Being a good pastor and writer means bringing one’s whole self to the page, to the sanctuary, and to the community. For Wesley Morris, it also means embracing a “luminous darkness” – a phrase coined by mystic Howard Thurman – as a place of transformation.
In this conversation, Wesley describes his experiences as a chaplain at Harlem Hospital and as a student at Union Theological Seminary, where he studied under Black liberation theologian Dr. James H. Cone and wrote a Master’s thesis titled: “A Dark Faith.” He also discusses his time at the 2014 Writing to Change the World Collegeville Institute workshop led by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, where participants shared vulnerable writing with one another. Wesley believes that writing can build bridges across our divides, allowing love to travel from one world to another. This kind of writing can shift a conversation and even, possibly, change the world.
Topics and resources discussed in this episode:
- Dr. James H. Cone, a founder of Black liberation theology
- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival
- Hymns: “A charge to keep I have” and “Pass me not, O gentle Savior“
- Shelly Rambo: The space between death and resurrection
- The Luminous Darkness by Howard Thurman
- Community organizing through the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, NC
Wesley Morris is Senior Pastor of Faith Community Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and Union Theological Seminary (NYC). He is also a dedicated coach, facilitator, speaker, writer, and community organizer who has worked for more than a decade with the Beloved Community Center, home of the nation’s first “Community Truth and Reconciliation Process.” Follow Wesley on social media on Twitter.
Ellie Roscher is a writer, theology teacher, and host of the Unlikely Conversations podcast. She is a board member at the Collegeville Institute and the author of 12 Tiny Things, Play Like a Girl, and How Coffee Saved My Life. Ellie holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and sons. Follow Ellie on social media at @ellieroscher [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook].
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