As we continue inching closer toward Ash Wednesday (February 14th) and the season of Lent, we continue to learn and listen to the voices of those that may be new to us, at least this one is new to me. As your pastors and staff have been reading voices from those less famous in the realm of theology, I share a new name with you, the Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes. I watched a few of her videos from the Work of the People, but this one that we share below really resonated with me. Emilie Townes is the Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School and is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman. She was born in Durham, North Carolina and has gone on to do and write and teach and preach about justice, women’s theology and Christian Ethics. She is a voice of grace and openness to the changing world around her and holds distinguishing positions serving as the president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion (2012–2016) and being the first African American woman elected to the presidential line of the American Academy of Religion, which she led in 2008.
The video below, called “Hoarding Love,” is well worth the seven and half minutes because it asks us some important questions about the cultural production of evil and what would remedy it as followers of Jesus.
As she was talking, I thought about my kids, and how they share and don’t share. Emmaline and Charlie are old enough now to share well. They don’t really fight any more about what is theirs and what isn’t, of course they have their moments and they argue like any siblings do. Our focus right now has been on trying to teach Ellie, our 18 month old how to begin to understand sharing. Of course an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex makes sharing difficult for young children and as loved ones we have to show young children both how to survive while also making socially acceptable choices. And as our children grow, we can teach them how to be safe and assertive with their needs. In our family we are walking this line. Ellie is very strong and very loud, so when she wants your toothbrush, or water bottle or snack, she will not only pull on it with all of her might but scream REALLY loud. Usually we all give into her because it is easier and we chuckle at her determination (knowing that it will serve her better, ONE day). But what happens if we continue acting like toddlers as we grow into adults? How can following Jesus teach us how sharing is caring and that there really is enough on this earth for all to have their needs met?
This video dives into that and asks us some deep questions. I hope it blesses you as it has blessed me.
Today’s Video: Hoarding Love
By Emilie Townes
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