110: Coffee with Mark Achtemeier

Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier is a minister, author and theologian of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is well known for his biblical research regarding same-sex marriage and having argued just as passionately against same-sex marriage as he argues for it today. This son to prestigious old and new testament seminary professors presents his case in The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage.

Many of our listeners know that I work at Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Morton Library. More specifically, I work in the Instructional Resource Center where I stay busy supporting seminarians, faculty, and other patrons in the Digital Learning Lab and filling interlibrary loan requests (ILL). It is in the ILL capacity that the Achtemeier name  regularly crosses my path. Requests from other schools all around the country want to borrow books, audio cassettes (yes, audio cassettes), and CD’s by Paul, Elizabeth and Mark Achtemeier. The interesting thing to me was paying attention to the titles of their works. If these people were, in fact, related to each other then it seemed to me that they might not get along very well! The audio cassette titles often implicated conservative messages while there were many requests for Mark’s above mentioned book. Nah, they couldn’t be related. It had to be coincidence.

Then after interviewing Tony Campolo and Bart Campolo I heard about several iconic Christian leaders who’s children were doing … dissimilar, but related ministries. Some of you have listened to our interview with the Campolo’s or Frank Schaeffer. (Check out the movie about Frank.) So I was very grateful that Mark Achtemeier was willing to begin a relationship with me and the Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast.

These days the United States is extremely uneasy with the occupant of the White House. Americans, like myself, who have taken far too much for granted, find our nation in jeopardy. The President is undermining legitimate news agencies that cite their sources while giving credence to farcical conspiracy groups and tabloids. As we learn more and more about then-candidate Trump and now President Trump’s connections with the Russian government, we wonder how to remove the cancer before it handicaps our country and costs innumerable lives here and abroad. We’re all asking ourselves what we can do to protect our country and our neighbors, American and otherwise, within our borders and beyond.

As an example, January 29th on Facebook there’s a picture of a bundled up Mark in a crowd holding up a sign – the poster board is white, the handwriting is in all caps, black marker, except one word. It reads, “Christians oppose the ban!” The word ‘oppose’ is written in red. The caption reads as follows:

Places I never thought I’d be…

I have till now resisted passing impulses to join Facebook. But in the past 24 hours the news has been of the immigration ban, and detentions of legal residents without charges or access to lawyers, and airport protests, and Customs and Border Patrol agents defying orders of Federal judges.

At church today I learned about a hastily-organized protest rally coming together in downtown Dubuque this afternoon. I bought poster board and markers on my way home from worship and have been out this afternoon in 15 degree wind-chills marching along downtown streets, chanting in front of our local congressman’s office, and holding my home-made sign in the air.

I can’t afford to rely just on word-of-mouth to learn about these things anymore, so here. I am. Hello world.

Do you understand? People are doing things they’ve never done before because we’re willing to do whatever it takes for America to be its best self, for humanity to be its best self.

 Links:

The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage, New Edition with Study Guide (2015)

Jesus’ Answer to President Trump’s Immigration Ban

Mark in the Huffington Post (2011-present)

First Presbyterian Church Dubuque

NY Times

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Elizabeth Achtemeier (Mark’s mother)

Paul Achtemeier (Mark’s father)

Tony Campolo Interview

Bart Campolo Interview

Frank Schaeffer Interview