“Responsible. In Charge. Serious.” Rev. Dr. Marshall Turman Reflects On A Womanist Life of Commitment

By Ilgin Beygo Yorulmaz

As a child who loved dancing, young Eboni Marshall always wanted to stretch farther, stand taller and reach higher. The Brooklyn born author, ordained minister, professor, and public theologian is clear about God’s role in her life and many achievements:

“As a theological ethicist, I am certain that what we believe about God and the authority of the Spirit is made manifest in what we do in the world.”

Rev. Dr. Marshall Turman believes that a life of commitment means “orienting one’s entire personhood — body, mind, and spirit — toward serving others… it is constituted by a courageous politics of love that privileges persistence, resilience, justice, and care.”

She credits two amazing women in her life for inspiring the success she has achieved.

The first is her mother, Denise Marshall, who instilled in her the value of “womanish ways — audacity, courage, love, and strength” — that guide her personal, communal, and religious commitments today.

The second was her mentor at Yale, the former president of the American Academy of Religion, Dr. Emilie M. Townes, who taught her “how to think about the universal value of my particular, in order to transform church, academy, and society,” she remembers.      

Marshall Turman, who has been named as one of the “Top 5 Young Preachers in America” by ROHO, thinks it was prayer that has made a significant difference in her capacity to live a meaningful life. The womanist Biblical scholar Renita Weems, one of Marshall Turman’s heroes, once wrote:

'When you cannot pray, pray anyway.' Click to Tweet
 

She is a Baptist, but went to a Roman Catholic elementary school where she learned to pray the rosary, “… [which] returned to me amidst a drought of words,” she says.  “I never knew that what I learned in elementary school would matter so much as I wade through the rigorous work of imagining theologically while training the next generation of freedom fighters and religious leaders.”

Recently, she has discovered the peace and comfort that such prayer can bring, “especially when the injustices of life can sometimes leave me speechless.”

Evil was not born with this presidential administration, although it has certainly come into focus with renewed vigor.  The goal of my intellectual and ecclesial activism -at any point in history – is black liberation.”  In this time Marshall Turman is compelled by Jesus as gospeled in Luke4:18, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are oppressed.”

Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman is a 2017 Auburn Seminary Lives of Commitment Award honoree.   Auburn’s Lives of Commitment Awards Benefit Breakfast will take place on April 27, 2017 at Cipriani 42nd Street at 7:00 am. You may reserve your seat by clicking here.     

 

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