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Where the Streets Have No Name—There Is Love
Dr. Glenn Kreider, professor of Theological Studies
I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name
—U2, Where the Streets Have No Name, from The Joshua Tree
Call Dr. Glenn Kreider on his cell phone and you will hear a song that plays repeatedly in his classes—U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name. For a professor passionate about doctrine, the song’s lyrics resound with a hope unique to the Christian experience—one day, when Christ restores all things, life won’t hurt anymore.
Living in a broken world inevitably raises questions about a good and loving Creator, and Dr. Kreider thrives in an environment where he can help people wrestle with such tensions. “Everything that happens in God’s world happens because the Sovereign of the universe either causes or allows it to happen,” he said. “I want to see people who are passionate about following Christ experience community—and to have a greater understanding of the Christian story and of their place in it.”
About ten years ago Dr. Kreider realized he had lost touch with his own place in popular culture. “I was embarrassed to discover that I had no idea what people were listening to and watching because I had taken a break from culture. It wasn’t that I sat down and said, ‘I’m going to take a break from this.’ But it was to wake up one day and realize that the world my teenage daughter lived in was not the world I lived in when I was her age, and that either through laziness or some kind of spiritual elitism, I had removed myself from the world people live in,” he said. “You cannot isolate from people and expect to have any influence in their lives for good.”
Josh Bleeker, director of Admissions, is one example of how Dr. Kreider’s cultural sensitivity and sincerity influenced someone’s life for good: “Dr. Kreider’s swift but subtle appreciation for my love of music blessed me deeply,” Josh said. “He’s wise enough to capitalize on a person’s passions and teach him how to let Scripture-grounded theology guide that passion to build the kingdom of God.”
Therein lies Dr. Kreider’s overarching passion—to build the kingdom of God through Scripture-grounded theology. “To be able to reflect on God’s revelation in His Word and in His world, and to interact with people, together coming to understand the God we worship and serve … I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else,” he said. “My most creative, effective moments happen when I’m teaching,” he says. “The Spirit works in the community in ways He doesn’t in the privacy of my study.”
While he admits he’s most at home in his study—or in the open, red deserts of New Mexico—Dr. Kreider rejects the individualism and disunity that permeates the church. “One of the things that deeply troubles me—on all kinds of levels—is the disunity, conflict, dissension, and division that exists in the body of Christ,” he said. “There are certain things that are worth fighting for, but there are other things that don’t help the cause of the gospel by over-polarization. We desperately need to learn to talk and listen to one another. There’s a time to name or label, but maybe we ought to wait a little bit before doing it, which is heard sometimes as being weak on truth. I don’t understand that. ‘Love one another’ is doctrine. It’s not the case that all’s fair in love and war,” he said. “There are certain things that are always wrong.”
And for the sake of unity, Dr. Kreider continues to return to U2’s song, asking his students to listen to “his pastor and his worship band.” Where the Streets Have No Name, which has been included in the band’s set list for twenty years, calls believers to embrace the shared hope of living in a redeemed world, “where sorrow and shame give way to joy and celebration, and where the triune God lives with His people forever,” Dr. Kreider said. “When the work of redemption is completed, the walls that separate us from one another will be torn down. The barriers we build to protect ourselves will be removed. We will be set free to enjoy with abandon this recreated earth with one another.” Until then, we hold out hope. We believe the pain will stop hurting. And above all else, we love one another.
Dr. Kreider’s TV Picks