Faith Leader Profile:

Reverend Dr. Emilie M. Townes

Faith Tradition: Christian
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United Faith Leaders
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by Jay McNeal on United Faith Leaders
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Used Contract: N/A
Credentials Evidenced: Confirmed Myself

I know Dr. Townes from The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast as a guest (http://coffeepotfellowship.com/emilietownes/), The Wild Goose Festival, and much of her public work. Her students, professors themselves, speak very highly of her. She is a premier speaking guest, teacher, and preacher. Bring her to your events or get yourself where she is speaking. She will elevate the conversation of the entire event.

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Offering:

  • Guest Teacher
  • Guest Speaker

Languages:

  • English

About:

Director, Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative

The Collaborative is a hub for a national conversation and strategies for public theology and racial justice.

I have been trying to understand evil all my life-not the individual acts of sin, but what I call systemic evil like anti-Semitism, classism, racism, sexism, and more. Over the years, I have come to understand evil as a cultural production. By this, I mean that I explore the ways in which a society can produce misery and suffering in relentlessly systematic and structural ways. We are, in many ways, imprisoned by the cultural production of evil and I do not like it and think that none of us should accept it as the status quo for our lives. This status quo is built on despair that we sometimes rationalize as being “realistic” about the ways in which the worlds and the people of it work. We then suffer from a kind of least common denominator sense of fairness and compassion that does not call us to live beyond our comfort zones or what we believe or have been taught to believe into a world that is vast-as God continues to spin out creation in our lives.

The Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative gives me an opportunity to join with others in our centuries-long attempt to eradicate racism and all its reciprocal forms of injustice and hatred. This is a particularly important moment to birth a collaborative such as this that seeks to be a hub for a national conversation on public theology and racial justice. By bringing together activists, scholars, and practitioners to engage students, faculty, and community members here at Vanderbilt, Nashville, and beyond, I am finding my way back to the morning, while watching the Civil Rights protests on television with my mother, when I asked her “Mommy, why do people hate us? They don’t even know us. They don’t know me.” The look of pain, but determination on my mother’s face is something that I have carried with me for years-it was the look that many Black parents in my generation gave to their children. It was the look and then the verbal response that said quite simply, “I don’t know, but I do know that you are a child of God and because you are God’s own creation, you are a gift to the world. Don’t believe in hatred as a way of life.”

How do we help folks discover this gift-this gift that all of us have been shaped by in some measure? How do we embrace the idea that hatred is a bankrupt way to live one’s life? It is not only through the fellowships and scholarships that help students engage in projects. It is not only in the workshops that we will plan for the summer institutes. It will not only be in helping people gain media savvy to talk about race and racism and how we as religious scholars, activists, and practitioners must work with every fiber of our being to eradicate senseless fear and hatred. I think it will be in the ways in which we meet with one another, face-to-face, to get to know each other to stop engaging in gross caricaturizations of each other as if they were fact-no post-truth, no alternative facts. It is to come to know one another through working together while focused on the task of ending racism as much as we can in this generation so that future generations can take up this work and carry it on.

Please join us in the work of racial justice through the lens of your faith journey. For more, see https://www.publictheologyracialjustice.org

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United Faith Leaders
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Jay McNeal on United Faith Leaders
Top Shelf
Used Contract: N/A
Credentials Evidenced: Confirmed Myself

I know Dr. Townes from The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast as a guest (http://coffeepotfellowship.com/emilietownes/), The Wild Goose Festival, and much of her public work. Her students, professors themselves, speak very highly of her. She is a premier speaking guest, teacher, and preacher. Bring her to your events or get yourself where she is speaking. She will elevate the conversation of the entire event.



Reviews:

Submit your review
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5
Submit
     
Cancel

Create your own review

United Faith Leaders
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Jay McNeal on United Faith Leaders
Top Shelf
Used Contract: N/A
Credentials Evidenced: Confirmed Myself

I know Dr. Townes from The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast as a guest (http://coffeepotfellowship.com/emilietownes/), The Wild Goose Festival, and much of her public work. Her students, professors themselves, speak very highly of her. She is a premier speaking guest, teacher, and preacher. Bring her to your events or get yourself where she is speaking. She will elevate the conversation of the entire event.