The first man I want to celebrate in this #menaremorethan series is the guy I bring up in conversation at least twice a week as, “my favorite professor from seminary.” He would probably be half horrified/half proud to know just how completely he shaped my theology and the way I interact with the world, but he will just have to deal with those conflicting emotions.
Dr. Kreider taught theology classes at DTS, and at a roommate’s strong suggestion (shout out to Jessica, who deserves to star in #womenaremorethan someday!), I took his introductory course, and then…every other class that he taught. The first day he said something profound that I still repeat (literally just shared this with my roommate a week ago and some friends a few days ago):
“When I came to seminary, I had a list of 300 theological truths that I would fight and die for. When I left, I had just three: God is triune, the Bible is inerrent, and Jesus saves us through his life, death, and resurrection. I have opinions about everything else, but I will no longer die for them, and more importantly, I will not break up the body of Christ for them.”
The man is clearly a good professor, but he’s also a good…friend? I don’t know what term to use, but I do know that after a particularly personal topic, I went to his office and accidentally burst into tears. Another time he asked about my love life, then sighed and admitted, “I don’t think you’re going to find someone at seminary. There are too many strong, opinionated, smart women, and not enough men who deserve them.” I cannot emphasize how encouraging it was to hear this seemingly discouraging opinion. Yet another time, we talked passionately about our favorite characters on Scandal and why couldn’t Olivia, who is so strong in every other way, get over her unhealthy obsession with the emotional abusive president!?
Even though I can no longer drop by his office or ask if we can grab coffee, I still get to stalk Dr. Kreider on Facebook. (Fun fact, the first time we interacted online was when I wrote a status that said: “After my sex therapy class, I cannot watch sex scenes in movies without pointing out how unrealistic they are,” and he responded, “You must be fun to watch movies with,” thus solidifying my intense admiration for the man.) I so admire his ability to bring up controversial topics online, to state his opinions with logic and emotion, and to let people disagree with him. I try to emulate both his grace and his resolve in my own online writings, though I have far to go when engaging in productive conversations with people who believe differently from me.
For being himself, for publicly admitting his doubts and insecurities, for welcoming me into his office, for getting to know me, and for teaching me to think deeply about truth, Dr. Kreider is definitely #morethan.