This week’s author interview is with Glenn R. Kreider. He is the author of God with Us: Exploring God’s Personal Interactions with His People throughout the Bible.
- Question #1 — Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.
I grew up on a dairy farm in southeastern Pennsylvania. My dad was a hard working farmer; I was lazy and unimpressed with the benefits of hard work. I did, however, excel in school. After graduation from high school, I married my high school sweetheart who increasingly has become my best friend. After several years as an insurance agent, I returned to school, completing an undergraduate degree before attending seminary where I completed a ThM and a PhD. I have had the incredible privilege of teaching theology courses for over two decades.
We have two grown children, a son in law, and the world’s cutest granddaughter (born January 2015). My wife and I enjoy traveling, reading, listening to live music, and watching good movies.
- Question #2 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?
In God with Us, I explain how a short paragraph from a sermon changed the way I read the Bible. Cornelius Plantinga asserted that Jesus’ humility, his condescension to become human for the sake of rebellious humanity, was not some new and never-before seen action of God. Rather, Jesus was acting like his Father, doing what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has always done. As I began to read the Bible with this insight, I began to notice divine condescension everywhere in the biblical story. I trace this theme through the canon in this book.
- Question #3 — Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?
My doctoral research focused on Jonathan Edwards and his theological method, particularly how he read and used the Scriptures in his theology. I return to the writings of Edwards more than any other author. From Edwards’ History of the Work of Redemption, I learned to read the Bible as the story of God’s work of redemption, as salvation history. From his Religious Affections, I learned to appreciate the role of the Spirit in true spirituality. I learned how to evaluate my growth in spiritual maturity through the true signs. From Charity and Its Fruits, I learned that heaven is a world of love. From Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, I learned that God is a gracious God who desires the wicked to repent and come to him in faith.
- Question #4 — Do you have a favorite movie? What is it and why?
I have a long list of favorite movies. One way to illustrate several favorites is with a favorite line from the movie.
From “Babbette’s Feast” — “There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.”
From “Shawshank Redemption” — “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
From “The Village” — “She is more capable than most in this village. And she is led by love. The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.”
- Question #5 — Do you have a favorite musical artist? What is it and why?
I have eclectic music tastes but I particularly enjoy the late Rich Mullins, Andrew Peterson, U2, and Switchfoot. What these four artists have in common is that they are people of faith who see through the brokenness and tragedy of the fallen world into the hope of the world to come. I want to learn to see what they see when I look at the world. Jonathan Edwards wrote about a new way of seeing, the spiritual sense or the sense of the heart that comes to the believer through the Holy Spirit. These four artists inspire me to see the world with spiritual eyes.
- Question #6 — What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I tend to say too much and so I tend to write too much. An editor told me one time that I needed to cut my manuscript nearly in half if he was going to be able to use it. And he told me that he would not make the cuts for me. The result was a much stronger work than it would have been otherwise. But it was painful to leave so much on the cutting room floor.
The best compliment I ever received was from a reviewer of God with Us. He wrote: “I found your writing style to be unique. The book would make for a fine resource for any scholar, but it is equally accessible to any layperson and quite uplifting for something that can be used for research.” That was my goal, to write so that scholars would find it helpful but also accessible to laypeople.
- Question #7 — Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?
My dad was a baseball fan. We did not have a television so I grew up listening to Phillies games on the radio. When we moved to Texas, I became a fan of the Texas Rangers; in those days, the Rangers were not very good. In recent years, they have been much better, although we are still waiting for the first championship in Arlington. I moved to Dallas as a fan of the Cowboys; that has not changed.
- Question #8 — Favorite food?
Texas BBQ; I will not name a favorite place since Texans go to war over such things.
- Question #9 — Favorite animal? Why?
I am a dog person. We have rescued multiple dogs. We currently have two pugs (Mardi and Jack Bauer), a Chihuahua (Neftali), and a black Labrador Retriever named Chloe.
- Question #10 — What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?
I regret that I never met Rich Mullins; I only saw him perform once. Rich’s music has deeply impacted me, especially in learning how to see God in the “fury of a pheasant’s wings.” I continue to hope that one day I will meet Bono, front man of the band U2. I have a list of questions for him but I suspect I will not remember any of them when I meet him. I am impressed by Bono’s lyrical brilliance, his musical excellence, and his concern for justice.
- Question #11 — If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?
It is dangerous to answer such a question since the Bible in its entirety is God’s word to us. But I do find myself returning to Genesis and John again and again.
Want to learn more about Glenn?
Follow him on Twitter: @gkreider
Visit his faculty page: http://www.dts.edu/about/faculty/gkreider/