The Contemporary Role of a Prophet
See “The Contemporary Role of Prophet” about our recent U.S. pilgrimage of pain and hope to Baltimore and Richmond with five Duke Divinity students to engage America’s socioeconomic divides. The alchemy of pilgrimage, I told the students, is: “Pilgrimage ≠ Tourism ≠ Humanitarianism = Strange Ground –> Holy Ground.” Some story excerpts:
One student: “What is the contemporary role of the prophet? This pilgrimage has brought me closer to the realization that we are in the presence of the types of injustice that make the words of the prophets resonate. So many aspects of our culture today remind me of the very culture that they spoke out against. I cannot remain silent.”
Rice: “There are communities that deform people – whether the slave markets of 19th century or today’s artificial suburbs – and it requires another sort of community to convert them. Baptism is not enough. We have to ask what kind of community we want to be part of. This is not an ‘I’ journey, it is a ‘we’ journey.’”
Student: “If you are teaching a course on this work there needs to a blank space in the syllabus that says ‘Wait for divine inspiration!’ It’s good to know that we can proceed without knowing all the answers. God knew about what was going on before I found out. I just need to enter into a dialogue with him and say, ‘You tell me what happens next.’”
About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes at the blog Reconcilers.
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