Matt talks to the cofounder of Chicago's Urban Village UMC about the blessings and dangers of charisma, the gifts people in 12-step recovery bring to the pulpit, and what happens when your parents want you to be a doctor and God wants you to be a preacher.
Scripture doesn't just shape the life of the community of faith. It also has a powerful effect on the lives of those who maintain distance from traditional religion, even those who explicitly deny religious faith.
William Robeson, a former slave and father of civil rights leader and singer Paul Robeson, became pastor of the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1879. After 21 years of service, white members of the presbytery forced him out because of his outspoken efforts to end racism and repeal Jim Crow laws in Princeton. The congregation had to sell the manse due to loss of funding. The church repurchased the manse in 2005 and turned it into the Paul Robeson House, a meeting place to advance human rights. In an act of racial reconciliation, the Synod of the Northeast is clearing the debt of $175,000 that remains on the mortgage held by the congregation (PCUSA, November 13).