Rev. Dr. Dennis Edwards: How do you know you’re white?

In this episode...

I speak with Reverend Doctor Dennis Edwards, a minister in cities for 30 years, about his identity as a healer and how he stays whole as a person within Christian communities where it may not always be welcome to let your real feelings show.

We talk about Black lives Matter and the awakening of White people to the uncomfortable truth about the burden of fear and mistrust towards police that Black Americans carry every day. 
 

“What broke my heart is that the takeaway for her was that when I call the police for help, I should warn them that my children are black.”

- Keith Miller, host of The Soul of Life podcast, in recent episode "How do you know you're White?" Tweet
Little girl stop racism
Northpark theological seminary prison ministry
Northwestern Theological Students perform in a corrections facility

And how—in the traditions of John Lewis and Frederick Douglass—we must agitate and demand change but that the mountain of racial and social injustice will not be lifted without love shining through our brokenness. 

“Love, truth…will carry the day even though in the short run they don’t seem to get you ahead.”

The other main part of my discussion with Dennis is about his faith. It’s been years since I’ve spoken with Dennis, who officiated at our wedding and we got to know and love his family during our time on Capital Hill.

When I looked him up, I found him teaching theology at Northpark Seminary in Chicago. Dennis has been a pastor for 30 years. His wife is a social worker.

When I reached out to Dennis, I told him I wanted to talk about his identity as a Healer, and shared my story about Healer burnout myself, the whole medical ordeal I went through, and being treated successfully for depression. But I also shared with him that my “coming back to life” led me to remember who I am and that—in the most non-religious way possible—know I belong to God.

I still don’t know what that really means, but I know it’s true.

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.

—Frederick Douglass, Autobiographies​

Reverend Doctor Edwards has long been inspired with a hunger to understand scripture. Growing up in NYC, Dr. Edwards attended a storefront church whose pastor was an earnest, faithful, and dedicated spiritual leader. This example continued to inspire Dr. Edwards throughout college and his time spent teaching high school math and chemistry. Ordained through the Evangelical Covenant Church, Dr. Edwards brings a deep understanding of spiritual leadership to North Park. He also shares his diverse experiences as a church planter and pastor in Brooklyn, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. with his students.

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Episode 3