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In this prophetic collection of sermons, pastor, judge, and prophet Wendell L. Griffen challenge followers of Jesus, those social justice-minded pastors, congregational leaders, religious educators, grassroots activists and advocates, and other faithful persons, to ponder these questions:
• What does it mean to be a "prophetic follower of Jesus?"• How will lessons in Scripture and across human history inform our action in the world?• How can we speak of hope in a time of deep division—a time too often defined by racism, misogyny, materialism, militarism, religious nationalism, and xenophobia?
"Judge Griffen has called us as white Christians to task, and rightly so, for our failures to understand, confess, and reconcile our complicit participation in America's sins. He spells it out and calls us all to be the presence of Christ in the face of unjust, unChristian policies and actions by our dominant white culture. He has inspired me to be a better man and to be a Christian in the truest sense of the word."Patrick R. Anderson, PhD, Editor, Christian Ethics Today
"The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope is a gift for those who need courage to speak about politics and faith worthy of the human spirit. The work and witness of Wendell Griffen expresses this hope and courage for justice-seekers who feel this fierce urgency in the public square."Forrest Harris, President, American Baptist College, Director, Black Church Studies, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
"In this powerful new book, preacher and prophet Wendell L. Griffen calls things by their right names, including white racism. He reminds us that the prophets are voices of hope; he shows us hope for our dread circumstance. He knows what is going on in this dangerous and distressing time. This book is an act of bold courage and imagination, just what we need!"Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination (1978), God, Neighbor, Empire (2016), and many more; William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Through lectures and sermons, this judge, pastor, and law professor applies the wisdom and analysis of the eighth-century Hebrew prophets, of the teachings of Jesus, and of liberation theology to white, conservative, evangelical Christians' endorsement of and election of a populist who does not embody the Christian values they have said they and their churches stand for."Ray Higgins, PhD, Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas
"To read this book is to be reminded of the prophet/judge role of Samuel in the Old Testament, probably because Wendell Griffen is both a prophetic preacher and a Circuit Court Judge in Arkansas. Just as Samuel stood up and spoke against the arrogance and abuse of power by Saul, the king of Israel, Griffen is inviting twenty-first century preachers to consider the question of "What and how to preach after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States?" With a sharp rebuke of white evangelicals whose broad support of Trump aided in his election, Griffen views their support as a betrayal of the core teaching of Jesus. His challenge is not to find safety in the bland title of being a Christian or the morally tainted title of being an evangelical who tolerates racism, sexism, poverty, homophobia, xenophobia, and a massive disparity of wealth between the richest 1 percent and the rest of the population. Griffen challenges every preacher and every true believer to run the risk of living during these distressing times as followers of Jesus Christ. I invite every preacher to answer this call!"Marvin A. McMickle, PhD, President, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, NY
"Judge, pastor, and yes, prophet, Rev. Dr. Wendell L. Griffen offers a bracing vision for persons who long and work for the justice inscribed in Scripture. Deftly weaving biblical texts and current social challenges, he calls followers of Jesus to more encompassing views of redemption. He roundly rejects the privatization of faith, leaving the public square open to prejudice and xenophobia. His clear-eyed sense of how policies continue to make discrimination possible, even acceptable, is worthy of careful engagement. Reading his book kindles a renewed spirit in me for a justice-driven spirituality. I trust it will have the same impact for others."Molly T. Marshall, PhD, President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
"Wendell Griffen writes like one of the sons of Issachar, who understood the times and who knew what to do in them." Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr., author of Speak until Justice Wakes, pastor emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, CA
"Rev. Griffen's work is timely and prophetic."Reggie L. Williams, PhD, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, McCormick Theological Seminary
"I don't often encounter the words prophetic and hope in the same sentence. I abhor so-called prophets who only aim to make others as fiery mad about injustice as they are. All too often, their hearers simply burn up or burn out, consumed by anger and vehemence. Wendell Griffen's analysis of the United States in the 'Age of Trump' is not the ranting and raging of a person who is more interested in turning up the heat than he is turning on the lights. Through the lens of a person who is both a pastor and a jurist, Wendell Griffen challenges us to wield hope fiercely as an offensive weapon of our spiritual, political, and social struggle in incredibly tumultuous times. Pastoral leaders, small-group facilitators, and church school teachers will find this an invaluable resource."Rev. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, DMin, Executive Director Emeritus, ABHMS, Catalyst, Greater Philadelphia Network of Spiritual Progressives
"The Word of God warns the people of God of the many false prophets who, under the guise of divine authority and in exploitation of faithful hope, become no more than instruments of destruction. With uncompromised boldness, Wendell Griffen reminds clergy and lay persons of God's call to prophetic witness and prophetic citizenship on the journey towards liberation and justice. The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope is a special gift to those who seek answers and direction to God's will in times of despair."Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Wendell L. Griffen, DDiv, is well-known as a lawyer, jurist, legal educator, religious leader, and public speaker. He serves as pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and also as Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Arkansas. Dr. Griffen is the founder and CEO of Griffen Strategic Consulting which specializes in diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, strategic planning and development, public policy and government relations, legal affairs, and litigation management. He is a member of the Board of Directors for The Christian Ethics Today Foundation and serves as a trustee of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference. Dr. Griffen is the author of two blogs: Wendell Griffen on Cultural Competency and Justice is a Verb! blogs.
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