Dr. Willie James Jennings

Dr. Willie James Jennings is Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke University Divinity School. He teaches and researches in the areas of theology, race theory, and cultural studies. He is currently finishing a commentary on the book of Acts.

Psalms for Ferguson | The Wise

Innocent question

Where is the child?

Poor dumb wise

Your innocence is painful

In a land of violence

You cannot see

The obvious

Child perceived as threat, real danger

Surrounded by fear of a takeover

Yet you talk in blissful naivety

“Show us where to find the child.”

What child?

You mean the unborn child, the theoretical child, right?
The one that is not a threat, not born of our enemy
The one that we imagine looks like us and will become us, right?

We love the unborn

We really care for those who are not here

They do not scare us. They will never be our undoing.

Where is the child?

Poor dumb wise
Wandering through a story you should know

Clumsy steps in your own history

Right in the left
Left in the right

Untied strings dragging through time

You ask too much and see too little

Those with weapons are way ahead of you

Calculating, while you are asking

They make the wise their tools

“Yes,” they say, “If only we could find that child, the one we all want to see,
the one we can galvanize support for…

….the future we all want to see.”

While we wait for that future, they will clear the streets,


take away the unwanted dark litter

Wanted only in the cries of their mom-kin-folk

Where is my child?

Where is MY child?

The wise with their resources

Gifts to be given

Must be kept from power’s deception

Until the child appears to them and becomes their wisdom