Speaking Request

I’d be glad to speak at your event. Fill out the following form to let me know more about what you’re doing.

I’ve spoken on the following topics, but I’m happy to prepare other content.

Understanding the Heart Cry of #Black Lives Matter (Race and the Church Series, Richmond, VA)

Red and Blue & Black and White: Untangling Race, Politics, and Religion in America (First Mondays Speaker Series, Dordt College, Iowa)

A Reformation in Education: How Should Christians Engage Public Schools? (The Gospel Coalition National Conference, Indianapolis, IN)

How to Be Salt and Light (Campus Outreach New Year’s Conference, Greenville, SC)

The Historical Politics of Race in America (First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, GA)

Divided by Faith: Why Are Our Churches Segregated in the First Place (PCA General Assembly, Mobile, AL [paywall])

Loving “Those People”: Understanding Implicit Bias, Racism, and the Gospel (Lecture, Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA)

The Reformation and Racial Reconciliation (Together for the Gospel [T4G], Louisville, KY)

An Indigenous Reformed Movement in African American Communities (PCA General Assembly, Houston, TX [paywall])

The Image of God and the Minority Experience (PCA General Assembly, Greenville, SC)

Dynamics of Dominant and Sub-Dominant Cultures

A Biblical Theology of Race and Ethnicity

The Image of God in the Minority Experience

Biblical Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness in Christian Organizations

 


Speaking Request Form


1. An Indigenous Reformed Movement in African American Communities

There’s more than one way to do theology. Without losing eternal biblical truth, theology constantly reacts to new situations and responds with new applications of Scripture’s teachings. But theology has generally been taught from the perspective of the majority. How might theology be different when done from the perspective of the minority? What themes and issues would be addressed? How would the vocabulary change? Would we begin to hear wisdom from different voices?

This presentation explains the difference between “classical” theology and “jazz” theology. As an ethnic and historically marginalized minority, African Americans have a formulated a rich theological tradition. But they have done it differently than many in the majority. The theology that arises from a minority group has much to offer all people. At the same time, theology as it has been traditionally done has also contributed to a richer understanding of God’s character and actions. By putting both traditions in conversation, we will develop a more robust and comprehensive theology capable of addressing today’s questions from the foundation of the eternal word of God.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Explain how and why all theology is contextualized
  • Define dominant vs. sub-dominant and how the dynamics of each group influence the way theology is done
  • Imagine new ways of applying God’s eternal truth to new dilemmas and situations, especially regarding African Americans and other ethnic minorities
  • Develop a mindset that is “always reforming” without losing a firm grasp on eternal biblical truths

 

2.Dynamics of Dominant and Sub-Dominant Cultures

Social dynamics are different based on whether you are part of the culturally dominant group or the culturally sub-dominant group. Whether the division is between gender, race, ethnicity, wealth, educational attainment, or a host of other factors, the dominant/sub-dominant factors are always in effect. How do the needs and priorities of the dominant group differ from those of the sub-dominant group? Why do the rules vary based on different groupings? How can someone be part of the culturally dominant group in one area and part of the sub-dominant group in another?

This presentation develops the learner’s understanding of social forces working invisibly in everyday life.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Distinguish between dominant/sub-dominant and majority/minority dynamics.
  • Explain how inter-sectionality affects one’s social and cultural experience in different settings.
  • Apply the dominant/sub-dominant categories to racial, gender, economic, and other differences.

 

3. A Biblical Theology of Race and Ethnicity

Race is not merely a social issue, it is a gospel issue. Many Christians have historically shied away from talking about race and the church by reasoning that such concerns were not appropriate for Christians to address. Instead, they argue, believers should focus on purely spiritual issues such as personal salvation and holiness. Is race an fitting subject for Christians to address? Should they talk about it in church or only in personal interactions? How can believers improve race relations and remove some of the stigma without losing the gospel?

This presentation traces the idea of race and ethnicity from Genesis to Revelation. It explains how God has a beautiful plan for human diversity that culminates in the heavenly picture of people from every tribe, language, people and nation gathering around the throne to worship the Savior (Rev. 5:9).

Learning Outcomes:

  • Cite key biblical texts that talk about race and ethnicity.
  • Describe the implications of vertical reconciliation with God for horizontal reconciliation with people of different races and cultures.
  •  Distinguish between biblical and un-biblical forms of diversity.

 

4. The Image of God in the Minority Experience

The image of God is a key doctrine for putting issues of race and ethnicity in their proper place. Too often people mistakenly make ethnicity ultimate which leads to hatred and discord. Other people disregard race as irrelevant and claim to be “colorblind.” Neither extreme does justice to the image-bearing character of all humankind. How can race and ethnicity be important but not supreme? What God-given differences are part of our image-bearing nature and which differences arise from sin? How can Christians respect the dignity of all human beings as made in the image of the Creator to foster harmony amidst differences?

This presentation discusses the classical Christian doctrine of the image of God with special attention given to the implications for race and ethnicity. It further traces the distinct ways in which the image of God in minorities, particularly African Americans, has been defaced through racism and marginalization. Far from crafting a simplistic narrative of heroes and villains, this presentation teaches participants how to respect all people, whether allies or enemies, as made in God’s image.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the doctrine of the image of God and relate it to race and ethnicity.
  • Trace various historical events and movements to show how the image of God has been intentionally and systematically defaced in some minority groups.
  • Articulate how the gospel of Jesus Christ redeems the image of God in all people and helps put race and ethnicity in their proper perspective.

 

5. Biblical Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness in Christian Organizations

Many Christian churches and para-church ministries desire diversity, but don’t know where to start or how to attain it. Further, some mistakenly believe that visual diversity is the end goal. They fail to see the significance of fostering an inclusive environment for all people. If an organization is predominantly white, how do they foster diversity among staff, leaders, and constituents? Is is possible to move toward diversity without falling into “tokenism”? What does it mean to craft a culturally inclusive environment for all kinds of people? What are some practical steps for diversity and inclusion?

This presentation describes how the experiences of certain groups within an organization differs and what impact that has on efforts toward diversity and inclusion. It helps participants evaluate the current climate of their organization when it comes to diversity. The presentation poses some solutions, but also provides the tools necessary for members of the church or ministry to propose their own answers.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Define diversity and inclusion and why both are needed in an organization.
  • Diagnose the climate of a church or para-church ministry in terms of diversity and inclusion.
  • Incorporate practical tools and steps to create amore biblically diverse and inclusive organizational environment.

 

2 thoughts on “Speaking Request

  1. I recently read your writing about living in the Deep South. As you were describing the cotton fields and being able to see the slaves it brought me to tears. I have never been south and have never witnessed segregation. I couldn’t finish reading. The tears kept flowing to a point I could no longer see the words. I feel awful for the things that have happened in the past and present. I am a 33 year old white woman. I have always tried to distance myself from all the horrible things on this earth. You opened my eyes to all that is still happening here. Because of your honest and sincere writing I appreciate my town and neighbors so much more. I am lucky enough to live in the north in a small town where race doesn’t seem to matter. We have an abundance of biracial families and immigrants that are all friendly and loving. You’ve made me proud to call this my home. If everyone would stop to read about everyone’s struggles and imagine themselves in there place maybe racism would cease to exist. Your a wonderful writer. I hope your words reach all people of all races and genders. We can truly learn from them and reflect on ourselves and what we could do to improve how we treat others.

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