BROWNWOOD – February 19, 2015 – “Our witness as Christians is not to change others, but to change ourselves and, in so doing, invite others to do the same,” said the Reverend Dr. Willie James Jennings, guest speaker at Howard Payne University’s eighth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics held recently on campus. “We became disciples by learning and we can make disciples by learning as well.”
Dr. Jennings, associate professor of theology and black church studies at Duke University Divinity School, spoke on “Being Christian in Racial America.”
When asked by a student why he chose to devote his studies to that topic, Dr. Jennings responded that he has always been intrigued by “segregated Christianity.”
“We sing the same hymns, say the same prayers and read the same Bible,” said Dr. Jennings, referring to Christians of various races. “Yet, in some instances, we feel as though we can’t be in the same room together.”
Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies, said Dr. Jennings’ lectures were a great reminder to Christians of all races and backgrounds.
“Dr. Jennings’ lectures were quite thought-provoking,” he said. “Many of us will continue to reflect on his association of imperialistic ideals and agendas and ownership and control of land with racial prejudices. In relating to people of various races, we who profess a relationship with Christ need to act like our Lord acted.”
During the lectures, four HPU seniors were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology. Receiving the award were Samuel Marich-Edwan of Arlington, Jessi Jordan of Spurger, Paul Warren of Salado and Kelsan Wolverton of Lampasas.
“These students have excelled in their work in Christian studies and we’re proud to honor them for their achievements,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies.
The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.
Photo cutlines: The Reverend Dr. Willie James Jennings discusses “Being Christian in Racial America” during HPU’s eighth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics.
Four HPU students were recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology. Left to right: Kelsan Wolverton, Samuel Marich-Edwan, Jessi Jordan, Paul Warren and Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies.