Richard Fredericks Ph. D.
What's your biggest challenge?
Maintaining my internal integrity as a loving, Christ-centered, joyful and pure man of God. After 38 years of commitment to Jesus, that is still a daily battle that requires me telling the guy I see in the mirror each morning: There is a God and it is not you!...then surrendering my day, actions, thoughts and reactive impulses to the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His grace in Jesus Christ!
What are you reading right now?
I am just finishing Homer’s The Iliad. Before that is was the Autobiography of G. K. Chesterton, a Guide to the Uffizi Art Gallery [in Florence] and After You Believe by my favorite new theologian, N. T. Wright (anything by him is superb and thought-provoking). Next up: Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage.
What inspires you?
The God who suffered and died on a Cross bearing the guilt of our sins, rather than let go of us—that IS what inspires me above all else. It is what motivates me and guides me. Then Sallie inspires me to stay healthy because she is buff and beautiful and deserves my best. My children inspire me to keep reading because they have all passed me up in most areas of mutual interest already. This congregation inspires me with its openness, unity and willingness to serve and give sacrificially. Our elders inspire me in their commitment to keep the spiritual health of our congregation secure—and our trustees the same for our financial integrity. The staff inspires me in the way they always go the extra mile in ministry as their normal mode of operating.
What famous person do people tell you that you look like?
Mother Teresa…I think it is the height thing.
What place you would like to visit before you die...and why?
Too many places are firmly fixed on my bucket list and that’s the problem or rather the challenge, since travel is my favorite thing in life apart from family and ministry. I am working with a tour company to lead overseas Biblical Studies teaching/ traveling tours each October. Possible places are the Aegean Island, Northern Italy, the Alps, the Holy Land, and a river tour of the Reformation countries of Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland.
Food is fuel. I love it all in moderation. Fresh fish tops the long list.
Your first job?
When I was 12 years old, for the summer, I ran a little grocery store—both the register and stocking, pretty much solo for 8-10 hours a day at below minimum wage. It is a wonder we never got robbed or busted by the Child Protection Agency…maybe that didn’t even exist back then!
What's something new that God's been teaching you lately?
The path to deep intimacy and friendship is through conflict managed well. It is also the only path to a unified church of very diverse people.
What's on your iPod, Zune, or car stereo right now?
U-2’s Greatest Hits, Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and his Violin Concerto in D [the two greatest pieces of music ever composed in my opinion], lots of Ralph Vaughn Williams and also great film soundtracks such as Gladiator, Lord of the Rings or Last of the Mohicans.
What was your childhood ambition?
First to be a baseball player, then a basketball player, then to dance with Laurie Jones in 7th grade, then to be a teacher and see the world.
Sallie and I have been married since 1978 (she ages just like fine wine). Our oldest son, Matthew (b 1984) received a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and serves as an Associate Pastor at Union Interdenominational Church in Hong Kong. Our middle son, Luke (b 1986), served for two years in West Africa in the Peace Corps and is at NYU law school. He is married to Rhiannon who just finished her class work for her Ph.D. in Russian Studies at Berkeley. Our daughter Natasha ( b 1988) is doing a Masters in Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School and is engaged to Jordan.
Your role at Damascus Road?
Servant of Jesus Christ, founding and Senior Pastor of Damascus Road Community Church.