Portland pastor on “12 years as Slave” film

Imago Dei Portland Church

A few words from Pastor Eric Knox on an upcoming film:

I’m excited about Brad Pitt’s film 12 Years a Slave for sentimental reasons. I was one of those athletes that did the bare minimum in college. If the academic standard to stay eligible was a 2.0, I’d shoot for a 2.25 and be straight! I was lazy academically, and then I got caught plagiarizing on a term paper in my black history class of all subjects (sheesh).

After this minor infraction, all that I ever worked for up to this point of my young hoop career hung in the balance. But the professor, who happened to be white, spared me. She said, “I’m giving you one more chance to right the ship, young man, but this is it. You will write a 10 page report, single space, 1 inch margins, on how this book impacted your life.”

I had 5 days to read the book and write the report. I knew this would be tough, because I still had other classes to handle and I was in the middle of an intense basketball season, plus we were leaving for a Bay Area road trip to play against Cal and Stanford. I was terrified and unsure if I could complete the assignment, but I was determined, knowing that my college career hinged on this one assignment.

So there I sat on that team bus, tuning out all my teammates, and I read 12 Years a Slave every chance I got–on the bus, in the bed, on the toilet, in the locker room, before the game, even snuck in a few pages at halftime. I read and read and read so much that I actually forgot it was an assignment. It opened up a new world for my young mind.

Once I handed in the paper, it wasn’t 10 pages, it was 17 pages – and a lifelong student was born.

The 12 Years a Slave movie comes out October 18th.  You’ll be able to find Portland showtimes here.

Eric Knox grew up in Inglewood, CA.  He completed his undergrad studies at Oregon State University, and earned an M.Div in Pastoral Care from Western Seminary. He joined Imago as an associate pastor in 2013, serving as Imago’s community, diversity and equity coordinator. He’s also the director of Imago’s church planting ministry, The Waterhouse Network (www.waterhouse.org)  He is the founder of the “Holla Foundation” and the “Holla If You Hear Me Tour,” a national tour that focuses on black male identity and mentorship. He has been married to his junior high and high school sweetheart for 17 years and has 3 beautiful children.

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