Leonard Lovett, Ph. D., Chief Editor
Agora is the Greek word for marketplace. It appears that in our time voices from the public square have been muted for whatever reason. There is no serious public conversation going on about the church within the church. Freedom is the most cherished commodity we have as a people. If we do not speak now, then when? If we are forbidden to speak, then we have once again been victimized. God forbid that the church as we have come to know it becomes the new plantation. For some time I have thought seriously about the need to provide a forum for open discussion about the church and its mandate and mission. The Summer of 2011 became the seed bed for the launch of the Agora blog. Several tele-conferences were held where we fully expressed concerns about our church and its place in history at this juncture. We mutually decided that we need more dialogue. We decided that we needed an open free dialogue that does not airbrush reality when it comes to delicate issues. From our engagement of several “hot button issues” the need for authentic conversation among our brothers and sisters in the faith must begin.
I deem the Agora title a fitting one to describe the intent of this blog. We will be committed to discussing issues rather than personality. We will attempt to answer all questions within the context of reasonable dialogue. We will publish frequent Op eds from various writers from varied places to engage and challenge us to envision what a Kingdom oriented church should look like. What should leaders look like as they lead God’s people. Again I must ask why are we so silent at a time when we should be speaking, challenging and questioning? Where is the prophetic witness of the church? Have we been morphed into believing that to be prophetic is to predict the future or render some word of knowledge to another person in a staged setting? As we struggle against the Pharaohs of this world who would attempt to keep God’s children under the iron fist of oppression, remember you cannot keep the dawn from breaking. Hopefully, we are prepared to listen to strident voices who are bearers of hope for a new future. To be prophetic is to challenge the status quo in the name of God without fear of repercussion. We will write and reflect from the standpoint of critical loyalty. If we are not free…then no one will be free. The urgency of the moment in history makes our task compelling.
Reverend Dr. Leonard Lovett is a native of Pompano Beach Florida.. He received a B.A. in History from Morehouse College, an M.Div. from Crozer Theological Seminary with the Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Emory University in Theological Ethics and Society. He received a Certificate in Africana Studies from the University of Ghana (Legon) in 1994. He is the pioneer Dean Emeritus of CH Mason Seminary,[the first fully accredited Pentecostal seminary in North America] an affiliate of the Interdenominational Theological center, Atlanta, Georgia. For nine years he has represented the Church of God in Christ throughout the global village as its first Ecumenical Officer.
Dr. Lovett has served over two decades of pastoral ministry in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta. With conviction he believes that a better world is imaginable and possible. However we muat take a serious look at the worst around us and engage the “powers that be” in our struggle against injustice. This conviction prompted him to participate in the first student non-violent struggles of the sixties where he first met Dr. Martin Luther King while a student at Morehouse. Dr. Lovett envisions a tenable marriage between faith and politics and contends that both need not be antithetical to each other, but rather mutually compatible. He has taught at several seminaries, including Fuller Theological Seminary and more recently Oral Roberts Graduate School of Theology, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Former students view him as an inspiring, compelling and demanding teacher. The Faith Community and Academy unites for over two decades as founding CEO of Seminexone Ministries. He is hailed as a captivating,motivating facilitator in Church/Leadership Development seminars. As an activist ethicist-theologian, you will find him involved where matters of justice are at stake. As an apologist of the faith, he views as his primary mission the challenge of calling the Faith Community to live under the reign of the Kingdom. Luke 12:31 is his favorite scriptural passage.
Dr. Lovett is currently a board member of Bread for the World and Inter-faith Worker for Justice. He has contributed innumerable articles spanning a wide spectrum of commentary on political, social, ethical and theological issues impacting urbia. His Opening the Front Door of your Church 1993 and its sequel, Close Your Back Door (revised) 2009 and Kingdom Beyond Color (revised) 2009 has received wide acclaim. His most recent book is Crock Pot Preaching: In Search of a Preaching Methodology 2010 is in demand. He is in demand throughout North America and abroad as a lecturer and activist theologian within the Faith Community and the Academy having engaged in ministry on five continents. He is a radically committed follower of Jesus Christ. Dr. Lovett is the father of four adult sons and resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Phyllis Marie a Clinical Social Worker.
Philippians 1: 17 “ I am put here for the defense of the Gospel”