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.
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.
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.
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.