Rev. Clarence Jordan was born in Talbotton, Georgia. From a very young age, Jordan was troubled by race relations and grappled with his role in the South as a white Christian. He earned his Ph.D. in New Testament Greek from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While in Louisville, he coalesced seminarians into a group called Koinonia, the purpose of which was to develop Christian community as a means of fostering racial reconciliation in the church. In 1942, Jordan and his wife Florence, along with Martin England and his wife, began Koinonia Farm. This experiment emerged as a result of a certain exegetical decisions regarding the interpretation of the fourth chapter of Acts, indicating the holding of all things in common by the disciples; members of Koinonia held all things in common and were intentional in their commitment to interracialism and nonviolence. In addition, Jordan authored the series of Cotton Patch translations, iterations of the New Testament in a Southern context, which implicated White Southern Protestantism in what Jordan believed to be the sin of segregation and white supremacy. In 1956, members of the Klu Klux Klan, as well as farm neighbors, perpetrated the first acts of violence against Koinonia Farm. Later, Jordan became instrumental in the founding of Habitat for Humanity.
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