Yesterday hundreds of family, friends, colleagues, and former students of GW Carlson gathered in Bethel’s Great Hall to celebrate the life of a man who was part of this community for over half a century. One of the eulogies came from our own Chris Gehrz, who reflected on how GW lived out these words of Jesus: “I was a stranger, and you invited me in” (Matt 25:35b).

Here’s a sample of that eulogy:

Truly, I once was a stranger — to Bethel, to Christian higher education, to social justice, to Pietism — and GW invited me in.

Loudly, imperfectly, joyfully, he invited in so many more people who might otherwise have felt strangers to this place and to the joy of learning, to his church and denomination, to his neighborhood and city and country.

To Bethel he invited in students and faculty of color: brothers and sisters in Christ who too often are made to feel like strangers in this community by people like me. He invited in young women made to feel strange by other Christians for their intellectual curiosity, their abilities as athletes, or their calls to pastoral ministry.

You can read the full eulogy at Chris’ blog.


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