I had the very cool opportunity this week to visit two forums featuring New York pastor and author Tim Keller this week here in this rather genius corner of the world. He packed out both auditoriums – probably half the crowd couldn’t get in at Berkeley. And both crowds responded to Keller very, very well.
First at Berkeley, then at Stanford, I heard Keller speak deliver a lecture entitled “Belief in an Age of Skepticism,” followed by Q&A sessions in both cases. Both forums were hosted by RUF at the respective campuses (Berkeley, Stanford).
If you’re well familiar with Keller, you can feel free to skip the next 3 paragraphs; the notes at the bottom may still interest ya’.
Tim Keller for some seems to be picking up the mantle of C. S. Lewis, as a brilliant apologist and thinker who connects to the culture at hand. In fact, he often quotes Lewis or parallels much of his thinking. Not only that, but Keller is enjoyable, has a clear sense of humor, and comes off (to me, at least), as both balanced and pretty approachable – he’s even self-deprecating at times. That combo is not always easy for this new brand of hip Reformed thinkers who are so popular these days.
If you haven’t heard of Keller, you’re not alone – but that’s changing very rapidly. As a friend noted, it seems like everybody has either heard a bunch about him or nothing at all, and that’s probably mostly true. As for me and my house, I’m somewhere in the middle there – but I’m excited to learn more after what I heard Tuesday and Wednesday.
Recently, Keller has probably been best known for his arguments emphasizing the need to put major missional effort into reaching cities, since they are the hubs of modern culture. Now, he’s written on a different theme, at least partially responding to the recent slew of “popular atheism” works published recently. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism should be really good, if I can rely on his brilliance this week. More bio on Keller can be found here.
Other notes on this:
During his swing through the Bay Area, Keller also got to speak at the Google offices. Apparently it went really well. Check out this blog for good pics, good reporting from that, and a great outline of the talk Keller is giving on this tour. [Hat tip to Lance Crowell for pointing me to that post.]
I went to the Berkeley and Stanford meetings hoping to find real differences between the crowds, but no such luck. The main difference I noticed was the vigil and person living in a tree outside the forum at Berkeley, but they were protesting somethin’ else.
In both cases, the Q&A was excellent, and it’s pretty incredible to hear real students ask real questions like that. At the same time, you always feel a little bummed: from lack of time, difficulty some have in phrasing their questions successfully, and even the heartbreaking nature of some of those questions.
I believe both webcasts will be up shortly. I’ll letcha know.
This was, as you may have guessed, a Veritas Forum event. More on those guys soon. [I didn’t end up writing “more on those guys soon” – but I did eventually write more about Veritas Forum. Check out the first of those posts here.]
Written from Stanford University