John Perkins Comes to Trinity School

I've updated the below post to include some photos of Dr. Perkins' visit on September 11.  I couldn't help but be struck by the stark contrast between the horrific memory of hate eleven years ago and the story this man told of hatred transformed by the Good News about Jesus.  Many thanks to all who made Dr. Perkins' visit possible.

Dr. Perkins spoke to a full house of our 6th-12th graders, along with the Durham Nativity School and the New Horizons School. 

An animated and passionate speaker, Dr. Perkins told us the story of his hard upbringing, his transformation, and his call to return to Mississippi to bring the Gospel to the poor.
With the flag at half mast in honor of the 911 victims, our Middle School gathered on the lawn for lunch with the Durham Nativity students. 
After lunch, a little soccer to mix it up.

Two great octogenarians (John Perkins and Fred Brooks) shared a few moments trying to remember the times their lives had crossed and enjoying their common bond in Christ.

Dr. Perkins signed my 1976 copy of A Quiet Revolution: "Galatians 2:20."

If you Google John Perkins, you'll get the wrong guy.  A Peace Corps vet, New Hampshire author.  I'm sure he's a great guy and a talented author, but for our purposes now he's the wrong guy.  The algorithms can't really discern the movement of God's Spirit in the world.

The John Perkins I'm interested in is a prophet and a saint.  And he's coming to Trinity next week.

I think I've heard Perkins twice in my life.  Once at Blacknall Church not long ago, and once when I was an undergrad at Emory.  By the time I got to college, John Perkins had been back in Mississippi (born there, then fled to California) for sixteen years.  He came to Emory with a young man named Lem Tucker, who has, I think, since died an untimely death.  Perkins had just published two important books, Let Justice Roll Down and A Quiet Revolution.

Perkins came to Emory to challenge our InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter to think biblically about how the church is called to meet human needs, how the Gospel is lived out in farmers' co-ops, thrift centers, adult education centers, and health clinics proclaimed release to the captives and liberty for the oppressed.

Perkins' walk matched his talk.  His life story reads like something out of 2 Corinthians 11, where Paul chronicles his life of suffering.  This is a man who has earned our attention, and I am thrilled that our 6th-12th graders will have the chance to sit at his feet (literally, in the gym) for an hour next Tuesday at 10:30 am.  Parents are welcome to join us for this event as well.

It's fascinating the way God weaves lives together.  Perkins has several connections to this area and the people here.  Dr. Fred Brooks, former Trinity board member, grandparent, and part-time instructor in Advanced Physics, recalls that Perkins visited UNC and the graduate chapter of IVCF 30 years ago.  Says Dr. Brooks, "He is deep and godly."  Another connection is to Child Evangelism Fellowship, which has a part in Perkins' own story of coming to faith.  John Blake and the local CEF folks have been instrumental in bringing him here.  And then there is a very personal connection to Chris Rice, head of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School: Chris was very close friends with John's son Spencer, who died in 1998.  (They wrote a fine book together on reconciliation in the church, called More than Equals.)

We are also thrilled to include in next Tuesday's event the entire student body of the Durham Nativity School.  Dan Venelle, Head of DNS, will bringing his 6th-8th grade boys to hear Perkins and they will stay to have lunch with our Middle School students.  We have had a long-standing partnership with DNS, with several of their alums attending Trinity over the years.  It's a joy to have them with us to listen to this man of God.

Chances to hear speakers like this are one of the great opportunities at a school like Trinity.  Am so thankful that our own Janice McAdams was able to work with John Blake to pull this off.


Bill said…
Since I cannot be at Trinity this coming Tuesday morning, I'm so glad I can join friends at Union Baptist on Monday evening!
Bill said…
Since I cannot be at Trinity this coming Tuesday morning, I'm so glad I can join friends at Union Baptist on Monday evening!

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