August 2009

By Dr. Amy Laura Hall
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics

Duke Divinity School


I am a woman. But this long story very short begins when I was a girl, a white girl. I was raised with an inkling of a clue, but protected from gaining more.


By Dr. Willie James Jennings
Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies
Duke Divinity School

Dr. J. Kameron Carter
Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies
Duke Divinity School

Jennings: Jay, I was amazed by the memorial service for Michael Jackson. What struck me immediately was the deeply Christian, deeply “black church form” that service embodied. From the surprising presence and position of the casket adorned with flowers to the position of the podium, the setting turned the Staples Center in Los Angeles into a sanctuary.

By Dr. Brian Bantum
Assistant Professor of Theology
Seattle Pacific University

In my undergraduate creative writing courses my professors were concerned with cultivating my skills of expression and observation. These were evaluated not on the basis of my knowledge of Morrison or Faulkner or how they drew upon philosophy or critical theory. My knowledge of Faulkner and Morrison were displayed in the incorporation of them in my descriptions, in my prose. During this time I learned that I needed to display my intent, not explain my intent.


By Dr. Esther Acolatse
Assistant Research Professor
of Pastoral Theology and Global Christianity
Duke Divinity School

Recently President Obama and his family visited Ghana and like all African Americans before them took a pilgrimage to a former slave castle in Cape Coast. Though I recall not only his words but the expressions on his face, what struck me most was the demeanor of Sasha Obama. She peered through the hole in the wall through which slaves were tunneled to the dungeon, averted her eyes, and began twisting the hem of her blouse as she looked up at her father. Obvious signs of discomfiture, but tinged with what seemed like embarrassment. But why?

By Dr. Willie James Jennings
Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies
Duke Divinity School

The Rev. Tiffney Marley, MDiv ’96, rendered years of honorable service to the Office of Black Church Studies (OBCS) and the Divinity School, and we are greatly indebted to her. She stepped down from the directorship of the office after spring semester 2009.