Reading "Black Prophetic Fire" by Cornel West and Christa Buschendorf I was reminded of the Greek word "parrhesia" which is pronounced par-he-see-ah. It means the pattern of speaking the truth boldly and freely without any regard for the speaker's safety or security. West reminds us that parrhesia was a style of speaking used by Socrates in Plato's Apology.

Of even more importance for me is that the same word appears throughout the Book of Acts in the New Testament regarding the bold preaching of Peter, James, and Paul who preached about Christ in the Greco-Roman world without fear or hesitation. With that word in mind, I think it is well past time for people in this country to find the courage for some "parrhesia"on our part. In the face of poverty, violent crime, racism, student conduct in downtown Rochester, and an unending stream of attacks on voting rights that could affect millions of Americans it is time for some "parrhesia."

We need some "parrhesia" whether it comes from clergy of all races and religions, from public officials that are entrusted with safeguarding the common good, journalists and writers that report what they see occurring in our society, or educators whose values need to extend beyond the safe confines of their classrooms. Not much will change in our society and in our world if people of influence are determined to speak only those things that are pleasing and acceptable to everyone and are never willing to put themselves at risk in any way. The people who most transformed this country were quite often those who engaged in "parrhesia." Think about the founders of this country in their attacks on King George III and the British Empire.

Think about abolitionists, suffragettes, civil rights leaders, anti-war activists during the Viet Nam War era, or the Occupy Movement and their attacks on issues of the growing wealth disparity in this country. In every instance, these people engaged in what the ancient Greeks call "parrhesia." They all ran a risk, they faced the possibility of some serious reprisal, and they all understood that nothing will change and no injustice will be ended until people with strong convictions find the courage to go public with their views and values. As Edmund Burke said, "The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."

There is something that good people can do; they can practice the art of "parrhesia.

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Register Today! Deadline for October, 2015 Israel-Palestine Trip has been extended until February 27, 2015

If you've been thinking about joining the enthusiastic group of folks heading to Israel-Palestine October 1-14, 2015, but haven't yet registered, there's good news!

The deadline for registrations has been extended until Friday, February 27, 2015.

This event, back by popular demand, visits Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites and allows attendees to meet and mingle with people of different faiths who inhabit this incredibly fragile, complex and beautiful land. Holy Land Pics 5-9-08 035

Throughout the fourteen days, there will be occasions for prayer, worship, Bible study, as well as lectures on ancient and contemporary theological and ethical topics. This trip has been organized by Dr. Melanie Duguid May and Dr. Mark Brummitt.

Estimated cost, all-inclusive: $5,500.00.
Extension opportunity to travel to Petra, Jordan; extra cost of $550.

APPLICATIONS with non-refundable deposit of $750 due February 27, 2015.
Click here to download the application.

CRCDS Community is Saddened to Announce the passing of Life Trustee Raymond N. Bligh, Sr., (CTS '56)

The CRCDS community is saddened to announce the recent passing of Raymond N. Bligh, Sr., Life Trustee and 1956 Crozer graduate on January 31, 2015. His memorial service will be held on April 25, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Wellesley, MA. To view his obituary, click here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=174046134
Memorial gifts are appreciated and can be made to the Raymond N. and Barbara J. Bligh Scholarship Fund at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, 1100 South Goodman St., Rochester, NY 14620.

Ray was dedicated to Crozer and dedicated to keeping the legacy of Crozer vibrant and alive after the merger with Colgate Rochester in 1970.
Condolences may be sent to his daughter, Pamela Varriale, at 15 Kelley St., Medway, MA, 02053 or by phoning 508-259-2861.


"So Much for Being a Color-Blind Society" by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

Dr. McMickle recently shared his thoughts with the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle's readers through his "Unite Rochester" blog published on January 27, 2015. The text of his essay appears here:

I just finished reading the editorial by Charles Blow in the New York Times about his son, a third-year student at Yale University who was stopped on campus at gun point and held by campus police because he matched the description of someone wanted for burglary. I was just reflecting on how sad it is that in so many places in the United States black people, and especially black males are immediately viewed with suspicion and treated with excessive force by law enforcement officers. Some years ago my own son was a student at the University of Buffalo (SUNY) and a scholarship player on their Division 1A football team when he was pulled over and blocked in by three police cars for driving a vehicle that someone had decided was suspicious. When asked whose car it was he respectfully told them that it belonged to his father. He kept his hands on the steering wheel as his mother and I had long ago instructed him to do if he ever found himself in such a position. They ran a computer trace of the car and inspected the registration, and they found everything in order. Without so much as an apology or a word of regret for what had just happened, the police officers got in their cars and drove away leaving an understandably shaken college student behind. I wonder how many students at SUNY Buffalo were driving around western New York in cars that belonged to their parents? I wonder how many of them were pulled over because they “looked suspicious?” I wonder how many of them had to look out the window of the driver’s door and see three police cars and six police officers surrounding that car? I wonder if whites in America will ever understand the sentiments of Bert Williams, the black comedian of the early 20th century who once said “there is no shame in being black, but it can be so inconvenient.” Of course, in light of Ferguson, and Staten Island, and Cleveland inconvenience is hardly the biggest risk. What we learn from events involving Michael Brown to events involving the son of Charles Blow is how often black males are confronted by police officers who already have their guns drawn before the questioning ever begins. With every passing day this nation seems to be moving away from some of its core values: “all people are created equal, innocent until proven guilty, and safeguards against unreasonable search and seizure.” I love to sing “My country Tis of thee,sweet land of liberty of thee I sing.” However, I do get stuck on the line that says “Land where my fathers died…” Some of my black fathers died in every war this nation has ever fought in pursuit of freedoms that they were often unable to enjoy when they returned to civilian life. Now with the recent events across the country from Ferguson, MO to Yale University the dream of a color-blind society is once more being deferred. I long for the day when all Americans can sing together “From every mountainside let freedom ring.”

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Dr. Gail Ricciutti on Sabbatical

RICCIUTI-150x150Dr. Gail Ricciutti, Associate Professor of Homiletics, will be on sabbatical during the Spring 2015 term. While away, she will be working on her book that looks at what preachers stand to learn about the creative/interpretive process from visual artists. Dr. Ricciutti has also been invited to write three articles for the forthcoming Common English Bible (CEB) Women’s Bible, to be published in 2016. On March 8th, she will be speaking to the Adult Forum of the Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester NY on the topic "Co-Creators with God."