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After my post yesterday seeking to answer the question Who are the best progressive Christian leaders in the nation?, I got some sweet – and some not-so-sweet – suggestions that my list was very, very White and for that I am sincerely sorry.

Yes, I attempted to clarify in this post that my post was “fairly subjective” and that these were “my choices” based on “How often are these people quoted, shared, removed, or referenced in progressive Christian publications, books, interviews or on social media”, but, even so, the list I provided was severely lacking in diversity and, again, I apologize for my glaring oversight.

Before posting my updated and corrected list, please allow me first to take a moment to say a very grateful “Thank you” to Kristin Kobes Du Mez who, despite being featured on my post, took the time to leave this comment:

“Thanks for the shoutout, Keith. As a historian, however, I feel the need to point out that traditionally white Christians have not led the way in terms of progressive Christianity. I would suggest the inclusion of some number of additional progressive religious leaders, people like William Barber, Anthea Butler, Jemar Tisby, Jacqui Lewis, Michael Vazquez, Lisa Sharon Harper, Michael Curry and Raphael Warnock, off the top of my head!”

My intention in the previous post was to identify current progressive Christian leaders who are making an impact today, but I want to acknowledge the important contributions of people like Peter Gomes [whom I mentioned in that article]and James H. Cone [The Cross and The Lynching Tree]and Bishop Desmond Tutucontributed to my personal spiritual growth and development.

It should also be mentioned that my article did not honor the many non-white voices that informed and inspired many of those white progressive theologians on my previous list. Their efforts should not go unnoticed or go unmentioned in conversations like these.

To correct that oversight, here are some of the important voices that I sadly did not recognize among the pantheon of progressive Christian leaders in our country today:

Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III is the author of Dancing in the Darkness: Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent Times and Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. Reverend Dr. Moss has spent the past two decades practicing black theology that unabashedly draws attention to issues of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality.

Reverend Dr. William Barber is a minister and social activist who serves as president and lecturer at Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival, named for the original 1968 campaign founded by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Wilda C. Gafney is an American Bible scholar and Episcopal priest who is the Most Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She is also the author of One Woman’s Lectionary for the Whole Church.

Lisa Sharon Harper is the founder of Freedom Road, a consulting group dedicated to closing the narrative gap. A sought-after speaker, trainer and consultant with over 100,000 social media followers, Harper has written several books, including the critically acclaimed The Very Good Gospel: How Anything Wrong Can Be Corrected. His work has been featured in the New Yorker, Pertinent, Essence, HuffPostthe National Civic Reviewand CNN, and she appeared on PBS Religion & Weekly ethics news, TV One, Fox News, NPR and Al Jazeera America. Harper was previously head of church engagement at Sojourners, where she mobilized the church to engage in campaigns on immigration reform and racial justice. Interview HERE>

Bishop Michael Bruce Curry is the 27th and current Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church. Elected in 2015, he is the first African American to serve as the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was previously Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.

Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza is a transqueer activist, Latinx scholar, and public theologian. They are the founder of the Militant Theology Project, a collaborative project committed to the collective work of social healing. Thought leader, teacher, ethicist and poet of moral reason, Henderson-Espinoza is a visionary thinker working at the forefront of movements dismantling the culture of supremacy and bridging radical difference. They live in Nashville, Tennessee. Interview HERE>

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis is the author of Fierce Love and a public theologian and the first black or female minister of the progressive and multicultural Collegiate Church in Manhattan, which dates from 1628. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Drew University, she is the creator of the MSNBC online broadcast just faith and the PBS show faith and justice, in which she led important conversations about culture and current affairs. Raised primarily in Chicago, she now lives with her husband in Manhattan.

Raphael Warnock is the author of A way out of nowhere and senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, currently a senator from Georgia. He is the rare voice that can call out the uncomfortable truths that shape contemporary American life and, in a time of divisive, calls us all to a higher moral level.

Cole Arthur Riley is the creator of Black Liturgies, a space for black spiritual words of liberation, lamentation, rage and rest; and a Center for Dignity and Contemplation project where she is executive curator and author of the new book This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation and the stories that make us.

Reverend Yolanda Norton is the founder of Beyoncé Mass, and she is Executive Director of Global Arts and Theology Experience (GATE) and Visiting Scholar at Moravian Theological Seminary. Her womanist scholarship explores how scripture treats foreign women and how this has led to the oppression of black women who encounter the Bible today. She is a doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel and a Theology and Practice Fellow at Vanderbilt University. Reverend Norton is also ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the Syracuse University. Interview HERE>

Sandhya Jha is the founder and former executive director of the Oakland Peace Center and is the author of room at tablethe history of people of color in the Disciples of Christ, and Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines on the subject of race and spirituality in America and was named one of the top five books on race and religion in 2015 by Publishers Weekly. Sandhya’s book Transforming Communities: How People Like You Are Healing Their Neighborhoods focuses on the concrete ways in which ordinary people are creating change community by community at a time when positive change may seem impossible. Interview HERE>

Rommel Parks – Weekly is a pastor and author of the book Homosexuality and the Death of the Church who openly shares his experiences as a black man, homosexual and black pastor. Interview HERE>

Of course, no list like this could ever be exhaustive, so I’ll end this post as I ended the previous one by asking “Who did I miss?” and I hope to read your suggestions in the comments below.

Thank you, as always, for your patience with me. I try to grow, learn and listen to voices outside of my own space. I am so grateful to voices like these, and to many of you who have taken the time to kindly and kindly suggest that I expand my perspective on this topic.

Let’s elevate those voices that have been pushed to the margins. I’m happy to make room for them here.

Peace!

**

Keith Giles is the author of the new bestseller, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the beautiful uncertainty of everything, available now on Amazon. Keith is also the host of Second cut with Keith [anewsolopodcastavailablenowonthe[anewsolopodcastavailablenowonthe[unnouveaupodcastsolodisponibledèsmaintenantsurle[anewsolopodcastavailablenowontheEthos Radio appfor Apple and android and on Spotify.



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