Monday, April 30, 2007

A Brief Tribute to a Significant Teacher

Like the other 75 wide-eyed Wheaton College freshman, giddy with dopey excitement, I had no idea what lay before me when I sauntered into Dr. Robert Webber's "Theology and Culture" class and sloppily took my desk toward the back. I had no adequate language to anticipate what we would be encountering. This was my first ever theology class. I knew not Barth from Brunner. In fact, I'll admit this: I was more interested in making my presence known to candidates of the fairer sex than I was in learning of matters of life, death and eternity. I thought I had all that figured out anyway.

Bob Webber was a gifted teacher and an enthusiastic presence. He provoked students with questions and kindled little flames of passion for God: for the history of God, for the history of our relation to God, and for the history of our reflection on his marvelous, redemptive presence on our little planet. Above all, Dr. Webber inspired students to worship God and to pursue authentic ways--both fresh and ancient--of entering the presence of the Holy One.

That brief encounter, as a clueless freshman with a name and a face like so many others, was a gift. I was one of those flames Webber kindled. I never took another class with him, though I wish I could have. But now as I teach theology at Bethel Seminary, I hope to awaken my students to the mystery and beauty of God and to the unsurpassability of his light. In the spirit of my first theology teacher, I want to light little sparks of desire for the one who gives hope for our present, because He is our future. Dr. Webber passed away Friday, April 27, 2007. May he rest in peace and enjoy the fullness of the marvelous presence of the Trinitarian God as he worships him with unbounded passion, unceasingly.


jack said...

This is a really great post and it is the type of communication that has the potential for touching something deeper in it's readers and establishing a type of communion of hearts. I would like to briefly explain what I mean. Every Man is born into the world with an INFINITE and ETERNAL, THIRST and HUNGER. The problem is that no man is assured of discovering for himself what it is that will satisfy HIS ABSOLUTE POVERTY. I believe that your post expresses correctly, that it is the role of the Theology Teacher to express and reveal to his students, perhaps in round about ways, what " IT IS" that they are truly seeking but may not know it. Man's THIRST, HUNGER and POVERTY will be no more if he finds the "TRUE SOURCE" of his fulfillment.

Jon said...