January 8, 2009
Richard Mouw on Richard Neuhaus
The president of Fuller Seminary remembers his friend and colleague.
Richard Neuhaus has been a significant influence in my own life, beginning in the early 1970s when he headed up the Council on Religion and International Affairs, and edited its magazine, Worldview. He reached out to me in the very early days of my academic career, inviting me to consultations, publishing essays that I had written, and - most significantly - giving me an important role in "the Hartford Appeal" group, a project that produced a much-discussed document calling the churches, Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox, back to a mission in the world that was guided, not by fashionable trends, but by the marching orders that come to us by way of divine revelation.
I experienced Richard's "convening power" in a marvelous way; it was through his leadership that I got to spend time with, and work on common projects with, Avery Dulles, George Lindbeck, Alexander Schmemann, and others. To be sure, Richard never simply chaired or edited: he was a person of strongly expressed opinions about many things. Sometimes I disagreed with those opinions, but I always learned from him. I will never forget Richard pointing out that according to the ancient church's prayer for the dead, it is not St. Peter, but Lazarus the beggar who greets the departed at the pearly gates. I have no doubt that Lazarus and the angels are now celebrating his arrival!