gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

advent, black lives, and 25 days of changing the narrative – day #7

i don’t know about y’all, but there are some people you get to know in life and realize that the world is so much more rich and full because of them in it. such is the case for today’s person i share with you. this man of god = RIGHT!

day 7 – december 6

rev. dr. willie james jennings


“uncle willie,” as my kids affectionately refer to him, is a friend, brother, a mentor, an uncle, a life-breather, and just…family. he is one of my husband’s greatest advocates – an encourager, brother and mentor. i’ve held off on sharing him with you because i wanted to align it with the news of him receiving this prestigious award (the grawemeyer award) yesterday for his book, “the christian imagination: theology and the origins of race.” i can’t think of a better person to honor in this way, than willie.

willie’s the person in the life of our family who has often told us that we could do things yeeeaaarrrs before we even imagined ourselves doing it. he ALWAYS sees the potential and possibilities in people and calls it out! i love that. but he also deeply cares about the present. as the academic dean awhile back, i remember when he created a job, specifically tailored to my husband while in seminary, so that we could actually have an income to live on! so deeply grateful. i have many words i can share about this man but that would end up being a book…

this picture of him is the quintessential image to me – a cheerleader in life! his enthusiasm, thoughtfully powerful words, brilliant mind, engaging presence and unforgettable laughter has impacted me and the life of our family for many many years. much love and respect!


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