Candler School of Theology welcomes Walter Earl Fluker as the 2018-2019 distinguished visiting professor in the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture. Fluker is Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership, the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project and the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative for the Development of Ethical Leadership at Boston University School of Theology. 

As holder of the McDonald Chair, Fluker will give two public lectures during the semester, the first on Tuesday, October 23 and the second on Thursday, November 29. The lectures are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The October 23 lecture will also be available to access remotely as a webinar sponsored by the office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement at Candler. A webinar registration link is below.

Tuesday, October 23: “Walking with God: Preparation, Presence and Practice”  
4:00—5:30 p.m., Room 360, Candler School of Theology  

Howard Thurman was one of the leading religious thinkers of 20th century America, a mentor to the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and a mystic who pioneered influential innovations in liturgy, worship and spirituality in the quest for common ground. This lecture will be a practical reflection on the ways Thurman envisioned the contemplative life and its implications for the cultivation of what he called the tools of the spirit and the creation of democratic space.  Candler’s Black Church Studies program is pleased that this event also serves as this year’s Howard Thurman Lecture. Register here by 5:00 p.m. on October 22. Those unable to attend in person are invited to register to view the lecture as an interactive webinar. Register for the webinar here. 

Thursday, November 29: “Speaking from Sites Reserved for the Dead: Lingering Memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Great Mistake Jamestown Made Long Ago”
4:00—5:30 p.m., Room 360, Candler School of Theology  

2018 brought the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, and 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. This lecture will reflect on the role of long memory in creating sites of mourning and prophetic speech and action in contested democratic space. MLK’s vision of the “World House” calls for an expanded mapping of the world and encourages us to think of it as a kind of counter-geography that extends boundaries beyond the nodes of Africa and the Americas to include other colonized and exiled peoples. However, the existential and ethical issues at stake in this new moment demand that we congregate, conjure, and conspire about the ways in which this new possibility is actualized. Register here by 5:00 p.m. on November 28. Those unable to attend in person are invited to register to view the lecture as an interactive webinar. Register for the webinar here.

Fluker earned his MDiv from Garrett-Evangelical Seminary and his PhD in social ethics from Boston University, and received an honorary doctorate from Lees-McRae College. He was founding executive director of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership Center and the Coca-Cola Professor of Leadership Studies at Morehouse College. Known as an expert in the theory and practice of ethical leadership, Fluker has served on numerous committees and boards, and is an internationally-known consultant, speaker, lecturer and workshop leader.

He is the author of The Ground Has Shifted: The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America (New York University Press, 2016) and Ethical Leadership: The Quest for Character, Civility and Community (Fortress, 2009), which is now a Massive Open Online Course. Also among his recent publications is a multi-volume series entitled The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman, published by University of South Carolina Press. The fifth volume will be released in Spring 2019. Fluker is the editor of Educating Ethical Leaders for the Twenty-First Century (Cascade Books, 2013). 

About the McDonald Chair

The Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture is supported by gifts from the McDonald Agape Foundation, chaired by Alonzo L. McDonald, a longtime trustee of Emory University. The McDonald Agape Foundation “supports lectures and other public presentations that deal creatively and imaginatively with the person and teachings of Jesus as they shape and form culture.” 

Recipients are given a distinguished visiting professorship, in which they speak and teach in the focused area of Jesus’s effect on culture and conversely, culture’s shaping of the figure of Jesus.

Past McDonald chair lecturers include Judge John T. Noonan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; composer Alice Parker; art historian Herbert Kessler; historian and documentary filmmaker Randall Balmer; author James Carroll; Episcopal priest and bestselling author Barbara Brown Taylor; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Garry Wills; Jesuit priest and film professor Lloyd Baugh; scholar David H. Kelsey; and scholar David F. Ford, among others.

Candler School of Theology is located on the campus of Emory University, at 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322.

Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography