Sound of the Genuine

Christopher Carter: Healer as Teacher

July 09, 2021 FTE Leaders Season 1 Episode 8
Sound of the Genuine
Christopher Carter: Healer as Teacher
Show Notes Transcript

Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter’s teaching and research interests are in Black & Womanist Theological Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Religion & Food, and Religion & Animals. His publications include The Spirit of Soul Food (University of Illinois Press, 2021), “Blood in the Soil: The Racial, Racist, and Religious Dimensions of Environmentalism” in The Bloomsbury Handbook on Religion and Nature (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the co-edited volume The Future of Meat Without Animals (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). In them, he explores the intersectional oppressions experienced by people of color, the environment, and animals. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego and a Faith in Food Fellow at Farm Forward.

Instagram: @dr_chris_carter

Twitter: @Dr_ChrisCarter

Music by: @siryalibeats

Vector Portrait by: Rafli

Patrick: Welcome to the Sound of the Genuine, the Forum for Theological Exploration’s, limited audio series on vocation, meaning and purpose. I am Dr. Patrick Reyes, the Forum for Theological Exploration's senior director of learn design. And if you're asking yourself, what is my purpose in the world? What am I called to do? Who am I? This is the place for you. And today we have Reverend Dr. Christopher Carter, Assistant Professor, Assistant Chair and Department Diversity Officer Theology and Religious Studies at University of San Diego in California. How are you doing? 

Chris: Doing good man. 

Patrick: Y'all can't see him, but for those who are listening, he is taking this interview outside in beautiful sunny San Diego. Take me back. Where are you from? Where'd you grow up?

Chris: So I'm from Michigan. I grew up, I'm from the Midwest, so I grew up in crazy deep, depressing winters. But what I love about where I grew up and I love about my people, my Michiganders back home, Midwestern people is just our ability to connect and always like, just talk to people, just have relationships.

I think every time I go back home, either there, or to my family in Louisiana and Mississippi, it's the same thing. There's a certain kind of openness and community that you can't really experience always out here. It takes a little bit longer to get a chance to know people. 

My mom and my stepdad had, when I was younger, pretty decent jobs, they worked for the automotive industry. They worked for general motors and Ford respectively. And then Reaganomics happened in the eighties and they got laid off and everybody got laid off. And so we went from having a fairly stable kind of income. I remember being like in kindergarten living in a nice house. And then being in first grade living in an apartment in Indiana because we had got relocated to move. And then in second grade, living in like this tiny shack of a place.  My step dead after he got laid off and bounced around jobs and stuff, really struggled with depression and got into some essentially drug problems had to go to rehab.

So just my mom, me and my sister and my brother. It was crazy because I think that even at that age, you’re talking about like seven, eight, nine years old, I had experienced a lot and I was, I've always been a pretty observant kid. And so I knew how things were supposed to be, or had an idea of what things are supposed to be like in terms of our ability to be able to eat.

But like my first meal when I was in first and second grade was when I got to school because they have free school breakfast. And so I remember thinking like, man, this is, things should be better. I wasn't like ever mad at my parents or blaming anybody.

My mom was working like all the time. I just was like, I guess this is just, this is what it is. And my mom was like, hey you got to take care of your sisters and your brother.  You're the oldest, you've got these kind of responsibilities. I think when I think about my early childhood, especially I think that helped shape me in terms of thinking about my both kind of moral obligations to my family.

And also the ways in which I think I've probably always been a little bit more serious because I just had to be right? I think for me, that was the beauty of growing up in the low income projects areas was, I always felt like I had community. I never struggled with knowing who I was and thinking back on that now, I guess I hadn't really thought about it until you just asked me I'm like, that was probably some of the most security I ever had in my identity.Up until probably I would say in the last four or five years, have I gotten back to how I felt then, in terms of knowing who I was.

Patrick: I'm really curious about your vocational imagination at that age, as you're saying you have deep community, you have a deep connection with folks, what was in your imagination about what you might grow up to be?

Chris: I guess a couple of things. I knew when I was probably like, maybe, I don't know, fourth grade or so that I was smart at this point.  Okay, I'm smart. But I had this kind of other thing where I also realized at the same time, or I should say other people realized for me, I was also really good at basketball.

Part of me was like, okay, you can do this kind of academic thing. You could try to be the smart kid in class, but for the most part, all those kids were white. And me black male, to be fair to myself, we talked about being smart, like in, in the ways of talking about acting white, like we understood intellect to be about performative whiteness when I was a kid. Even at that age, when you're talking about like late elementary, early junior high, my vocational imagination was really wrapped up in playing ball, playing sports, not thinking that I was ever good enough to be professional. I have even had that much awareness at that age because I was playing with other kids that were older than me that were better than me, but I was good.

I was good enough to be on the team. And so I remember thinking I just need to be good enough to go to college so I can get a job. In terms of this is my vocational goal is not necessarily to do anything other than to be able to have some sense of security. Because when you grow up in a time or in a community, in a space where you don't have that, where you lack that kind of deep security, you realize how unsettling your week can be.

Patrick: What did your mom want for you especially as you're in high school and thinking about college and moving on, what were her kind of dreams for you?

Chris: I think my mom wanted me to go to college. My mom always, I think in parts of her believed I was smart and could actually do something and get out of town to get out of tiny little battle Creek, Michigan. But at the same time, she was pretty dependent upon me to help with lots of other stuff, besides what you would normally have a kid do.

I'd always had this kind of role in the family of being like a third parent. So although my mom wanted me to go to school she also didn't really want me to go very far so I could help out with my brothers and sisters. But my mom and my step-dad got divorced when I was a senior in high school. And my mom still was just working class.

I've worked all through high school. I was playing ball working like 25, 30 hours a week at a grocery store. I had to help pay bills. So my mom was like, go to college, don't go too far, but whatever you do, just make sure you can have some security. I think she also felt that same stress of it'd be nice not to have anxiety about paying my bills.

When I finally went to school years later, I studied business because I felt like this was how I can make sure I could have a job. There's businesses everywhere. Let me study business. So I will tell you this, for any of you considering that, what I realized quickly was a lot of business school is how to compassionately exploit people.

And I was like, you know what? This ain't for me, man. I'm not trying to figure out how to take people's money and realized pretty quickly that wasn't my gift. And my talent wasn't gonna be the corporate world because I cared about people too much. And I was like really struggling with my call to ministry because I could feel this kind of, the spirit working over me.

Really. It was very much feeling as though I was wrestling, really just wrestling with that call. And I didn't want to go down that path because of my fear of security and stability. I didn't want to accept it. Even though I could sense it and feel it. I told my wife that I was debating this. She wasn't exactly happy because at this point we’d already been married for a few years and she was like, I didn't sign up for that.

And I was like, I didn't think that was going to happen. I woulda told you, I ain't trying to surprise you. Like surprise, I'm going to be a pastor! We just decided that at this point, that whatever it was I was gonna do, I was gonna have to help people. I think that was the beginnings of me understanding that my vocation is really, I say healer, which is an interesting way to talk about things that I do about teaching.

But when I try to look at the through line, it's healing is probably how I would best describe it. My wife was encouraging me to do that, and my pastor, I didn't tell him that I was struggling with a call to ministry. He just said, hey I know you're struggling with the call to ministry. And like just scared the living crap out of me, man. He's like I can see it. I can tell, I've been through it and just that you can talk to me about it. So I'd already started this degree, so we decided, okay, I'm going to go to this school, cornerstone university, I'm going to study business because I want to get a job and maybe I'll do something nonprofit, but I minored in religion.

And so that's when I really got the taste of studying the Bible, studying theology and really starting to what I would say fall in love with God with my mind, rather than just my heart. And I was really excited by it. I did really well. What I realize is when I'm interested in something and I'm passionate about it and I'm committed to it, that I can be really successful.  And that I should seek those things that as Howard Thurman would say, make me feel alive. So you do well and then people want to help support you in that process. 

Patrick: So you go from this, not a compassionate business person to this healer sounds like your community, your pastor, everyone's affirming your call. What's your next step?  I mean, where do you go to, I'm assuming seminary? 

Chris: [00:08:34] Yeah. So the next step is that crazy flight out to LA where I land and I'm thinking I'm going to come to…exactly, I'm going to go towards the sun. I'm going West. And I went to Claremont for lots of reasons, but among them was the diversity. I'm in an interracial marriage, my wife is white and being in Michigan in that kind of space was really challenging because Michigan then was the same way Michigan is now. The same thing you’re seeing on the news with the militias in the Capitol building and all this stuff that you see, that stuff has always been there. That's stuff I grew up with. And so it was tough, man.  My wife and I had dealt with a lot of stuff that made it just stressful. And so coming to California, it was like a breath of fresh air because it just wasn't that big a deal.

We could be together and people weren't bothering us like saying stuff to her, and she didn't have to deal with a lot of the drama. And so I think more than anything, even though we were really far from family and that was hard. I think it gave us time to grow together as a couple, as our own together unit, I guess our own relationship.

Like I remember when I got to campus after first few weeks, my first semester there, I was thinking, there's no way I'm going to graduate in three years with this degree, because I wasn't prepared for the jump up in intellectual rigor. From graduate school to undergrad. Again, I was an average high school student.

I went to business school and I'm not trying to be offensive to any of you went to business school, it's not exactly the most academically challenging environment. But honestly, I think what helped me settle in was after my first semester, near the end of my first semester, I'm taking Hebrew Bible with Kristin De Troyer, who now teaches at a University in Belgium.

And I just realized how much I loved like the academic study of the Hebrew Bible. I was like, man, this is really cool. And after we finished, we had an oral exam and I did well and we were finishing up and she says have you ever thought about doing a PhD? And I was like, what's a PhD? Swear to God man. I knew they were doctors, but I didn't really know like the letters and stuff, man. So this has been like the poor kind of country boy and she kind of chuckles and she talks about like doctoral study and what that means. And she talks about how many languages I'd have to learn.

And I was like, nah, man, I ain't doing that. I didn't say that, but that's what I was saying in my head, I was like, nah nah nah. There's things I know I have to learn, but if I can find a way to do it that channels also what I'm fascinated about, what I'm interested, in I'll do well, and that I can make it here too.

I have this really well-known biblical scholar who thinks I'm smart enough to do something I didn't even know existed. And that for me was really foundational to give me that confidence to be like, okay, all right, let's buckle down. You can do this. Dr. Troyer, who still is a good friend of mine really was instrumental in those first few years of me beginning to believe in myself. 

Patrick: So she puts this seed in your head, but I know you're not a Hebrew Bible scholar, and I know you, you pastored as well. So how'd you end up landing in a PhD program. How'd you choose your discipline? How'd you choose your research? That's a pretty far departure from Hebrew Bible. 

Chris: Yeah. Interesting though. I am probably one of the few ethicists who actually uses the Bible in their work because she was right. I do love the Bible, actually. I love the Bible. And so I remember when, when the editors were looking at my book or the reviewers, they're like, literally, one of them said, you don't have to have this in here.

And I was like, yes, I do. I need to have this in here because somebody is going to think this is important as I do. Cause black church folks actually liked the Bible. That's what I keep going back to. And this gets to your point about me pastoring. So like I pastored all through my MDiv. I was an assistant pastor at a predominantly Filipino church that it was like 60% Filipino, 40% white.

And I did that to put myself in a new space to do something different. And because I was interested in applying what I was learning in school to what I was getting in church. At this point, I had accepted that I was going to be a pastor. Like I hadn't really thought about, I hadn't really seriously thought about doing a PhD.

Even if I did do a PhD, I was like, I'm probably still going to be a pastor. And now I was finding this beautiful synergy between the things I was learning in the classroom to preaching and teaching I was doing. And after the first semester of my second year of my MDiv. I have Phillip Clayton talk to me about doing a PhD in theology, and then I have Dr. Amesberry, Richard Amesbury talks to me about doing a PhD in Ethics. And I will tell you that the reason I decided to settle on ethics was because for me, ethics was probably the closest academic discipline that was practical. Other than practical theology, because at that time, practical theology, at least at Claremont was more like, it was more rooted in like pastoral care and counseling kind of stuff, which I didn't necessarily want to do or just education, which I didn't really want to do.

I was really interested in like very specific concrete, like issues of race. I've always been interested in issues of race and racism because of my own particular experience. And so I settled on it and was like, okay, I should at least try. That’s how I ended up staying at Claremont and to be honest Pat, I didn't even know what I was going to study.

Like I knew I was gonna study race and racism, but I wasn't like a hundred percent clear. I was like, I'm going to study racism because that to me is a huge issue. I took this class called,  was it theology and animals, animals and theology? I can't remember something like that. Basically some class about animals and theology with Grace Kao. At this time she's my advisor. I'm in this class and the first thing we read the story of this book by Coetzee. That basically talks about this connection between oppression and animals and veganism. And these seeds start getting planted in me. I can see, I'm like man, the way they talk about these animals, it feels like they're talking about black people.

That's the way I… that's the way I talked about it. I was like well this is, this is interesting. Because again, my grandparents are from Mississippi and Louisiana. They migrated North. So my grandpa, when he did talk, he's pretty introverted, told stories about the stuff he had to deal with as a migrant field worker, right?

As a migrant picker and the crazy racism he dealt with. And so I have those stories already in my head, and then when we read this book by Marjorie Spiegel called The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery. And man, it just like changed my world because I could connect the stories my grandfather told me; How he grew up in the middle of nowhere in the fields picking, living in like old slave quarters, sleeping on straw, basically only went to school till he was eight and then was just out as a migrant picker, just going from farm to farm, looking for work. I could see my grandpa in those pictures. I could see my grandma in those pictures and I thought, man, there's something about this feels wrong. How people are theologically justifying the marginalization of humans, exploitation of  humans and exploitation of animals seems to me to be about the same kind of thinking.

It's the same kind of logic. I knew it emotionally before I could even explain it intellectually because I have those stories in me that I didn't know how to share at that moment. I had all that, like just knowledge from my families that, and I say that plural from both sides of the family, poured into me.

And so I write this paper for the end of that class essentially arguing about the connections between the exploitation of animals, exploitation of black people. And how, if you're about liberation as a black person, if you're about liberation theology, you need to be about liberation. You can't be arguing for equality with the oppressor. 

You need to be arguing about the liberation from the logic of oppression. If that same logic of oppression is used to exploit non-human nature and non-human animals then you need to also be about the dismantling of that. And so I became a vegetarian and I became interested in ecology.

So the end of that class Grace tells me if this paper goes really well you could revise it and maybe present it at AAR the next year. She calls me after she gets done grading it she's like Christopher, this is really good and if you want to this could be your dissertation. This is not a paper for you to present at AAR, she's like there's chapters in here.

There's sections you can build on. So is this something you’re interested in? And I was like, yeah, I was like, this seems like there's so much more here to say. And that's what I tell my students when I teach them writing. I'm like I've been revising the same paper since 2010 and it is now 2020. And a book is probably, the book is going to get published in June of 2021. So that may be how long it takes to finish revising your paper. 

Patrick: Christopher, I've just got to say too though since I know you, I want everyone listening to be clear about how this process goes, because one of the things I admire most about you is that while you're holding this weight of your ancestors, with these stories, these images you have of your grandparents, doing the academic process, you were working. You were working for Claremont, you were working as a pastor - life didn't stop for you to have this awakening of what your dissertation project, eventual book 11 years later was going to be. How do you navigate all that happening at once as you're coming to, this is what I'm going to do with my life, with this kind of backdrop as well that you were looking for stability?

Chris: So thank you for naming that cause I tend to forget about that or sharing it at least because again, man, you know what, you'll see a theme, even when you get the book, because of course you know I'm going to send you a copy, of how much my grandparents shaped me. So my grandparents man, like they worked like all the time, man. Like he worked in the fields then he got a factory job and worked all the time. I had this background in my head of, I need to make sure that we have that kind of security and stability and that requires me to work regardless of what my other commitments are. I worked, I think to my MDiv, probably about 20 to 30 hours a week between working at Claremont and working at the church I was working at in Torrance. 

And then during my PhD., I was a senior pastor at First UMC of Compton during my coursework. So I'm working full time there. I'm the housing director on campus. So I'm in charge of campus housing, living on campus. My little brother has to come live with me because of family drama. And so he's finishing his high school living with me.

And so all this stuff is happening and it was a lot. I think the way I survived is I was really fortunate to have this church appointment in Compton because they nurtured me. And my wife was there supporting me too. I would never encourage someone to have to do that because the downside of all that stuff was, I got so wrapped up in all the jobs and all the academic stuff and presenting.

I will just say this, if you are a person of color and you're thinking about doing a PhD, you have to be strategic about trying to graduate in five years so you can get a job, like that stuff matters. And I was trying to be really clear about that and I need to make sure I have a plan in place to know that I need to present at AAR I need to do this, I need to do that. I knew what I needed to do. In the midst of doing that, my marriage was not going the way it needed to go. Which is not like shocking to anybody who also has a PhD who has gone through it, man. Like it's really tough on a relationship. And so, yeah man, my first year after coursework, we were separated.

It was intense. It was rough. I went from this high of, just presented my first paper at AAR. It was on like essentially the same things I end up writing in my dissertation about the ways in which that category of the animal is complicated. And it taught me to take race into consideration and how these things need to be teased out.

Or talking about how we understand what it means to be human within the perspective of theological anthropology. And every question after the presentation was directed towards me. I felt like I was like, in my head, I'm just like dude, I am nailing it. Like I am killing it. And so this is November and I'm on this high very end of November.

And then beginning in January, my wife is like, hey man I'm out. So like it all comes crashing down. That was a real Valley of the shadow of death kind of time of my life and my wife and I went to therapy to deal with a lot of this stuff in our marriage. And I think what I learned was just how important your mental health is.

Essentially I study dehumanization. I study the ways racism impacts people, whether it be white people or black people. I read these narratives and these stories and they take a toll. They take a toll. And I didn't realize between that and then working at a church and dealing with all the things that go along with the church and the way that emotionally takes a toll on you that I wasn't present at home because I wasn't present for myself internally.

One thing that I encourage my students to do now is to really pay attention, not only to their mental health, but having compassion for themselves. And knowing that, unless you actually have compassion for yourself, that is what fills you up and gives you the capacity to actually care for others.

It's counterintuitive, but that's how it is. You really do have to love yourself in order to be able to love others in that way. And I didn't fully get that until I went through a crisis. But as a consequence of that crisis, man, like it changed me forever and for the good, and I think I'm much more secure in who I am much more self-aware and self-confident. I think having had to go to the depths of my soul to rediscover who I was and when I was supposed to do.

So actually thank you for asking that question, because that, that's an important part of the journey too. 

Patrick: I mean, I think about all the reports that we get from doctoral students around the dehumanization process of studying. Because you're basically cutting yourself off at the neck and saying only everything above matters.

And it sounds like you really went through a humanization process of yourself, of your own soul, of your own relationships. That's powerful. You still have to write a dissertation, you still have to apply for jobs. What's the next step after this soul searching and finding?

Chris: That was about like a nine month pause where I didn't do anything, but try to save my marriage. And once we got that back on track, I got back on track in terms of my academic stuff. I was already fortunate at this point, I was already an FTE doctoral fellow. So I had a cohort of folks to lean on. Matthew was tremendously helpful to me multiple times in this process. 

And the other thing I did was throughout my post coursework time was about relationships. And I think more than anything else, I realized how important relationships are in life but particularly in academe. You have to get to know people. And not like relationships that are inauthentic, where you're trying to be someone you're not, cause I definitely don't feel like I fit in all the time in the Academy, even among other black scholars. Because it may be this is my own stuff coming up, but my own economic insecurities, growing up so poor. There's just things that I can tell are class distinction that I'm like, I don't really fit in this place. But I was fortunate to really make connections with people in the animals and religion group at AAR, religion and ecology group at AAR, people at FTE. Going to those receptions and just talking to people and talking about my work, it was really fruitful so that when I got to the point of writing my dissertation, writing went well. The defense, it was complicated. When I had thought I was going to defend turns out that we ended up having to delay it because I wasn't quite ready.

And that was very frustrating at the time, because I don't know that the process was handled appropriately in terms of helping me understand that I wasn't ready. But at the same time, it forced me to go back and look at some of the things I was doing in my work and reevaluate some of my arguments and it made me a better writer. It made me better with self critique, that's probably the best way to say it. I can look at things and okay, is there a better way to say this? Or what exactly am I trying to say? And I think that for me has turned out to be a very fruitful skill for writing. It hurt a lot, but I think that things happen. After I finished dissertation and that gets done. I applied for man, I don't know about 10, 15 jobs and I got a post-doc at the University San Diego. Part of the reason I think I got, well  part of the reason I know I got hired is because a few of the people at USD had heard me speak at AAR. I wasn't the first choice, actually, that they offered the position to someone else who turned it down. But Steed Davidson was at a school, he's in Chicago now. And I was interviewing for another school up in the Berkeley area.

And I thought I was gonna get the job and I didn't. And Steed told me he was like, he's like, sometimes these things have a way of working out for the best. I know you, I know your scholarship I feel confident things are going to work out for you. And he was right, man. It's about how you respond rather than react.

I knew if I didn't get the jobs that I applied to after I finished my dissertation, I was already either going to go into higher ed administration because of my background, with the business degree, comes back again, it's in business administration. So I could already do administration. I knew I could do that and I could be a pastor.

I'm going to have stability. I wasn't wrapped up in being an academic. So much of my academic work is tied to the community and tied to my people. And now what I call my people now is expanding to include like farmers and farm workers and out here, Latinx folks, literally your people. Literally it's your people.

Patrick: Imperial Valley!

Chris: Yeah, exactly! When the book is published, the work that I'm doing now is going to take me up North to do work in the communities and in the fields and not just here, but also across the country. So, yeah, man, I think be strategic. That's the best thing I would say, man, it's really be strategic and have a plan and cultivate those relationships. Because you never know when they're going to pay off.

Patrick: You're well, situated down there in San Diego to do your research, to humanize both students and our people. You're healing through scholarship. And I have just one last question for you, which is how much of this vocation came from your own sense of self as getting stability and how much comes from the community?

Chris: I think my vocation it is deeply wrapped up with my sense of self, my community affirms it. I think that's what's happened because it’s me. It is totally me, but I don't know that I could have gone this path if when I was at Compton. I'm 29 years old. I'm a senior pastor, at this church, where I got people that are like between 50 and 80.

And so while I was there that second year is when I started talking a lot more about my work in ecological ethics and talking about food and talking about animals and really talking about how important food justice and ecological justice is to the black community, and how we're going to be the ones who really suffer from the impacts of climate change.

And so, I start talking about this through the lens of food, cause at this point they already know I'm vegetarian. So what I started doing is I started cooking I've been cooking but I started bringing my food to church because at black church, they're going to eat what the pastor makes. They're gonna eat what my wife makes, cause this is what we do. They're not going to be rude. And so I've made like vegan green beans, like vegan red beans and rice. I started bringing stuff I know they would like. And they started eating it and they're like, man, this is, this is really good. And I'm like, yeah, it is good. And it doesn't have meat and it's healthy.

And so then I started bringing recipes. And so then we started this real thing about the importance of health and wellness and how we need to actually take care of ourselves and how again, cause being in Compton, we live in this food apartheid space, where there isn't access to different things.

And so I started tying this into theological belief and theological practice. Then we started talking about exercise and so everything just starts expanding and growing. Like they affirmed it for me. That was the affirmation I needed so then I could take it to other places and other communities and talk about it.

And between them and my parents and my grandfather, I think those are the kind of affirmations that I need to do the work that I feel like God has called me to do. But it definitely is me knowing that my sense of self is fulfilled when I heal and for me again, that healing part is teaching.

That's the primary - whether it be preaching, whether it be leading, whether it be in the classroom, whether it be in writing, there's always an element to whatever it is I do, that's trying to help people recover their sense of self and who they are. I want us to redefine what it means to be human and at the core, what it means to be human is what where Frank Rogers called the compassionate self.

It really is this way in which we are grounded in who we are, we're able to connect with others. And that puts us in a more intimate relationship with God and with non-human nature. And that's our natural space. And then all this other stuff, it pulls us away from that. So I can at least stay grounded in the truth of who we are.

That's what I try to allow us to do. And that means we have to resist some things, evil, racism, other kinds of stuff, but that's what keeps us grounded in that resistance. That's I guess how I see my work and how the community has affirmed it for me. 

Patrick: Chris, I'm so grateful to know you. And so grateful you shared your story with us and just to affirm your call, not that you need it from me, but when you have healed us with your story, you have fed us literally your research. And I honestly just have to say, I feel rehumanized in a way that I think in a lot of these conversations that folks who are discerning a call to do a PhD, feel dehumanized in the process.

We're not just knowledge machines, we're whole beings that need to be fed, like you've fed your congregation. So I'm just so grateful for you and grateful to know you and know your story. So thank you. 

Chris: Thanks Patrick. 

I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to Dr. Carter's story. Be sure to check out his book, The Spirit of Soul Food - Race, Faith, and Food Justice out by University of Illinois Press in July.

Patrick: I want to give a special shout out to our design managers, Heather Wallace and Elsie Barnhart. And @siryalibeats for his music. Do us a favor and share this limited audio series with a friend. FTE is a leadership incubator, cultivating diverse young adults to be faithful, wise and courageous leaders for the church and the Academy.

Thank you for listening and see you next time on the Sound of the Genuine.