Thursday, November 8, 2012
Eric Metaxas - The Million Dollar Man
As a student described him after his chapel lecture, Eric Metaxas is the Million Dollar Man. I had a chance to hear Metaxas share last night (via video feed - I'm finding Messiah commonly has a "sold out" problem) about Bonhoeffer and his experience writing his biography and then this morning about the influence of William Wilberforce in the abolition of slavery in Great Britain. Metaxas speaks with a quick wit and isn't afraid to linger on a joke but he seamlessly moves into convincing and inspired accounts of Christ's work in his own life and in the lives of those he's written about. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, make the effort to be there.
While I wouldn't quite label him the "Million Dollar Man," Metaxas does have a lot going for him. From a Yale education to writing for Veggie Tales to his biographies to being featured in national media outlets such as The New York Times and CNN, he's dabled in enough areas of culture to be well known, safe, and respected enough to be invited to lectures on Messiah's campus as well as the National Prayer Breakfast. In some ways, he may be championed by Evangelical circles as the guy that has a lot of influence and is a committed Christian. Thus, the Million Dollar Man.
But I think it goes deeper than that. In many ways, he's what we at Christian colleges salivate over, embodying what we hope all of the students we work with someday reach. He's deeply committed to his craft of writing and writing well. He's nominally interested in writing biographies but absolutely loves the ability to tell the stories of individuals who inspire him personally. He's unabashedly committed to Jesus being at the center of what he does but isn't suckering people into his works with a bait and switch way of sharing the gospel. His historical figures' stories stand alone and are impressive accounts of research, narrative, and inspiration.
So I respect Metaxas. I think he's good for our culture. I think he's good for curious college intellectuals who are trying to sort out their vocation and how it relates to their faith.
Oh, and as evidenced by his leading of Amazing Grace at the end of chapel, he has a really good singing voice.