The Social Gospel Devo, Day 3: Shirley Chisholm

Day 3: Shirley Chisholm

Scripture: John 3:18 ESV

“Every tomorrow has two handles; we can take hold of the handle of anxiety, or the handle of faith.” –Shirley Chisholm.

Shirley Chisholm lived her life by her own rules during a time where it was tough for Black people to carve their own path in the U.S., especially in politics, and did not make apologies for it.

As a young girl, Chisholm–born Shirley Anita St. Hill in 1924–was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Early in her life, Shirley was recognized for academic excellence and an aptitude for activism despite the discrimination she and her parents faced and being affected by the economic crisis. By the time she reached college, Chisholm was a skilled debater who eventually worked her way through the political scene, becoming the first Black woman elected to Congress.

In the Gospel of John, we learn in chapter 3 that Jesus challenges his followers of all ages to take action in word and in truth. This scripture, John 3:18, comes after the writer, John, shares the story of Nicodemus telling those who want to know Christ that they must be born again, and the well-known scripture of John 3:16. In both the passage for Nicodemus and the passage that holds how God loved the world He created, we see how our love and faith should move us to action.

It is not enough to say that you care about a person or a particular group of people. It is not enough to stand in proximity to someone who is a part of a marginalized community. It is not enough to claim that something is important to you. You must be moved to action. You must be moved to a space that fights for inclusion and the betterment of all people.

Shirley Chisholm stands as an example of that. And her Unbought and Unbossed speech, given at Howard University, is a peek into the life she chose and her example of being an educator and activist.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What is a moment in your life that showed you the importance of taking action?
  2. When you read John 3:18, what thoughts does it strike up for you?
  3. If you have not taken any steps, what are ways that you can begin to take action in your life?

If this is the first day of the social gospel devotional that you’re reading, click here to read the introduction and read Day 1 and Day 2.

Thank you for reading our social gospel devotional. If you would like to engage more with the idea of The Social Gospel, please visit our YouTube channel for our current sermon series and docu-sermon on the topic.




By, for, and with Black Millennials embracing Christianity as a lifestyle.

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