William Barber, the Seymour Symposium, and Prophetic Ministry

Rev. Barber with protesters
Rev. Dr. William Barber leads protestors into the North Carolina General Assembly to bear moral witness against policies passed by Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger and signed by Gov. Patrick McCrory. (Photo Credit: Phil Fonville)

Tomorrow morning, Sunday, December 3 will be our last class for the Fall 2017 season.

We will watch two short video clips, a little more than 7 minutes each. They both show Dr. Barber, the architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement. In the first he addresses the history of voting rights in America. The second clip shows him speaking at Binkley’s Seymour Symposium.

The website StoryOfAmerica.org  has called this second clip “Rev. Barber’s most compelling 7 minutes so far.”

We will discuss the role that prophetic ministry might play at Binkley in the years to come.

You can see the News and Observer‘s article about our most recent Seymour Symposium here.

Forward Together Page

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017

This Sunday we will view the final segment of the documentary, “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot.” Here are a few questions to consider while you view the documentary:

  1. Why were ministers from all over the country in Selma? What risks did they take?
  2. What happened to Rev. James Reeb?
  3. What was the significance of the barricade around the George Washington Carver Homes?
  4. Why was President Johnson’s use of the phrase “we shall overcome” meaningful to marchers?
  5. What was the immediate effect of the passage of the Voting Rights Act?


Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot (Part Two)

March 30, 1965: Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) and his wife Coretta Scott King lead a voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images)

On Sunday, November 12, we will continue viewing the documentary, “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot”. We saw the first twelve minutes last Sunday, and used the rest of the class time to discuss what we had seen and talk about the involvement of some of our classmates in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s.

Tomorrow we will see how Martin Luther King, Jr. became involved in the struggle for voting rights in Selma. Here are a few questions we will consider as we watch the documentary:

  1. What brought Dr. King to Selma?
  2. Demonstrators marched to the courthouse every day during the early part of the voting rights campaign. Why did they do that?
  3. Teachers from the local black school joined the protests. Why was this significant, and what risks did they take?
  4. How did the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson affect the campaign?
  5. What happened in Selma after Bloody Sunday made national news?
  6. What evidence did you notice in the documentary of the role faith played in the developing campaign in Selma?
  7. What does that evidence show about the faith of the participants?

Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot

Abernathy Children on the Front Line of the Selma to Montgomery March

On Sunday, November 5, 2017 we will begin viewing the documentary, “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot”. We will watch the first twelve minutes, then have time for discussion and reflection.

The documentary is produced by Teaching Tolerance, an Alabama based organization that produces educational materials supporting respect for diversity.

As we view this first segment of the documentary we will consider the connection between churches and the early days of the civil rights struggle against Jim Crow. The documentary does not focus on this. We will need to pick up on clues in the documentary that suggest the roll churches played.

I look forward to seeing you at Binkley.

Energizing and Amazement in Jesus of Nazareth

Tomorrow morning (October 29, 2017) we will look at the elements of energizing and amazement as parts of what it means to call Jesus a prophet. We will read several short passages from the Gospels and one rather long one from the ending of Luke.

I hope you can make it. I think we will have a lively discussion.

You can find the presentation I will use here.

Class schedule, and tomorrow’s class

Antonio Balestra (18th Century)

I have updated the class schedule to reflect recent changes. Last week we were off the schedule, and now we will be back in line with what is published. Tomorrow’s class will be based around chapters 40-55 of Isaiah and pages 59-79 of Brueggemann’s book.

Pathos and Jesus of Nazareth

Rembrandt (1606-1669), Descent from the Cross

On Sunday, October 15, 2017 we will discuss the meaning of pathos as applied to the prophetic tradition and specifically to Jesus of Nazareth. While the category “prophet” is clearly not the only one we could apply to Jesus, it is one of several ways that he is presented in the New Testament.  We will look at this element of the prophetic tradition and what this implies about Jesus’ significance for the early Christian communities that produced the gospels and letters of the New Testament.

You can see the presentation that I will use here.

Pathos and the Prophet Jeremiah

Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem
Rembrandt, Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem.

On October 1, 2017 we will examine the role of pathos in the work of the prophets. Since Jeremiah is the clearest example of this element found in all of the prophets, we will focus our discussion on his ministry.

Jeremiah did not succeed in convincing the leadership of his day to change course and avoid the disaster that lay ahead. Can we be more successful in our own time, or are we too headed down a path that will inevitably lead to disaster?

You can see the presentation I will use here.

Cultural Consciousness and the Practice of Prophecy

Detail from Solomon at his throne, by Andreas Brugger

Brueggeman presents the notion of “Royal Consciousness” in his second chapter (pages 21-37). This Sunday we will examine this idea and our own cultural consciousness as objects of prophetic criticism and energizing. Join us for a lively discussion.

We will read three short passages from 1 Kings and explore questions raised by the royal agenda and impact of Solomon. We will also examine ways these same questions remain relevant in today’s world.

The presentations that I will use can be found here.