Christian Studies lecturer calls for open conversations about race

By Haven Hottel, Assistant Vice President for Communications & Marketing

Kelly Brown Douglas was the featured speaker at the annual Christian Studies Lecture Series, sponsored by the Staley Foundation on Feb. 7. Douglas spoke to approximately 100 students, faculty and staff in Taylor Hall that afternoon and later that evening to a crowd of about 300 in Butler Chapel.

Douglas, the Susan D. Morgan professor of religion at Goucher College in Baltimore, is an ordained Episcopal priest and author. Her latest book, “Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God,” examines the social and theological questions facing our nation regarding race and faith.

As a mother, she said today’s culture has required deliberate conversations with her son regarding race and the place of African Americans in America’s society.

 “‘You are a child of God,’” Douglas said she told her son. “Though the world may look at him with scorn, my son must know his intrinsic worth.”

Douglas said she thinks frank conversations about race in America are the only way to promote and encourage change towards a society where everyone’s worth is equally valued. Adam English, chair of the Christian Studies department, said the topics of race and social justice are two of the most exciting areas of scholarship in the field of religion. Douglas’ work is groundbreaking and timely.

“She’s really a cutting-edge scholar,” English said. “The Church is looking for ways to connect to social questions. We want to make a difference in the world and that, at times, means getting involved with challenging questions.”

 English said the church shouldn’t be separate from society and must find ways to engage with issues relevant to our world.

“A good lecture creates conversation,” said English. “We hope this prompts additional conversations here in Buies Creek, as we try to figure out how to love one another and treat each other with dignity and respect.”

 The department of Christian Studies will be offering a new course this fall, titled Black Church Studies, which will address the unique opportunities and concerns of the black church in America.


 Photo: Kelly Brown Douglas, the featured speaker at the Christian Studies Lecture Series, presented to a full room in Taylor Hall. Photo by Haven Hottel