Which Christians Do You Admire?

It’s a serious question I’m asking (for some research I’m doing).

I’m hoping Christian readers will respond.

Which Christians do you admire?

To explain, if you mention the name James Dobson or Pat Robertson, I know plenty of Christians who would cringe because of the damage those guys have done in the name of Christianity. They would say “they’re not true Christians” or “they’re not following Jesus.”

But there must be a number of Christians you respect and admire in a variety of areas: pastors, authors, actors, athletes, etc.

Who are they?

Atheists: are there any Christians you don’t mind listening to?

***Update***: I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but I was looking specifically for living Christians. Thank you for the list so far! It’s very helpful.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Kate

    Mike Clawson.

    And uh…Erik. ;)

    Brian McLaren.

  • Brenda Maxwell

    An awesome Christian that I admire is Joseph Prince. His website is http://www.josephprince.org.

  • http://jimloomis.deviantart.com Jimmy

    I admire Mike and Julie Clawson because they seem to be the most open minded religious people that I’ve ever met! I also have some Christian friends that I interact with on a daily basis.

    As for famous Christians, I’ll have to get back to you on that. Jack Van Impe is quite hilarious, but I can’t say that I admire him. Joel Osteen seems like a really great guy, though I know little about him.

    In order for a religious person to have my admiration, they must be able to see their religious beliefs as philosophy rather than “ultimate truth”. Philosophy can be enlightening and rewarding, but taken out of context, it can be demeaning and anti-progressive. As long as their beliefs don’t get in the way of their rationale and logic, I admire them!

  • Bryce

    John Shelby Spong
    Barry Lynn

  • http://unorthodoxatheism.blogspot.com Reed Braden

    I liked Max Lucado‘s devotionals growing up in the Christian church and I still read some of his stuff now and then. It’s Christianity-Lite, yes, but it’s very well written and very inspirational. Or maybe it’s just because I like to reminisce.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de MorseCode

    Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins. Christians who are actually good scientists. Huzzah!

  • http://americanpessoptimist.blogspot.com/ Sara

    Bill Cecchini. That there’s an honest man, in both his faith and his struggle with faith. I can respect that.

  • http://off-center.tatuskofam.com Drew

    Gene Robinson, Rowan Williams, Wolfhart Pannenberg, John Polkinghorne, Ellen Charry, Wentzyl van Huysteen, Diogenes Allen, Marcus Borg, Luke Timothy Johnson, Walter Brueggeman, Bruce McCormack, William Stacy Johnson. Many of them were professors of mine at some point so the impact and exposure to them is palpable.

    The top of my list of who are no longer with us, but more or less somewhat current in the scheme of things are James Loder, Simone Weil, T.F. Torrance, H. Richard Niebuhr.

  • http://de-conversion.com thinking.ape

    Not too many alive today that I can think of. I agree with Kate that Brian McLaren and his wife are definitely more than tolerable, and I would also suggest many leading Anglicans, such as Rev. Michael Ingham of my own Diocese, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. I appreciate the work of Roman Catholic Kenneth R. Miller in his crusade for proper biological education.

    Of course, past Christians such as Dorothy Day, Martin Buber, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Martin Luther King, Jr., Soren Kierkegaard, John Duns Scotus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Arius, Origen, and many others would definitely make my list of worthy candidates. Of course, this is just off the top of my head, I am sure I am missing many more.

  • Elsin Ann Perry

    Jimmy Carter.

  • Spurs Fan

    Donald Miller (author of “Blue Like Jazz”). He’s not very deep theologically, but as far as personal reflections on his faith, he’s very interesting. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with him, I find he is able to question his own views, a very healthy characteristic!

    I would also second John Shelby Spong and add Brian McClaren and Jim Wallis.

  • http://www.primordial-blog.blogspot.com/ Brian

    Does Gandhi count? He’s the only one I’ve seen who actually lived the sermon on the mount.

    I also admired Philip Yancey’s books when I was in the church, especially The Jesus I Never Knew which wasn’t afraid to take on some of the fundamentalist tendencies in the church.

  • Kate

    Totally forgot Ken Miller!!!!! “Finding Darwin’s God” is an exceptional book.

  • Darryl

    I have no idea who’s a good Christian, but I admire David Kuo for telling the truth about the Right Wing of the Christopoliticos.

  • Fergus Gallagher

    I don’t mind at all listening to the Archbishop of Canterbury…

    …when trying to doze off.

  • http://yetanotheratheistblog.wordpress.com/ stone1343

    A local minister from the United Church, David Chisling. He spoke at a funeral I was at on the weekend, and gave such a warm, caring tribute. I forget how he worded it, but when it was time to pray, he asked that we reflect and say a few words to whatever deity or spirit or power we chose, it was inclusive and reflected the real ideal of love. Very impressive.

    Come to think of it, other United Church ministers I’ve met are similar, the kind of person that we should all aim to be.

  • http://yendi.livejournal.com Adam Lipkin

    There are probable dozens, if not hundreds (especially in the arts), since it’s not like people always wear a badge identifying their beliefs.

    Two that come to mind:

    Brother Guy Consolmagno (astronomer for the Vatican) and Gene Wolfe (wonderful genre writer).

  • cautious

    Um, I’m never too sure which paleontologists are Christians, but Peter Dodson is, and he friggin rocks. He once did this great talk, at a vert paleo conference, about what the universe pictured in Genesis 1 would look like. Totally blew my mind.

  • Nancy

    My cousin Mona is a Christian I admire very much. She lives what she believes and has never preached nor witnessed at me. In fact, I always have to bring up the subject myself if I want to discuss it with her.

  • http://steingrueblwe.blogspot.com Heather

    I admire my mom. Even though she forced religion down my throat as a kid, she never once suggested that I should stop thinking for myself. Now she’s about to become an ordained minister, and I’m proud of her. She’s put in a lifetime with atheists, and proves everyday that we can actually all get along.

  • jascha

    I saw the (ex)Bishop Desmond Tutu on the Daily Show a few years ago. Even over the TV he had the most amazing presence. I have never been around someone that I felt loved us all so purely and unconditionally. I can’t say I know I lot about the guy, but whenever I need to think of a ‘good’ Christian, he’s the one that comes to mind. If all religious folks were like the man I saw on TV that night, we’d have a much nicer world I think.

  • http://adventuresinmultiplicity.blogspot.com Heidi

    as a don’t-know-doesn’t-matter-atheist Buddhist,
    I admire and can definitely listen to Jimmy Carter. I don’t know what he’s specifically said, but I greatly admire Desmond Tutu.

    Here in Portland, Dr. Paul Metzger with the Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He and my Zen teacher have cultivated a friendship for several years now.

    You may be interested in this Hemant. He and some of his seminary students have been meeting with some of my Zen Buddhist congregation. (not me, I’m not sure if they’re still doing this.) There was an article in Tricycle Buddhist Journal a while ago by Sallie Tisdale:
    http://www.tricycle.com/issues/tricycle/pdfs/tisdale161.pdf

    You can see an older newsletter article about the dialogues here, scroll down to “Building Bridges”
    http://www.dharma-rain.org/StillPoint/SPjul_aug05.shtml

  • http://adventuresinmultiplicity.blogspot.com Heidi

    I meant to include a link to Dr. Metzger’s bio page:
    http://www.multnomah.edu/Seminary/pagesfaculty/directory/FacBio.asp?PID=P000012677

  • andy

    Greg Boyd, former atheist who surrendered his life to Christ in 1974. graduate of Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary. professor of theology for 16 years at Bethel University. founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church.

    http://gregboyd.blogspot.com/

  • Mike

    My dad! He is a former pastor still mildly active in the church (one of the most liberal denominations). He really detested creationism and other by-products of literalism/inerrancy. He always encouraged reason and logic, saying that the bible says to serve god “with all your heart, body, and mind” — god does not want you to just shut off your brain.

  • http://blackskeptic.wordpress.com blackskpetic

    I respect Christians that do not take themselves too seriously or take the bible literally. I respect Christians that are trying to build a lot of different people up, and not just tearing people down. I respect Christians that are following Christ. I respect Christians that realize that atheist is not another word for satan.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Thank you to those who actually listed me. That took me by surprise!

    There’s probably too many for me to even name, though here’s a short list:

    My wife, Julie Clawson – pastor/writer/activist/mom
    Brian McLaren – author/activist
    Rob Bell – pastor/author
    NT Wright – theologian/Bishop
    Shane Claiborne – activist/author/ordinary radical
    Martin Luther King Jr. – activist/pastor
    Desmond Tutu – activist/Bishop
    Anne Lamott – author
    Gary Haugen – activist
    Rebecca Murphy – student/deep thinker
    Phyllis Tickle – author
    Steve & Joline Moore – “missionaries” to Haiti
    Jim Wallis – activist/preacher
    Rose & Rich Swetman – pastors

  • Siamang

    I’d add Jim Henderson to the names that others have brought up.

  • http://www.xanga.com/drew85 Drew

    Ray Comfort!!

  • Adrian

    The world is filled with Christians which are pleasant to talk to about anything other than religion. When they get talking about religion, even otherwise smart people like Ken Miller or Francis Collins sound like mushy-headed nitwits. It’s saddening, but at least their thinking is compartmentalized well.

    But if I’m going to religious talk, I’d rather have it go whole hog – Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind, any fire & brimstone preacher, that gang. I’m not going to like any religious talk, so you might as well enjoy the unintentional humour!

  • Lezard

    Barack Obama.

  • Jason

    One that I definitely admire is a former boss of mine. While serious in her religious beliefs it was almost never brought up in the workplace. (And not in a way that was preaching or the like.) She was patient, understanding and provided guidance professionally.She eventually became an ordained minister from what I understand.

  • Siamang

    What Christians Do You Admire?

    Hemant is a math teacher not an English teacher.

    Which Christians Do You Admire?

  • http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com/ Steven Carr

    In Britain, 71% of people claim to be Christians according to the last census.

    So there must be lots of people I admire who are , unknowingly to me, Christians.

    What though is admiration? Some people have done admirable things, and credit to them for that.

    But admiration is not adoration.

    Often I admire the human race, for producing people who can do the things that I admire, rather than admire the people who do them.

    Humanity is, by and large, an admirable species. I find that most people try their best to do what they think is right.

  • http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com/ Steven Carr

    What research are you doing?

  • John

    Francis Chan-pastor in Southern Cal.
    Donald Miller-author “Blue Like Jazz”
    Mother Theresa-nun/helper of poor

  • Karen

    I’d second many that have already been listed, such as Yancy, Ken Miller and Barry Lynn. A few names I haven’t seen whom I know from a progressive anti-poverty organization called the Christian Community Development Assn:

    Tony and Peggy Campolo
    John and Vera Mae Perkins
    Derek and Karen Perkins
    Rudy Carrasco
    Bob Lupton
    Wayne Gordon
    Noel Castellanos

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    I’ll third the Jimmy Carter (a better ex-president than most presidents were presidents).

    I’ll also mention the Quakers who went to the funeral for the man who murdered their children. They could teach us all about forgiveness.
    Steven Carr:

    So there must be lots of people I admire who are , unknowingly to me, Christians.

    Perhaps he means those who are vocal/devout Christians?

    Does anyone else wonder if a reciprocal question could be posed on a Christian blog?

  • jonathan

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a huge influence on me prior to deconverting. I still admire his level of conviction, intense sense of fairness, and his capacity to actually do what he felt was right.

    oh, and of course Johnny Cash…

  • http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com/ Steven Carr

    Mother Teresa had the honesty to admit that she would not choose the hospital care she provided for others, and chose other hospitals instead.

    Such honesty is admirable, and she backed up her reputation for honesty in the letters she wrote about her faith.

  • http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com/ Steven Carr

    It is difficult in Britain to say which Christians you admire, because of the great difficulty (in most cases) of saying who is a Christian and who is not.

    But I admire lots and lots of people, and I’m sure that many of them are Christians.

  • Spurs Fan

    I’ll also mention the Quakers who went to the funeral for the man who murdered their children. They could teach us all about forgiveness.

    I agree, but I think those were the Amish

  • http://wildphilosophy.blogspot.com Mathew Wilder

    Jonathan beat me to it. I was going to say Dietrich Bonhoffer too.

    I was thinking more along the lines of famous people, or people who were known because they were Christians, but I agree with the posters who say most people are good people, and some are even admirable (I just can’t go so far as to say most people are admirable, because I think that’s false – I actually think very few people are actually admirable).

    One well-known Christian I admire is Bono.

  • Jacob Dink

    I have a handful of Christian teachers that I admire a great deal.

  • http://www.iniquityx.com Rifter

    Perhaps C.S. Lewis is deserving of respect, despite his beliefs.

  • http://www.fireandknowledge.org Josh S.

    Alive: Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, Anne Lamott
    Dead: GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, Dostoevsky

  • http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com/ Steven Carr

    There is also Tolstoy, although Dostoyevsky was a much better writer.

    Sir Isaac Newton was also a Christian, although he was a pretty horrible man, apart from being a great genius.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    As an atheist, these are Christian authors I like:

    Randall Balmer – http://www.barnard.edu/religion/balmer.htm

    Chris Hedges – http://www.truthdig.com/about/staff/70

    And, to repeat a few others:

    John Shelby Spong

    Anne Lamott

    Jimmy Carter (haven’t read any of his books, but I truly admire him)

  • Mike

    I already commented above, but thought of another person to add: J.S. Bach. I don’t know much at all about him as a person, but as for his music, one of my favorite quotations says it far better than I can:

    Although I don’t believe in God, Bach’s music shows me what a love of God must feel like.
    – Alain de Botton

  • http://thismortallife.blogspot.com David Wilhite

    Living:
    John Piper = pastor
    J.I. Packer = theologian
    Tim Keller = pastor
    Ravi Zacharias = apologist

    Dead:
    Francis Schaeffer = apologist
    Charles Spurgeon = pastor
    William Wilberforce = social activist, politician
    John G. Paton = missionary
    Martin Luther = theologian
    John Bunyan = pastor, author
    Jim Elliot = missionary

  • http://uncrediblehallq.blogspot.com/ Chris Hallquist

    In the early 20th century, the British seem to have been constitutionally sensible to the last. Though there’s no Christian from that period I admire as much as Bertrand Russell, people like C. S. Lewis and G. E. M. Anscombe make me smile from time to time.

    Alive, there are a few Christian philosophers I like: Thomas V. Morris, Peter van Inwagen, Keith Yandell (the last you’re unlikely to have heard of, but I had him for a professor all year last year).

  • http://bruisescolours.wordpress.com/ BC

    I could go with my parents who I admire quite a bit, but I’ll stick to someone who makes Christianity their profession. Fr. Jim, the very nice Irish Catholic priest at the parish I attended back when I was a kid. He seemed to embody the sermon on the mount version of Christianity very well. He was also quite important in the development of my public speaking skills. During his homily he asked rhetorically if anyone knew a particular Bible story, and being 9 years old, I didn’t understand that he wasn’t acctually looking for a response. So I raised my hand and he called me up to the pulpit in front of two or three hundred people and asked me to tell the story, so I did. He filled in the gaps and carried on with his message after I was done. So there you go, Fr. Jim, Christian to be admired.

  • Anon

    It seems many of the people listed are admired because they have some misgivings about certain aspects of their faith or question the entire scope of their religion. So basically, you admire an individual that holds a belief central to their lives for questioning said belief (that’s a poorly constructed sentence, please re-read to get what Im saying). I find this somewhat odd. Here’s a more direct way of stating this:

    “I admire this Christian because he thinks Christianity might be wrong.”

  • christrevolutionary

    I believe that there are Christians who are worthy of some admiration however everyone does wrong and does things that are not admirable. I choose to only admire Christ and the examples of Christ I see in people. Not the people themselves.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Does anyone else wonder if a reciprocal question could be posed on a Christian blog?

    There probably aren’t enough prominent atheists that most Christians would have heard of for them to list; and sadly the ones they probably have heard of (e.g. the anti-theist “New Atheists”) are probably not the kind they’d have much admiration for.

    Though personally I’d probably list people like:

    Richard Wade
    Helen Mildenhall
    Matt Casper
    Siamang
    Eliza
    Karen
    Donna
    Hemant
    Greg Epstein
    Hamish MacPherson

  • Susan

    Dave Burchett, the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. When a devout Christian friend blew apart our friendship in ways that I won’t describe, I read Dave’s book and then wrote him an email. We’ve had some great exchanges. He really does understand the ways in which Christians practice deep cruelty, but he somehow maintains his faith.

    Two others aren’t famous. They are the Rev. Lesley Carmichael and Rev. Beth Patillo, both of Nashville, TN. They are truly gracious women who embody the principles which are supposed to be the basis of their faith.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    Thanks, Mike — assuming you mean me. :-)

    I would have listed you, but I only included book authors in my list, for no particular reason. I also have several friends and family members I could include, bud no one would know who they are anyway.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Siamang said:

    What Christians Do You Admire?

    Hemant is a math teacher not an English teacher.

    Which Christians Do You Admire?

    Blast! I knew that looked weird. It’s been changed now. Thanks!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    What research are you doing?

    I’d rather not say now, but if anything comes from it, I’ll let you all know.

  • http://opheliarhiana.blogspot.com Lauren

    living & [somewhat at least] famous:
    john piper
    ji packer
    cj mahaney
    mark driscoll
    mark dever
    tim keller
    ligon duncan
    derek webb
    jim caviezel
    sylvester stallone
    billy graham
    rc sproul
    john macarthur
    john frame
    bono
    lauren winner
    dawn eden

    living & not famous outside very specific (mostly theological) circles, but google-able:
    mike kruger
    douglas kelly
    john currid
    sinclair ferguson
    sandra mccracken
    john stone
    brian habig
    joe novenson
    paige (benton) brown

    this is not a conclusive list, and i don’t endorse everything these people say or think. what i love about most of these people is their boldness and their orthodoxy.

  • http://www.wordsfromtheway.com/between-the-trees Jake Meador

    Tim Keller – author of recent book The Reason for God
    Donald Miller – author of Blue Like Jazz
    Rob Bell – author of Velvet Elvis
    Desmond Tutu
    Jimmy Carter

    those were the names that came to mind for me, at least of the more well-known Christians in the public sphere…

  • Samuel Skinner

    George Washington (definately pretty moral- slave owner, but realized they were human and didn’t sell them. Also freed them with his wife’s death).
    Erwin Rommel (fought for the wrong side. Still a brilliant man who was willing to kill himself to protect his family).
    MLK
    John Brown (nuts, fanatic and on the right side)
    Ike
    FDR

    There are more, but it is off the top of my head

  • Lysander
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  • http://www.jaredmlee.net jared

    Lauren named most of mine i would also add –

    rob bell

    donald miller

    nt (tom) wright

  • http://liberalfaith.blogspot.com/ Steve Caldwell

    I’ve co-led several sexuality education workshops with Ann Hanson, the staff minister in charge of sexuality education for the United Church of Christ (UCC).

    In partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association, the UCC has created one of the best comprehensive, age-appropriate, lifespan sexuality education curricula for use in secular and church settings.

    They did this work in partnership with leading secular sexuality educators from Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, etc.

    This curricula series is called “Our Whole Lives” and more information can be found online here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Whole_Lives

  • http://www.bethinking.org Tom Price

    Hi Hemant,

    I would like to add Jesus to the list

    Thanks

    Tom

  • the Shaggy

    This teacher in high school. Fundamentalist Christian, skeptical of evolution (pro-Creationism), brilliant writer, Dr. Who fan, and most paradoxically, one of the best biology and chemistry teachers the school had.

    Despite his faith, the man taught me to think critically, taught me logic and rhetoric and dialectic. The proper way to debate and argue, logical fallacies, and shared his love of astronomy that still persists to this day. He would stop in to one of my science classes (taught by a hardcore atheist and friendly nemesis to this man), and they’d argue for/against evolution. Then they’d hang out after work. That type of respect is rare.

    Oddly enough, this man inspired me so much that I don’t think I’d be an atheist the way I am today if not for him. He was never actually my teacher for any class, but a mentor.

  • Mriana

    Well, I don’t mind listening to Bishop John Shelby Spong, Anthony Freeman, Don Cupitt, or Tom Harpur. All them either retired or former clergy of the Anglican Communion. Why? Well, despite their religious views, they all four have a lot of humanistic values, which goes a long ways with me. They are more humanistic than they are religious even with all the God talk thrown into what they say. They go that extra mile to put dogmatism in its place, even have the audacity to say things like “Prayers need not be like adult letters to a Santa Claus like God.” “Theism is dead.” “If that’s Christianity, I want no part of it!” (Both by Spong) “Jesus never existed.” (Tom Harpur), not to mention the one that was taken out of context and said by Freeman, “There is no God.” In that case, he was referring to an anthropomorphic diety that resides in the sky. The one that exists to him is “within us” and he considers it love and compassion. Don Culpitt does call god “love” and disagrees with a Zeus like deity. The list goes on and on as to the non-theistic things they say, but at the same time, it makes more sense in context than out of context. In the end though, it is a very humanistic and non-theistic POV, which has gotten them all in a lot of trouble, but I think what they are doing will be worth it in the long run.

  • Aj

    Bill Moyers, Ralph Nader, Jewel Kilcher, I think they’re Christians, right? The trouble is the more someone says about their beliefs without reason or evidence, the more they go down in my view. It would be like if someone said something perfectly reasonable on the enviroment, but then said their’s an alien conspiracy involving humanoid reptiles. Do you discount everything they said or just the c-c-c-crazy part?

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I would like to add Jesus to the list

    I don’t think it’s possible for Jesus to be a Christian.

  • Richard Wade

    Why thank you, Mike.
    You are at the top of the list of Christians I admire.

  • Maria

    Jesus, Mike Clawson, Kenneth Miller, Bishop Harries, Bill Cecchini

  • Laura

    Rev. Daniel Dale leads a UCC congregation in Chicago. They are an amazing group of people (Wellington Avenue UCC) who work hard for peace and justice. If anything could make me miss being a Christian, it would be Dan’s sermons.

  • http://heresycorner.blogspot.com The Heresiarch

    I think anyone who doesn’t admire Desmond Tutu has something the matter with them, frankly: he ticks every box going when it comes to courage, liberalism, personality, vision and, let’s be honest, Christianity. Unlike most Christians with a high public profile, he seems to take Jesus Christ seriously (I’m one of the “atheists for Jesus”, I’m afraid).

    I am, though, a little surprised at the number of mentions of Rowan Williams. That pseudo-liberal nincompoop is currently fighting a desperate rear-guard action to preserve the blasphemy law in England. That, in fact, was the whole point of his recent pro-Sharia speech: he wants to ride on the coat-tails of resurgent Islam to preserve privilege and status for all religion. He doesn’t really understand secularism at all: he thinks things should be left to the men in beards. Plus, he’s a complete disaster as a leader of Anglicanism.

    But let’s stir the pot a little. As well as Tutu, I’m also a (grudging) admirer of The Pope. Yes indeed. Ratzinger rules. It’s his wonderful ability to piss people off I find especially endearing.

  • Salim Fadhley

    I’d vote for Desmond Tutu – he seems to be able to overwhelmingly communicate the compassion that his religion is allegedly supposed to represent which is why he so annoys conservative Christians who abhor his permissive views on Homosexuality and his worldwide campaign for civil and racial rights.

  • Josha

    I will add another vote for Bishop Desmond Tutu. He came to my college to speak earlier this year and he is a man so full of love and courage you cannot help but be inspired by him.

    To show his gratitude and excitement for receiving an honorary degree he did not simply say his thanks but danced on the stage. As I watched him I knew this was a man who never wastes a moment in life, even for a small celebratory dance.

    I’d also vote for my former college priest Father John Grace and my neighborhood priest Father Jim Parke. Even when I left my Catholic faith I never stopped admiring them for their insightful homilies and their liberal beliefs.

  • http://contrapunctus.net/ Chris

    Just want to second (or third, or Nth) Anne Lamott. I first heard her on public radio, probably on This American Life. Look up her columns and interviews. If all people of faith – hell, if all people – shared her honesty, humility, and sense of wonder, the world would be a far better place.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    The living one that leaps to mind is Cecil Williams, pastor of the Glide Memorial Church, which does a huge amount of poverty and social justice work here in San Francisco.

    Also my friend Lea, who’s a minister with the MCC (the super gay/ gay friendly church).

    Dead ones topping the list would be Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day.

    I guess I’m just a sucker for those social justice types.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    Spurs Fan:

    Oh, man! You’re right, they were Amish. That’s embarrassing.

    My defense is I’m deep into readin ‘Leviathan’ a history of whaling in New England and the Quakers figured prominently.

  • http://www.sexysecularist.com/ SexySecularist

    Martin Sheen. One rarely sees such dedicated activism, such commitment to transparent democracy and environmental conservation. He’s also lent his voice to works of science education and did outstanding work on a number of stage and screen works, among them The West Wing, which did an amount of good for public understanding of our political system (and of science and whatever else Aaron Sorkin wanted to cram into 42 minutes of heavily scripted television). And a really, really nice guy.

  • http://www.friendlychristian.com Bill Cecchini

    Thanks to those who mentioned me. How flattering.

    I admire any Christian who is truly “going for it” with everything he/she has in ‘em.

    I also admire elderly Christians who are still pursuing Christ after 30, 40, 50+ years – battle-tested and bruised but strong and wise.

  • Scott Walker
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  • http://dailyatheist.blogspot.com Strappado

    William of Ockham! In my opinion, he should be the patron saint of Atheists.

  • http://mrbadaxe.blogspot.com MrBadAxe

    Moby.

    Read the liner notes to his albums. “Animal Rights,” “Play,” and “Everything is Wrong” all have great essays decrying the current state of Christian belief, regarding fundamentalism and the Christian right. And of course, be sure to do so while listening to the awesome music :D

  • K

    How can I admire anyone who believes in imaginary invisible beings and bases their lives, and the lives on their children on utter nonsense?

  • Maria

    How can I admire anyone who believes in imaginary invisible beings and bases their lives, and the lives on their children on utter nonsense?

    oh, I don’t know, maybe by judging someone by the content of their character, the way I would hope you’d want to be judged?

  • http://www.theinfinityprogram.com Kevin

    Atheists: are there any Christians you don’t mind listening to?

    I like listening to mega church pastor Joel Osteen on the T.V., and have done so on numerous occasions.

    I’m irreligious/an atheist.

  • http://www.thejesusjoint.net Travis

    John MacArthur
    R.C. Sproul
    Charles Stanley
    John Piper

  • Grady

    Shane Claiborne.

  • John Gerrits

    Maya Angelou
    Susan Aglukart (sp?)
    Bruce Cockburn

  • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ Benjamin Baxter

    Fr. Robert Barron. No list is complete without him.


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