Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wayne Flynt as the Bishop's Lecturer

To better acquaint ourselves with our assignment in Alabama, Patsy and I spent a couple of months reading histories of our new state. “Read Wayne Flynt,” knowledgeable people advised, “he is Alabama’s greatest contemporary historian.” We devoured Wayne’s Alabama: The History of a Deep South State, and his Alabama in the Twentieth Century both published by the University of Alabama Press, In a couple of weeks this distinguished Auburn University professor had given us a real feel for where Alabama had come from and where Alabama ought to go. So many of the present trials and tribulations of our state, particularly our current governmental and educational challenges, are rooted in our past. Wayne is a truly public intellectual, battling for a new and more just constitution for our state and for a state government more concerned about the economic plight of our people. He is a courageous interpreter of our state to itself, a dedicated Baptist Christian with our Lord’s own compassion for the poor. He represents the very best of our state and the very best of our faith. Wish Wayne were a Wesleyan, he certainly thinks and writes like one!

One of the joys Patsy and I have had is the establishment of an endowment for the Bishop’s Lectureship at our Huntingdon College. Huntingdon has used our lectureship to bring to its campus nationally renowned lectures, most of whom embody both great scholarship and the Christian faith. I am thrilled that this year’s lecturer on September 20 is Dr. Wayne Flynt. He will be meeting with students and faculty throughout the day, part of President Cam West’s commitment to form Huntingdon students for Christian service to our state. We are thrilled that our lectureship will help bring Dr. Flynt to Huntingdon. I encourage all of our people, particularly our clergy, to be present for his 7:30 p.m. lecture on the timely Christian topic, “The Lord is the Maker of Them All: Black, White, and Poor in America."

Huntingdon has made remarkable progress in the past few years under the inspired leadership of President West, a United Methodist pastor, scholar, and college administrator. But forgive me for thinking that Huntingdon’s greatest achievement is the college’s unreserved commitment to its role as a church-related college. In recent decades we have watched so many of our colleges slip quietly away from the church. Huntingdon is the happy exception, showing how the church and the college can be mutually beneficial. Wayne Flynt’s presence at Huntingdon and his lecture provide a wonderful occasion for us to celebrate our ministry in higher education.

Will Willimon


foxofbama said...


I made contact with Dr. Flynt after a note he sent me regarding a motion I made at the state Baptist Convention right after I came here in 1988.
Flynt made a telling comment in a New Republic article few years ago during the tax reform initiative. Regarding Baptist polity he noted it only takes one member of a Baptist church to stir up a hornet's nest in any congregation once a Baptist pastor takes a prophetic stance.
Thus lack of prophetic Baptist pulpits in the state.
This Furman grad--not a pastor but son of one--got voted out of Collinsville Baptist Church May 26 2006 by a vote of 32-20 three short years after being the driving force in bringing the congregation some strong information about Tax Reform and a year earlier the implications for the state of the political struggle in the Southern Baptist Convention.
My Mother was baptized in the church--coming over from the Methodists with her Mother to be baptized together in 1936 so I have my Scar.
Momma's first cousin was student body President of Huntington College in late 40's. I will send a link of this blog to her.
In meantime here is a grand piece from a progressive Baptist like Flynt I think may be of interest and most timely for all who read this blog.
In the name of L.D. Johnson and our common Saviour, thank you for the good work you are doing here in Alabama

foxofbama said...

Great piece by Andy Watts of Belmont College in the tradtion of Wayne Flynt.
It gets to keryma of the implications of Tea Party for people of Faith.
Would be grand if Flynt works it in his remarks at Huntington.
Between him and Rick Bragg, maybe there is still hope for Alabama, home not only of Bear Bryant, but also Martin Luther King and Judge Frank Johnson.