Interview with Dr. Steven C. Roy

04.13.2021  |  Season 2  |  Episode 15



SHOW NOTES

In this episode, Dr. James Arcadi and Dr. Madison Pierce interview Dr. Steven C. Roy, Chair of the Pastoral Theology Department, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Madison and James learn more about Steve’s background, especially his work in systematic theology, and how that shapes his theology of worship and pastoral care. Steve also shares his desire to create space for “lament” in our corporate worship gatherings and then offers his perspectives about some of the most important thing that he feels are facing people in ministry today.

Be sure to tune in to learn more about Steve and his life shaped by pastoral care, and here’s some of his recent work:

And before the interview, we learn a little about the “critical reception” of James’ recent book in the Arcadi household…

Transcript

[THEME MUSIC BEGINS]

Intro
[00:00:00] You’re listening to Foreword, a podcast from faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, hosted by Michelle Knight, Josh Jipp, Madison Pierce, and James Arcadi. Foreword invites listeners into the mission of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School through conversations with faculty, staff, and guests.

Madison Pierce
Hey, James! How’s it going?

James Arcadi
Hey, Madison! Pretty well, how are you?

[THEME MUSIC ENDS]

Pierce
[LAUGHS] Yeah, doing well! We just got back from Spring Break—

Arcadi
Woo!

Pierce
—and really looking forward to Easter, so it’s been a good time. I noticed that…I think while we were away for Spring Break that you had another book come out!

Arcadi
Um, yeah! I had…I co-edited a book—I’m going to hold it up, here, for those who are on video—

Pierce
Please do!

Arcadi
—for those who are on audio, I am currently holding up a book that I co-edited with Dr. J.T. Turner of Anderson University. This is *The T&T Clark Handbook of Analytic Theology*. If you’re on audio only, I’m sorry. I love the cover. It was a friend of mine—

Pierce
It’s pretty cool.

Arcadi
—from Gordon and a parishioner of mine, Tanja Butler, who designed the image there that we got to use. But yeah, *The T&T Clark Handbook of Analytic Theology*.

Pierce
That’s very cool.

Arcadi
 I’m stoked it’s out.

Pierce
Yeah, so there’s a lot of excitement in the Arcadi household!

Arcadi
Yeah! In fact, so I brought this home the other day, and I brought it out of my bag, to just, like, show my kids, who don’t care all that much. But I was showing my wife, and she was, like, kneeling on the ground, playing with my kids or whatever, and she was looking through it, and my dog, you know, walks up kind of nonchalantly, and then just bites the book! [LAUGHTER] Just a big old jaw! And I grabbed it out of his mouth, and thankfully there weren’t any chew marks or anything on there, but I was like, “I mean, man’s best friend!” [PIERCE LAUGHS] He’s just coming over here… I don’t know. Maybe it’s his love language, just biting things. I’m not sure. But I was kind of shocked. I didn’t anticipate that kind of review, I guess. [LAUGHS] Not yet.

Pierce
Is that pretty atypical behavior; I mean, does he go around biting books all the time?

Arcadi
I mean, he loves to eat and he’s so hopeful that almost anything is food.

Pierce
Okay.

Arcadi
So it’s not totally out of character. So it’s not vicious, it’s just, like, he has a great big nose and a stomach. And so, yeah, just about anything is kind of tested as, like, “Is this food? Is this food? Because if it is, I’m going to eat it!” And I think he found out that this book is food for the mind, [PIERCE LAUGHS] not for the dog’s stomach.

Pierce
Wah wah. [ARCADI LAUGHS] That’s awesome. Yeah, I think there have been a couple of times where Isabelle has—our dog has acted in a really atypical way that…where it’s so atypical, that it’s really hard for it not to be offensive. I can’t think of a good example, but it’s like, “No, she never has bitten anything,” but she’ll  just, like—or, “…has an accident,” but then she goes to the bathroom on my shoe or something like that. And it’s like, “How in the world would I not take that personally?” [LAUGHTER] But—

Arcadi
[LAUGHS] “I don’t like these shoes.” That’s what she’s saying, huh?

[THEME MUSIC BEGINS]

Pierce
[LAUGHS] Yeah. “Okay. Great, thanks, Isabelle!” Well James, we’ve got Steve Roy coming to join us today—

Arcadi
I’m stoked.

Pierce
—so we’ll be talking about pastoral theology and worship. And I think y’all are going to get to geek out about systematics a little bit.

Arcadi
Yeah, a little bit. And, did you know that he’s a Gordon-Conwell grad, just like yours truly?

Pierce
That’s right! Yeah, I think he even loves Southern California, so you’ve got a lot in common.

Arcadi
He does; he does. It’s a good thing to love!

Pierce
[LAUGHS] Well, good!

Arcadi
Yeah, we’re glad he’s here at TEDS. He’s got his PhD from TEDS and has been teaching here at TEDS for a long time too, and so I’m looking forward to chatting with him.

Pierce
Yep, me too. Let’s go see Steve.

[THEME MUSIC ENDS]

Pierce
Welcome to Foreword: A TEDS Faculty Podcast. I’m Madison Pierce.

Arcadi
And I’m James Arcadi.

Pierce
Today, we have the absolute pleasure of interviewing Dr. Steven C. Roy. Dr. Roy is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and the Chair of the Pastoral Theology Department here at TEDS. He completed his PhD in systematic theology here at TEDS, and prior to that, he completed his M.Div at Gordon-Conwell and a Bachelor of Arts at Stanford University. Steve, welcome! Thank you so much for joining us!

Steve Roy
Thanks, Madison; James, it’s great to be with you!

Arcadi
Yeah! Well, thanks so much, Steve. It’s good to have you here on the program, and looking forward to chatting with you. I thought I might just start off asking a bit about, um, how it is you came to TEDS—I think you’ve been on the faculty since, is it 1998 or so?

Roy
Right.

Arcadi
So it’s quite awhile, and so just sort of curious about what brought you to TEDS and what kind of, you know, experiences you have prior to coming to TEDS that you’re even still kind of bringing into your teaching experience now.

Roy
Yeah. Thanks, James. Prior to coming to TEDS, I was a pastor. I was an associate pastor for five years in Minneapolis; seven years as a senior pastor in Portland, Oregon. And I sought to be a theological pastor—combining a love for theology and the ministry of the church. Through a series of circumstances, the Lord made it clear that our time at Portland was coming to an end, and a good friend who was on the faculty at TEDS said, “Why don’t you think about some more study?” And so I came here for PhD work in systematics, and then still sought to combine those loves for theology and the church—not so much as a theological pastor, but as a pastoral theologian. And that’s been the past 23 and a half years.

Pierce
[00:05:34] Ah, I love that. Thank you, Steve. And we’ll circle back around, because I think the integration of theology—or, systematic theology and pastoral theology is really important to you. But for now, since we are talking about some of your experiences, having read What God Thinks When We Fail—I know that book…at least, you acknowledge that it comes out of some of your experiences as well. Could you tell us a little bit about that project, and then, you know, ten years later, do you have a kind of enduring or new word for listeners about success and failure?

Roy
Yeah, that’s been an important part of my journey, both personally and professionally. So this book on failure, uh, really did come out of our pastoral experience in Portland. Many times, as things didn’t always go exactly the way I’d hoped for or dreamed for, I struggled with feelings of failure. And I came to realize, it was not so much an actual failure, as more of just distorted understandings of success and failure derived largely from our broader American culture, and particularly, the American Evangelical subculture. So I needed to be reprogrammed as to what God thinks when we fail, because we all will one way or another—one time or another—and how to deal with that, both theologically and emotionally. And actually, I found in my own life, it’s the latter that’s a bit more difficult. So it began a process, in our time in Portland, and preaching and teaching on that as well as, then, the process of writing—and I teach on this regularly, on retreats and different kinds of things. It’s not just for people in ministry; it’s people across the board in our churches. We struggle with issues: “What does it mean to be successful? What happens when we fail?” And it’s been an ongoing process and it still is going to this day.

Pierce
Yeah, thank you.

Arcadi
I don’t know if I can just follow up on that, Steve—or just briefly, maybe. I wonder if you could help me kind of juxtapose those two kind of conceptions of success and failure—that which you sort of see in American culture, or Evangelical subculture, versus what you were sort of seeing as more, I don’t know, biblically-grounded understanding of success and failure?

Roy
Yeah, I spend quite a bit of time in the book trying to unpack sort of typical American views of success. You might define it very simply as “Success is what’s bigger and better.”

Pierce
Wow.

Roy
Uh, you know, successful careers lead to bigger salaries, successful actors and actresses have bigger box office stars, successful athletes, you know, their teams win more games—they have better statistics, and successful pastors lead bigger churches—we sometimes will say “better,” but that’s a little bit too fuzzy, so oftentimes, we just leave that out. You know, we Americans tend to be pragmatic—we like to look at bottom lines, and successful bottom lines are bigger than non-successful ones, and that bleeds over into the church all the time. And I realized that I had absorbed much more of that than I even consciously knew. And I had to come to deal with that, that God is far more concerned with faithfulness than he is with what’s bigger and what’s better. Oftentimes, it’s mixed in with that “bigger” component. But I need to be re-programmed, as well as understand that some of what I might perceive to be failure may not be failure at all. It’s not always sinful. If it is sinful, God forgives and God is able and promises to use even our failures to build His eternal future. Which…so failure’s never the last word in our lives as Christians.

Pierce
Yeah, thank you so much, Steve.—

Arcadi
Yeah, that’s really helpful.

Pierce
Yeah. That’s a beautiful picture. I think you’re right that we have a lot of work to do to kind of, almost redeem failure and to recategorize what…how we…or, sorry, what we label as failure, but then also to acknowledge the formative role that it might have. So thank you for your work.

Roy
Yeah.

Pierce
James, let me kick it back to you. I know you just asked the follow up, but I think you have some important questions about systematic theology and you’re the expert. [LAUGHS]

Arcadi
[00:10:13] [LAUGHS] I don’t know about that, but no, but I mean, as someone who teaches systematic theology, but personally, I mean, I think like yourself, have a real sort of, like, interest in bringing theology into the church and kind of blurring that line, maybe, between systematic theology and practical theology, or academic theology and what happens, like, in the church. So, you know, you mentioned coming to TEDS to do your PhD in systematic theology, and you taught in that for a while, but then you moved into practical theology and the Chair of the Pastoral Theology Department at TEDS. And I’m just kind of curious as to how you sort of see that intersection. Like, what led you first into systematic theology, and then what maybe led you into the Pastoral Theology Department?

Roy
Well, I had a great love for theology—I always have, since my M.Div studies and even before that—and love the comprehensive, systematic approach. My sense has always been that, “When I get in trouble, when I see trouble in the church, it’s because we don’t always have a full picture. We latch onto one part of our theology, one part of Scripture and not try to integrate it with the whole.” So I was really drawn to that, but I was also drawn to that for the sake of the church. There was enough of the “pastor” in me. I started doctoral studies in my forties, which is very different than many people do. And in many ways, I thought that that helped me, because it guarded me against certain rabbit trails that are easy to go down and all that sort of thing. And I came up with this sense that I’m very passionate about…of this important intersection between systematic theology—and it’s biblical theology and it’s historical theology too—but, the life of the church. And I really tell students that the best ministry is done theologically, when you not only know what you’re doing, but why. But it’s equally the case that the best theology is best done with a ministry mindset. And sometimes, the traditional sense is that, you know, you do your biblical studies, you do your theology, and then you think about how to apply it—as if that influences one direction only. And I’m convinced it’s got to be two directions. I think the church has to inform the academy, even as the academy informs the church. We need dialogue. We need to learn in both directions. I’ve oftentimes thought that it is the stories, the experiences of people in the pews that need to inform how it is we do our theology. So I’m very committed in my teaching, in all my thinking, and my own worship to bring those two words together.

Pierce
Yeah. I think that’s really helpful, Steve.—

Arcadi
[LAUGHS] Amen!

Pierce
Yeah! Um, I…you know—

Roy
Yeah, I mean James, you’re a priest, you’re so active in the church and all that. I know we’re compatriots in this.

Arcadi
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Pierce
I think a lot of times, when, you know—and some of this is the fault of the professor, and I’m gesturing towards myself, for those of you that are at home and cannot see or are just listening—but you know, a lot of times, students as we’re doing exegesis, they say, you know, “How does this connect to me? What are the practical implications?” And I think you are pressing those boundaries a little bit, because the…when we are talking about who God is, who Jesus is, and all of these other theological categories, that has profound connection with the way that we minister. So could you say a little bit more, Steve, about what it means to minister theologically? I think that’s the phrase you used, but please correct me if I messed that up.

Roy
Well, for example, I spend a lot of time in the field of ecclesiology. And the nature of the church profoundly impacts leadership within the church. I would tell my students, for example, a general principle across the board—it’s the nature of the institution you’re trying to lead that determines the nature and the functions of leadership. That’s true if you’re trying to lead a family; that’s true if you’re trying to lead a corporation; that’s true if you’re trying to lead a church. That’s why there’s not a direct one-to-one correlation between fortune 500 company CEOs and pastors in churches. It’s not that there isn’t anything we can learn from our brothers and sisters in the business world, but the church is fundamentally different, and so we need to know the church: who are we as the church? That has to inform how we engage in leadership. Another example is the doctrine of the trinity. That’s one of the things that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about—how is it…I mean, Jesus prayed, in John 17, that His followers would be one, just as He was one with the Father and the Father with Him. So what is it about the trinity that it can help us understand both unity and diversity within the body of Christ? How is it that the relationships of triune persons help to inform the way we should relate to one another? How does it inform equality? How does it inform mutual honor? How does it inform the way that we do that? I’m convinced that the doctrine of the trinity, for example, is huge in the way we think about ministry and how we view ministry; how we view worship.

Pierce
That’s great.

Arcadi
[00:15:52] Yeah, that…that’s great. Yeah, thanks so much for the reflection on that. And again, you know, as a systematician, I say “Amen!” I think these are great things to bring together, and I’m so glad this is something that’s been a real hallmark of your teaching here over the years. Maybe also kind of a…in more specificity, I understand you’ve been doing some work on the…kind of the role of lament, or the theological significance of lament—so both theologically, but then also how to do that in the church as one of these intersection points between a theological concept and, like, a practical outflow within the church. I wonder if you could kind of share a bit of what you’ve been reflecting on, with respect to the role of lament in worship and in the life of the church.

Roy
Yeah. Thanks, James. That is a topic I’m very, very interested in. I do a lot of teaching in the area of worship as well as my own worship, personally and corporately. And one of the things that I have felt for a long time about much of Evangelical worship is that it’s—the term I use is that it’s “emotionally monotone”—that it tends to be focused on celebration and victory at the expense of other emotions. Clearly, lament is a crucial part of that, but even other emotions of contentment—which tends to be more, perhaps, quiet than boisterous, exuberant celebration. Now, in the Psalms, there’s plenty of celebration. But, as we know, there are more lament psalms than there are celebration psalms. We don’t do that…we don’t do that well. And, to tell you a story, I remember—in a former church that we were a part of, I was teaching an adult Sunday school class, and there was a young couple in our class, and they had a two-year-old son. It was a horrible situation; he had liver cancer and he was dying. And we as a class rallied around this couple, and they really felt our support. But then, we would leave our class and go upstairs to worship, and it was one of these “emotionally monotone” seasons in the life of that church, and we were…every song was to clap. And I remember, my wife, Susan, said, “You know, I don’t think that our friends have much to relate to here.” And sooner…it wasn’t all that long before they stopped attending worship. They would still come to Sunday school, but just didn’t connect. Well, that’s true at a personal level. We’ve had some tragedy in our own family, and our daughter, who survived a really significant tragedy, found that the church was a hard place, because she couldn’t connect with this tone of celebration all the time. Well, it’s not just in our personal lives; it’s also in our corporate lives. I don’t know how we can think about what’s happening in the life of our country—whether it’s pandemic, whether it’s a racial reckoning following George Floyd, whether it’s the Atlanta shootings and Asian American…violence against them, or the Boulder shootings—how can we not lament? And I think with lament, one of the things that I’ve tried to say is that it requires emotional engagement. We can’t really stand in solidarity with others until we’re engaged at deep levels that are emotional—brokenheartedly emotional. But then we have to engage in the questions of the Psalmists—the agonizing questions: “How long, O Lord?” We have to be brutally honest and name what’s going on. We have to ask those questions, but it takes a bold faith to ask that, knowing that as we ask, God will in turn ask us to rise up and be answers to many of those questions as well.

Pierce
Yeah. That’s so helpful, Steve. And I think you’re right that it’s finding that balance. I’ve had similar experiences. I think, I mean, my personality lends itself to a bit of lament and melancholy. I often feel comfortable in those spaces more than others sometimes, but I’m thankful this is another way that God allows us to balance one another, because I’m thankful for my sisters and brothers who kind of push me to more jubilant expressions, even in my grief and difficulty. But I think you’re right, that as a whole, the church could hurt better—especially with those around us.

Roy
[00:20:38] Yeah, and we don’t always have a lot of resources available to us to help us. There are a lot of songs of celebration; there aren’t as many songs of lament. Liturgies of lament are beginning to be written more fully, and tragically, it’s the circumstances that force us there. But it’s harder for worship planners, worship leaders, to come up with some of those resources to help us, and I think that’s a growth edge for the church. And I think we’re making some progress in that, but we need to be able to lament. Today, as we’re meeting, it’s been the Day of Prayer at…on the Trinity campus, and in our prayer gathering this morning, there were significant seasons of lament. And I think that that was very helpful for this…what we’re going through as a country right now, as a church right now, as well as in so many lives.

Pierce
Yeah. That’s right. Yeah, Steve…I mean, I think you’re—I don’t know if you’re comfortable with me saying this more publicly—don’t worry, I’m not going to get you into any trouble [ROY LAUGHS]—but I think you’ve been a wonderful source of support. I mean, I…from starting from when I was a student to now, I cannot tell you how many times I came into a difficult situation and, you know, began to care for someone near me, and found out that you were there with them. So I think that that models the role that you take… for students, and a kind of facet of your pastor…sorry, your professorial, or your ministry on campus, being pastoral care. Could you say a little bit about what it means for you to be a professor who offers pastoral care for your students?

Roy
Yeah. Thanks, Madison. I appreciate that. And yeah, that is a part of my sense of God’s call in my life. As Pastor, I loved preaching and teaching. I wanted to be theological, but I love the people. And it’s interesting; I’m kind of an introvert by personality, and so not everybody thinks of me as that people person. But that’s very true of me. I love the pastoral care. One of the things I miss most about being a vocational pastor are funerals, if you can believe that—just an opportunity to minister to people at a time of great need. But now, as a professor, obviously, I care about my courses, I care about teaching, I want to mentor in a whole host of ways, but I also want to care for people. Part of that is advocacy—advocacy for our women students, advocacy for students of color, for students dealing with sexuality issues—and part of it is caring. In this pandemic, it’s been so hard. So whether it’s people in our formation group, people in classes, I do try to reach out. I try to be a welcoming presence—someone that people can feel free to talk to—and I’m just grateful for those opportunities. I think it’s so important. We teach our students, we train our students, we mentor our students—well, we should, but we need to care for each other, too.

Pierce
Mmhmm. Amen. Thank you for the ways that you’ve served our community.

Roy
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it’s a great privilege.

Arcadi
That’s great, Steve. And I’ve appreciated a number of these issues that you’ve brought up that are, you know, sort of pressing issues—issues you’ve seen as maybe being neglected at times in the course of the church’s, maybe, recent history or what have you. And I’m just kind of curious, as you’ve kind of been working at TEDS for a number of years, working in ministry for a number of years, what are currently pressing issues—I mean, maybe some futurely pressing issues that you feel the Evangelical church, or other churches, need to be really focused in on in terms of moving forward in ministry going into the next few years, or even decades—if you could…if you could forecast that far.

Roy
[00:24:53] Well, boy, there’s a lot. I would say that the…much of the cutting edge of my own reflection, my teaching, speaking, different kinds of things—working with students—has been in some of these intersection points between Christian faith and ministry and pressing contemporary needs. In the environment that we’re in, world politics is obviously huge. And I’m grieved at the way so many in the church have found themselves seduced by this idol of political power and will want to gravitate to that. And we need another sense of—it’s not that politics and political power’s a bad thing. Paul says in Romans 13 that “Government rulers are God’s servants for your good.” There is much good that can be done, but it can be this idol. And we’ve seen so many times—think January 6 and the role that Christian Nationalism plays in Christian symbols in an attempt to grab power. And I think much in the White Evangelical church, especially, has dealt with that. I think there’s another cluster of issues involving gender that is huge. I…probably one of the biggest shifts in my own theological perspective over many years in ministry has been on women in ministry questions. When I was in the early years of my Christian life, I was raised in strongly complementarian environments, and that was the sort of teaching. And it was through some ministry experience, through the impact of my wife and our two daughters—we have three kids: one son and two daughters—through women students at Trinity that I needed to go back and relook at what the bible actually said. And I have shifted to be a very strong egalitarian, and I think that that impacts the church in society, the nature of the church for the past fifteen years, where I’ve been…my wife and I have been members at LaSalle Street Church. And one of the great highlights of that is having a female senior pastor who’s a marvelous preacher and a great leader, and I’ve learned so much. I so appreciate that. One of the things, though, that I think a contemporary issue that I have done quite a bit of work on has to do with the crisis within the church of sexual abuse. And I’ve thought a lot about some of the elements in the church culture that creates an environment where sexual abuse can occur and be covered up and that sort of thing. And two of the key issues involve power differentials that can exist either through clericalism or through patriarchy. And so I teach about that to all of our pastoral students in required pastoral practice classes and we’ve got to come to a handle with that. There have been far too many cases of…whether it be moral failures themselves, but then abusive kinds of relationships. Race is a huge issue. Oh my goodness. One of the things that, again, our church—LaSalle Street Church, which is an interracial church—we’re part of a book discussion group that has, of recent, been focusing on issues of race. We’re reading Howard Thurman’s book—I don’t know if you’re familiar with him—Jesus and the Disinherited. It’s just blowing my mind in terms of opening my eyes to the nature of the privilege that I have, the stories of African American brothers and sisters, the kinds of discussions that we’re able to have. That’s a growth area for the church, for me personally, for our family. So I think that, along with the—one of the things, if I can just take a minute more—in August of 2019, so pretty, you know, one of the last summers before the pandemic hit, I taught a course in Seoul, Korea as a part of our Korea D.Min program. And the course was designed in consultation with our Korean partners, but we…they wanted a course on ecclesiology, and we settled on a framework—it was a four day intensive, and we had two days on some fundamental ecclesiological truths about the nature of the church, the leadership in the church, and then we looked at issues. And I highlighted three: the church and politics, sexual abuse, and success and failure. And it was interesting to see in a Korean context—every bit as many issues as in an American context. Unfortunately, there are the sort of things that we have to do, but those—and the link between the nature of the church, ecclesiology, and some of these critical issues for the church today.

Arcadi
[00:30:14] Wow. Thanks, Steve. I mean, yeah, those are big issues. To imagine that all of those are the ones that are facing us in the present and in the future as well is a bit daunting, so I suppose I’m glad we’re not doing it all on our own. We’ve got the power of Christ with us—

Roy
Amen. Amen.

Arcadi
—and inside of us. If I…maybe, just to kind of follow up briefly on one point you made, there, and I’m wondering, kind of making a little bit of a connection. So on the issue of, like, Christians in politics and political power, and sort of the grab for power—and maybe bringing it back to the issue of, like, success. Do you see sort of, like, a, you know, a skewed understanding of what “success” is when it comes to political power and, you know, authority within the political sphere that Christians are trying to…are getting skewed by their conceptions of success in?

Roy
Yeah, that’s a really helpful connection. Thanks for making that. I do think if we define success by sort of bottom lines, and, say, in a political world, it’s winning elections or holding power, then that opens a door for “Anything goes that can help me to achieve that.” So, the power becomes the end; the goal, rather than saying “How can I be faithful to both what God has called me to do in this world of the political realm?” and how to do it—how to do it with respect, how to do it fairly, those kinds of things. I think if our definition of success is skewed in terms of this bottom line approach, it becomes all too easy to say, “The end justifies any of the means.” And, I think unfortunately, we’ve had far too much experience with that in recent history to…to know the horrible cost that can come from that.

Pierce
Yeah. Yeah, thanks, Steve.—

Arcadi
Great. Yeah, thanks for that connection.

Roy
Yeah.

Pierce
Yeah. Well, we’re about to have to wrap, although I feel like I personally could listen to you all day, Steve. I appreciate your reflections, and it’s always good to learn from you. You were my first preaching professor ever, but certainly my first at TEDS, and it was a good experience, so thank you.—

Roy
Wow. Thank you.

Pierce
On that note, we have recently—of course—we’ve recently learned that you will be retiring at the end of 2021.

Roy
Yes.

Pierce
So congratulations, first of all—

Roy
Well thank you, thank you.

Pierce
—but we’d love to hear what you have on the horizon and maybe some of your hopes for TEDS as you transition from full-time service.

Roy
Okay. Well, thank you. And I’ve heard from many colleagues like yourselves and very kind words. And oftentimes, the question that is asked is, “So what do you got on the horizon?” And some have asked, “Are you going to stay in the area?” And the answer is “Yes.” Two of our three children live here; four of our seven grandchildren, and so we are—though we, Susan and I, are looking forward to a little freedom in some of those winter months—our third child is in Southern California, and that sounds pretty good about January-February or so, spend a little time there. But, you know, plans…and, of course, only the Lord knows all the things that he might bring in, but beyond, you know, sleep and some decompression, I just want to enjoy—I mean, my plans are to enjoy my marriage to Susan. That is a critical part of my vocation. I’ve learned a lot from Roman Catholic thoughts about vocation, where marriage is a vocation. And I want to grow in that, continue the work that we’re doing to strengthen a joyful marriage. I want to be a good dad and grandpa. But one of the goals that I have is to try and explore more of some of the parts of my own relationship with the Lord that I’ve found it personally kind of difficult in an academic environment—things like contemplative prayer. I think that at TEDS, we’re committed to the life of the mind, and well, we should be, but sometimes, I think we forget—or sometimes I can forget—that Jesus’ command to love God with all of our whole being includes, you know, the four things he says—and only one of them’s cognitive, you know, and some of these other aspects—heart, soul, strength—I want to grow in some of those areas. And I told one of my faculty colleagues that there may even be a kayak in my future, so we’re excited about those kinds of things this next season in our life, and thankful for our time at TEDS. And I’m sure that we’ll continue to have connections along the way, but, yeah, it’s the right time for us to make this move.

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Pierce
[00:35:18] That’s wonderful, Steve. And I’ve got a kayak, so that will have to be an activity that we can…where we can see each other again. I’ll be looking forward to it.

Roy
Okay. Very good. That’s great.

Pierce
[LAUGHS] Well that’s just the foreword. We hope that you’ll check out Dr. Roy’s book, What God Thinks When We Fail, published by InterVarsity Press, and various other resources that Dr. Roy has produced for us. We thank him so much for his service to TEDS and his continued service to the church. Although Dr. Roy will no longer be teaching here at TEDS full-time, he leaves a rich legacy, especially in our Pastoral Theology department. So we hope you’ll consider joining us and benefitting from all of this wonderful work. So with that, I’d like to thank our charming producer, Curtis Pierce, our fierce and fantastic graduate assistant, Lauren Januzik, and you, are listeners. Thank you. I’m Madison Pierce.

Arcadi
And I’m James Arcadi.

Pierce
Thanks, Steve.

Roy
Thank you. Thank you. It’s been great.

Outro
Foreword is a podcast hosted by faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The views expressed by the hosts and guests of Foreword do not necessarily represent the views of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. You can subscribe to our newest episodes on your preferred podcast app or at forewordpodcast.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook @forewordpodcast to get updates and additional links to content. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is located 25 miles north of Chicago, with extension sites across the country and online. Trinity educates men and women to engage in God’s redemptive work in the world by cultivating academic excellence, Christian faithfulness, and lifelong learning. You can find more information at teds.edu.

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