Posted by: nieophyte | November 5, 2007

5 People You Should Know

Coming off of a grueling deadline week and an equally exhausting weekend of ministry, I realized that pulling off a thoughtful blog post like the ones the other merginglanes teamsters are so aptly producing is simply not in my capacity right now. So what do we do in the magazine industry when we need more text but have run out of ideas? We create a list!

Yes, I know, this is a total cop-out, but I think this could be a great opportunity to hear from you, the reader, about the 5 people who are on your radar right now. 5 voices from any discipline or social sphere that you think we should all be listening to. Here’s my list:

1. Lauren Winner: The former book editor for beliefnet, Winner is now a professor at Duke University. I had a run in with one of Duke’s representatives and I hear she is on sabbatical right now, no doubt working on her next big book. She is a prolific writer–notable books include Girl Meets God which tells of her faith journey from orthodox judaism to protestant christianity, and Real Sex, the most engaging and thoughtful book about the biblical view of chastity, sex and sexuality I have ever come across. If you don’t think you can handle reading an entire book right now, just do a google search for her articles and read a few. I had the opportunity to interview her for the magazine and asked what issue she will tackle next in her writing. She replied, evanglicals and money. Looking forward to that!

2. Stanley Hauerwas: Yes, I am partial to the Duke crew. Also a professor teaching ethics in their divinity school, Hauerwas is a bit of a renegade in the Church. An outspoken Christian pacifist, Hauerwas’ writing style ranges from meditative to incendiary (ironic, no?). Hauerwas spoke at Wheaton College during my stay there and it was probably one of the most dynamic lectures I’d ever heard. A short, thin man, you couldn’t hear anything but his shrill voice ringing throughout the Billy Graham auditorium. His message was clear: God calls us to act rightly; therefore, we must act rightly. Check out his Prayers Plainly Spoken–they are incredible!

3. Ravi Zacharias: Well-known Christian apologist, I could listen to his sermons all day long. Zacharias’ radio show, Let My People Think are short 30 minute gems of wisdom on a range of topics from post-Christian apologetics to biblical courtship. These days, Zacharias has been traveling the world, leading apologetics and evangelistic conferences in many closed nations, particularly in the middle east. I’ve heard the headway he is making there, particularly among young people, is astounding.

4. Walter Brueggeman: One of my favorite theologians, I read his book The Land: Place as Gift, Promise and Challenge in Biblical Faith one fall afternoon at the library and fought back tears as I saw God’s covenant faithfulness through a different lense–the promised land. If I may insert a quote: “The enduring covenant leads to enduring land. This is the new history. The rootless one is given land; the history of banishment is displaced by the history of promise against all the circumstantial evidence.” Adds whole new meaning to “I will be your God and you will be my people,” doesn’t it? Just because he is an Old Testament scholar does not mean he has cordoned himself off in his ivory tower. A frequent contributor to Sojourners Magazine, Brueggemann is dialed-in to the issues of our day, political and otherwise. Check out this great article he wrote connecting a politicians verbal missteps with the book of Job.

5. Randy Pausch: A final voice from my other alma mater, Pausch is a professor of human-computer interaction and computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. Not too long ago, he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, a disease close to my heart (my grandfather passed away from pancreatic cancer when I was a freshman in college). Pausch was given a few months to live. Rather than wallow or pity himself, Pausch has chosen to live richly and love deeply. Carnegie Mellon approached him to do a last lecture. You can watch it here.

OK, so now it’s your turn. Thank you for allowing me to take a mental break and reflect on the good people I’ve learned from. Till next time! You’re one and only …




  1. Thank you for that fun list!

    Dr. Brueggeman is an Emeritus at Columbia Theological where I’m considering. I was there this past weekend and wanted so much to run into him. It’s not everyday you meet one of the most influential OT scholars in the world of our generation.

    Ah, Ravi Z. I’m not sure how Christian apologetics in the way he approaches it fits into my ever-changing understanding of Christian theology and worldview in a postmodern context. He is the one, after all, that introduced me to the notion of an absolute truth, a strong modernist phrase. His spoken words have brought me to tears many a times, so I won’t dismiss him that easily.

  2. man. I wish I took that class… I’m pretty blown away right now…

  3. worinld, I’m guessing you’re talking about Randy Pausch’s lecture– in which case, yes, I totally know what you’re saying. If you made it through the entire lecture, I applaud you. It was the best thing I’ve heard in a long time.

    In other news … anyone notice how eerily similar Hauerwas and Brueggemann look? So weird!

  4. Thank you for the Randy Pausch lecture. I sat here in the library watching it instead of doing homework, and it was completely worth the time.

  5. Dunno if I really liked Hauerwas. Maybe it’s the fact that he said he would sit around and simply watch a murderer kill his family at gun point to “obey God.”

    You have to add a few more to the list…

    John Piper – Wheaton Represent!
    Tim Keller – He is so sexy.
    Michael Hyde – Great work on acknowledgment.
    Mike Erre – Rock Harbor’s funny man with substance.
    Among others… but need to catch some zzzzz’s.

  6. Great list. As always, more to be added to my endlessly growing queue of authors to read.

    More commonplace additions for the casual reader: the late great Michael Yaconelli (I’m a really big fan of “Messy Spirituality”) and Donald Miller (famous for “Blue Like Jazz”). Easy-to-read primers on thinking outside of traditional Christianity.

    And though he’s a little higher profile, I’m a fan of Gary Haugen. Reading his books tracks one of the most prolific Christian justice movements of our generation.

  7. a few pastors I never get tired of listening to their podcasts (or pay per sermon…grr):
    Pastor Tim Lucas, Liquid NJ
    Pastor Rick McKinley Imago Dei
    Pastor Tim Keller. do I even have to say?

  8. yes, who’s tim keller?

  9. the punk who makes me pay to listen to his sermons….

  10. charge for sermons?

    that’s not being accessible/missional.

    i sense an inconsistency there…

  11. You’ve read Shane Claiborne’s book, right?

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