Sunday, June 21, 2009

Carolyn Ann Knight

Carolyn Ann Knight is a preacher with a mission for her people. HT Theophrastus. This article reports,
    She is the founder and president of “CAN DO!” Ministries; a progressive, preventive youth advocacy ministry that is dedicated to the cultural, social, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of youth and young adults. For ten years, Dr. Knight served as assistant professor of homiletics at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia where she had the primary responsibility for teaching and training students in the art and craft of sermonic design, development and delivery.

    A preacher/pastor with scholarly interests, Reverend Knight has served as adjunct professor at LaGuardia Community College and New York Theological Seminary. She served as the permanent part-time professor of preaching at her alma mater, Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Dr. Knight serves on numerous boards and committees; among them are Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, the Breast Examination Center of Harlem, The Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, and the advisory board of the African American Pulpit of Judson Press.

She grounds her sermons firmly in the gospels and the Hebrew Bible, and addresses social issues with direct talk and action. Here she is quoted as preaching,
    We are a great people with a great history. We must stop reciting the failure studies that have been done on our communities. We must never forget that God has always done great things through Africans. We are formed out of adversity. From it we have fashioned our unique perspective on humanity and divinity. They have us straw. We gave them bricks. They gave us seed. We gave them cotton. They gave us sorrow. We wrote songs....
One of the things that really disturbs me is that the blogosphere is sometimes not very friendly to women or to those of other races. For example, why should we have to read comments like this,
    It's a good thing that slavery is gone and women have equal rights. But is the average African American young man or young woman better off now than their ancestors under slavery? I would hope so, but I am not so sure. What percentage of young black males are currently rotting in prison? What percentage of black children are borne out of wedlock, with all that often means? At the very least, it has to be said that the abolition of slavery solved some problems, created new ones, and left many others unresolved.
In the time I spent in a church in Florida recently, I appreciated that the congregation was aware that racism was an ongoing issue. The problem is not the abolition of slavery. The problem is that the racism and global economic factors which contributed to slavery are ongoing. Isn't that rather obvious? Why blame the abolition of slavery?

    If you are unaware of the fact the vast majority of Christians around the world, who are not, it goes without saying, either white or male, have a *less* nuanced reading strategy vis-a-vis Scripture than does the Chicago Statement, I don't know what to say.
How do we know this is true if we don't read their sermons and discuss them. Just because Carolyn Knight is neither white nor male, does this make her reading strategy "less nuanced?" Is there something fishy going on or is it just me?

Here is one of my earlier posts about Samuel Crowther. The thesis written by his grandson Ade Ajayi had a strong effect on my own MA thesis on First Nations literacy in Canada. I have very emotional memories also of Redfern Louttit, who never did become a bishop, to the disappointment of his people.

Sometimes the bibliosphere is an uncomfortable place. I am happy myself to work in a workplace that has standards about how one talks about those who are neither white nor male.


Theophrastus said...

Suzanne, this is a brilliant analysis. Like you, I am horrified by those comments in the blogosphere. You are doing very important work here in pointing this out.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I have to apologize but the BBB withdrew your comment mentioning Carolyn Knight. Perhaps this was because it related to gender referred to a female. I don`t know. Anyway, I am glad that I caught it before it was deleted.

Rod said...


Thank you for this post. It is funny that the comments from the blogosphere you posted were directed at me! And then the guy tried to change the topic if you notice when I confronted him. Pffffttt.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

It was a weird thread for sure. I felt that someone should call him on it. I feel uncomfortable speaking out about other peoples views, but there needs to be some kind of standard, I think. I know I was offended by his comments about women.

K Shimer said...

Thank you for this posting. I thought you and your readers would like to know that Rev. Knight contributed a reflection to Judson Press's new book "The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama." Her piece is titled "No Longer a Dream Deferred: Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and the Search for the Beloved Community." You can find this book on or Amazon.

Theophrastus said...

K Shimer -- I want to let you know that your posting sold at least one book -- I have ordered it from Amazon.

I am pleased that Judson Press has published this fine looking volume, and I eagerly look forward to reading it.

Fannie Lou Sojourner said...

I grew up as a youth at Canaan Baptist Church in New York City where Dr. Knight was previously Assistant Pastor. She is dynamic, warm and an incredible theologian. She understands the faith-freedom connection and the importance of delivering important social messages within the context of the African American religious tradition. You really cannot have one without the other. Thanks for sharing this.