Page 23 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

23 and equality. Yet, what fell from his lips time and time again were sermons founded upon and inspired by the Christian Gospel because he believed the Gospel message was the only message that could bring true healing to the nation. COMMITMENT AND CONSISTENCY That Taylor was committed to the issue of race is evident in his consistency in keeping the matter in front of his audience. An analysis of Taylor’s sermons displays his ability to weave the subject of race into messages that were not necessarily about race, showing more than creativity in developing illustrations, but also how pressing the issue was in his own heart. One of Taylor’s most notable sermons entitled “His Own Clothes” offers a perfect illustration. Consider the opening paragraphs of the sermon: Short of the cross itself and the betrayal by Judas, what the soldiers did to Jesus may well have been the humiliating part of our Lord’s suffering and death for you and me. …There is something uniquely cruel in being laughed at and mocked, set apart from one’s fellows and made the target of ugly jibes, cruel comment, and cutting laughter. One of the most painful and sinister weapons used historically against black people in this country was mockery and ridicule. Physical features were caricatured and exaggerated, and so the large white-lipped, wideeyed, blackened faces in minstrel shows became the notion of the way black people looked and acted. … Far crueler than our own experience was the kind of scorn and ridicule the soldiers heaped upon our Lord on the night of his crucifixion.26 Often, preachers will use a sermon to make a specific point, teach a critical lesson, or inspire action through the use of a text without considering the author’s original intent, eisegesis as opposed to exegesis.27 This was not Taylor’s habit. The main point of the text chosen for “His Own Clothes” was to magnify the silent suffering of Christ. Remaining faithful to the text, Taylor’s use of imagery and imagination was impeccable, painting a vivid picture of the abuse that became a precursor to the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Taylor’s exegetical treatment of the text stood well on its own, but being committed both to the text and to the impact of racism in America, he LEARNING FROM THE PULPIT LEADERSHIP OF GARDNER CALVIN TAYLOR