COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS: BLACK VOICES ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
THE PURPOSE OF THE COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS SERIES
- To bridge the gap between African American men and women trained at mainline and conservative evangelical seminaries and divinity schools.
- To get beyond the caricatures that divide us.
- To sharpen one another.
- To build genuine relationships with those who think differently.
- To provide a safe space for dialogue.
- To demonstrate how to effectively discuss controversial issues with people who think differently.
- To show the world the diversity of thought within the black church.
- These conversations will be held via Google hangouts. During the series, we will pair an African American voice trained at a conservative evangelical seminary or divinity school with an African American voice trained at a mainline seminary or divinity school.
With civil rights advocacy in his DNA, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. As Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL, Dr. Moss spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality. Dr. Moss is part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching a prophetic message of love and justice, which he believes are inseparable companions that form the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of his community engagement through Trinity United Church of Christ, Dr. Moss led the team that came up with the “My Life Matters” curriculum, which includes the viral video, “Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival” created in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College who earned a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. He returned to Yale in 2014 to present the famed Lyman Beecher lectures. The three-day event included an in-depth discourse on the subject of “The Blue Note Gospel: Preaching the Prophetic Blues in a Post-Soul World.” The lectures, which demonstrated a homiletic blueprint for prophetic preaching in the 21st century, were the foundation of his latest book, Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair, published in 2015.
Dr. Moss was named to the inaugural Root 100, a list that “recognizes emerging and established African-American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions,” according to the publication’s Website. Honorees range between ages 25 to 45 and their accomplishments and successes transcend media headlines or statistics.
With a unique gift to communicate across generations, Dr. Moss’ creative Bible-based messages have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Dr. Moss a popular speaker on college campuses and at conferences and churches across the globe. He is highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz, and Hip-Hop music. The work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the pastoral ministry of his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio, have been primary mentors for his spiritual formation.
Dr. Moss is the former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia, his first pastorate, where the church grew from 125 members to over 2,100 disciples during his tenure.
His earlier publications include: Redemption in a Red Light District, and The Gospel According to the Wiz: And Other Sermons from Cinema. He co-authored The Gospel Re-Mix; How to Reach the Hip-Hop Generation with three other contributors, and Preach! The Power and Purpose Behind Our Praise, with his father, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
His sermons, articles, and poetry have appeared in publications such as Sojourners Magazine and The African American Pulpit Journal. Those works include: Power in the Pulpit II: America’s Most Effective Preachers, Joy To The World: Sermons From America’s Pulpit, Sound The Trumpet: Messages of Hope for Black Men, and The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama. His work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Urban Cusp, and The Root.
Dr. Moss is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ. He is on the board of The Christian Century Magazine and chaplain of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference.
He is married to his college sweetheart, the former Monica Brown of Orlando, Florida, a Spelman College and Columbia University graduate. They are the proud parents of two creative and humorous children, Elijah Wynton and Makayla Elon.
Dr. Hall has served as Vice President for Academic Services since 2013. Prior to that he was Chief of Staff in the Office of the President and a member of the Seminary’s Executive Cabinet since 2009. His administrative duties include directing the Seminary’s enrollment, library, and assessment initiatives. His academic and research interests focus on the intersection of theology and culture in American religion and he regularly teaches courses in church history, American history, and American government at the graduate and undergraduate level. He is co-editor of Essential Evangelicalism: The Enduring Legacy of Carl F.H. Henry (Crossway, 2015).
Dr. Hall is active in denominational life, having served on the SBC Committee on Resolutions (2014, 2015) and as a Research Fellow for the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the American Society of Church History, the American Historical Association, and the Conference of Faith and History.
An ordained minister, he serves as an elder at Clifton Baptist Church.
Dr. Marvin McMickle was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1948. He is a 1970 graduate of Aurora University in Aurora Illinois with a B.A. in Philosophy. His alma mater also awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1990 as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1973. That school also awarded him the Unitas Award in 2007. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ in 1983. Princeton later named him a Distinguished Alumnus in the school’s bi-centennial year of 2012. He was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998. In 2010 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio.
He was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1973 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City where he served on the pastoral staff from 1972-1976. He was pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church of Montclair, New Jersey from 1976-1986. While in New Jersey he served as president of the New Jersey Council of Churches from 1982-1986, as a member of the Montclair Board of Education from1982-1986, as well as two terms as president of the Montclair Chapter of the NAACP. He also taught preaching at New York, New Brunswick and Princeton Theological Seminaries.
From 1987-2011 he was Senior Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio. During that time he led the church in establishing a ministry for people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. It was the first church-based program of its kind in the entire country! He also initiated the practice of having the church tithe one-tenth of its annual income to community-based programs every year. While in Cleveland, Dr. McMickle served on the Board of Trustees of Cleveland State University, as president of the Shaker Heights Board of education, and as president of both the local NAACP and Urban League chapters. He was the Professor of Homiletics at Ashland Theological Seminary from 1996-2011. Upon leaving Ashland he was voted by his faculty colleagues to be Professor Emeritus. He is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In the winter semester of 2009 he served as a Visiting Professor of Preaching at Yale University Divinity School.
He was elected to be the 12th President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 2011.
He has been married to Peggy Noble McMickle since 1975. They have one son, Aaron James who lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Pilar Ramos and their daughters Aaliyah and Lola.
Dr. Vincent Bacote is an Associate Professor of Theology and the Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. He is the author of the The Spirit in Public Theology: Appropriating the Legacy of Abraham Kuyper (2005), and has contributed to books including On Kuyper (2013), Aliens in the Promised Land (2013), Keep Your Head Up (2012) and Prophetic Evangelicals (2012). He is a regular columnist for Comment (wrf.ca/comment) and has also had articles appear in magazines such as Books and Culture, Christianity Today, Think Christian and re:generation quarterly and journals such as Christian Scholars Review, Urban Mission and the Journal for Christian Theological Research. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Christian Ethics. He resides in the Chicago area with his family.
Cam Triggs loves Jesus. God saved Cam from wrath, sin, death, and Satan in 2005. He began studies at University of Central Florida as a Religious Studies major & continued his education at Reformed Theological Seminary where he earned a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies. During his time at RTS, Cam was privileged to study under the apologist John Frame. In the future, he looks forward to further study in the areas of philosophy, theology, and African American studies. He now enjoys loving God & loving students at Shiloh Church. More importantly, he is married to his beautiful best friend Tymara Triggs and the proud father of Cameron Triggs II. Stay connected with him at camtriggs.com.
Willie Dwayne Francois III is a 2009 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion. Due to his academic performance and record, Francois is a member of various honor societies and holds two fellowships from the Fund for Theological Education. While at Morehouse, he served as the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants Program and was named the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar. Francois received a Master of Divinity from Harvard University’s Divinity School, where he was awarded the Hopkins Shareholders Award—the school’s highest academic commendation. Called and committed to empower God’s people through transformative preaching and teaching, Francois was licensed and ordained at the First Union Baptist Church of Galveston, Texas. He currently serves as Pastor of Congregational Care at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, where Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr is the pastor. Prior to joining the FCBC team, he served as the Minister of Christian Education and Discipleship at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church of Houston, Texas, under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby. To learn more about Willie visit http://www.fcbcnyc.org/staff/rev-willie-dwayne-francois-iii.