Some of the most vivid memories that pop to my mind from my childhood are those associated with revivals. As most of you know, my father was a pastor. Thus, he preached revivals at other congregations and hosted revivals at our home congregation. I still remember going with my father to Burnside, KY (near Somerset and Lake Cumberland) where he preached a revival when I was roughly my own son’s age. It was there I was introduced to fried catfish. I still love a piece of fried catfish. I suspect that has to do as much with emotional attachment as it does with taste. I also remember when the pastor of the Elsmere Baptist Church, the black Baptist Church across the railroad tracks, preached a series of revival sermons at the church my family called home.
Traditionally, revivals entailed a congregation inviting a outsider in to preach and teach. Revivals took place on consecutive evenings throughout the course of a single week. Revivals were designed to revitalize an individual’s relationship with Christ and the vchurch.
Of course, times have changed. Asking people to attend an event at church consecutive nights in a row in a single week is not feasible. However, that does not mean that the concept of revival has lost its merit. It means that circumstances dictate that revivals transpire differently.
Over the course of the first several months of 2018, I believe that Crescent Hill Baptist Church will be holding the modern-day equivalent of an old-time revival. We will welcome several guest speakers to our pulpit who will challenge us to apply the gospel presented by Jesus Christ in our own lives, community, nation, and world. I believe these guests will revive you personally and have a significant impact on what transpires beyond the walls of our congregation.
Our 2018 CHBC Revival will begin with a concert on Sunday, January 14 at 4PM. Demetrius Gunn is the 2017-2018 recipient of the Simmons College of Kentucky Crescent Hill Baptist Church Scholarship. Demetrius leads a gospel group that performs throughout the region. Demetrius and his group will be in concert that afternoon.
On Sunday, January 28, John Palvovitz will preach. John is nationally recognized pastor and author. He recently released a new book entitled A Bigger Table. John is a pastor and blogger from Wake Forest, North Carolina. His blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said, has reached a diverse audience of millions of people. A 18-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John's mission is to nurture better, more productive conversation about faith, and to help the Church become a more compassionate, loving environment for all people. He serves on staff at North Raleigh Community Church and is preparing to launch an online community called The Table, a Christian community where everyone gets a seat.
On Monday, February 12, author Richard Rothstein will present. He is the author of the book The Color of Law, which is the 2018 EmpowerWest City-Wide Book Club book. Rothstein is a Senior Fellow at the Haas Institute and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute both of which are located in Berkeley, CA. He works on policy issues regarding education and race. He currently researches and writes about the history of government’s role in the creation of residential segregation. Rothstein was a senior fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at Berkeley’s law school, until that institute closed at the end of 2015.
On Sunday, February 25, Paul Raushenbush will preach. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush is a writer, editor, and religious activist. He currently serves as Senior Vice-President and editor of Voices at Auburn Seminary. From 2009 to 2015 he was the Executive Editor Of Global Spirituality and Religion for Huffington Post's Religion section, and formerly served as editor of BeliefNet. From 2003-2011, Raushenbush served as Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University, and served as President of the Association Of College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA) from 2009 to 2011. An ordained Baptist minister in the American Baptist tradition, Raushenbush is the great-grandson of 19th-century Baptist cleric and Social Gospel proponent Walter Rauschenbusch (name spelled differently), and the great-grandson of the Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
Finally, in March, David Gushee will be present for our 2018 William M. Johnson lecture series. He will present on Saturday evening March 17, and then preach on Sunday morning March 18. Gushee’s new book, Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism, was released last fall. Dr. David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. Widely regarded as one of the leading moral voices in American Christianity, he is the author or editor of 21 books and hundreds of articles in his field. Dr. Gushee is the recently elected Vice-President of the American Academy of Religion and President-Elect of the Society of Christian Ethics.
Some of the leading thinkers, writers, and voices in progressive Christian thought and activism in the United States at this moment will be with us in the coming months. Their presence among us provides us all with the chance to experience revival, collectively and individually. You can prepare yourself for this opportunity for revitalization -vitalize Ehsan by getting books penned by the authors that will be with us. I am very excited about what lies ahead in the upcoming months for our church. I hope that you are as well. Jason