Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Farewell, Dallas Willard

I remember the day I created this blog.

I was a young college student, just starting to learn to think theologically, just beginning on the path which has lead me to where I am today. I had just been to a small weekend conference in San Diego with a group which I was working with from my school, a group I'd been involved with since high school that was committed to challenging high school students to think about their faith and live it out daily and authentically. The weekend conference was designed to be somewhat intensive. We got to choose "track times" where we studied specific topics. I chose the topic, "The Kingdom of God"  ...and to this day I consider that to be one of the most important choices of my theological life and development. I was exposed there, for the first time, to a particularly important author and theologian--Dallas Willard.

I had so many new concepts running through my brain, I just had to find an outlet. So I created this blog... "Living in the Kingdom." It's a silly name... what does that even mean? But I've kept it for these years, in many ways as a tribute to Dallas Willard and to that weekend where the Kingdom of God became the dominant motif in my theological reflection and the open door to a wide world of theological thought which I've only just begun to explore.

Dallas Willard's book The Divine Conspiracy was one of the most important books for me, one of the first theological books I ever read. And the chapter, "The Eternal Kind of Life Now" was the inspiration for this blog and its earliest content. After I read that chapter I became obsessed. I remember being star-struck when I finally got to meet Dr. Willard and ask him a question (probably a stupid one) about his perspective. He was charitable and remarkably kind to a young dumb college student trying to figure things out.

Today, Dr. Dallas Willard--one of the most important theological voices in the church--has succumbed to cancer at age 77.

His influence was profoundly important in my life. I owe a great debt to Dallas Willard! ...and I think that the whole church in the United States does as well.

Thank you Dr. Willard. You will be missed.

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