Colleagues celebrate Dr. Sider’s book

The atmosphere of the Dr. Ron Sider celebratory luncheon was that of a long-awaited class reunion. Old friends milled around Gough Great Room, greeting each other with warm smiles and enthusiastic hugs.

The guest list for the Jan. 26 event included such prominent figures as President David Black, Wallace Smith, President of Palmer Seminary, Elouise Renich Fraser, vice president and dean of Palmer Seminary, and Templeton Honors College Dean and University Provost Chris Hall.

These important individuals gathered for one purpose: to celebrate the lifetime achievements of their friend, mentor and colleague Ron Sider.

Sider is a professor at Palmer Seminary. Although he has published 22 books and written over 100 articles, most people spoke about or made reference to his most influential and far-reaching work, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.

The book has been named by Christianity Today as one of the 100 most influential books on religion in the 20th century.

“This book has and continues to raise our awareness concerning issues of poverty, economic development, greed and selfishness,” Hall said. “Personally, [it helped me] to see people that, left to myself, I would have remained blind to.”

This statement reflected the sentiment of all the speakers, which included Black and interim dean of arts and sciences Betsy Morgan, and coincided with a vast outpouring of respect, gratitude and admiration for Sider’s work.

When it was Sider’s turn to speak, he said that his life and career have been a “truly wonderful and incredible journey.”

His speech covered how Rich Christians came into being, some of the criticisms of him and his book and some of his favorite stories about how this book has transformed lives.

Sider was born in Canada and earned a Master’s of Divinity and a Ph.D. in history from Yale University. He founded Evangelicals for Social Action and was the first publisher of Prism magazine.

“My passion and longing in life is to serve my Lord Jesus Christ and be subject to the Scriptures,” Sider said in an interview.

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