No one would mistake Kemper Crabb for a modern man, and this is to his credit. You might mistake him for a medieval man born 700 years too late. His musical stylings are enough to evidence that fact. You might also mistake him for a Renaissance man. His breadth of knowledge and variety of skills are enough to evidence that fact. You might also mistake him for a postmodern Christian. His distaste for the philosophical errors of the modern era is enough to evidence that fact. He fits all of these categories and none of them at the same time. He is, in fact, a Christian man whose theological perspective is at once historical and contemporary.
I love that description because it sounds so closely to the Ancient Future church that I reflected on earlier. When we ignore the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us, we are diminished. To hear in both song and teaching, the power of the Gospel to transform lives in the middle ages, I sat there and wondered why so many can't see how silly it is to believe that our generation some how has figured it all out. We are diminished when we think that our present world has nothing to learn from hearing the transforming stories of those who have gone before us. In some ways, the church needs to be aware of this so we don't suffer from the tyranny of the present. Kemper reminded us that the truth of the Gospel remains the same throughout all centuries and we are blessed when we see the unchanging Word of God shaping both us and the ancients in the same way, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We may express it differently, through images and metaphors, but the truth of God's Word, unchanging throughout the centuries, is the context for our relationship to an amazing God.
The concert was magnificient and Kemper held the crowd in rapt attention with both his music and his teaching. I left the concert richer and a little poorer. I was richer because I had been taken to a place of deep reflection through both music and word. I was poorer because I bought several of his CDs!
I recommend Kemper to anyone who has the opportunity to hear him in concert. I look forward to getting to know him better and inviting him to return to COTHA. The Holy Spirit is clearly in this gifted man's life and ministry.