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Profiles in Goodwill: Richard P. Olson

Richard P. Olson is retired from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas, where he was a distinguished professor of pastoral theology.

  1. Where did you grow up?

Timber Lake – a small town, population about 500, in western South Dakota.

  1. What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why?

Sorry, I can’t do one.

Psalm 139 has sustained my family in living and grieving; Amos 5:21-24 and Micah 6:6-8 for the ringing call to justice; and Ephesians 3:8 to remind me what a gracious undserved gift it is to do what I do.

  1. What is your favorite movie? Why?

“Lilies of the Feld.”

This is a beautiful simple story of faith, dignity and conflict, playfully and reverently told.

  1. Who are three people you admire?

Jeannie K. Sherman, my home pastor for 35 years and a pioneering female pastor; Walter Muelder, then dean of Boston University School of Theology, my doctoral faculty adviser and social ethics mentor to many; and those who founded and made available clinical pastoral education to me.

  1. What is one little-known fact about yourself?

My father was born in a sod shanty on a homestead during a snowstorm before South Dakota became a state; my mother (maiden name Doty) may have an ancestor on the Mayflower.