Serving as Pastoral Executive at First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC, isn’t Scott Neely’s only calling. A Harvard graduate and community activist, he has led literary and visual community projects on issues of diversity, race, and religious pluralism in the Upstate. He showcases his art on his website, Neely Projects, where he describes his works as ‘experiments in art and spirituality.’
Curator Lisa Marie Corley shares the program team’s collective excitement about Scott’s talk. “This topic should leave many of us thinking—really thinking—about how we exist in this world. We may chuckle, be surprised, or even squirm in our seats. But most importantly, we may see ourselves and others in a new light.”
Scott’s good works reach beyond a single community. He hopes the idea he spreads at this Friday’s conference will encourage people to spend time with others who are different from themselves. He feels great responsibility for the opportunity to share an idea on something that really matters. “This is how we expand as individuals in a society,” says Scott. “I also hope the talk encourages us to share. This sounds naive, but actually it is quite powerful.”
How did you initially hear about TEDxGreenville?
“I’ve encountered TEDx leaders in some of the anti-racism work in which I participate. Their presence and interest was a big motivation. The privilege of sharing an idea through this forum is tremendous. I welcomed the challenge to figure out how to say what I believe.”
What was your initial thought when you found out you’d been nominated?
“I was stunned at first and then intimidated. I want to provide genuine insight. My hope is that my talk will add fuel to the good work many are already doing.”
What challenges have you had preparing your talk?
“Part of what I worry about in preparing my talk is that I know my own perspective is limited—there are aspects of my message I cannot see clearly so I spend a lot of time listening to other people to try expanding my own understanding. I hope the idea I share experiences that same expansion.”