Toni Morrison, Reynolds Price Debut New Works at Duke

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In a public conversation Feb. 2 in Duke Chapel, celebrated authors Toni Morrison and Reynolds Price both debuted new works.

Price read a poem “To Toni From Reynolds” honoring their friendship. Morrison read an extended excerpt from her as-yet-unpublished novel, A Mercy.

Download the full conversation from Duke on iTunes U


from www.myspace.com/daveyd 

 Rev.Lennox Yearwood attacked, arrested, and hospitalized

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., president of the Hip Hop Caucus, was attacked by six capitol police yesterday, when he was stopped from entering the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, where General Petraeus gave testimony today to a joint hearing for the House Arms Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee on the war in Iraq.

After waiting in line throughout the morning for the hearing that was scheduled to start at 12:30pm, Rev. Yearwood was stopped from entering the room, while others behind him were allowed to enter. He told the officers who were blocking his ability to enter the room, that he was waiting in line with everyone else and had the right to enter as well.

When they threatened him with arrest he responded with “I will not be arrested today.” According to witnesses, six capitol police, without warning, “football tackled” him. He was carried off in a wheel chair by DC Fire and Emergency to George Washington Hospital.

Rev. Yearwood said, as he was being released from the hospital to be taken to central booking, “The officers decided I was not going to get in Gen. Petraeus’ hearing when they saw my button, which says ‘I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.'”

Rev. Yearwood is expected to be charged with Assaulting a Police Officer this afternoon.

Stay tuned for more on how this case plays out. All we can say is, is this really what democracy looks like?

For Future Generations,
The Hip Hop Caucus


For more information on the Hip Hop Caucus:

Hip Hop Caucus website:

Hip Hop Caucus on myspace:

Hip Hop Caucus on Facebook:

“Just look at her face, she sure ain’t homely / Like Sheba in the Bible, she’s black but comely….Bid ’em in.”

Does God want you to be rich?

 Prosperity Gospel
August 17, 2007    Episode no. 1051

There’s an interpretation of Jesus’ teachings that seems to be spreading fast, especially in many African-American churches, especially among the young. Critics call it the prosperity gospel and say Jesus never promised his followers that they would become wealthy. Proponents say they’re just preaching what the Bible says.  Watch the story here.

Related Religion & Ethics Material:

Read more of the R & E interviews with Michael Eric Dyson and Jeremiah Wright.

Read an excerpt on the prosperity movement from CRISIS IN THE VILLAGE by Robert Franklin

I first encountered this writer last summer when some classmates and I protested the selection of Bishop Eddie L. Long as our commencement speaker.  He covered our effort in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution which helped give our plight some necessary push.  It’s good to see that he’s still on the prowl.


Pastor inspiration: Divine or online?Bishop Eddie L. Long
Surfing for sermons: Sometimes desperate ministers lift texts from Web.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/12/07

Two days after the Virginia Tech shooting, Bishop Eddie Long walked before the congregation of his Lithonia megachurch and said the Holy Spirit had a message for them.

The senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church preached a sermon he called “Act of Man or Act of God?” He talked about a “misguided, twisted” student who murdered 32 people before killing himself. He invoked the book of Job and punctuated his delivery with dramatic sighs and anguished grunts. The congregation was shouting by sermon’s end.

Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, took much of his sermon on the Virginia Tech shootings from a Web site. Other pastors also use texts found online. Some are open about their sources; others are not.

Few, if any, knew the inspiration for Long’s sermon wasn’t confined to the Holy Spirit. It also came from sermons.com, a preaching Web site that offers pastors prepackaged sermons for a fee. Long’s words matched large portions of a Virginia Tech sermon with a similar title (“Acts of Man and Acts of God”) posted on the site. A Google search revealed that at least three other pastors — including one in Alpharetta — had preached long passages from the Internet sermon.

Parishioners who dwell on the meaning of their pastor’s words now face the question: Is the sermon an act of man or an act of the Internet? Sermon borrowing — called “pulpit plagiarism” by critics — is spreading among the nation’s clergy.

“The kerosene on the fire is the Internet,” the Rev. Thomas Long, a professor of preaching at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (and no relation to the New Birth pastor), wrote in a recent article in Christian Century magazine.

Pastors pinched for time no longer lean solely on divine inspiration.  With a credit card and a few mouse clicks, they can surf sites like sermons.com and desperatepreacher.com to find sermons to fit virtually any occasion — Mother’s Day, say, or Easter. The sites serve as the Home Depot for homilies. Any preaching tool is available.

Some pastors, though, don’t let on they’ve sermon-shopped. They pass the ideas off as their own. Critics say they’re dishonoring their calling and deceiving their flock.

“A sermon is supposed to reflect what God has given you to say to the people,” said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a veteran civil rights activist. “If I don’t feel God gave it to me, I feel like I’m lying on God and to the people.”

Attribution is optional

Bishop Long declined a request to explain his Virginia Tech sermon. A review of audio from New Birth revealed no instances in which Long told parishioners that extended passages were not his own, and Long
did not provide any examples of attribution. However, he did sell the sermon under his own name on New Birth’s Web site.

Another Georgia preacher who delivered the same Virginia Tech message from sermons.com said he told his church that it came from a third party.

The Rev. James Thalacker of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Alpharetta said he used the Internet homily because he didn’t have one prepared in the wake of the massacre.

“The sermon itself was a good sermon and I thought it was relevant for people today,” Thalacker said. “This is the first one that I’ve done totally like this. It’s only because I had another sermon prepared and the whole thing [Virginia Tech shooting] happened.”

The Rev. Brett Blair, owner and president of sermons.com, declined to speak about his Web site but released a statement. He’s written many of the recycled sermons.

“Paying members are allowed to use any of the material as they see fit,” the statement said. “Citation of sources is always advised but we do not obligate any user to cite one way or another.”

Now a handier commodity

Evangelists’ swiping of material from one another is as old as the Bible itself.

Scholars say writers of Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels borrowed heavily from the Gospel of Mark — but don’t bother hunting for footnotes. In a more modern example, the Rev. Jesse Jackson didn’t coin his signature sermon, “I Am Somebody.” It was created by an Atlanta pastor, the late Rev. William Holmes Borders of Wheat Street Baptist
Church on Auburn Avenue.

The emergence of preaching Web sites has made sermons a commodity, said the Rev. Darryl Dash, senior pastor of Richview Baptist Church in Toronto. “It’s an industry,” Dash said. “You do have people making money from it.”

Dash wrote a recent essay called “Confessions of a Sermon Thief.” He says he didn’t set out to steal sermons. He did it for the same reasons he thinks other pastors do it: lack of confidence in themselves, being overworked, trying to sound like the famous pastors.

Dash said he stopped stealing but can tell that others haven’t. He posts his own sermons on his Web site — where traffic spikes every Saturday night and Sunday morning.

“There are a lot of guys just sitting at the Internet at night saying: ‘What am I going to say tomorrow?’ ” Dash said.

Some borrowers pay price

There are signs of a borrowing backlash. Parishioners using Google or Yahoo have forced some pastors to resign after discovering that their sermons weren’t original.

Yet some New Birth members weren’t bothered that Bishop Long preached without attribution.

Ben Jakes, a New Birth elder, said Long’s Virginia Tech sermon revealed that God can orchestrate circumstances so that preachers deliver the same message across the nation.

“I really believe it’s an act that shows honor and respect for [God],” Jakes said. “You’re basically communicating a unified message.”

Sometimes, pastors catch their brethren plagiarizing

Lowery, the civil rights leader, who was part of the Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr.’s inner circle, once preached a sermon that grew out of a comic encounter he had with his daughter. He was agonizing over the outcome of a professional tennis match on television when his daughter attempted to interrupt him. He told her to hush until she finally told him that the outcome had already been decided because the match was a delayed broadcast.

He used the incident to preach a sermon about the futility of worrying because God had already won the battle. Later, Lowery was attending a funeral in Washington, D.C., one day when he heard a prominent pastor, whom he declined to name, launch into a story: “I was watching a tennis match one day. …”

The pastor never credited Lowery. Afterward, Lowery walked up to the man. The fellow preacher could barely look Lowery in the eyes before slinking away.

“First, I was flattered that he was using my illustration,” says Lowery. “I was sure at the end that he would give me credit. Then I was angry. I thought a little less of him, and he’s one of the most prominent preachers in the country today.”

Professor Long from Emory recalled being invited to a church where something similar took place. Before he stepped into the pulpit to deliver his message, a friend of the church’s pastor approached him with a request.

“He said several months ago he [the minister] preached one of your sermons and he’s really hoping you don’t preach that sermon tonight.”

Ultimately, said Dash, the self-confessed sermon thief, authenticity is more important than eloquence.

“If everything I say to my wife is scripted from a Hallmark card, it may be beautiful, but it will be hollow,” Dash said.

Dash recently put that belief to the test. He said he stopped stealing sermons and started composing his own. His sermons weren’t as polished, and he worked much harder. But people in his congregation seemed to like them more.

He said he stole sermons because he was insecure about his own ability, but his decision to rely on his own voice was vindicated when a member of his church approached him after a sermon one day and said:

“It’s almost as if you’ve stopped talking to us in general, and now you’re talking to us.”

Run Date: 11/27/06
By Malena AmusaWeNews correspondent

Female ministries are beginning to tackle a fact that activists say African American churches and the U.S. government alike have failed to adequately acknowledge or address: Black women are contracting HIV faster than any other group of women.

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)–On a recent Saturday afternoon, Joyce MacDonald, 56, walked through the Church of the Open Door in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she has been the HIV ministry coordinator for the past five years.

At an AIDS quilt collecting dust on a wall, she pointed to patches she helped compile. Each patch represents a person infected or affected by AIDS.

“There are at least 200 more names of people I need to add,” MacDonald said.
After years of surviving drug abuse, violent boyfriends and multiple rapes, MacDonald tested positive for HIV in 1995.

That made her part of a stubborn, 15-year trend: African American women have been contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, faster than any group of women in the United States.


Interview by Karen Croft
Feb. 22, 2001 Artist Renée Cox was thrust into the news Friday when the New York Times ran a front-page story on the ire one of her photographic works (Yo Mama’s Last Supper) raised in New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

He called the work (in which the artist is nude, standing in place of Jesus in a rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”) “disgusting,” “outrageous” and “anti-Catholic” and called for a decency panel to keep such work out of museums that receive public money. Cox said, “Get over it,” and went skiing for the Presidents Day weekend. Salon caught up with her Tuesday at her studio in Brooklyn. She had just come in from teaching her class on fundamentals of photography at New York University.


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