Each year, The Seattle School offers the Stanley Grenz Lecture Series to advance theological discourse as an expression of faith and service in honor of former Professor Stanley Grenz, a prolific Christian scholar with a pastoral heart and deep intellectual presence.

Womanist theologian and ordained minister Dr. Angela Parker joined The Seattle School on January 12, 2024 for a conversation on “America’s Failing Empire: A Womanist New Testament Response to Rising White Christian Nationalism.” Examining scripture, theology, and psychoanalysis of the self, Dr. Parker argued that America’s failing empire clings to the deep narrative/story of White Christian Nationalism while ignoring the ways that the imago dei of God can be found in passages outside of traditional readings of scripture. A panel discussion followed where Dr. Parker was joined by Dr. Chelle Stearns, Associate Professor of Theology at The Seattle School from 2008-2023 and current Affiliate Faculty, and Dr. David Leong, Professor of Urban & Intercultural Ministry at Seattle Pacific University. 

More about Dr. Parker: Angela N. Parker, PhD, (Chicago Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. Prior to her doctoral studies, she received a B.A. from Shaw University and an M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School. In 2018, Parker’s article, “One Womanist’s View of Racial Reconciliation in Galatians,” earned second place in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion’s Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholar Award, and in 2023 she published If God Still Breathes, Why Can’t I?: Black Lives Matter and Biblical Authority (Eerdmans). Parker is ordained with the Missionary Baptist Association of North Carolina and can be found on YouTube and TikTok @BoozyBibleScholar.


Dr. J. Derek McNeil:
Good afternoon. Well, first, before I get started, did someone lose their cap? Anyway, it will be probably on this first row if you see somebody asking about a cap. Okay. First of all, it’s my pleasure to welcome you this afternoon evening to the Stanley Grenz Lectureship Series. How many years it say that I look at Chelle and ask how many years has this been?

Dr. J. Derek McNeil:
2011, 2013, somewhere in there. We do this lectureship series to remind us that theology is important in the cultural context. We’ve had a little bit of a season where theology is thought to be maybe irrelevant. I think we’re going to have a season where theology is known to be necessary.

So in this crisis of meaning space as people, some people will call it, or a moment of potential collapse, asking bigger questions is essential. And so our hope is to stimulate a conversation of bigger questions. Now, also to the other sort of thing that’s striking is–we’ve lost the idea of what discourse means. We no longer can hear. Now, as a person trained as a psychologist, I can know we can shut your capacity. Your brain can shut down with how much stimuli that’s threatening to you, lose your capacity to process. Well, it’s a strange thing to watch society lose capacity to process, which means we’re not learning. That’s frightening for me as a person to teacher. And so part of the challenge for you and for us in this context where learning is lessened and threat is louder, and most of our moments are reactive. We like to have this space of discourse, a space of conversation. So for Stanley Grenz, who is a prolific Christian style with a pastoral heart and a deep intellectual presence, it’s his memory. Each year, The Seattle School hosts a theological leader and thinkers to advance theological discourse. Dr. Angela Parker, my friend–[audience cheers]

Dr. J. Derek McNeil:
I had the pleasure of being her boss for a little while, is our guest lecturer for this year, she will be presenting on “America’s Falling Empire: A Womanist New Testament Response to Rising White Christian Nationalism.” She wants to examine scripture, theology, and psychoanalysis itself. Dr. Parker will argue that America’s Falling Empire clings to the deep narrative story of White Christian Nationalism while ignoring the ways that the image of God can be found in passages outside of traditional readings of scripture. Just for bio, because in some ways it’s easy to be saying, this is my friend, but let me give her her due. Dr. Angela Parker received her PhD from Chicago Theological Seminary and is Assistant Professor of New Testament in Greek studies at Mercer University, McAfee School of Theology. And prior to her doctoral studies, she received a BA from Shaw University, an MTS from Duke Divinity School. And in 2018, excuse me, 2018, Dr. Parker’s article on “One Womanist’s View of Racial Reconciliation in Galatians” earned second place in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion’s Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholar Award. And in 2023 she published, If God Still Breathes, Why Can’t I? Black Lives Matter and Biblical Authority by Eerdmans. Dr. Parker is ordained with the Missionary Baptist Association of North Carolina. And so in a minute I’ll ask you to welcome her, but I want to introduce you to our other guests. They’ll be joining her on a panel after she presents: Dr. David Leong [applause] holds a degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, is a Professor of Urban Ministry and Intercultural Studies at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary. His latest book, Race and Place: How Urban Geography Shapes the Journey to Reconciliation, explores themes of exclusion and belonging in Urban Context. David and his family live in southeast Seattle where they enjoy local parks, endless coffee selections, and the best spa in the city. I think you took my wife on a tour. That’s what it was. And I think I heard about the tour you took you took my wife on. My sister Dr. Chelle Stearns. She received her doctoral degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She served as Associate Professor of Theology at The Seattle School from 2008 to 2023 and now serves as Affiliate Faculty. She’s the author of Handling Dissonance, A Musical Theological Aesthetic of Unity, and has published essays on subjects such as trauma and Christology, music and trauma, and Pneumatology and the arts. Her current research and writings are at the intersection of theology, music, and trauma. We welcome you both when she finishes her presentation to us, but I simply want say, I think I texted you and said, Hey, would you do this? I got that casual. I simply texted and she said, Yes. Right away.

Dr. Angela Parker:
I was like, of course.

Dr. J. Derek McNeil:
You did say something like, of course. And I thought, oh, I wonder if she’ll… Well, I didn’t have to do any talking answer, but she is a wonderful creative mind and loves the text. And so for a person, it would tend to sometimes assume that modern day revolutionaries, they want to discard the text. And I’ve watched Angela go deeper into the text. And in some ways it reminds us that our reading of the text is culturally informed influenced, which means we’re not always reading the text just because we think we know what it’s said. And so I’ve appreciated her work to say, no, go deeper, understand that context to help you understand your context. And so we invite you to share with us the gifts that you are and the blessing you are to us. Welcome, Dr. Parker.

Dr. Angela Parker:
Oh, I have to turn on my mic. Thank you. That’s helpful. No, it’s on. It’s on. It’s on. All right. Austin got me. Good. It’s on. I don’t have to do anything. So, first of all, friends, may God be with you and

[Audience Response: And also with you]

You let us pray. Gracious God, we thank you for this day. We thank you for life, health and strength. We thank you for allowing us to gather for this Stanley Grenz lecture, a noted theologian, but also lover of the biblical text. And we thank you for just allowing us to come together in order to discuss difficult topics, but difficult topics that need to be discussed in today’s day and age that are important for our livelihood that are important just for the flourishing of our lives. So we thank you for this opportunity. We thank you for The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, a place that helped me begin to think about those intersections of viable theology, psychoanalysis, and what they can look like out in the world. Allow this place to continue to be just that, a place of integration, a place of conversation, a place where even when we’re wrestling, we know that we are alive and flourishing and doing what you have called us to do. So we thank you when we praise you in Jesus’ name. I pray even as others come to you by the name that you have revealed yourself to them. Amen.

So I have the task of speaking to you this evening about America’s Failing, Falling–And it’s funny, I did go back and forth between failing and falling empire. So I think we probably could say failing/ falling–Empire, A Womanist New Testament Response to Rising White Christian Nationalism. I want to ground us by just introducing this particular quote from Samuel Perry and Philip Gorski. It’s from their book entitled The Flag and the Cross. And in this quote, they saved us. They say that White Christian Nationalism’s deep story goes something like this. America was founded as a Christian nation by white men who were traditional Christians who based the nation’s founding documents on Christian principles. The United States is blessed by God, which is why it has been so successful. And the nation has a special role to play in God’s plan for humanity. But these blessings are threatened by cultural degradation from un-American influences both inside and outside our border.

Hence the deep story of White Christian Nationalism. I think it’s interesting for me, particularly coming back to The Seattle School, knowing that the original name of The Seattle School is Mars Hill something, something. And by that time we had folks like the Driscolls, the Mark Driscolls of the world, the angry white men who are just still pounding some kind of Christianity that I don’t recognize. And so you have an institution that’s always re-imagining who we are. I still count myself as part of you who we are in the midst of the day and age that we live in. So fast forward to 2019, I go to Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, and I’ve said this to my colleagues, which is probably why they’re not as kind as my Seattle School colleagues. No, but I said something like, as Baptists who started a school after the Southern Baptist Convention traditional takeover of Baptist seminaries, and you’ve come out of that and you started this institution, you are still trying to figure out who you are.

And it’s funny because, and I think Derek always recognizes this in me, I’m always going places and asking people: Who are you really? Who are you really? Or who are you trying to pretend to be? What does it mean to really understand and identify yourself?And institutions just like people are trying to understand and identify themselves? So I think about my foray into theological education and realize that just as institutions are trying to figure out themselves, we can read biblical texts and see that oftentimes the people in the text are trying to figure out themselves as well.

So, boom, oh, he told me to turn it on. Okay, that works down there. There we go. So you have the abstract. You don’t need me to talk like that. But how did, okay, now I hit too much. There we go. We’re getting there. Go back. Go back. There we go. So how do we begin to understand the deep story? Talked about the Mark Driscolls of the world, but I think in order to understand the deep story of White Christian Nationalism, some of the other folks that we need to be aware of are folks like Pamela Cooper White. So in Pamela Cooper’s White, The Psychology of Christian Nationalism, she talks about how White Christian Nationalism kind of had this deep story that Samuel Perry and Philip Gorski talked about. But in that deep story that meant that only someone like a Donald Trump would stop the”line cutters” who had been helped by elites like a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, that there became this assumption that white folks became strangers in their own land. And I’m trying to argue that an invitation into the deeper story of Jesus from my own particular Womanist New Testament scholarship helps us to argue against the deep story of White Christian Nationalism that if I’m actually truthful with myself, that story does not actually resemble the Jesus that I see in the text. And here’s going to be the kicker. This means that we are going to have to think about Jesus even differently. And that’s one of the things, and I feel it even as I remember teaching in this classroom.

What do you mean you want me to think differently about my Jesus? Don’t you know, it’s my Jesus that I take out of my pocket and offer to people when I’m in the grocery store? Don’t make me think differently about my Jesus. But I think if we take the gospel writer and I’m specifically going through the gospel of Matthew, if we take the gospel writer seriously, then we have to wrestle with these similar conversations that we find within the biblical text that I think we should be having outside of the biblical text. So what you hear me advocating for is understanding Jesus slightly differently so that we can understand one another slightly differently. That’s what I’m trying to get us to begin to think about. So in my own work, If God Still Breathes, Why Can’t I? Black Lives Matter and Biblical Authority, I argue that part of the narrative of white Christianity actually comes from, very good, a whole bunch of German scholarship that’s steeped in Eurocentric thinking.

So I talk about how when I was learning to be a biblical scholar, my professors were telling me to ask the proper questions, the proper questions that were set up by a Rudolph Boltman or a GWF Hegel or Epstein Bauer or Heidegger. A lot of us who have been trained in biblical scholarship, and I would also argue even in theological studies, and here’s, let me say this, there is a difference between biblical studies and theological studies. I am a biblical scholar. That means that I’m tied to the text. Dr. Stearns is a theologian. She goes into 20th-century theology and I’m just like, Ooh, no.

I am like, let me read this text and tell you all how you got theology wrong. That’s what I do. But I have to recognize that a lot of my training has been steeped in GWF Hegel who famously said that only Aryan nations have pure culture. That those Africans, those Orientals, those Jewish nations, those were enslaved nations and they had nothing to add to the culture of the globe. So you hear about Hegel and Hegel talks about how the spirit or the geist is within the world and cultures change and shift, but it’s only those Eurocentric nations that actually gave anything good. All those others, they did nothing. And so why is this important? I’ll tell you why. When they read Jesus, they read Jesus as white masculinity and then they go out and they colonize other nations and they present Jesus as white masculinity, Jesus as the universal male, Paul as the universal man.

So if you read someone like a Peter in the scholarship, Paul becomes universal white male. Peter becomes that backwater Jewish representative. And so you get this idea of antisemitism by ignoring Paul’s Jewishness, you get antisemitism by also ignoring Jesus’s Jewishness. And that leads to reading Jesus just like them. And so my biblical scholar professors were trying to make me read Jesus like that. How is that even possible? Alright, it’s not. So I go through and I talk about how Hegel and all the others just begin to talk really horrible about the other nations. And what Pamela Cooper White does is she connects some of these conversations to what becomes understood as nationalism, meaning German biblical scholars such as Heidegger, a card-carrying Nazi member until World War II. They were also steeped in this idea of nationalism, this patriotic way of understanding your nation and connecting it to your Christianity. And so when we see in Charlottesville white men in Dockers [pants] with tiki torches talking about the Jews will not replace us, a lot of that comes from this particular Euro-centric worldview. Alright? And so that’s what infiltrates into our readings of biblical text. So then what happens? How do we begin to get out of it? We have to get out of it in some way. I’m going to go first to Matthew chapter one. So Matthew chapter one, you have the infant narrative of Jesus. How many of you actually read Bible and like it?

Okay, there’s one over there. Good, I got a few. So I’m thinking, I’m also wondering, is this the first time a biblical scholar has done a Grenz lecture? Okay, Dr. Chelle is shaking her head yes, I’ll go with that. Because oftentimes we think we know the text. We say we know the text. If you’ve ever taken a class with me, I say that you cannot say: that’s what the Bible says. Thank you. I’m so happy I can look at folks and they know what to say. You can’t say that when you are around me because the Bible is thousands of years of a collection of books that had been put together. I’ve often said they did not come down from God written in God’s pen to the earth like floating on a spirit. No, that’s not what happened. There were people who were trying to figure out their relationship to the Almighty.

So you have to realize that this compending of books are different people talking about their relationship to the Almighty as they’re talking about navigating their relationship with other people. And oftentimes those other people were nations that were over them. Why do you think we had to learn about the Assyrians and the Babylonians and the Romans? Because they were trying to navigate: oh my God, these people are oppressive over us and we have some kind of promises from God, but I don’t know how we’re supposed to work all this out. What are we supposed to do in the midst of this? So now that’s what we’re reading, we’re reading other people’s relationship with God, not to get a one-to-one correspondence for our relationship to God, but just to see how they navigated it and perhaps, just perhaps, you know what? I am very much aware of the blessed Holy Spirit that can tell us things in the midst of reading that Bible, but not that one-to-one corresponds to this is my relationship with God.

No, it’s different. We have to nuance it and we have to interpret it. It’s not a self-interpreting book. Alright, so Matthew chapter one, [reads in biblical text] the beginning, the genesis of the book of Jesus, Christ son of David, son of Abraham. So you get this genealogy. Abraham begets Isaac. Isaac begets Yakob, Yakob begets Budha and his brother [reads in Greek]. Alright, first person that you need to know because you get there, Tamar, Tamar, Tamar. Rembrandt picture top left Tamar Tamar, she is the daughter-in-law of Judah according to Genesis 38. And as the daughter-in-law of Judah, she has a husband who’s Judah’s son. He dies. Judah gives Onan the next child to Tamar. She’s supposed to get pregnant by him. Onan spills his seed on the ground, God strikes him dead. Tamar of course was like, okay, I need another boy. And Judah’s like, Hey, no, just go in your mother’s house and wait until the youngest one grows up and then maybe I’ll give him to you.

She is like, oh no, that’s not going to work. She takes off her widow’s clothes, she goes and she sits and she’s looking like a prostitute. Judah sees her as a prostitute at the gate, says, come on, let’s go do the do, she becomes pregnant with twins. And he’s like, oh my goodness. In Rembrandt, her head is covered. So somehow he doesn’t know it’s her. They have sex, she’s pregnant. She is now “disgraced herself” because she’s pregnant and they don’t know how she can getting pregnant. And so he’s like, oh, I can get rid of her, prepare the fire, I can kill her. Oh, give me. And she says, go ahead, prepare the fire, but I need you to know that I’m pregnant by the man who these belong to and it’s his signet ring and his rod. And he is like, oh hell.

Dr. Angela Parker:
Well, that changes things. And he actually says in the text that she is more just than he is because she took matters into her own hands. So you get Tamar named in the genealogy of Jesus and you’re like, oh, that’s odd. Because normally women are not named in genealogies, it’s just the men. And so they actually pushed somebody out there. So naming women, weird practice, but note they name Tamar, they name Rahab. Rahab. Look at Joshua, brothel owner or prostitute, Hebrew Bible scholars, they kind of tussled with that. Ruth, oh wait, Tamar, Ruth, Rahab. Cannanite Ruth, you know the Ruth story where Naomi says, where Naomi goes, Ruth is going to go, your people will be my people. We use that in marriage ceremonies. That’s the wrong text. Please.

See, we think we know Bible but we don’t. And then wife of Uriah, Bathsheba, the classic case of victim blaming I’ve ever seen in my life. Oh, Bathsheba. And I have a friend Cynthia, who teaches Bible. She also does archeology. So she goes and she looks at Israel, she talks about the topography of Israel. And she says David was on the roof. The text specifically said that David was on the roof, that she was in her house and she was doing a ritual cleansing, meaning she had just come off of her cycle and at that particular time she would be fertile. Now David, the peeping Tom that he was, looks in sees her, is like: Ooh, I want that. No idea of consent or an adulterous relationship. It’s the same thing as someone saying Sally Hemmings had an affair with Thomas Jefferson. Now it was rape, call it what it is. David raped Bathsheba. And so we get this woman named as wife of Uriah in the lineage of Jesus. And then finally Mary, the mother of Jesus who when she said, I’m pregnant by the Holy Spirit, as a teenage girl, they were like, Mary, get the heck out of here. So concluding with five sexually suspect women in the lineage of Jesus, not the Sarahs or the Rachels or Leahs, not the approved supposed matriarchs of Israel, but the suspect women. And so I’ve always read that. I’m like, why the suspect women? Why the suspect women? Why the suspect women?

I’m going to answer that question as I go to Matthew 15, because Matthew 15 I would argue has to be read in light of Matthew chapter one. And this is where we get into the deeper story of Jesus. So Matthew 15, [oh], you may have to do something. Austin. As Austin is doing whatever magic he’s doing, Matthew 15 verses 21 through 28. So going from someplace Jesus is going into now entering into the region of Tyre and Sidon and behold, a woman Cannanite, a woman Canaanite from the regions there, she’s coming in and she’s crying out [reads text in biblical language]. And she said, A Sunday, have mercy on me Lord, son of David, for my daughter is demon-possessed like evilly, horribly, it’s bad. And Jesus at verse 23 does not answer her a word.

[reads Biblical language text] she’s coming the disciples, they’re coming up behind him and they’re asking him, saying a, send her away because she’s crying after us, but there’s no Jesus. It’s just Jesus. Jesus says, I am not sent except to the sheep, specifically the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And she coming, so she coming does a bodily action, she falls down. I’m not getting, five years ago when I was teaching her, I would easily get on the ground, not today. She goes and she falls before Jesus and this bodily idea of worship, but worship where you also prostrating yourself. And it’s almost like you’re kissing the feet and the garments of that person that you are asking for help. And so she is doing all the things in order to get Jesus to change his mind. And she says, Lord, help me.

And he said, it is not good to give the loaf, the bread of the children and throw it, throw it to the dogs. But she said, nay Lord or aye Lord. But even the dogs eat from the crumbs that have fallen from the table of their masters. And Jesus said, oh woman, [reads biblical language text] this happens three times in the book of Matthew. Is this like your great faith? Not little. Usually we get ye of little faith, but we get this mega, this great faith–depart and as you wish, let it be done. And her daughter was healed from that hour. Alright, so that’s our story. And usually I often ask students, how has this text often been preached or taught to you?

How has this text often been preached or taught to you? And let me hear one answer. Oh my goodness. How is it often taught or preached to you? [Audience: Jesus was testing her.] Jesus was testing her. Jesus was growing her faith. Very John, Calvin, John Calvin reading this is saying, oh, this is the example of how we’re supposed to pray. You are persistent in your prayer no matter what. Well, I would argue something differently. I would argue that this woman is doing a multitude of things and we’re going to focus on the woman for a second. She’s crossing a border, she has crossed the border to get to Jesus and she’s crossing that border. And as she’s crossing that border, she identifies Jesus as son of David. So not only has the woman who is on the border of society crossed the boundary to get to Jesus, but she has also recognized and acknowledges Jesus’s identity and his royal lineage even though she is other.

So she’s other. Jesus is being callous. And when you look at the gospel of Mark chapter seven verses 24 through 30, somewhere in that range, you get the same story, but she’s called a Syro-Phoenecian woman. She’s not called a Canaanite woman. And so Jesus says not a word to her in Matthew 15:23, which does not appear in Mark chapter seven. Matthew, the Matthian writer makes Jesus even more callous. But it seems to me that as I read this text, Jesus is also doing something else. The Canaanite people who have a history for the Israel nation of being barbarian only worthy of death, a good Canaanite is a dead Canaanite for the Israelites. Just like a good N-word is a dead N-word for a lot of White Christian Nationalists. This woman is other. And why did I go back to Mark chapter one. Who is in Jesus’s genealogy? Canaanite other women. So what happens when you say you’re only come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but then you have to look in the face of the other and realize, oh my God, that person is me. So here’s the twist. Jesus is not just pushing her faith, but I would make the argument that if we really believe what the text says about Jesus being fully God and fully human and not just harp on the fully God part, but actually wrestle with the text where Jesus is fully human, we have to recognize that Jesus, even as he’s created in the image of God, has to go through what those of us who are created in the image of God go through, a progressive transformative, gradual moving of our own imago dei. And this is where the work of Stanley Grenz becomes important because Grenz argues that when you think about the imago dei of Jesus or the imago dei in connecting it to Jesus, he’s talking about we have to take seriously that Jesus is human and divine.

And that according to Western psychology, which is what Grenz loves to also think about, just as we have a self, we have an individual self, we have a relational self, we have a collective self. And some psychologists would say that for a lot of people, the most important self is the individual self. And then maybe when you started getting into relationships with other people, then that relational self sometimes takes over. But that collective self, from what I was reading, that collective self is the least developed self most of the times from what I read, you all can correct me in the Q and A if I’m wrong, but I think what we’re seeing here is that Jesus, moving away from only being for the lost sheep of the house of Israel actually moves into a deeper collective, I would say a deeper collectivity. And how do I know that?

Because the gospel writer has argued or stated that, in my view, 14, 13 through 21, Jesus feeds like 5,000 people. And that feeding, they take up 12 baskets of bread, 12 being the number of the house of Israel, 12 being the number of disciples that he calls or apostles that he calls that idea. And also in Mark 14, he’s in a land that is mostly Israel. He has the conversation with the Canaanite woman. He sees himself in her because she is the other. And then at Matthew 15:32 through 39, he has another feeding, but it’s in a more Gentile region because he’s still hanging with the people of Tyre and Sidon from Matthew 15. And so that feeding the gospel writer says that the leftovers that they took up were seven baskets. Now if you know anything about biblical numbers 12 representing the number of the house of Israel, seven representing men or more of a complete mission. And now you’ve seen Jesus’s mission change from that individual Israel mindset to, oh my God, I am here for more people. That deeper story of Jesus is the invitation that I’m asking White Nationalists to think about. I am here for other people. I am not just here for you. So what does that invitation look like? It looks like an invitation to solidarity. I feel like I need to say more about Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

I believe that Jesus comes away with a healed understanding of his own identity and he has a push toward a more inclusive ministry and mission. And I also think that in that healed understanding of his identity, when you read the gospel in its entirety, you also have to see that, I think Jesus also has a healed identity regarding masculinity and power, masculinity and power. How do I get that? If you go back to Matthew chapter eight, Matthew chapter eight, a Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his enslaved person. Is a Roman centurion a part of the house of Israel? No, a Roman centurion is not a part of the house of Israel. But Jesus at that text says, sure, I’ll come. Let’s go heal your enslaved servants. But in 15 he says, I’m come only to the lost people of the house of Israel, basically ignoring that Canaanite woman.

So Jesus in the entirety of the gospel of Matthew, I think there’s that healing from wanting to be close to power, wanting to be in charge, wanting to be the man in the room who knows the answer to everything, wanting to be that person who knows everything. And if Jesus, the Jesus that we know as the Christ both human and divine has to have these conversations, I would argue within his own mind and within this text, why do we feel like we don’t have to have the same conversations today? [Oh yes] That’s where we’re going to. So how do we invite people into conversations like that? I don’t know. Lemme tell you, it’s hard as hell.

Plain and simple. For some reason I did it again, I’m sorry. For some reason back in Atlanta and other parts of the world, I’m invited to teach and preach in predominantly white spaces, white churches who love their Bible, love Jesus. And then they’re trying to figure out, well, where are we going wrong with our family and our friends who are Trumpites, our MAGA supporters who are putting forth this idea of making America great again, which is going back to some kind of 1950s idea of being America. And what I just try to do is invite them into a deeper story of Jesus. That’s the invitation. The invitation to explore such questions are not always easy. It is hard. You have folks like, oh, Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Green has called herself a proud Christian Nationalist and is trying to make that term more acceptable. So I would say that the deep story of Jesus has to ask these questions about how are we getting away from this? How are we getting to a posture that really takes a look at the history in which this country was founded? How do we not whitewash it? How do we begin to interrogate our own biases? That’s our second posture. How do we begin to realize that even if someone is loud and makes a lot of noise, that doesn’t mean you ignore them. Maybe perhaps you need to have a conversation with them in us and Jesus. And then the third posture, an invitation to not feel as though we’re astray within our own individual identity.

In a book, David Roediger wrote it, the book’s title is Working Toward Whiteness, Working Toward Whiteness that elite white society had shunned less than elite white society. And he really goes into talking about white folks understanding themselves as white trash, but the ways that political systems move them from white trash to at least you’re better than these other people, gave them an out from their straight status or their straight identity. The story of Jesus actually invites us to become more in solidarity of people, to have solidarity across identities and not coalesce around one particular tribe or group, specifically white identity. That’s what I’m trying to do as I imagine my life, my project, as a Womanist, new Testament Biblical scholar who’s just trying to make a difference wherever she finds herself. Thank you. [applause, standing ovation]

[end of lecture, transition to panel]

My colleagues will have our panel discussion as to what they heard and granted they read the, or had the opportunity to read the larger work that this is coming from. So there are things that I’ve probably skipped that they’ll be able to point out, [CS: “still taking notes.”] What are you thinking? Going to drop my, oh, lemme say some other things to help. Please. One thing that’s interesting for me, even as I read the Canaanite woman, I was trying to focus more on Jesus because oftentimes we focus more on the Canaanite woman when we’re reading the text. But one thing that’s interesting about the difference between the Mark narrative and the Matthew narrative is that the Canaanite woman, as Mr. Dubay argues, internalizes Jesus’s racism. And so when you think about she’s agreeing with Jesus saying, yeah, I may be a dog, but at least the dogs eat under the table. She said essentially, yes, I’m a little dog. Or I think I put in the paper she was acknowledging that she’s a little bitch. Sorry, but I had to put it in the paper because come on. But it’s that internalized racism that we all kind of live in sometimes. So I forgot.

Dr. Chelle Stearns:
Thank you.

Dr. Angela Parker:
You’re welcome.

Dr. Chelle Stearns:
Yeah, I think the first thing that I’ll just speak for both of us in just saying thank you for coming. It’s delightful to have you. [applause]

Dr. Angela Parker:

Dr. Chelle Stearns:
To have Dr. Parker here is a delight. So yeah, I think the thing that really stood out to me when I was reading the paper was really that kind of sense of you read the genealogy and you connect it to these women, to the women within the gospel, and really kind of thinking back of how often even when we’re reading, we begin to erase others in order to get to a Jesus we’ve already preconceived. So we actually are reading poorly, but we think we’re reading some. [AP: Exactly.] And so I think that’s the thing that [AP: Awesome.] I think that’s the thing that really stood out to me. And so this question as a theologian, the question then becomes, so what is being revealed here? And you’re actually in some sense messing with this idea of the revelation of who this Jesus is.

I’m kind of thinking of the passage in Hebrews in the book of Hebrews where it’s kind of like that Jesus becomes perfected. There’s kind of this weird play on this idea of what does it mean for Jesus to actually perfect our faith or perfect our own humanity? And by Jesus embodying in this story something that in some ways expected of him and then is transformed in this moment in some ways by this woman kind of, I love the way you put it, of he begins to see who he is as a Canaanite. [AP:Exactly, exactly.] He begins to see his own identity as other and realizing, oh, there’s something more that’s happening here. There’s something more. If you want to talk about it as the imago dei as a theologian, I’d be like, what we’re seeing is the transformation of the Imago Christi or the image of Christ that we are called into as Christians, to become less the individual.

And he becomes the collective of how his whole being begins to pick up this collective identity and transform it. And therefore our call is not to the pre-Jesus before this encounter. We are called to the Jesus after this encounter. And the thing that’s probably hard for folks to even begin to talk about is the idea of a Jesus that changes because most of us have grown up with a Jesus the same today, tomorrow, forever, whatever. And that’s something that we can’t live in the cognitive dissonance of if we read the text well, and that’s the thing. So either you’re going to read the text well or you’re going to hold on to your preconceived notion of the Jesus that you’ve already always been taught or the Jesus that has been christologically formed in theological construction.

Dr. David Leong:
I guess I’ll share some similar thoughts while on the genealogy topic, which I think is obviously such an essential part of how we understand Jesus’ life and ministry yet so often overlooked. So I appreciate how in the paper today, just a reminder that Jesus’ mixed genealogy helps us to see this really critical role that foreigners and outsiders play. And it’s interesting how in so much of the modern development of racial ideology, how this notion of racial purity, this notion that people groups can maintain some kind of integrity is what creates all these racial hierarchies in the world. And even though we now have all of the DNA science that recognizes that if you send your DNA off to send it off to 23 and Me or ancestry.com, what have you, it is really illuminating. It reflects how all of us are quite mixed, and yet these myths of racial purity kind of persist.

But I think most of all, I think similarly, I appreciated this depiction of a Jesus who’s confronted with his own ethnocentrism and has to really reevaluate if his depiction of who belongs in the house of Israel is a wide enough picture of the scope of God’s activity. So I think similar to what you were just saying, I think it’s wonderful to have the text open up the humanity of Jesus in new ways. And I think rather, while that is a, I think growing up I grew up as a Southern Baptist biblicist so I can identify with some of the ways that fixes Jesus’ persona in our minds. And so while it’s maybe a little scary to think about a fully human Jesus who is, as he’s teaching, as he’s performing miracles, as he’s living in the world, is also having to ask hard questions about whether the God that he serves, whether they’re on the same page quickly. I can see how that could be maybe threatening to some or how that kind of disturbs our level of comfort with the text. But I really love the way you opened it up to say that really this is an invitation into the mystery of God, the mystery of the incarnation of the dual nature of God. And so I don’t know, that’s something I hold onto saying that uncertainty, that dynamic nature of seeing Jesus or doesn’t have to be a threat to the authority of scripture, in fact reflects all of its beauty and complexities. I appreciate that.

Dr. Angela Parker:
And I appreciate that. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do because when I think about how people respond to if God’s who reads, and I’m asking the questions around inerrancy and infallibility and connecting them to white supremacist thought, that’s even difficult for people to begin to wrap their minds around because it’s like, wait, no, this is just the way it’s always been. And I’m like, no, it’s not the way it’s always been. There has been an evolution of the doctrines of an errancy and infallibility that actually moves to the person who’s doing the interpretation or the person who’s doing the preaching in the congregation. So it’s kind of like the same thing almost in my brain because being able to wrestle with a Jesus who is wrestling with his own ethnocentricity gives an example of white supremacy that has to wrestle with their own ethnocentricity. And to put that in front of people, that’s hard because why do we have to do that? And I’m like, well, it’s going to benefit me and my grandchildren, so I’m going to push you no matter what. And that may be selfish, but here’s the thing where it’s not selfish. I think those who wrestle with it will actually be better.

I often ask in a class context, what salvation do white men need? And I’m not talking all white men, please don’t hear that. But there is a type of liberation from the belief that one knows everything, that this particular identity should have all of the answers. And I’ve never grown up with the luxury of being looked upon as the person who had all the answers. So I can live in that. I don’t know. I can live in the mystery of, okay, Jesus God, man, okay, Jesus in Hebrews being perfected, okay, Jesus in Matthew doing something different. Okay, Jesus and John being completely masculine and taking care of business from the cross. Okay. Can I just live in all of that and not have to have mastery and control over it? Can I just read it and engage it? And it’s funny because you’re in a place where you’re getting a master’s degree, but you really don’t get mastery and control over it. And we’re never supposed to get mastery and control over it. And that’s where we’re trying to live. So I think that’s where salvation comes from, those for those who think that they’re always supposed to have mastery and control.

Dr. David Leong:
Can I ask a follow up? [AP: Yeah]. Since I hear a little Willie Jennings, oh,

Dr. Angela Parker:
Of course.

Dr. David Leong:
I think this is for all of us in perhaps in the room a little bit to think about. In my experience, Christian Nationalists have a hard time seeing the Whiteness in their nationalism, especially maybe the deeper story. It’s a very – forgive the pun – skin- deep racial analysis. And I know that among academics and among a lot of theologians, whiteness is a very common, very popular area of discourse, rightfully so. Given all the sort of Eurocentric history that you went over a little bit, I sometimes just wonder as maybe a pragmatist or as one wanting to have conversations outside spaces like this. [AP: Yes.] How do we talk about whiteness in the way that Jennings does as a way of seeing the world as a cultural hermeneutic, as a way of embodying our lives through maybe demonstration, things like master possession control, but how do we do that in a way that doesn’t just sort of reinstantiate the polarizing ways that people are thinking, like the Fox News-ification of racial politics? And I ask that for, I mean, even in my own family, there are people, they wouldn’t call it Christian nationalism, but they’re living inside that narrative deeply. And I want to be able to kind touch on some of those things. But I fear that as we talk about whiteness, it’s not having the same effect when I’m reading a journal article and presenting a paper. Do you know what I mean? How do I translate that? How do you translate that for browns?

Dr. Angela Parker:
So usually I am in a church preaching and I’ll preach something I’ll preach by Philemon. And so I’m preaching Philemon and making it connected to the 1619 project and saying, so what does Jesus want us to do in this moment? It’s not a come to Jesus accept Jesus’ Lord and Savior, because usually I’m preaching in churches where probably everybody’s been the member for 50 years. And so I’m like, okay, let’s read this text and read it differently. And usually no matter what, after I’m done preaching, I’ll have someone come to me, shake my hand earnestly and say, thank you for that word, preacher, but I don’t speak color. I’m colorblind.

And it’s that moment for me to have that conversation with that well-meaning person that says something like this. I know that a lot of liberals have put forth this idea of colorblind mentality that if we just ignore race and just treat each other the way we think Dr. Martin Luther King said about, I want my children to be received on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. See, it’s amazing to me, that’s the one thing white folks can quote from that opinion. I’m just like, is that the only thing that he said? No, but when we think about that language of colorblindness, you’re usually ignoring 400 years of history that comes with me when I enter into a room. And that’s what I’ll tell any parishioner. I’ll say, you’re looking at me and you’re telling me you don’t see color. So you don’t see my grandmother who was raped off of her land.

You don’t see my great-grandmother who was an enslaved person. You don’t see what it means to live in Jim Crow South. You don’t see all of the things that are part of the history behind me. And truth be told, you don’t see the history that you bring into this room either. So you’re trying to ignore my history and you’re also ignoring the history of how you even became colorblind and white. I mean, you weren’t White when you came here. You were Italian, you were German, you were Scottish, you were Swedish, and you’ve lost all of that. And so that language of colorblindness actually means that there’s so much more that we lose instead of gaining. And that’s a sit down conversation that has to occur all the time. But I find it fruitful, especially after I preach, and it’s not the academic conversations, it’s the sitting at the tables after a church service and having, I don’t know. Well, last time I went to the church, they made ribs. So that’s a great question.

Dr. Chelle Stearns:
Not quite bad church coffee and stale bagels. I yet, okay. I mean, I would definitely open things up. I think one of the things that I find challenging in this conversation is in some sense, yeah, going back home, what are the conversations we have when we’re with our family or I was working, I spent a lot of time in Canada this last summer working with an artist, and I had done a conference with her, Erica Grimm. She’s amazing. Hey Erica, have you watched this? And one of the things that she really challenged me was to go, so one of the things we wanted to start with was not only doing a land acknowledgement from the place where we were doing our conference, but to think through what was the land acknowledgement from where I grew up and from Seattle. And from there we began to go and what’s the story of the watershed that is there or is no longer there?

So it began this kind of journey of asking the question of the stories that have been lost. So I really love, you don’t see all the things in which I am connected to my ancestors. You don’t see all the ways in which I’m connected to the land. You don’t see. And in that the privilege of whiteness is that we don’t have to tell the story. The story I keep getting is, oh, well, I have nothing to do with that. It’s not actually my story. So where I am from just to do a short land acknowledgement, I’m from the Rogue River Valley where I was actually born, and I’m doing this off the top of my head, so I’m like, I’m losing the name of the tribe, but there’s a small tribe from the region on the Rogue River that I am from that was 10,000 strong before the settlers came.

They were all over the entire Rogue River Valley from eastern Oregon to the ocean, and there they were. And then the gold came, and a state that purposely wanted to be white supremacist. And they came and they basically erased. There are now 70 people left of that tribe. They’re not in their land. They are somewhere up north on a small disputed–they’re not actually acknowledged as a tribe anymore. So they have no rights or privileges to land anywhere. And so I have privilege because my parents live there and they own land, and that I can go back whenever I want and I have value and money kind of invested in this land. And it is somehow mine where this tribe that went back thousands of years in an area that is rich and wonderful is now 70 people and they don’t know their own language.

And so I’m like, the more I can wrestle with that story as actually this is not someone else’s story, this is my story now. This is part of my bias is that I have this huge blind spot because I don’t know how to tell the story well. And I’m like, I’m in my fifties, but I had never heard the story. I didn’t know that most of the tribe died because they made them walk up north in northern Oregon. I didn’t know there was a trail of tears in the state of Oregon. So there’s things like that of even you go, well, that’s a pretty simple thing. But I’m like, when I went to go look for the story, when I went to go look for land acknowledgements from where I come from, they were non-existent. Southern Oregon State University over in Ashland had something.

But then I go, so this is the problem. We stop telling the story and we think that has nothing to do with us, and yet we lose part of ourselves in the process. So I think that, I mean that’s in some ways how I’ve, it’s like the slow long work of the restoring of land, the restoring of my own life, my own body, my own family. And to realize that to be white is in some sense this collective of erasure of almost everyone else.

Dr. Angela Parker:
That’s a good answer. That’s a good way to think about it. I mean, that’s why we’re such good friends. I think I want to take this time to at least prompt you all who have questions to begin to think about your questions, you push back, what I left out that probably needs to be said. And I do want to make sure that those identifiably who identify as students or other students have an opportunity to address question pose before, you know what usually happens. I was trying to be nice. Anything that you want anything about,

If I could,

Dr. Angela Parker:
So it’s all clear as mud. Oh, thank you. You want to do that set? Alright. Thank you

Dr. Parker. Let us know who you want us to the link to. Sure.

Dr. Ron Ruthruff:
I have a question.

Dr. Angela Parker:
Oh, Ron, I’m going to take personal privilege and stay. Wait. Oh yeah, I’ll come back to him. I’ll go first real right here because I’m trying to make sure I’m not overlooking anyone, but I do want to, especially those who just added this semester.

Audience member:
Dr. Parker, thank you so much for being with us for your time. I think when we talk about White Christian Nationalism, we can talk about that without talking about the concept of borders. And you brought up borders a bit with when we coming to cross border, and I’m wondering if you can speak just a little bit to the concept of borders and give a response to people who maybe are build-thewall type or who advocate so strongly for a holding of a border. I love just what you already brought up with the crossing border. Come see Jesus. Can you speak more to borders?

Dr. Angela Parker:
Yeah, sure. I don’t think we’ve realized how much borders, how many times we put up borders and boundaries, that just even thinking about the separation between sacred and secular and the separation between church and politics, that we have these imaginary borders that really our faith is hell. And even though that Canaanite woman was crossing the border from Tyre and Sidon and getting to Jesus, I even think that that border is quite imaginary as well. What am I saying?

When you look at the topography of Israel and you look at Palestine and you see that Jesus and the disciples would’ve been able to look across rivers and across the sea of Galilee, sea, the Capernaum Sea, sea of Galilee, dead sea, okay. Sea of Galilee. And to see the ways that the folks at Tyre and Sidon lived that there was a more porous, permeable border. It’s not as hard and fixed as we think. And I think even when we talk about borders in the United States of America, they’re not as hard and fixed as we think, because essentially Mexico owned what most of Texas beforehand. And we don’t realize or go back to that history and say, wait, we were already mixed up anyway. And I think Jesus is seeing that that woman was already mixed up within him anyway. And I think that as we imagine the folks who have the ability to make policy that number one, we should not be living in this age of scarcity.

If we really took seriously that those who had more should perhaps pay more, then we wouldn’t be living in the scarcity. And that’s another issue of humanit– that those who are hoarding can look at another person and say, oh no, I need it for me. I don’t recognize you and this is all mine, my mind, my mine. It’s like the 3-year-old and can’t even imagine what it means to have others who come in and just want to first of all have peace, not dodge bullets in their home nation, not running from political imprisonment in their home nation, to actually seek amnesty. It was interesting. I just started watching The Good Place and when they start talking about no one will ever close borders, no one would ever not allow amnesty for other people. And I’m like, oh, well we are, we have completely, our moral code has just completely changed.

And I don’t know, that’s just my weird thoughts on more why immigration. But I think that there’s something even within the biblical text that says, open up to more, not to less. I think that’s the morality within the biblical text, open up to more and not less. And so the Mike Johnsons of the world who say, I read my Bible and my Bible is my biblical worldview–that was bad–but that’s what we’re arguing against, that you are a biblical worldview is actually culturally White Christian Nationalist. It’s not actually your “biblical world view.” Okay. Rochelle,

Audience member:
Dr. Parker, I have an analogy of a phone conversation where you can’t tell by the tone of someone’s voice what color they are or what nationality they are. And then something happens in a face-to-face or in a change or in a dissonance that makes the world smaller. And you just talked about expanding, and I wonder what your thoughts are around an inability to see a divine or a sacred in another person that would increase the humanity and expand a vision and an interpretation of God rather than create a defensiveness that shrinks everything.

Dr. Angela Parker:
A vision of expansion, a vision of expansion, a vision of expansion. Oftentimes when we think about again, God, and now even Jesus, we are so hung up with the idea of never changing and I’m talking about God and Jesus never changing. And I wonder if we really think about the expansiveness of God and the idea of Jesus being transformed in some way, that we can make that connection to a change in transform of other people. That we tend to look at someone. Alright, don’t psychologists say that if you like someone within the first 10 seconds of meeting them. Oftentimes that’s what y’all say, but you get to know someone and you begin to understand, oh, they’re deeper than I thought they were, or there’s more to them than I gave them credit for.

I think that our relationship with God and the divine, if we have that small relationship with God, I think we also tend to have that small relationship with other people. And so I would argue that a larger relationship with God can give us a larger relationship with other people. I need to write that book too, remind me of these words. [comment from audience] Oh that’s funny. But I appreciate that, Michelle. And I think that’s the problem with White Christian Nationalism too. So small. So small.

Dr. Chelle Stearns:
Even just to maybe push this a little bit is kind of the sense of you think that you are getting power. I think this is the lies of the construction of whiteness. You think you’re getting power, you think that you’re even expanding, and actually you’re limiting. It’s like you’re seeing the small vision of power or you’re seeing the small vision of what could be. And instead it’s like God keeps blowing open these perspectives and like, well, Jesus does it all the time in the gospels. I love how you said, talked about Peter or Paul over Peter and going, I have to sit with that for a long time. Yes.

Dr. Angela Parker:
And then we’ll go to Ron Ruthruff. We’ll do.

Audience member:
Yeah. Dr. Parker, during your lecture you spoke of solidarity and as I’m reflecting on my own personal experiences with people from different communities, maybe a little more commonly with some white cousins, but that the solidarity can sometimes when some people tend to look more like ripping on other white people. And the meaning I make of that ends up looking a little bit more like a form of self-hatred, I think, than it does like a lot of other communities for other people. And so the question that I have then is, from your discipline, from looking at Jesus, you have more, can you give us more to go off of I against, what is it true and better solidarity actually look like that we can work with.

Dr. Angela Parker:
What does a true and better solidarity look like that we can actually work with? I have to acknowledge that for me, I’m in a field that I am 5% of the field. So no matter what, I have to look for allies and people to be in solidarity with because I will never be the constituency that has the most power in my field, which means that I have to be careful. And I always have to say, I have white guy friends that I’ve written with. We publish together. So because especially with students, students will look at me and they’re so afraid. I’m like, dude, calm down.

That as a minoritized person in the country, I have to find ways of solidarity and allyship that can be reciprocal. And when I have the capacity to not rip on white folks, that’s not the point. But when I have the capacity for my friends who say, can you explain to me why my colleague over here may be upset with something that I’ve just said? And if I have the capacity and I’m listening to the conversation, I can say, oh, well yeah, you were racially microaggressive them when you said blah, blah, blah, blah. So I have to live in that allyship of being a sounding board, even if it’s I have to be quiet and not, so I have to be like the Canaanite woman. Sometimes I can scream, but sometimes I also have to be like, just this is what you said and this is why it was offensive and this is why she felt my whole rest. But then I have to also be able to receive from them. So I think it’s a give and take in all relationships, but also I need my white allies and colleagues to know that I can’t be the only sounding board for you because I get tired.[applause]

Just can’t do it all the time. So you have to respect when I say I’m not at capacity to do this right now, I can’t. And it has to be any kind of relationship that we’re all constantly coming together or coming apart, coming together, coming apart, coming together, coming apart. That’s the only way I can think about it. I don’t have the power to do anything big and large. I just have the power to be in personal relationships. Question and then question.

Dr. Ron Ruthruff (faculty):
Dr. Parker, thank you so much. [laughter] You gave me permission. I’m go, I did one. Maybe this is another book you need to write, but I loved thank you and thank you Dr. Stearns and Dr. Leong. It was a gift to hear all three of you. And I love this image of the present transformation of Jesus in the text. The actual fact that Jesus is being changed and the humanness of him is sort of being attentive to things in his own life that needs to move and moving towards this perfected state in a very human-becoming sort of way. I love that. I think it’s such a great conversation piece when I think about my white family and my white friends. And I was just going to ask you, this can’t be the only place in the text that it happens. There has to be other stories where Jesus is being transformed. If this is sort of a theological theme in the gospels, and so I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I want to say, I would love for you to think about it or our panelists to think about where else could we go in the text to see Jesus’s invitation to be transformed. And that’s how I look at it. He’s inviting me to be changed in his own transformation. Are there other places we could go?

Dr. Angela Parker:
So one thing that’s coming to my mind immediately, I had the opportunity to record content with The Bible for Normal People. So if you don’t follow The Bible for Normal People, so over the next year you’ll see things that I recorded in one freaking weekend that will come out sporadically throughout the year. But one of the questions that was raised for that particular constituency was why does it prayer all always change things. Prayer should change things, but prayer doesn’t always change things. And I see Jesus wrestling with prayer in Matthew 26. So in Matthew 26, Jesus is tells the disciples, sit down here, I need to go pray. He goes off a few feet, he’s asking God if this cup can be taken away from me, take this cup away from me. He goes back, the disciples are asleep. He’s like, dudes, wake up. I just need you to be with me. Just be with me. And he goes off and he prays again. The prayer gets shorter and it’s getting more in anguish. He goes back, they’re asleep again. And he’s like, you can’t just stay awake. And then he goes back and he prays and the prayer is even shorter. And it’s just like, ugh. In that passage I see human Jesus wrestling with what happens when God does not answer prayer. And I think that’s also transformative for us. Instead, I’m super Christian. I pray. If things change, I say this, God jumps. I don’t know where that came from.

Dr. Angela Parker:
I just, it’s funny. My husband, Dr. Stearns and her husband, they all can play instruments. And the joke was, I’ll be in the background with a tambourine. She’s playing violin. I’m just like, oh yeah, I’ll dance. Like, wait, stop.

So I think that’s where we see other moments of Jesus going through and I think that’s important. Other moments of transformation, I could think about that. But the Jesus who’s in anguish and prayer is not changing things. I think that’s an important construct as well to think about.

Okay, so I saw here, here. Oh, one more. Okay, we’re down to the back one. Oh, I picked the one more. Who else had their hand up? I saw that hand. Did I see him? Oh, honey, I see. Oh hell. I got to stop. I don’t want to only for over here. See me after because I’m still going to be here and I’m going to be here tomorrow. So I’ll go right here just because it’s bright. It’s the white. It’s not you. It’s the imago dei shining upon thy face. What date is that?

Audience member:
No. Okay, so I want, my question is, so you mentioned you speak to a lot of predominantly white congregations. I live in Ohio and most people, I live in a predominantly white area. But more importantly, I live in a predominantly, I would say maybe traditionalist area. And I love these kind of conversations. I love the context of this school. If I brought this to my town, it would be like what? So what I’m curious to your thoughts on.

Dr. Angela Parker:
Wait a minute, I took this to Amarillo, Texas.

Audience member:
Okay, well maybe I’m wrong.

Dr. Angela Parker:
Amarillo, Texas, Trump town, where when I told a friend that I was in Amarillo, he was like, I grew up there. Are you okay?

Audience member:
So this is probably helpful because I think my question is, what is your advice for where do you start this conversation

Dr. Angela Parker:
Usually? No, that’s a great question. So I often tell students, you can’t go anywhere and preach and teach the way I would preach and teach. What you can do is you can go in with the, have you considered this? I think the best ways for white folks to go and talk to their own white folks, their own family friends, is to just ask gentle questions. Just ask gentle questions of, well, what if Jesus couldn’t get a prayer through? What if Jesus had to have a conversation with this stuff about something that’s happening in the text? What if Jesus actually loves all people and not just our own traditional understandings of ourselves or something? What if Jesus is bigger on what if Jesus is more? And I think the well placed question that just allows the beginning of conversation is the best thing to do. Good. Appreciate that Sister been helping me out all time. For those who didn’t get a question and see me, I’m still here. I’m here until tomorrow. I’m here all weekend, friends. I always say, you have to be part standup comedian and professor. [applause]

Dr. J. Derek McNeil:
I just want to say again, thank you Dr. Parker, and thank you, Dr. Stearns. Thank you, Dr. Leong. This has been a great panel. My only one concern is that we forget too easily that when you move from your seat, you’ll start to lose some of what you heard that we don’t retain very well. So the question is, what do you go and write down that you felt, that you heard, that you saw, that in some ways will stick with you to continue a longer conversation. And so think of it as the conversation began or maybe continue, that you want to keep moving through. Because again, it is a movement, a developmental process. And so my hope is that when you hit the fresh air, and this is pretty cool fresh air, that it won’t wipe you clean and that you’ll remember something. The challenge of remembering is critical for us. And so thank you for being here and being a part of a community, part of what it means to belong, part of what it means to share. And in some ways, not do this as a solo trip. I can appreciate whatever individual stance you take, but you are not by yourself. And if you do it that way, I’m sorry. So blessings to you. Peace to you. That’s my prayer. Shalom, peace to you, peace to you, peace to you, and we’ll see you again. Thank you.