The Black Pulpit and Public Square is an exciting initiative that brings together two important entities in the African-American community – the press and the church. In collaboration with Black Politics Today (BPT), the Black Pulpit and Public Square will provide African-American clergy a platform to do advocacy work in their communities and speak to broader socio-economic and political issues through this special series of articles featured in BPT Magazine (BPTM) that address urgent issues like mass incarceration, economic, voting rights, educational and health disparities, poverty, gang violence, housing, etc.
The inception of the Black Politics Today magazine was to provide a platform to educate, enspire and empower the black community to better understand the social, economic, and political impact on the African-American community and recognize that public policies have real impact and consequences when we are not at the table or in the committee hearing room when they are being debated. The BPTM publication will offer a wide array of conscious content to ensure that every reader can begin to digest the importance of their participation in an arena that has for centuries saw them only as utensils to use when convenient rather then them seeing themselves as powerbrokers to be recon with. The Black Politics Today magazine, the only political and news publication dedicated solely to the education of people of color in the political and economic realms of life, will be the guiding force for pastors, leaders, congregations, and communities of color to empower themselves and brace for what’s to come in 2020 and beyond.
Thompson and Brogdon began doing this kind of work over six years ago in a three-year partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Special panels were held during Black Press Week that brought church leaders together with media professionals and newspaper agencies across the country. NNPA’s Black Press and Pulpit provided opportunities for Thompson and Brogdon to gather clergy to discuss black political and social issues. I am excited to see this new column with BP Today,” says Executive Director and Founder, Rev. Walter Silva Thompson. “Six years ago, Dr. Brogdon and I began discussing how to encourage more pastors to address social issues. I remember talking with him about an initiative with four primary functions: (1) to provide a platform for churches and media organizations to raise awareness about important issues in the black community; (2) to encourage more pastors to become public theologians and more churches to take on issues unique to their respective communities; (3) to create a venue for shared information about key local, national, and international developments that effect black communities; and (4) to encourage churches to support and advertise in black newspapers and magazines. “It is the right time for this” adds Thompson.
It is time not only to encourage black clergy to speak on social issues but to create a platform to do it, particularly as the 2020 election nears. “It is important for pastors and churches to be politically engaged and savvy, which is why a partnership with BPT is so essential. Kelly Mikel Williams knows both arenas and has a platform respected by both,” says Brogdon.
When asked what excited him about this partnership, Brogdon says, “There is more to effective ministry than the inspiring worship and powerful preaching that has characterized black churches for over a century. Churches and clergy have to address the social and political issues and forces that affect the lives of the people in their communities. To turn a blind eye to these issues is to preach a gospel that is not holistic and has lost its prophetic edge in liberating people from the spiritual, social, and political forces that oppress our people.”
Dr. Lewis Brogdon, a minister and religious scholar at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky in Louisville, will serve as a special editor for this series and is currently soliciting article submissions from pastors and scholars. “If you are passionate about ministry in the public square, contact us,” says Brogdon. The first article will be released next month.