Archive for June, 2015

Introducing Kester Smith

by   |  06.29.15  |  ACU, Alumni, Announcements

The ACU Graduate School of Theology is pleased to announce that Kester Smith has joined our staff as the GST Recruiter.

Kester is a recent GST graduate, having completed his MDiv. in May. Prior to pursuing an MDiv, Kester worked as a teacher, youth minister, and, most recently, a bi-vocational church-planter and bookseller in Austin, TX. This combination of ministry and GST experience make Kester an invaluable asset for understanding the calling of those considering theological education and how the GST might best serve that calling.

Kester is married to Rachel Smith, who works as an Instructor and Clinical Supervisor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Kester and Rachel have one son, Harrison, who will be a 6th grader at Craig Middle School this coming fall.

We asked for an informal interview with Kester, in order to get to know him a little better.

Favorite…

  1. Food – When I was still eating meat, it was my mom’s chicken potpie. Now that I’m a vegetarian it’s either a spicy yellow tofu curry (Krua Thai serves a great one) or my chickenless version of my mom’s pot pie. My favorite “on the go” food is a potato, egg, and cheese breakfast taco.
  2. Song – People that know me will be shocked that it isn’t a Bruce Springsteen song, but they probably wouldn’t be considering my love for hymns. My favorite song is either “Amazing Grace,” “Come Thou Fount,” or “Be Thou My Vision.” Were Springsteen to record acoustic versions of any of those songs, my head would explode.
  3. Book – Not to give the obvious answer, but the Bible truly is my favorite book. With that as a given, my favorite novel is either Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov or Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. My favorite authors (besides Dostoevsky and Robinson) include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Flannery O’Connor, Abraham Heschel, Toni Morrison, N.T. Wright, and pretty much every member of the Inklings. I’m also partial to the writings of Maximus the Confessor and Julian of Norwich. I like books a lot.
  4. Movie/television show – My favorite film is It’s A Wonderful Life. My favorite television show is probably The Simpsons, as long as we’re talking about the early seasons.
  5. Vacation spot – I was raised in Chicago and it is still my favorite place to visit, when I have the chance to travel. I’d like to visit Ireland, England, and Scotland some day, but haven’t yet been able to afford the trip.

Either/Or

  1. Kindle or bound book? – Bound. I like how it feels to turn a page.
  2. Indoors or outdoors? – Indoors. I’m a city kid. I don’t mind walking in the outdoors, but I don’t want to sleep or bathe in them.
  3. Coffee or tea? – Tea. Earl Grey. But a cold glass of ice water over either of them.
  4. Time with a group or time alone? Alone. I like to have time with people, but I have to have time to myself.
  5. Big city or small town? Big city, though small town has grown on me a bit.

Have you ever…

  1. worked in a restaurant? – Yes. Pizza Hut. First job I ever had and it led me to the conclusion that everyone should have to work in the service industry at least once.
  2. been horseback riding? – Yes. Once. Never again.
  3. climbed a mountain? – Yes. Twice. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but I’d say it was worth it.
  4. performed on stage? Yes. I’ve performed in plays, as the lead singer of various bands, and as a stand-up comedian.
  5. run a marathon? – No. Though I imagine I’d feel about it the same way I do about mountain climbing.

What’s a particularly interesting skill or hobby that you have?

  • I used to be a pretty decent mimic and impersonator, back when I did stand-up. I’m probably still not half bad. I’ve got a head full of pop culture trivia. And I make amazing mix tapes. Unfortunately, no one listens to mix tapes anymore.

What’s something distinctive (or even weird) not many people know about you?

  • I can pop both of my shoulders out of joint. My right eye is prone to dryness and then squeaks when I scratch it. And Kester is a nickname I’ve had for just over a decade.

What excites you about your work in the GST?

  • I am very much a pastor more than a salesman, so it excites me to help students discern their calling and to introduce them to a program that is as committed to academic excellence, spiritual formation, and preparation for vocation as the GST is.

The Church according to Paul

by   |  06.02.15  |  Church, Ministry

thompson-bookJames Thompson continues his excellent series with The Church according to Paul. On May 26, 2015 it received the 2015 Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy. Read more here.

All three books are significant contributions to the field of ministerial and ecclesial formation. Dr. Thompson has always excelled in combining rigorous academic research and ministerial sensitivities. His love for the church is most evident in this latest work.

The other books in the series are Pastoral Ministry according to Paul and Moral Formation according to Paul.