Jefferson Bethke is focused on the problems; I am consumed in the potential. He sees the dirty water and calls for a cleansing; I see the baby in the tub. For all the woes of this world, and the many ways our faith has caused them; there yet remains hope in the gathering of a few who believe in something greater than humanity. For all we’ve done, for all we’ve ignored, for all we’ve hurt: God still calls us together. God still loves us.
Is the religion of our God that impotent? Doesn’t the Christian God demand that followers speak up on behalf of the oppressed? Does it make us “less Christian” if we speak up on behalf of a people who have nobody to speak for them?
Tony Lee is a go-go preacher, and COH is a go-go church. Although Lee is deliberate about COH’s use of all forms of media, it’s always for the same goal—to offer hope to the local community. That’s why it’s easy to attend COH and forget about the use of new media. The new media is mixed in with the old. COH is as fervent about handbill flyers, home baked goods, t-shirts, and radio programs as they are about web channels, online video games, Bible apps, and Facebook. It’s all about connecting people to church and to God.
Barbara D. Savage, a professor of history and American social thought at the University of Pennsylvania, is receiving the prize for the ideas set forth in her book, “Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion,” published in 2008 by Harvard University Press.
James Cone, author of The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and a professor at Union Theological Seminary, who is known as the founder of black liberation theology, talks about the personal and larger cultural significance of the crucifixion for blacks seeking justice during Jim Crow.