begets hate. Violence begets violence. Toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of
hate with the power of love. We must meet physical
force with soul free. King joined justice and
love to creative exercise and practice of hope. And by love, he meant agape. For him, the social mission
of a church required that it embrace the desire
of beloved community with agape as its regulating ideal. Only through agape, he
insisted repeatedly, “Could they elevate their souls “and also creatively transform society.” King not only took
responsibility for his own life and his life in a segregated
and dehumanizing world, he not only urged others, black and white, to engage in this task of
solidaristic compassion for themselves, but organized
a way for individuals and communities to assume
collective responsibility for reconstituting themselves anew. What King proposed was, “Not
human concern for the future “on the basis of individual
and group egoism, “but the creative embrace of hope.” King was a realist. He knew in his body that
the effort to initiate and culcate, inhabit new patterns of cooperation were threatening. The beatings, bombings and
assassinations were real. Yet he declared that,
“The forces that threaten “to negate life, must be
challenged by courage and hope. “This is the power of
life to affirm itself “in spite of life’s ambiguities. “This requires the
exercise of creative will “that enables us to hue, a stone of hope “from a mountain of despair.” The hope that Fannie Lou Hamer
and Martin Luther King Jr possessed was not
primarily for themselves, but for the other, and in and
through this, for themselves. As Metz writes, “The hope
that Christians have in God, “the God of the living and of the dead, “in God’s power to raise the dead, “is the hope for a revolution
on behalf of everyone. “Those who suffer unjustly. “Those long ago forgotten,
indeed even the dead.” The incarnation of hope
in the persons and praxes of Fannie Lou Hamer and
Martin Luther King Jr challenges us to a
realization of authentic social transformation, rooted
in solidaristic compassion, personal and communal sacrifice. And in change of mind, heart and living. Now on the broad canvas
of theological reflection, I have been trying to
illumine the ineluctable link between theology’s thorough
going political relevance and our yearning for the reign of God. Or to use older, still
valuable theological language, I have been trying to
demonstrate the intimate relation between life, the good or
virtuous life, and eternal life. For as the ascent of the soul towards God is not a merely private affair, but rather a personal
function of an objective common movement in that body of Christ, which takes over, transforms, and elevates every aspect of human life. Now the general title
for these three lectures has been theology as political, the wait, the yearning,
the urgency of life. And the first lecture, theology
and the weight of the world, unmasked the social
oppression that weighs down, weighs upon human
persons and consigns them to zones of abandonment. The lecture frames social analysis through categories of social oppression developed by political
scientist Iris Maryann Young. These categories were able
to sharpen our understanding of the consequences of
human social suffering. Not only in grossly
underdeveloped societies, but also in liberal and
neo-liberal ones as well. Interpreting the situations
of various social groups through Young’s framework
of conditions of oppression permits us comparison
without reduction or rank. At the same time, critically
uncovering the particularities of any social group’s history, culture, and religious orientation both complicate and deepen our understanding
of their experiences and responses to the weight
of social oppression. A key way of figuring
that weight was to turn to the social criticism of
prophecy of prophetic critique. Here, the eight century
prophet, Amos, proof suggestive. Across millennia, the weight
of possessive acquisitiveness, deceit and indifference crush the poor and make a mockery of religious
ritual and observance. The cry of the prophet
must be theology’s own. Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like
an ever flowing stream. The second lecture, baring witness through solidaristic compassion traced the rich and complex notions of
solidarity and compassion, and clarified the role of prophetic anger in awakening people
from the anesthetization of the manipulative techniques of global neoliberal capitalism. The objective of investing compassion with a two part structure,
critical understanding and recognition of the
intrinsic connection between the lives and flourishing
of the poor and our own, was to prevent compassion
from being reduced to mere moralism or to a trope. The prophetic anger of
Jesus provides criteria for the prophetic anger
of Christian responses to the suffering of the poor. And finally, that second
lecture identified some of the tasks of political theology in relation to solidaristic compassion. This third and final lecture
giving an account of hope opposes our enmeshment in racial idolatry. And urges ways to hope. The civil rights movement
as Martin Luther King Jr organized and explained,
was a movement of hope. It was a movement of theology
and faith as political, a political theological movement of hope. King’s life, the life of Fannie Lou Hamer and the lives of thousands
of other women and men of all races were a response
to the biblical charge to account for their hope. In these lectures I have tried to advance the notion of political
theology that above all, grounds itself in Christian discipleship. That interrogates intersecting
global power dynamics and relations that shape,
not only technology, but the economic and geo
political configurations that flow from these. That opposes the oppression
of all human persons. All human persons,
particularly those constructed as social others. A theology that seeks to
collaborate with all people of good will in bringing about conditions for human and social transformation. If theoretical analysis
has not been upper most in these lectures, it is not
because I dismiss theory. My aim has been to bring
us close to situations of social oppression and social suffering. To uncover that which often
is hidden and concealed, that which we wish to avoid,
that from which we recoil. I want to thank your faculty, your dean for inviting me for this opportunity. I thank you for your attendance, your keen interest and attention. And I have felt your intellectual and spiritual companionship these days. Finally… I would like to dedicate
these lectures as given to the memory of the Reverend
Dr. Letty Manville Russell, who was professor of theology
here in this divinity school for nearly 30 years. She was a towering feminist
theologian of our generation. And she dedicated her theological vocation to making it possible for
women in all parts of the world to exercise their own. To dialogue and to
collaborate with one another. And to collaborate with all
women and men of good will in mending creation. The seeds she has sewn have flowered and will bare fruit in years to come. Thank you very much. (applauding) So we have plenty of time for questions for the students because I
wasn’t here this afternoon. – We have time for some questions and as you ask, please identify yourself. When you ask a question,
wait for the microphone to come to you. Just tell us (muffled speaking). Okay, questions before we go. Yes, please. – [Timothy] Thank you so
very much for your lecture. My name is Timothy Gora. I’m a MDIV student here. Have a question particularly about the fence of hope in the
critique or this chart or the shadow side of hope, in human all to human rights, about hope being the greatest of evils out of Pandora’s box because
it allows for the other evils to be endured. And I’m curious, I love the
linkage of hope and justice in this lecture, but I also want to ask the ways in which hope can be used by those who are in power to enforce a hegemonic, systematic
system of oppression. – It turns into gradualism
from the point of people who are involved in power dynamics, in the sense of being in power. So it’s gradualism, it’s weight. King has a lot to say about this. A lot to say about weight. This is really, it’s a real, it’s real. That’s really, so there has
to be some negotiation here. And the negotiation has
to be involved, I think, coming from these people, certainly. There is a strong religious orientation that doesn’t, it’s a funny,
funny’s not the best word, but it’s a funny kind of way of reacting. Some of it is concealment
of what one really feels. And some of it really, which
is dangerous in itself actually because you can become, in
concealing your actual feelings you can also allow that mask
to become permanent for you. So it’s always dangerous
for everyone in any sense. But I think, this is where
what they put their finger on in terms of faith is the issue. The present is not absolute, which doesn’t mean that you
do nothing about the present. But it doesn’t have the last word. At the luncheon that we had yesterday, I don’t know if you were there or not, which is neither here nor there, but I wanted to repeat an example. And that was trying to
point out that in slight people prayed for freedom. But they also prayed if
we don’t live to see it, may our children live to see it. So there’s a kind of, there is
a projection into the future. A real projection. And it’s pretty concrete
because the children are real. And so you’ve invested,
you’ve invested yourself in a future that you will not see. But you still invest in it. And you invest in it with, without any power to
control even the smallest dimensions of it. Which is not as if there is no agency. Agency is a very difficult
notion under slavery. Because people both have
and do not have agency. But what people do recognize is that death is not the worst thing. It’s not the worst thing. Is that useful? – [Timothy] Very much so, thank you. – Thank you. – [Man] Any questions, in the back. – [Sophia] Hi there, my
name is Sophia Gamber. I’m a first year MDIV. I just wanna thank you
so much for being with us over this week, and for all
that you’ve shared with us. I was struck in this lecture about the recurring theme of social activism as the consummation of our faith. And that really is what
brought me back to faith. After experiences with
the church when the church was more about maintaining the status quo than challenging it. And so I’m wondering, in
thinking about the church as a political institution, and not simply as the
body of Christ, right, what do we do with the church
as ministers, ordained or lay? What do we do with the
church when the church itself is a propagator of these
zones of abandonment that you’re speaking of? – Yeah, yeah. That, too, is a very challenging question. I mean, I have to say, I mean whatever, I don’t know your church or denomination, but I have to say that probably my jury is still
out on Pope Francis. Although I really, I think he’s done some really incredible things. But what I do think that he’s really able to point out clericalism in
a very sharp and clear way, in an uncompromising way, really. It’s very straightforward. It doesn’t mince words. So that’s one dimension
of trying to awaken people to what it means to belong. That’s one dimension. It’s not the only dimension,
not the sole dimension. But it’s one dimension. And I think that what’s… What’s happening in our church, my church, is really horrific. I have to really think about this because I think we’re so afraid of sin that we no longer understand crime. I think we are so afraid of sin, we no long understand crime. But we have forgotten, I think, that there is a twinning of those two. There is a twinning of those two. I think one of the things is there are probably some people here who, John Kaputo is so infuriating, you know. But he’s also wonderful. And so if you read What
Did Jesus Deconstruct, it’s an older book, but he gets at, he gets at us, what we do and don’t do. And he also gets at, the church is plan B. The church is plan B. Plan A is the reign of God. So the thing is to think about
how do we work for plan A? How do we work for plan A? We can’t bring it about
because it’s a gift from God. We can’t bring it about
because it’s a gift from God. We can’t bring it about
because it’s a gift from God, but we can get ready for it. And getting ready is living differently. Okay? If it’s here, we have to
get ready to receive it. And if it’s not here it’s
because we’re not ready. So there has to be a way of
helping us to get ready for it. And the getting ready has to be serious. We all have different roles,
James Colon always said, he said, this is his voice. I write and that’s how I fight. So we all have, we all have different ways of struggling or fighting
for the reign of God. The thing is to be faithful
to the way that you have. And support and encourage one
another, that’s the thing. You know. I don’t know if that’s useful or not. Maybe you have something or somebody else has something they wanna say. Just great. – [Man] Other questions? Yes, in the back. – [Wa] Hello, my name
is Wa from Hong Kong. HA student, end of year two. Similar to Sophia’s question, is when we talk about fighting injustice, to make a individual decision
how much you can pay is easy. But if you become the
minister of certain church and that church is not built by you, they exist before you came there, we have a tension that whether we should bring the politics inside the church or keep it political free. But everyone leaves the
decision to everyone to make their own spiritual journey, or make their own decision for how much they can fight for or what kind of justice they can fight for because
if in Hong Kong situation would be very difficult. Some people think that
we should fight until we cannot fight. Some people think that we should surrender to communist party earlier than we can, our trust can survive. Even within the church is so divide. And being a authority of a minister, is it ethical to kidnap the
whole church on your side? So it’s like, yeah, so I am very struggle. Yeah, in China it’s very
difficult to Wong Yi, Pastor Wong Yi, he is very outspoken, but not only him being arrested, did no member of the church, of the bank account being
freezed, they’re being fired. And then this kind of struggle, how we can manage when we
are facing so chaotic world. – That’s a lot. And I don’t, I don’t fully
understand your situation. I would have to really, that’s the point about solidarity. You have to know what
you’re in solidarity with. And you have to really know that. That’s the other cognitive dimension of solidaristic compassion. But I’ll say this. Discipleship costs. It costs you in your own life somehow. And there are many examples
that you can identify in the larger Christian tradition
of this cost being paid. And if you can think, I’m
sure people are thinking of Oscar Romero. Being a disciple in the sense of being faithful to your conscience. Today is Malcolm X day. So this is the day, the 21st of February. Malcolm X was faithful in his conscience to what he began to learn and understand. He went through several conversions. And it cost him to become a human being. And it costs each of us something. So I think you have to
understand in your own context what it will cost you to be a human being. And by cost, I mean it
could be not having a job. It could be losing something
very important to you, an opportunity, a scholarship. There are many things that I, I mean I can’t even begin to, you can come up with them yourself. And that’s really where,
I think we all learn. And we all learn this at
some point in our lives. Every single person does. We pay for our choices in a certain way. This is the point about take up your cross and come follow me. There will be something
there for you to bear. Something. – [Man] Anymore questions? – Is this a Lonergan question? – [Colin] Hi, my name’s question. I’m a second year MDIV student here. My question is what does it look like to give an account of hope? Let me restart, what does
giving an account of hope look like when it might be given from someone who’s in a
social position that has benefited from the systems of oppression that you talked about
in your first lecture? And how does one in such a position or that has grown up
benefiting from such a position give an account of hope that is not tied to those, perhaps, privileges and powers, so that the hope doesn’t,
it doesn’t appear that the hope is that, whatever privilege of power that person in that social position
might have experienced? – These are all very good
and challenging questions. I don’t know if the person
who asked the question about allies is here. I was thinking about that overnight. And you can just tell him, you know, one thing you can do is vote. So that’s just that
little part over there. That’s one way to be an ally, is go vote. It’s a very obvious and real thing. But your question is the question of how do you get out of
the water you are in. Because you’re in it. Lonergan is, I asked if you
had a Lonergan question. Okay, so has a more
elegant way of framing it, about how is a mind able to pull back from a civilization when
that mind is completed wedded to that civilization. And the first introduction, the introduction of insight. Roman numeral 11, I think. It’s very difficult and it
means that you very well may have to reconfigure the
way you think about your life. What your, it’s like,
it’s sort of spiritual, and not only physical downsizing, but sort of spiritual downsizing. Because we tend to equate,
we’ve begun to do this, all of us, all of us,
prosperity with blessing. I think we misread Job, you know. So there’s a way, there’s really a way that you have to really think about what it is that’s conducive
to your own holiness. It’s conducive to your own holiness. Is there something that you, is there a place or something you would do that would say, that you
could say to yourself, if I went to that place
or did those things I would just lose my soul? And you wouldn’t be doing
necessarily anything bad. Anything evil. You would just be so
caught up in all of it, that you wouldn’t have clarity. So to say your own
holiness is nothing strange in this building, in this school. The fact of the matter is
if you’re studying ministry, that’s what you’re being called to. All humans are called to holiness. The orthodox church talks
about our deification. Becoming more and more like God. Well that has a political dimension to it. It’s not something often
esoteric in the corner. Because you’re living in a social order, you’re living in an economic order, you’re living in a political order, you’re living in an order with technology. We’re right here. And I think this is very
difficult for everyone. For everyone. That’s why in some real way, prayer becomes absolutely necessary. Not only going to chapel,
not only going to, you know, Sunday or whatever services or Wednesday, or however many times. But also taking some real time to reflect. And to think about what’s the impact of the word of God in my life. It’s hard to do. It’s hard to do. But that’s required of us. Does that make any sense to you? And it’s hard to be honest with ourselves. Because we put out little,
you know, things around, I really wanna do that,
but you know they’re really pressing me to do this and
so I just have to do it because there’s no one else who can do it. There’s always someone else. There’s always someone else. – [Man] Other questions? – [Tayla] My name is Tayla Daniel and I am a second year MDIV. So my question that I have, hopefully it’s not as heavy
as the other questions. But we are in a room
full of divinity student and seminarians and future theologians, so I wanna know what’s one piece of advice or wisdom that you would
share with us about, or that you have gained
through your journey to getting to where you are now? – Everybody has advice for you. (laughing) My advice is really, I think,
is really just work hard. And read widely. Don’t only read in your little Billy wick. Your specialization. You will have to do that, but read widely. I would say read fiction. You learn a lot about the world
you live in through novels. You know? I would say, I would say pray. Make friends with people, real friends. Have friends, yeah, have friends. We need friends. We need friends. Respect yourself and respect your friends. I don’t mean to sound, you
know, like a, but you know. You know what I mean, you know? Love God. That’s what I would say, you know? That’s what I think we
all are trying to do. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t trying to do those things. You wouldn’t be here. Because it’s much too difficult, it’s much too difficult. The book a week is 250 pages. And there’s four of them. (laughing) That’s a thousand pages. So it’s hard, but the
thing is this is where, this is where you have to
learn to study together. We can’t always be living in competition. This is one of the things that we all have to learn in the academy. It’s not all about this. That was one of Dr. Russell’s
great gifts, collaboration. Real collaboration. Use this one thing you
can try, which I thought is really interesting. No matter what, she always had her read, not a retreat, but an advance every year with people to strategize
for social justice. An advance. And that’s really something to think about because it’s not going back. There can be withdrawals
so you can go forward, but she was talking about an advance and that’s a really
good thing to think of. You wanna advance. You wanna advance. And you could have a lot
of fun at the advance. But you’re strategizing for something really concrete and something really good. Yeah.

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