When Gabriel Gordon got on the phone with Passages in January, he had turned in the final draft of his second book just a few days before (and had no shortage of words to say about it).
Set to be published by Quoir Publishing, Gabriel’s book “God Speaks” describes the history of and his theories about the doctrine of inspiration. His first book, a collection of theological essays entitled Late Night Meanderings with God, was self-published through his blog/organization “The Misfit Theology Press.”
Gabriel is interested in all things theology and is currently working toward his Masters of Theological Studies at Portland Seminary. He first traveled to Passages in Summer 2019 as a graduate student. However, he’d first heard about the trip while at Oklahoma Baptist University, where he received his undergraduate degree, and was immediately interested. “My dad’s side of the family is actually Jewish, so I’d wanted to go to Israel for a long time,” Gabriel said. Although he wasn’t able to go on that initial trip, he was thrilled when he was later accepted to travel with Passages as a graduate student. Gabriel then returned to Israel in Winter 2020 as a fellow.
The highlight of his trip was, unsurprisingly, a theologically-significant site — the Temple grounds where Jesus chased out the money-changers and animals for sale.
“I really liked the story of Jesus turning over the tables for a whole lot of theological reasons,” Gabriel explained, “and so when we were at the Temple Mount where the money changers would likely have been, that was one of the highlights. That was an incredible experience knowing (I’m a biblical studies specialization for my masters) the significance of Jesus turning over the tables, which was a lot more radical than I think people realized. It was just kind of a surreal moment being able to literally be … where Jesus most likely stepped and did this radical thing that continued to shape Christianity for hundreds of years.”
Although always interested in theology, Gabriel’s passion for discussing ideas and biblical interpretation really began when he was in college, where he studied Anthropology and Cross Cultural Ministry.
One night he was discussing his ideas for a sermon he had been invited to give at a small church near the school and it brought out strong opposing viewpoints with his roommate. Although he and his roommate are still good friends to this day, Gabriel said this disagreement “erupted into a really vehement conversation.”
As Gabriel continued to think through his own theological opinions and discuss different perspectives with others around him, he decided to begin “the Misfits Theology Club.” The main purpose of this group, which began as a small discussion group in Gabriel’s apartment and grew into a blog, podcast, and annual conference, is to build unity in the church, even in disagreement
“To accept one another, we don’t actually have to agree with one another. And that’s modeled in the way that Jesus did ministry. He ate with people, which in that culture was a sign of friendship and acceptance, but that doesn’t mean he agreed with everything they did,” Gabriel said.
“If you love one another, the world will know that you are my disciples. So the inverse of that, or the negative of that, is that if we don’t love one another, then the world won’t know that we’re his disciples. So I actually have a huge passion for unity as a priority in the Church. That’s what Misfits is about,” he continued.
Gabriel plans to get his PhD in Historical Theology to continue learning about these topics and hopes to specialize in the theology of the early church.
If he could share one piece of advice with fellow Passages alumni, Gabriel would encourage them to “keep exploring, and make part of that exploration reading Jewish authors, Jewish theology, and Jewish biblical studies. They’ve been reading the scriptures a lot longer … so there’s maybe something we can learn from them.”
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