If you’ve been listening to our series An Idea on the Land, then you’ve heard the voice of Willie Jennings. He’s a professor at Yale Divinity school and author of the book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.
Jennings' work deals with subjects that, for some of us, can be very sensitive. The history of whiteness. The distorted view of Christianity that drove European colonialism. We’ve tried to present those ideas the best we could in our series, but after speaking to Jennings, I’ve had the sense that at least some people would want to hear more. So we’re making this extended interview available as well. This has been lightly edited, mostly to clean up the audio. The quality is still not perfect at times, but you should be able to at least hear what’s being said.
Willie Jennings is scheduled to be in Grand Rapids this winter to give a talk for the January Series at Calvin College. Jennings himself is a Calvin alum. And he grew up in Grand Rapids, the city where I live. That’s where our conversation started. Jennings told me he grew up on the city’s southeast side.