If I can’t make a difference, then what do I do? Rev. Dr. Veronice Miles

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In this episode of the Climate Changed podcast, you will experience:

  • Aram Mitchell leads a guided reflection called Flood on the Horizon
  • A conversation with Rev. Dr. Veronice Miles
  • Next Steps for Engaged Hope
About Veronice Miles

The Rev. Dr. Veronice Miles is a preacher, teacher, scholar, mentor, and artist committed to a life of ministry in the church and in the academy. She serves as the Mary Elizabeth McGehee Joyce Professor of Preaching at the Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC. Answering the call to ordained ministry in 1994, she was licensed by the First Missionary Baptist Church, making her the first woman to be licensed without contestation in a Missionary Baptist Church, in Gainesville, Florida. She was ordained in 1999 at the Greater Bethany Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Miles has taught preaching for more than 16 years and has preached extensively. She has also contributed to various academic and church related journals, commentaries, and books. Her publication, Embodied Hope: A Homiletical Theology Reflection (CASCADE Books), explores the human capacity to live with Hope and the power and potential of preaching to amplify Hope’s resonance in our lives. Preaching, she believes, neither ignores nor concedes defeat to the despairing realities of life. Rather, preaching emboldens individuals and communities of faith to live with Hope and respond in the affirmative to God’s “yes” for creation and for our lives. With these thoughts as foci, her research highlights the formative and transformative potential of preaching, including the role of preaching in redressing persistently threatening challenges that pervade U.S. culture.

As a lifelong learner, Dr. Miles has earned several degrees, including the Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Education and Homiletics from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion in Atlanta, GA, and a Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University with certificates in Religious Education and Black Church Studies. She also earned the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Education in Counseling, and Education Specialist in Student Personnel Services, all from the University of Florida.

Grounded in the belief that God still anoints women and men “to bring good news to the poor... to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19), Dr. Miles endeavors to embody these practices in her life and ministry.

Click here for full transcript of this episode

Some Highlights from the Conversation

“The people in my congregation are only the people in my community, but the world is our neighbor. And if we were to preserve, personify the earth and the environment, I feel like we almost have to, then the earth, these hands, and neighbor as well, is in the same care, compassion, concern that we have for one another.” — Veronice Miles

“It is an incarnational kind of understanding of hope, that hope is within us. It's not something that we go and get from a place out there somewhere. It's not even something that is motivated by whether or not things are well in this moment, or terrible in this moment.” — Veronice Miles

“So what happens if we get off the consumptive hamster wheel, and we have to start purchasing less things? What fills those spaces when we are no longer able to be addicted to our stuff, and it's actually beautiful things fill that space? It’s nature, it’s friends, it’s community, it’s art, it’s spaciousness?” — Ben Yosua-Davis

Next Steps for Engaged Hope
  • Nicole wants to recommend a book that has helped her understand what is going on. The Story of More by Hope Jahren. Jahren walks through many aspects of climate change and how it's affecting our world. It is very accessible and helped Nicole build her own knowledge base.
  • Check out the on-line workshop Pursuing our Passions in a Climate Changed World, which is available for free through The BTS Center’s Leadership Commons. It was created by this podcast’s producer, Peterson Toscano. You will begin a process of discovering how to imagine a better world and use what they love to get there. This can be done on your own, but it is especially designed for groups. You will find a full facilitator’s guide, video, and more.
  • Rob Hopkins’ book From What is to What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want. He outlines ways in which humans are inherently imaginative beings, and he points out how important it is to tap into the imaginative capacity today.
  • Come to the on-line Convocation 2022: Imagination and Collective Liberation for a Climate-Changed World October 6 - 7, 2022. You will hear presentations with Rev. Dr. Veronice Miles, Rob Hopkins, and more. There will also be opportunities to connect with other participants in affinity groups and break-out sessions.
  • Create 72-hour disaster supply kits for neighbors. According to ready.gov: “After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.” They provide a full list of the basics you want to have in your kit. And they suggest, “Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.” Creating a 72-hour kit for a neighbor is a practical way of showing love and building community. It will also help you to learn more about your neighbors as you talk to them about what they would like in their kit. Learn more at ready.gov/kit.

Climate Changed is a podcast about pursuing faith, life, and love in a climate-changed world. Hosted by Nicole Diroff and Ben Yosua-Davis. Climate Changed features guests who deepen the conversation while also stirring the waters. The Climate Changed podcast is a project of The BTS Center. The show is produced by Peterson Toscano.

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