13 January 2007

Friday Five: Five Favorite Folks

Last night my TV Boyfriend Keith Olbermann made some comments I really appreciated, and it got me thinking about what makes one person admire another. In the spirit of Keith's show on MSNBC, welcome to the Friday Five Countdown Edition.

Please count down five living people you admire and tell us a little something about why they make your list. These could be famous people or people you know personally.


Songbird from RevGalBlogPals
5. Tom Osborne
Dr. Tom was the head football coach at Nebraska for 25 years. In those 25 years he averaged 10 wins a season, won three national championships, and cemented the University of Nebraska's football legacy for years to come. But Tom was also known as a caring person who believed that his vocation was only a means by which he could be a positive influence on the lives of people around the state. Tom & his wife Nancy started a mentoring program that is still thriving today in the Lincoln area. He served two terms as a U.S. Congressman before making a run for governor (and losing graciously in the Republican primary, one of the most shocking political upsets Nebraska has ever seen). Now Dr. Tom (PhD in Educational Psychology) has returned to the University to teach. He's 70, a living legend in Nebraska, and still feels like he needs to contribute. When I was a boy I dreamed of playing football for Dr. Tom - today I'd just like to have dinner with him and learn what I can about how he views life, teaching and faith.

4. Turner Gill.
Gill is the head football coach at the University of Buffalo. Until 2005, Gill was deeply connected with Nebraska football. He was the starting quarterback on the 1983 "Scoring Explosion" team that lost a heartbreaker to Miami in the Orange Bowl. He was the quarterbacks coach and, some said, destined to become head coach when Frank Solich retired. But Solich was fired, and Gill left a year later for the Green Bay Packers.
But I'm writing about Turner Gill for another reason. My best friend put together an internet "farewell & good luck" card for Mr. Gill. When Gill got word of it, he wanted to say "thank you." He did it in person. I can't remember if BF went to Gill's house or Gill went to BF's house, but I know they met face to face so Gill could say "thank you." Classy beyond belief.

3. Brian Stoffregen
Brian is a Lutheran pastor in California. Every week he posts exegetical notes for anyone & everyone to use as they see fit. It must take a lot of work, and I certainly have appreciated it over the few years I've been preaching weekly. He's got a great sense of humor, reads some really good commentaries and always has something for me to think about as I prepare to preach. Check his website out if you're a preacher or just want to know more about the scriptures we read every week.

2. Susan Briehl
Rev. Briehl was the keynote speaker at our Synod Rostered Leaders' Retreat two years ago, and I'm still impressed. It couldn't have been easy for a poet from the Pacific Northwest to come to a Minnesota pastors' retreat (read: non-poetic Norwegians who view emotions and passion with deep suspicion, if not dread), but she did, and it was incredible. As a musician I've appreciated her skill at the art of liturgy and hymn composition; as a theologian, I was blown away by her confession of faith. She's as solidly Lutheran as they come, and I think just about everyone was impressed with her deep understanding of the Psalms and how they can speak to us in ways we never expected. Her lectures are still shaping some of the worship practices in our church.

1. Gordon Atkinson (aka Real Live Preacher)
At a First Call Retreat a few years ago, one of the presenters mentioned a weblog he frequented, something like "Real Live Preacher." I checked it out and met Gordon, a Baptist pastor from San Antonio who just flat out ROCKS. His original writing is great, but what I really appreciate is his ability to comment on life and faith. The humor and deep love that he has for his family and his church resonate through these posts and make me realize the giftedness of my own life and family, which, dare I say, should be one of the functions of great preaching. Maybe sometimes he uses rough language or posts a bit more than you'd like to know, but I think that might be a desperately needed counter-balance to those of us who hide our flaws and our rough edges for fear that someone might find out that we're not perfect after all. Thanks to RLP, I'm a little more willing to be open and rough these days, and that's a good thing.


  1. Wow, what a list! Thanks! Although I'm not preaching tomorrow, I came over here to find a link to Brian Stoffregen's site--and I was successful. Many prayers from here as you continue to wait...

  2. Thanks for the prayers, and I hope you found the Stoffregen site helpful!

  3. Susan Briehl was an instructor at Wartburg my final year there. Though she didn't teach a class I was able to take.
    I MAY have developed a wee bit of a teacher crush on her...
    Just a wee bit.

  4. lol - you're not the only one to have a wee crush on the Rev. Briehl. Kris said as much when I got home from the pastors' retreat in question.
    Then again, there's a lot on which one could crush, no?
    Sad - Steve Paulson had groupies at Luther when I was there, now it appears I'm a Briehl groupie. Weren't we supposed to grow up at some point?