This is part of an ongoing series where I briefly interview a theologian, pastor, author, or Bible scholar that I highly respect, and ask them to tell us a bit about themselves, their most current teaching project, and the one most important truth (the hack) they wish every Christian could learn.
I call the series “Hack the Theologian.” This doesn’t mean I think these theologians are hacks. Far from it! It means that I am trying to find (and share with you) the one thing that makes them tick, the one insight that keeps them writing and teaching, the one truth they are most passionate about, the one idea that turned their life and theology upside down. You can read the other posts in the series right here.
(Do you know an author I can highlight in this series? Have them contact me!)
So Let’s “Hack” Shawn Lazar
Shawn was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. He studied theology at McGill University (BTh) and the Free University of Amsterdam (MA) where he is completing a PhD in ethics. He and his wife, Abby, live in Denton, TX. They have three children, Daphne, Zane, and Ava Scout. Shawn is an insufferable bookworm who is happy to inherit any theological library you might choose to donate to him. Just don’t tell Abby, who thinks he has enough books already.
Here are my questions to Shawn…
1. Can you tell us who you are and what you do in 40 words or less? (I put the word limit so we can see what you focus on.)
My name is Shawn Lazar. I’m married to Abby. I have three feral children. And I work at my dream job writing, editing, and typesetting for “Grace in Focus” magazine, which is free for the asking. [Jeremy’s Note: It’s fantastic. Sign up right here.]
2. Tell us something about yourself that few people know.
I was an extra in the movie “Snake Eyes” with Nicolas Cage.
3. What is the best book you have read this past year? (It doesn’t have to be theological!)
Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger.
4. You have a new book called Chosen to Serve. Tell us a bit about it. What is the main point and what do you want people to learn or do?
Most people believe God chooses people to go to heaven or to hell. That’s called the doctrine of election. They disagree over how God makes that choice—Does He foresees their faith? Is it arbitrary?—but they agree that’s what election is about.
By contrast, I argue Biblical election is actually about God’s choosing people, places, and things to serve Him, i.e., to get a job done.
5. Karl Barth was once asked to summarize his life’s work in one sentence. He answered, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” How would you summarize your life’s work? To put this question another way, if you could get people to understand just one idea, what would it be?
This quote from Luther on changing diapers changed the way I saw what it means to have a “life’s work”—”God, with all his angels and creatures, is smiling, not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.”