By: Ty Cowan
On Thursday, April 5, Auburn University teamed up with Dr. Wayne Flynt and the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art to hold a series of events including intergenerational, interdisciplinary and interfaith discussions.
Flynt, professor emeritus of the Auburn University Department of History, and Moss, a senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, participated in a panel as part of a two-day event to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s dream, legacy and the 50thanniversary of his assassination.
“Where do we go from here?” asked Dr. Joan Harrell, an Auburn University assistant visiting professor who moderated the panel.
The panelist discussed a wide variety of subjects on faith, religion and politics. Harrell said that one of the main points of the event was to discuss the Beloved Community King spoke about.
As the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, Moss said he believes in community advancement and social justice activism. He is an honors graduate of Morehouse College who earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. Moss said that in order to grow, America needs to be able to mourn prophetically rather than pathetically for King’s death.
“Pathetic mourning means that I fall into despair. I will not change a system,”
said Moss. “But prophetic mourning means that I take my energy, my anger
and my sorrow and I put it into stretching our democracy.”
Flynt, who was a ministry student at Samford University and earned his
doctoral degree in American history from Florida State University,
has written 13 books and has taught at both Samford and Auburn University.
“The real radicals are people who are inside us, who come from us,
who think like us and who share our theology,” said Flynt.
Flynt also said that in the time of King, southern states were the highest documented Christian areas in the country.
“And yet it [the South] had failed so completely in the realization of what the beloved community that Christ talked about was,” said Flynt.
The event concluded with a short question and answer portion and final thoughts from both panelists. Moss said he believes that as a nation love and justice are central and that the community should work on it every single day.
“We need to operate like grandma in the garden. She’s going to be out there working every day,” Moss said. “If we keep on planting, keep on taking the manure and using some of it, it can actually grow great things in this nation.”