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2020 Styberg Preaching Workshop

This workshop is sponsored by the Styberg Preaching Institute at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. If you have questions or are in need of additional information, please contact Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks, director and the Styberg Professor of Preaching, at

Register Now

Friday, December 4, 2020 | Cost: FREE

This one-day workshop will be held online via Zoom. All who register by noon on December 3, 2020, willl be emailed the Zoom invitation later that afternoon.

Session One: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Central)
Session Two: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Central)

Workshop Leader: Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, author of bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006). For more about Dr. Hendricks, see below.

About this Workshop

The scripture both laments and warns, “My people perish for the lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) and “Where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). One of the areas of knowledge that most pastors and preachers lack is one that is extremely crucial to the lives and life-chances of our people. It is a vision of how to transform the economic structures and dynamic forces that impinge upon every aspect of our social existence into the bastions of justice and equity that the Bible demands. Martin Luther King realized this. Until the end of his life he pursued his vision of a just political economy that he so famously called “the beloved community.” For him, it was not only a society built upon social, political and racial justice. Also integral to it was a crucial vision of economic justice that involved the interrogation of both the capitalist system under which we live and a hopeful vision of a more just political economy which for him was predicated upon democratic socialism. In a 1966 speech to his staff he observed, [S]omething is wrong ... with capitalism.... There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children. But King was no ideologue dedicated any particular political ideology. His concern was the Bible’s vision of a just world. That must be our vision as well.

In this workshop we will consider the pronouncements and implications of the biblical witness for realizing the vision of a political economy in which “justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” for all people as the Bible commands, what might be called “the political economy of the Kingdom of God.” Importantly, we will also explore ways to preach and teach that vision.

About Dr. Obery M. Hendricks

Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D.A life long social activist, Obery M. Hendricks is one of the foremost commentators on the intersection of religion and political economy in America. He is the most widely read and perhaps the most influential African American biblical scholar writing today. Cornel West calls him “one of the last few grand prophetic intellectuals.”

A widely sought lecturer and media spokesperson, Dr. Hendricks’ appearances include CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Fox News, Fox Business News, the Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC, NHK Japan Television and the Bloomberg Network. He has provided running event commentary for National Public Radio, MSNBC, and the al-Jazeera and Aspire international television networks. Dr. Hendricks has been a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Democratic National Committee, for whom he delivered the closing benediction at the 2008 Democratic Convention; served on the National Religious Leaders Advisory Committee of the 2008 Democratic Presidential campaign and served in the Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group at the U. S. Department of State under Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative in Washington, DC; has been an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for American Progress; was a Senior Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, a New York City social justice communications think tank; and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Dr. Hendricks is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and, a former editorial advisor to the award-winning Tikkun magazine, and a contributing editor to The Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. The Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation has called his work “the boldest post-colonial writing ever seen in Western biblical studies.”

Hendricks’ bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006), was declared “essential reading for Americans” by the Washington Post. Social commentator Michael Eric Dyson proclaimed it “an instant classic” that “immediately thrusts Hendricks into the front ranks of American religious thinkers.” The Politics of Jesus was the featured subject of the 90-minute C-SPAN special hosted by the Center for American Progress, “Class, Politics and Christianity.” The tenth anniversary of its publication was acknowledged at a major 2016 panel at the American Academy of Religion at its annual convention in San Antonio, TX. Governor Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, has called his most recent book, The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic (Orbis, 2011), a “tour de force.”

A former Wall Street investment executive and past president of Payne Theological Seminary, the oldest African American theological seminary in the United States, he is currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in the Department of Religion and the Department of African American and African Diasporic Studies; a Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary; and Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. An Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hendricks holds the Master of Divinity with academic honors from Princeton Theological Seminary, and both the M.A. and Ph.D. in Religions of Late Antiquity from Princeton University.

About the Styberg Preaching Institute

Founded in 2005, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks, the director, the Styberg Preaching Institute has established an intentional and persistent agenda of addressing the need for relevant, effective preaching in the church. Its motto, The Seminary and the Church: Partners in Proclamation, speaks to the mandate of the Seminary to equip pastors for transformative ministry and recognizes preaching as a critical aspect of that mission.

December 4, 2020


Pre-Reading for the Workshop:

The Uncompromising Anti-Capitalism of Martin Luther King

MLK, the Beloved Community and the Socialist Idea

The Biblical Values of Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic Socialism

The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006), by Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.

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