Dr. Alistair Brown, of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, shared the Keynote at ABCNJ’s Annual Session. He and his wife are some truly wonderful people and I’d describe him as “old school Evangelical 1.” The man has faith, and to him the Message of Jesus of such vital importance he can’t not speak about it. He’s not obnoxious, in fact he’s wonderfully self-deprecating, he’s overwhelmed by the love God’s shown to him in Jesus. His keynote is embedded here, if you have time it’s well worth checking out.
I liked Dr. Brown about the first moment I met him. Sure I might say things a bit differently than him 2, but I felt he was engaging, genuine, and deep. Oddly, that’s not often-enough a common trifecta in a “big time” public speaker. Most folks manage to get two out of the three 3.
Even more than being an excellent public speaker who possesses the greatest Scottish accent of all time 4, Dr. Brown is genuinely friendly.
Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time in personal conversation with him and his lovely wife during Annual Session 5. The brief exchanges we shared, however, were endearing. Our longest conversation, which occurred almost immediately after Annual Session had closed, has particularly resonated with me. Dr. Brown smiled and said, “You enjoy your reputation, but you really are very good at what you do, aren’t you?”
I enjoy people who display insight. A pat on the back is also much-appreciated.
Dr. Brown was, in fact, mostly spot on. When I was growing up I remember being given a “personality test” by some kids at school 6. One of the questions of that test was, “What is your favorite animal, and why?” My answer was, without thinking, “A Wolverine, because other predators look at it and underestimate it’s strength, much to their regret.” In that test the animal name, and the reason for its identification, was supposed to describe how you perceive yourself. So, yes, I will be goofy and self-deprecating and even silly – but folks who think that means I am a buffoon will often learn to rethink that opinion. Of course the other, and probably greater, reason for me acting loopy when I’m out in a mass crowd is more simple. If I didn’t I’d be hiding in a corner screaming for all the bad people to go away. Mass gatherings are, after all, kryptonite for strong introverts.
- I’m sometimes shocked there are some of these still around. ↩
- He spoke about how it’s not “OK” to not be a Christian. In an American context saying something is “not OK” means, “You don’t have a right to be that way. He meant it in an entirely theological context, he’s not an “every road gets to God” kind of guy and was divorcing his theological language from political perception. Ironically, most people who’d freak out at his language are unable to do the same. ↩
- I have no idea where I fall. No, I am not hunting for supportive comments. ↩
- There are very few people alive who can turn the word “Subaru” into high art, he is one of them. ↩
- I’m too busy pulling my hair out and growling at life. ↩
- Where these things came from pre-internet nobody knows. How did we all know to call the Nintendo help line or not to step on a crack? It’s one of the mysteries of life. ↩