N.T. Wright on being an Academic and being a Pastor
Study & Teach from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.
N.T. Wright is probably, if not definitely, my favorite living author and theologian. I think of him as kind of a perfect hybrid of Pastor and Scholar. I've always admired his ability to take deeply academic theological and exegetical conversations and make them accessible to the Church.
"I've never been content, simply, to sit the library and study the New Testament, because this stuff's far too important... it's like studying music in a library--you've gotta get out there and play the stuff"Theology, I've always thought (ever since I shared an apartment with an art major in college, anyway) is a lot like art. The best art challenges boundaries and opens something fresh and new in people's minds, sometimes at great risk, and at its best, that's exactly what theology does. Art requires creativity, quite obviously, and all good theology is creative at its core. If you kept art in a closet, it would not serve its purpose, it simply wouldn't do what good art should do. Similarly, if theology stays in the library or on the desks and whiteboards of academics, it would not do what good theology should do. Theology is only relevant when it hits the ground, when it's put into the hands of real people who can live it out in reality.
That's why I think it's tragic when an academic loses their connection to pastoral ministry in the church. That's also why I think it's tragic for a pastor to lose their connection to the current theological conversations of academia (or at least the ones from ten years ago). One belongs with the other. Good theology belongs in the church and the church should be doing good theology. We need more bridge builders, people like Wright, who can bridge that gap.