Howard Thurman (18th Nov 1899 – 10th Apr 1981) is the precious man who led me to #SubversiveSeminary. At the moment that he did so, I had only read his name a couple of hours earlier and known the title of one of his books ‘Jesus and the Disinherited’. The mind is an interesting organ. Curiosity can really drive one’s mind to great lengths, sometimes for good, sometimes to injury. The reason I went about scouring the internet to learn more about Howard Thurman was because I had received a double caveat on him and his book ‘Jesus and the Disinherited’ in a space that I am in. The fact that this caveat was in both a male and female voice really intrigued me. What was it about this man and this book that would necessitate such measures? I had to find out.
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I listened/watched a couple of video clips on and by Howard Thurman online. Then I went to search for images and the image above ‘brought me home’ to Howard Thurman. Two people stood out for me in the poster, they already know this because I shared in session, Carol Ng’ang’a of Msingi Trust and Dr. Drew Hart. Carol because she is female and Kenyan, and Dr. Drew because of his beard; I was so sure there was some dramatic conversion story behind that beard, haven’t gotten to know if there is one yet. Also, the fact that the approach to this book study was dubbed ‘antiracist’ was something I needed at that particular time. I was just coming off one of the most whiteness entrenched spaces I have ever been in and I was nursing fresh wounds. I immediately made myself known to the conveners and registered to undertake the 6 week antiracist study of Howard Thurman’s ‘Jesus and the Disinherited’. Providence really summarizes my entire journey to #SubversiveSeminary and my continued stay and thriving there.
So, what exactly is #SubversiveSeminary? It is a Jesus of Nazareth centered space, that is integrated in approach, and uplifts the voices of those whose ‘backs are/have been against the wall’, specifically black and indigenous women. It is a healing space. It is a listening space. It is a seeing space. It is a Holy Spirit filled space. It is family. #SubversiveSeminary is one of the offshoots of the @InVersePodcast which is ran by Jarrod Mckenna and Dr. Drew Hart. The other offshoot is #LiberatingSundaySchool where we are currently studying the book of Acts and using Willie James Jennings’s commentary on Acts as a guide. #SubversiveSeminary is currently hosted by @InVersePodcast (Jarrod and Dr. Drew), @MsingiTrust (Carol Ng’ang’a) and Zeitcast Podcast (Jonathan Martin)
#SubversiveSeminary is open to anyone from any corner of the world. It welcomes the weary and the burdened, the thriving and privileged. There is a format to how the sessions run which I really love. We begin with a communal gathering and hellos and prayer then we go off to small groups (3-4 people) where each person gets to share a what section of the chapter we are studying that week impacted them and why. We then gather around as a community and uplift the voice of Carol Ng’ang’a from Msingi Trust. I have to pause here and say that Carol’s vulnerability, tears, passion, humanity, womanness has been and continues to be such a healing blessing to me and all those at #SubversiveSeminary. After that we go back to round two of small groups. This time two groups are combined and what happens is that you get to echo/share what another member of your group shared. It is one of the highlights of #SubversiveSeminary for me, listening to yourself in the voice of another. Then we go back to community and we get to first hear from black and indigenous sisters and any other voices if time permits.
Listening to black and indigenous sisters has and continues to be such a refreshing time for me at #SubversiveSeminary. I am not in many places where women, let alone black and indigenous women are seen and heard. The more I sit back just drink from the wells of my sisters, the more I realize what a disservice humanity at large and Christians in particular have done to themselves by silencing these particular women.
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We just began a new study last week (2nd Feb, 2020), see poster above, and there is a welcome here. There is space for the curious mind. Jesus of Nazareth is here, the disinherited one, the rejected one, the crucified one, the Creator Divine. The uplifted voices of black and indigenous women await to wash your souls, challenge the status quo, stir the waters, give language to longing and unspoken doubts and fears. You will be glad that you came, I know I am!
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