Faculty

Obery Hendricks

Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology


Contact

oh2151@columbia.edu

EDUCATION

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ Ph.D., Religion (Religions of Late Antiquity).
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ M.A., Religion (Religions of Late Antiquity).
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ M.Div., With Honors.
Rutgers Graduate School of Management, Newark, NJ, MBA, (degree not completed).
Rutgers University, Newark, NJ B.A., (Political Science).

PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT
Senior Faith and Opportunity Fellow, The Opportunity Agenda, New York, NY  2015-2017
(Interim) Executive Director, East Orange (NJ) Economic Development Corporation, 1986-1987
Investment Executive, Kidder, Peabody and Company, New York, NY 1983-1986
Investment Executive, Merrill Lynch and Company, New York, NY 1979-1983
Registered Representative, E. F. Hutton and Company, New York, NY 1977-79

ACADEMIA
Visiting Professor, Union Theological Seminary. New York, NY 2018–
Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation, New York Theological Seminary, 2014–
Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow,  Department of Religion and Institute for Research in
African American Studies (IRAAS), Columbia University,  2009 –
President, Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, OH 1997-2001
Professor of Biblical Interpretation, New York Theological Seminary, 2002-2014.
Visiting Scholar, Princeton Theological Seminary, September 2001-May 2002.
Assistant Professor of New Testament & Christian Origins, Drew University, 1994-1997.

SPECIAL AWARDS and HONORS
Elected to the East Orange, New Jersey Hall of Fame, 2018 (my hometown)
Major panel celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the publication of my book, The Politics of Jesus, at the American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, TX, November 2016.
Sowers Award for Distinguished Academic Scholarship, May 2014. It is the highest honor awarded by New York Theological Seminary. Inductee, Morehouse College Collegium of Scholars, May 2008.

BLOG POSTS & PERIODICALS (Selected)
“How I Met the Real Martin Luther King,” Colorlines.com, January 2017
“Martin Luther King and Immigrants’ Rights,” Huffington Post, January 2016
“The Macroethics of Martin Luther King,” Salon.com, January 2016
“10 Questions for the Presidential Candidates at the Intersection of Faith and Social Justice,” Huffington Post, December 2015
“What the Bible Really Says About Marriage Equality,” Huffington Post, October 2015
“What Would Martin Say? Martin Luther King and the November Elections,” Huffington Post, October, 2014
“Why Martin Luther King Had to Die,” Huffington Post, June 2014; reprised March 2015
“Martin Luther King, the Beloved Community and the Socialist Idea,” Huffington Post, May 2014
“The Gift of Amiri Baraka,” Ebony.com, January 2014
“The Pope, the Bible and Trickle-down Economics,” Huffington Post, January 2014
“Don’t Blame the Bible (for your homophobia),” Huffington Post, March 2013
“Agents of Change, Not Just Protestors,” New York Times, February 2012
“Mitt Romney, the Book of Mormon and the Curse of Blackness,” Huffington Post, January 2012
“The Real and Present Danger of Herman Cain,” Huffington Post, November 2011
“Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann and the Sins of Ideological Christianity,” Huffington Post, October 2011
“The Moral Measure of Obama’s Presidency,” Huffington Post, April, 2010
“Devils in the Details: Pat Robertson’s Revision of Haitian History,” Sojourners, January 2010
“Dick Cheney’s Contempt for Americans,” Sojourners, May 2009
“To Senator Obama, Our Next President,” Tikkun, September 2008
“The Truth About Obama’s Faith,” Sojourners, January 2008
“Survival of the Fittest: Herbert Spencer, Social Darwinism and the Religious Right,” Sojourners, December 2007
“Conservatives and Abortion: What About the Already Born?” Faithfuldemocrats.com September 2006 

ADDRESSES (Selected)
“Martin Luther King and the Politics of Black Religion,” Odyssey Lecture Series, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, February 2018
“B. A. Ambedkar and Martin Luther King,” Columbia Global Center, Mumbia, India, December 2016
“Texts of Terror,” National Gathering for Black Queer Theology, Palm Springs, CA, April, 2016
“Which Jesus Shall We Teach?” Direct Action & Research Training Center (DART), Orlando FL, February 2016
“Radical Political Economy and the Call of the Gospel,” The Black Radical Tradition National Conference, Philadelphia PA, January 2016
“Civic Participation After Ferguson,” Faith Leaders Roundtable, Congressional Black Caucus, Washington, DC, November 2015
“Reshaping Our Social and Political Landscape,” Interfaith Clergy for Social Action of Westchester County,” New Rochelle, NY, November 2015
“The Bible and Homosexuality,” The Freedom Center for Social Justice, Charlotte NC, September 2015
“Race, Reconciliation and Courage: Creating the World We Want,” The Middle Project Conference, Middle Collegiate Church, New York, NY, April, 2015
“Currents in Religion and Spirituality in African American Literature: Considering August Wilson,” Zora Neale Hurston Lecture, Bethune-Cookman University, January 2015
“The Incendiary Intersection of Religion and Political Economy in America,” Queens College, Birmingham, UK, May 2014
“Restructuring the Architecture of Society: The Radical Political Economy of Martin Luther King,” Howard Thurman Lecture, Emory University, October 2012
“Political Economy and Holistic Spirituality,” Rothko Museum, Houston, Texas, March 2010
“The Race for the Presidency and the Stumbling Block(s) of Religion,” Moravian College, September 2008 Delivered the Closing Benediction for the Democratic National Convention, Denver, CO, August 2008
“Why Religion Must Be Radical,” Annual Meeting of the Children’s Defense Fund Institute for Child Advocacy, Clinton, TN, July 2008
“Christianity & the American Future,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, a 90-minute C-SPAN discussion of my book, The Politics of Jesus, with Melodie Barnes, April 2007
“The Meaning of the Messiah,” The African Hebrew Center for Justice, Jerusalem, Israel 2000

BOOKS
Building Atlanta: How I Broke Through Segregation to Launch a Business Empire (Chicago: Review Press, 2014), co-authored with Herman J. Russell & Bob Andelman
The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2011)
The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (New York: Doubleday, 2006). Dallas Evening News Bestseller.
Living Water: A Novel (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), National & Essence Magazine Bestseller.

NETWORK TELEVISION (Selected)
“PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton,” MSNBC, August 2017
Running commentary, visit of Pope Francis to New York City, MSNBC, September 25, 2015 Running commentary, funeral of the Charleston, SC church shooting victims, Al Jazeera Television Network, June 25, 2015
“Isis and Islam,” CNN Tonight, March 2015
“The Significance of Martin Luther King Today,” Aspire International Network, January 2014
“Year End Review,” Aspire International Network, December 2013
“The Ed Show,” MSNBC, January, May, December 2012
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” MSNBC, May 2011
“Varney & Company,” Fox Business, November, 2010
“The O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News Network, April 2008.
“The Obama Factor,” NHK Japan Television, December 2007
“Religion and Intolerance,” Al-Jazeera Television Network, June 2007
“Class, Politics and Christianity,” 90-minute special sponsored by the Center for American Progress, featuring my book, The Politics of Jesus, C-SPAN, April 2007

DOCUMENTARIES
“Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.” A six-part primetime Easter season special, CNN Network, March – April 2015. (The most widely viewed non-election program in CNN’s history)
“Faith, Activism and Martin Luther King’s Legacy,” Odyssey Network, 2012
“The Harlem Renaissance: Music, Religion and the Politics of Faith,” National Public Radio, March 2012
“Occupy the Dream,” Odyssey Network, 2011
“Hiding Behind Faith,” Odyssey Network, 2011
“Who Framed Jesus?” Discovery Channel, 2010
“Jesus Revealed: Encountering the Authentic Jesus,” British Broadcasting Corporation, 2010
“The Last Days of Jesus,” Discovery Channel, 2009

AFFILATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Board of Directors, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), Washington, DC, 2007 – present
Affiliated Scholar, Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, 2006 – 2010
Contributing Editor, Sojourners, 2005-2010
Editorial Advisor, Tikkun, 2006-2010
American Academy of Religion
Society for the Study of Black Religion

PROFESSIONAL CONSULTATIONS
Coolidge Fellow (selected), Crosscurrents Research Colloquium, 2013
Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, U. S. Department of State, 2011- 2016
Faith Advisory Council, Democratic National Committee, 2007-2009
Religious Leaders Advisory Committee, Democratic Presidential Campaign, 2007-2008
Story Consultant, “The Aquarian Gospel,” major motion picture, Warner Brothers Studios

ORDINATION: Itinerant Elder, African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1995 

OTHER  SIGNIFICANT INTERESTS
Martial Arts (first-degree Black Belt, Chito Ryu Japanese Karate)
Kickboxing (Thai Bando style)
Performing Guitarist (Jazz and Blues)

REPRESENTATION
The Janklow Nesbitt Literary Agency, New York, NY
The McKinnon McIntyre Literary Agency, Dobbs Ferry, NY
The Creative Well (Speakers Bureau), Montclair, NJ
Elite Voices Speakers and Events Bureau, Brooklyn, NY
Tamika C. Franklin (Publicist), Brooklyn, NY
Akilaworksongs (Publicist), Brooklyn, NY

GET THE LATEST NEWS AND EVENTS IN YOUR INBOX