50 Years. 50 Grads. 100% Regent

50 Years•50 Grads
100% Regent

50 Years•50 Grads•100% Regent

2000 W. David O. Taylor

Professor of Theology & Culture Austin, Texas, USA

On Campus 1995–2000 ∙ DipCS & MCS ’98, ThM ’00

I was born and raised in Guatemala City, and now live in Austin with my wife, Phaedra, and our two kids. I serve as Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Director of Brehm Texas, an initiative that seeks the renewal of the church through the arts.

How Regent made a difference:

From my first day as a student, I have felt deeply nurtured by the gracious, integrated, expansive vision of the Christian life that Regent College exhibits and invites us to embrace. In particular, I have to credit Regent for providing me with a conceptual framework for thinking biblically and theologically about the arts, and for giving me the opportunity to start doing that. I wasn’t in the Arts concentration—I did systematic theology for my MCS and then New Testament for the ThM—but my professors were always encouraging when I requested permission to explore the relation between the arts and biblical studies, history, theology, or ministry. My various papers provided me with the necessary resources to become a pastor with oversight of an arts ministry. I owe a great deal to my thinking about art and faith to Regent College.

W. David O. Taylor
  • More From W. David O. Taylor

    How I got to Regent:

    Before coming to Regent, I was a student at the University of Texas. I’d originally planned to go on to graduate study in international relations at Johns Hopkins University in order to pursue a career in the foreign service. A personal crisis during my last semester in undergrad derailed those plans and landed me, much to my surprise, at the un-seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Most important lessons:

    That my personhood can only be properly discerned and cultivated in community (as much as I wish it were otherwise).

    That creation care was God’s concern before it was the concern of a political party (something my childhood faith never knew was possible).

    That all callings have an important role to play in God’s economy (not just the pastor, missionary, and evangelist).

    That the Great Tradition should not be feared (as my conservative Protestant tradition had suggested) but embraced.

    That, as Gordon Fee reminded me over and over again, there is in fact a Third Person of the Trinity whom I can gladly welcome into my life (rather than fear, as I had most of my life).

    That theology has always thrived when rooted in the worship and mission of the church (which is a conviction I still hold today as a theologian).

    Community life:

    I treasure all the friends I made during my years at Regent. I also cringe at all the crazy things I did during chapel services, but I’m glad that the grace of God covers those embarrassing moments too. :)

    Life after Regent:

    After Regent, I spent nine years as a pastor at Hope Chapel in Austin, Texas. It was a congregation of about 500 people that included about 125 artists, so I had plenty of opportunities to explore how the arts could become integral to the church’s worship and mission.

    I did my doctoral work in theology and the arts with Jeremy Begbie, who often teaches and speaks at Regent. Now I’m a teacher myself, and I get to help students think clearly about theology, worship, vocation, and art. I hope to offer my students some of the same opportunities that were generously offered to me.

    I also lead an initiative of the Brehm Centre for Worship, Theology, and the Arts that seeks to revitalize the church through the arts for the common good. Its mission is to gather church leaders, artists, and academics in order to explore the role of the arts in the life of the church and to produce resources that serve the church.

    [Editor’s note: You can read more about David’s engagement with theology and the arts—including the video he made with Eugene Peterson and Bono on the Psalms—in this interview.]

    Aspect of your life that would have surprised you as a student:

    That I’m actually writing books. I never dreamed of being able to do this. My newest book is Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life. It begins with a description of sitting in Eugene's class at Regent in the spring of 1996 and hearing his advice to read the psalms one after another until this practice had turned me into a psalm-inflected creature. Over the years, it has.

    Why I support Regent today:

    I support Regent because it’s one of the few seminaries in the world that’s committed to a deeply integrated theological education for both the laity and the clergy. I would encourage fellow alumni to financially support Regent College not only because its work and mission are sorely needed in an increasingly post-Christian North American society, but also because it forms Christians who are equipped to serve as winsome witnesses in such a society.

    Three words that describe Regent College:

    1. Community
    2. Integration
    3. Vocation

    Only Regent people…

    … use the term “perichoresis” as if it were the most normal thing to say over and over again: at breakfast, lunch and dinner, while filling up gas into their cars, while checking out at the grocery store, while watching their favorite sports team, while tying their shoes and completing their tax returns. It’s the term that Regent graduates will say to Saint Peter when they walk through the pearly gates!

    Best Regent memory:

    Watching J. I. Packer bound up the stairs two at a time, serving as his TA for three years, discovering his warm, pastoral heart, and feeling deeply inspired by his calling as a scholar to write for what he called the thoughtful layperson.

    Funniest Regent memory:

    Doing impressions of the faculty at the fall retreat and laughing at how ridiculous it all was.

    Favourite Regent class:

    Jesus in Literature with Maxine Hancock.

    Favourite thing about Vancouver:

    The ocean and mountains right next to each other.

    Fun facts:

    1. I’ve listened to the jazz musician Dave Brubeck every weekday morning for the past two years. I never tire of listening to his music.

    2. I’ve read 200 science fiction novels in preparation for a course I’m developing on Theology and Science Fiction.

    3. I swam eight kilometers across Lake Atitlan in Guatemala City as a teenager. It took me three long hours.

    As a donor, I'm supporting Regent's ongoing mission.
    Would you join me?