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Interview: Ekemini Uwan on Truth-Telling, Denominational Homelessness, and Hopes for the Church

Faithfully Magazine is a media sponsor of the Call and Response Conference 2018 – GET MORE COVERAGE HERE

Editor’s note: Read part one of this interview.

Ekemini Uwan is a public theologian and co-host of the popular “Truth’s Table” podcast. She received her Master of Divinity in 2016 from Westminster Theological Seminary. Uwan’s writings have been featured in several influential publications, including Huffington Post Black Voices, Christianity Today, and The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, and her insights have been quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker.

This is part two of Faithfully Magazine’s interview with Ms. Uwan, conducted by phone. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Have you found that your theological education has opened more doors for you in serving God’s kingdom? Have there been any difficulties you’ve experienced as a woman with a Master of Divinity from a theologically-conservative institution?

That’s a hard question to answer. Yes and no. I would say for me, I haven’t been able to secure a job—a traditional job—since I graduated. My generation struggles with that anyways, but I’ve had to chart my own course because I never wanted to be a pastor or do women’s ministry. That was never a desire of mine. I can preach the word when I’m called upon to preach, you know? I don’t have a problem doing that. But I’m not called to pastor, so I’ve had to track my own course and blaze my own trail which is hard to do when you don’t have a roadmap. You don’t have anyone to follow after particularly as one who is a public theologian, which is what I am. I interact with current events, politics, and things like that, and I talk about it from a Christian theological lens through my writing, my speaking, and on “Truth’s Table.”

It has also been hard because I do anti-racism work, so I say hard things, and prophets can’t be on the payroll. At any given time, I have to, by God’s grace, speak what’s true when I see that there’s something wrong when an injustice is being perpetuated. If there’s something wrong, I have to speak up about it. That’s just something that’s central to who I am and I’ve always been driven by justice. But, in a lot of ways, people are beholden to their donors and church members who pay their salaries. They’re muzzled by the purse strings. So, for me, it has been hard because I’m a truth-teller. That’s the nature of my ministry. I mean, if I wanted to be ordained today, I could be ordained, but I don’t want to be a pastor. Truthfully, I think my life would be somewhat easier if I felt that was the call God placed on my life because it’s more of a direct path and there is a roadmap for that. But when you don’t sense that calling, then you have to figure it out on your own. And to be quite honest, that’s been hard. Like, literally having to trust God for His provision. Trusting God for every and anything from big to small has not been easy.

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Timothy I. Cho
Timothy I. Cho
Timothy Isaiah Cho is Associate Editor at Faithfully Magazine. Timothy’s bylines have appeared in Religion News Service and Reformed Margins, and he has been interviewed for several podcasts including Truth’s Table and Gravity Leadership Podcast. He also runs a personal blog on Medium. He received a Master of Divinity from Westminster Seminary California and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley. Email: timothy.cho (at) faithfullymagazine.com

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