Thursday, 25 January 2018
The Reverend Dr. Vincent E. Stokes II ’09, Preaching in the Chapel, Sunday, January 28, 2018, 9:00a.m.
The Reverend Dr. Vincent E. Stokes II is a 2009 graduate of Fisk University. Throughout the course of his matriculation at Fisk, Dr. Stokes served the Fisk Family as a Fisk Memorial Chapel Assistant and as the President of the Student Government Association. After graduating from Fisk, Dr. Stokes earned the Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School. In 2016, Dr. Stokes was awarded the Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific Seminary. His dissertation was titled “With a Strength Not of His Own: The Christian Background of the Reverend Nat Turner and its Impact on the Black Baptist Church in the 21st Century.” Dr. Stokes is married to Ms. Fannie Stokes. They are the proud parents of a baby boy named Vincent E. Stokes III. Dr. Stokes is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Posted on 01/25/2018 8:49 PM by Dean Jason Curry
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
When Words Matter: Noting the Sustained Brilliance among African Peoples
On May 6, 2012, the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss Jr, a Civil Rights icon, preached a Baccalaureate address in the Fisk Memorial Chapel titled “Words Matter.” In a standing room only arena with people of African descent of various ages and educational achievements present, Dr. Moss eloquently and successfully made the case that the words that we say about ourselves and the words that are said about us have political, economic, cultural and spiritual implications for our future as a people. For example, if elected officials who do not love black children successfully argue that they cannot learn, then these officials will promote legislation which reduces funding to programs such as Head Start, and they may promote legislation which leads to racial-profiling and the excessive policing of black communities. His sermon echoed the words of Solomon in Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue….” Silence on consequential matters is often interpreted as agreement; therefore, there are times in which those who have a respect for democracy, community, civilization and people of African descent must reemphasize that words truly matter.
There is a strain of thought operative in our current, national dialogue which suggests that people from the Motherland and people from the nation of Haiti have little if nothing to offer the international community. Has the world forgotten that Africa is the birthplace of civilization? Has the world forgotten that the genesis of Greek thought is deeply rooted in African philosophy (see Black Athena by Martin Bernal or The Stolen Legacy by George James)? Has the world forgotten the brilliance of Kwame Nkrumah, an HBCU graduate (Lincoln University) and an Ivy League graduate (University of Pennsylvania), who resisted British imperialism and become the first Prime Minister of Ghana? Has the world forgotten the genius of Toussaint Louverture who helped to establish a new and better future for the resilient people of Haiti? Has the world forgotten the contributions of famous African women such as Nzingha, Hatshepsut, Mariam Makeba, Winnie Mandela and Wangari Maathai? If African nations have become somewhat destabilized, it is largely because they are still recovering from hundreds of years of colonialization and systematic exploitation. The Continent is not without challenges; however, the resilience of these nations is a testament to the brilliance of the people within them.
As an academician, I can attest to the fact that the brilliance of the students of African decedent from Africa and the Caribbean persists to the present day. Many of our most astute and conscientious students are international students. We value them, and we love them. Indeed, we are forever mindful that the words we employ around them will indeed help to shape their future.
Posted on 01/16/2018 11:35 AM by Dean Jason Curry
Monday, 1 January 2018
A New Year: Moving forward with a Future-making God
When we consider the Old and New Testament scriptures which discuss the attributes of God (e.g., a God who is loving, forgiving and merciful), we quickly arrive at the conclusion that God is not simply past-oriented. God is also future-making. The idea that God cares about our past and future relationships is succinctly summarized in a passage of scripture which concerns, God, Isaiah and the people of Israel. In Isaiah 43:16-17, God, through the prophet Isaiah, describes God’s faithfulness to the nation of Israel by retelling a portion of the Exodus story. Through God’s love, the people of Israel were freed from the grips of a horrific slavery, and the army of Pharaoh, which was in pursuit of them, drowned in the sea. In short, God was reminding the people of God’s love for them in the past. We too ought to take the time to remember how a providential God has provided for us in the past.
However, in an abrupt change of course, God tells the people through the prophet Isaiah: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-19).” In this particular passage, God is telling the people of Israel that God’s enduring love for them is not limited to their past. It is necessarily concerned with their future. The idea that God still loves them and remains concerned about them in spite of their imperfections is a profound statement about God’s character. It is also inspiriting to know that the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow is intimately concerned about our future. As this New Year begins, we should look forward to seeing God’s presence and influence, helping and healing, as our future unfolds with God.
As Isaiah brings the good news about God’s abiding presence in the future, he also encourages the people of Israel to have a holistic relationship with God. For example, in Isaiah 43:23-24, God says: …you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses. , even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
Indeed, a forgiving God wants a holistic relationship with us in the New Year. God doesn’t simply want to know about our problems in New Year, God also wants to know about our joys, our thankfulness and our plans for the future. Thank God that we serve a God who is not only concerned with our past, but also concerned about the blessed future that awaits us.
Posted on 01/01/2018 5:57 PM by Dean Jason Curry