A “Kindler, Gentler Form of Christianity”… with Real Differences

In a conversation full of irenic Christians, no one has approached this project in better faith than our resident Latter-day Saint. Month in and month out, I’ve not only learned more from Robert Millet about Christian theology and practice, but what it means to live out the principles that undergird the “respectful conversation” project. I’m […]

Encouraged by LDS Piety: A Baptist Response to Robert Millet

Robert Millet offers a treatment of the Latter-day Saints (LDS) way of following Jesus that is refreshing in its familiarity, at least to this Baptist: search the scriptures, pray always, love and serve others, gather in church community. It is hard to argue with that list — though what to make of scripture, what love […]

Do Latter-Day Saints Get Any Help in Following Jesus?   

      The reflections of Robert Millet about the Latter-Day Saints’ (LDS) vision of the Christian life are thoughtful and helpful.  I have always been impressed with the level of commitment and real-life practice of the faith of many members of the LDS (a feeling I also share regarding the Jehovah’s Witnesses).  But I must say […]

The Latter-day Saints and the Resilience of Faith

My friend Robert Millet has been talking about his faith in relation to other expressions of the Christian faith for decades now, and I salute him for his contributions to fostering a better understanding. He has taken the initiative with me and others to engage him and other Latter-day Saints leaders in conversations about our […]

In It For The Long Haul

When reflecting on my colleagues’ responses to my original post, I appreciate their thoughtful and insightful perspectives regarding the complexities I attempted to name when exploring what it means to follow Jesus in the Black Church tradition. I was grateful for their attention to what I know to be true but failed to examine adequately […]

Wake Up, Everybody! Black Christian Experience in (and out) of Church

When I’m asked to respond to a scholar-practitioner of black church life, my first inclination is to sit down, shut up, listen carefully, and to ask:  What is it that I need to learn, as a white Christian?  What do I need to see, to hear, to change, as someone who strives to be in […]

Walking in His Steps: How Latter-day Saints Seek to Follow Jesus

 It is not difficult for persons who has received academic training in such fields as Christian history, theology, or religious studies to lose their focus on the fundamental purpose of scripture itself—to come to know God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3). The Apostle Paul expressed such a concern in his second letter to the Corinthians: […]

The Orthodox Fellowship of St. Moses the Black

Dear Farris, Thank you for your words about Black Christianity, and your deep concern about the wounds from the bitter experience of slavery in our land that have yet to be healed, and which continue to impede racial reconciliation here. I think my most helpful contribution to the ongoing discussion might be to share a […]

The Complement of Sacramentalism

Many thanks to Ferris Blount for his nuanced discussion of the Black Church, and especially his reminder that the Black Church is anything but monolithic. Indeed, I see extraordinary diversity, from the relatively dignified African Methodist Episcopal Church to the rollicking expressions characteristic of Pentecostalism. When I taught in New York City, one of my […]

Justice and Piety in the Black Church: A Both/And Tradition

When I started my undergraduate studies at the College of William and Mary, there wasn’t anything like a “Pietist” church within walking distance, so I found myself defaulting to the low church option closest to campus: Williamsburg Baptist. Though its founding date of 1828 seemed ancient to this Midwesterner, I soon realized that there was […]

Choosing the Only Option: A Radical Inclusiveness

Reading Farris Blount’s essay was a sobering and soul-stirring experience. I am especially grateful to Farris for sharing his heart, in describing the inherent pain and frustration associated too often with being a black Christian. I was born and raised in the southern states and consequently encountered racism and bigotry very early on in my […]

What Would it Take for Lutherans to Become Better Partners with the Black Church?

     Serving the Black church for three decades in its largest accredited seminary in the States, I’ve been asking this question of friends, colleagues, and students quite frequently.  And so on the basis of his thoughtful presentation, I now turn to Farris Blount to get his read on what the Lutheran tradition needs to do […]

Black Christianity Has Saved the Credibility of the US Church

As I ponder Farris Blount’s thoughtful, fair-minded reflections, I respond as a repentant white Baptist of the South. I recall that when I wandered into that Southern Baptist congregation in summer 1978, and that William & Mary Baptist Student Union in 1980, and into Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984 and again as a professor […]

Methodism and the Liberative Heart of a God Who is Love

If Pietists and Pentecostals are like cousins, then certainly Pentecostals and Methodists are even closer in family formation. After all, it was the revivalist Wesleyan movement, blended with a dose of Moravian Pietism, that gave birth to Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal forms of Christian faith and practice.  In the United States by the early 20th […]

Christ, Community, & Challenging Injustice

In Dr. Lancaster’s reflection about the Wesleyan tradition of following Jesus, I was most intrigued by what I consider to also be a fundamental aspect of following Jesus in the Black Church tradition – a commitment to an understanding of justification and sanctification as a communal process in which disciples of Jesus hold one another […]