Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Walter Brueggemann and Rachel Held Evans as pastors

Richard Beck comments:

...A couple of years ago it was my extreme pleasure and privilege to co-present with Walter Brueggemann at Rochester College's Streaming conference.

Now I'd consider Walter Brueggemann to be one of those popular, celebrity type people. And I didn't know what to expect from Walter Brueggemann. It's hard to predict the egos of high-profile academics. A lot of elite academics--being huge nerds--have pretty poor social skills. And they tend to be introverts, a prerequisite for a life of scholarship and writing. And being used to being the smartest person in the room they can also be prima donnas.

So while I was very excited about meeting and presenting with Walter I was also a bit apprehensive. What would he be like?

My fear was that he'd behave like a Christian celebrity, that he'd do the talks he was paid to do and leave, not interacting much with the conference.

The exact opposite happened. Walter stayed for the whole conference. He worshipped with us. He listened to the other speakers, taking notes for himself. He stood in the cafeteria line with us. Took his tray to a table and sat with us. He stood around and talked like everyone else between sessions.

Listen, I don't have a huge behavioral sample of Walter Brueggemann. You might have had very different experiences with him. And maybe Walter just particularly enjoyedStreamingStreaming is a really neat venue and experience. (BTW, Greg Boyd and I are speaking at Streaming this year. Details to follow.)

But my point is this: that weekend Walter Brueggemann showed me clearly what Christian celebrity is and isn't.

My other example here is Rachel Held Evans.

I've seen Rachel up close and in person when she visited ACU. And she was tireless, after a whole day of speaking, in standing there and giving her full attention to a line of undergraduates. Students not just wanting an autograph, but wanting to share their story or seek spiritual counsel. And I know for a fact those brief conversations with Rachel had a profound spiritual impact upon those students, especially the female students.

Rachel Held Evans is a writer and a speaker, yes, but she's also a pastor, the pastor of a large church sprinkled across the US and the world. And the reason she's become a pastor for so many--from taking confessions to weeping with the broken to giving spiritual counsel--is because she makes herself available. Even when she's exhausted.  LINK< FULL ARTICLE

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