Cynthia Mitchell is a retired college U.S. history teacher.
A year ago, she and her husband, Brad, moved to the small town of Eufaula, Alabama, when he became the chaplain for the 1,400-employee Tyson chicken processing plant. Their five children and five grandchildren play a big part in their lives.
She currently serves as a member of the strategic advisory board for Good Faith Media’s publishing division.
- What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
I keep 2 Chronicles 20:12b – “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” – where I can see it day by day.
It reminds me that God wants to help me order my life, but more importantly, it reminds me that God can’t help if I’m not paying attention.
- Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
Fisher Humphreys has been helping me “think about God” since 1970 when both of us arrived at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the new theology professor, and my late husband, Philip Wise, was a new student. He and his wife, Caroline, have influenced my life in immeasurable ways.
Gary Furr, recently retired pastor of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, has been my pastor since Philip’s death in 2009. Gary and Vickie helped me figure out how to keep going when I didn’t think I could. They also introduced me to Brad Mitchell who asked me to marry him in 2015.
Wayne Flynt was my major professor when I completed my master’s in history at Samford University in Birmingham. He taught me intellectual honesty and rigor. He went on to teach at Auburn University and become a Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian. Even in retirement, he continues to be “Alabama’s Conscience” and help Alabamians tell ourselves the truth.
- List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
Master and Commander (or any of the 20 novels in the Aubrey-Maturin series) by Patrick O’Brian, Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris and Our Greatest Gift by Henri Nouwen.
- What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
Dealing with the racial history of our nation and holding on to our democracy.
I agree with Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative. We have to find ways to “get proximate.”
A part of what that means for us is actively befriending and encouraging people of other races. It also means financially supporting organizations like Good Faith Media that are advancing the Jesus way in new ways.
- What are a few of your hobbies?
About five year ago, I began taking piano lessons again as a way to keep the gray cells active. It had been almost 50 years since I took a lesson!
My piano teacher has her doctorate in performance. No slacking allowed. But I’ve found it very satisfying.
Also, in this year of COVID-19, we’ve taken up raised-bed gardening. If all goes well, we’ll be picking fresh tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers this summer.
- If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
In the summer of 2016, Brad and I sang Terre Johnson’s “Song of the Captive” with the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church choir in Florence, Italy.
After a week of exploring the city and rehearsing, the performance took place in the beautiful 15th century Basilica of Santo Spirito. Unforgettable.
- Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
Even for a woman in her 70s, there’s more to tell. “I’m not throwing away my shot.”
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.