An Easter Read: The Transcript of My Interview with Bishop N.T. Wright
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Thanks to those of you who enjoyed the long –three radio hours– conversation with Bishop Wright. Whether one agrees or not with all, part, or none of his views on the truth of the Easter story or of his theological interpretations of the meaning of Christ’s resurrection, his wonderfully winsome style made him a joy to interview and I suspect listen to.
It will provide a fine read this Easter afternoon or evening before we all return to the fray on Monday. Here is the conclusion of the conversation with the bishop:
HH: And Bishop Wright, I want to conclude on a personal note. You’re 64. You’ve had this prodigious output, this influential output. But a lot of people out there are tired, and they think “I’m going to retire and lay down.” It doesn’t sound like you’re retiring, but I know there must have been times in which you were discouraged or tempted to do so. What’s your advice to people who are just weary? And how long ought they to plan on being involved in this Kingdom building?
NTW: That’s a great question. I, for some reason that I don’t understand, I seem to have been blessed with high energy levels, and people sometimes comment on that. And so it seems to me much is expected of those to whom much is given. I want to go on using the energy that I’ve been given to do the work that I’ve been given to do as long as I reasonably can. I don’t know whether that’ll be another five years or what. We’ll see. But people are very, very different. Some people, I know some in my family, just have a different metabolism to me, and God doesn’t ask us to go charging off doing stuff that we’re not suited for. There are a million different levels of task that are necessary in the Kingdom, not least is prayer. I’ve mentioned prayer a few times this afternoon talking to you, and prayer is just so important. And anyone can do that, whatever sage and age they’re at. And that’s really the foundation of everything. So we’re all different, and I believe in freedom. I believe in vocation. I believe in people thinking through what it means to be the person that God wants them to be. And that’ll always be different. But prayer will always be at the heart of it.
HH: Then let me conclude with this question. How do you, N.T. Wright, pray on a daily basis?
NTW: I get up as early as I can, which usually is about half past five in the morning, I make myself a very large pot of tea. I then follow through the Anglican order for morning prayer, only instead of the readings set from the Old and New Testament, I have my own system of readings from the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. So that is normally, it takes quite a bit of time. And then I pray on a daily basis for some people, on a week basis for others, and so that is for me how I start the day. If I don’t start the day like that, I feel peculiar for the whole of the rest of the day. And then in the evenings, I use the shortened form of evening prayer before I go to bed. And that doesn’t usually have much in the way of sustained readings, because by the time I get to there, I’m usually quite tired.
HH: Bishop N.T. Wright, thank you so much for your generous time. Thanks for your work, and for especially How God Became King: The Forgotten Story Of The Gospels. Have a wonderful and a Happy Easter.
NTW: Thank you, and the very same to you and your listeners. It’s been very good talking to you.
HH: Thank you, Bishop Wright.