Peter Gomes is an American Baptist minister who has served in The Memorial Church at Harvard University since 1970. Gomes is also the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and is the Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church. Gomes is commonly regarded as one of the most distinguished preachers in America. He was named Clergy of the Year in 1998 by Religion in American Life and offered prayers in the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Educated at Bates College and the Harvard Divinity School, Revered Gomes alsoholds thirty-six honorary degrees. He is the author of numerous books on the Bible, including the national best-sellers TheGood Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons:Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living.
Question: What impact does your work have on the world?
Peter Gomes: Well I have it on good authority – that is the people to whom I do preach and the people who take the time to tell me about it over many years – that I make people think. I make them imagine … see things that they would not have seen before. Or ask about things that they hadn’t thought about asking before. Or even I have the capacity, I hope, from time to time to lead people to what the theologian calls an “Aha” experience. Or, “I’ve never thought of that before!” Or, “What an interesting notion.” I rejoice in that. It’s the same skill and the same thrill that a teacher gets when somebody finally gets it after you’ve tried to put it before them. That’s the thrill of preaching for me, and I think I have the ability to do that in many cases.
Recorded on: 6/12/07