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Finding the Essence of Christianity in America

Special lecture by the Reverend Dr. Willie James Jennings (Yale Divinity School), author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

This special event is sponsored by the Religion Department, and co-sponsored by the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, the Calvin Alumni Association, and the Just Citizenship series.

Christianity in America has been deeply infected with racial logics and racial reasoning.  Dr. Jennings will consider the work that Christian communities must do to perform a faith that matters at this turbulent moment. 

About the speaker

Dr. Willie James Jennings is currently Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale University Divinity School. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Jennings received his B.A. in Religion and Theological Studies from Calvin College (1984), his M.Div. (Master of Divinity degree) from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California, and his Ph.D. degree from Duke University. He is a systematic theologian teaching in the areas of theology, black church and Africana studies, as well as post-colonial and race theory. The author of numerous articles, Dr. Jennings’s recent work The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race published by Yale University Press, won the 2011 American Academy of Religion award for best book and is now becoming a standard text read in colleges, seminaries, and universities.  Dr. Jennings is also the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity.

In addition to being a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and seminaries, Dr. Jennings is also a regular workshop leader at pastor conferences. He is also a consultant for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, and for the Association of Theological Schools. Recently, Dr. Jennings completed a commentary on the Book of Acts which will be published by Westminster/John Knox early this year. He is hard at work on a book on the doctrine of creation, tentatively entitled, “Reframing the World.”

He served along with his wife, the Reverend Joanne L. Browne Jennings as an associate minister at the Mount Level Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, and for many years, they served together as interim pastors for several Presbyterian and Baptist churches in North Carolina. They are the parents of two wonderful daughters.

The Just Citizenship series has been approved for State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) in the state of Michigan. For every forum you attend, you can earn one clock hour of SCECH credit for certificate renewal. For more information and a SCECH application form, please visit our homepage for the series.


March 2017
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