Jack Glasgow is the pastor of Zebulon Baptist Church in Zebulon, North Carolina, a church he has served for 43 years. He is married to Barbara, and they have a son and daughter, both educators married to educators. They have two grandsons, age 6 and 3. Glasgow is the chair of the Good Faith Media governing board.
- What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
I would say that the upper room discourse recorded in the Gospel of John has done the most to shape my own understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. The emphasis on service, the primacy of love, the promise of the Spirit – all of these have influenced my life and ministry considerably.
I especially love that Jesus said, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”
I have often told my people that I am never going to be argumentative in defending my beliefs today because I expect the Spirit of Jesus to teach me new things. This is how the church is able to grow into new and better levels of understanding over time.
- Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
John Wesley Michaels was my first Black teacher. I was a junior in high school, and he taught trigonometry and pre-calculus. He was my best teacher of all time. He shared some of his struggles through days of segregation and how he had been hurt by discrimination. He challenged me intellectually but also spiritually. I really discovered that something was seriously wrong with our faith if it was not capable of envisioning people of different races living and worshipping together in harmony and community.
Dr. Mack Moore was my professor in college. I majored in economics at Georgia Tech; Dr. Moore was the professor in the area of labor economics. He challenged my thinking on how big government, big business, big labor unions and even big religion operate in our society. He was a funny, irascible and even irreverent sort who outspokenly pointed out how so much is driven by concern for money and power, with little regard for the well-being of persons. He helped me to question the status quo in ways I had not imagined before.
John Costello, a Lutheran minister, professor and hospital chaplain was my spiritual guide for many years. He helped me to see authentic spirituality in a new light and to confront some of my own people-pleasing tendencies. He helped me to really flesh out my own journey from “cheap grace” to “costly grace.”
- List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
A novel – A Separate Peace by John Knowles. The TV show – the old Harvard law series, “The Paper Chase.” The movie – “Dead Poets Society.”
- What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
I believe we are seeing a crisis in belief. We question everything incessantly. We keep losing confidence in our political leaders, in institutions, in traditions, in the value of the lives we are living, in our capacity to really know the truth, in believing that things will get significantly better.
The foundation on which we build a good life is what we believe. Ethical living stems from making decisions based on beliefs and values. When belief slacks, life gets pretty precarious.
- What are a few of your hobbies?
I love to attend musical theater and concerts. My music tastes are pretty varied; my most recent concerts before the pandemic ranged from Celtic Woman through Journey and the Dave Mathews Band and back to the North Carolina Master Chorale.
I love seeing movies in theaters on my off days. I love sports and attend the games of our local high school, Georgia Tech, East Carolina and the Carolina Hurricanes.
- If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
Any 10 seconds when all of the family is around the table and ready to ask the blessing on a holiday meal.
- Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
I want to tell more about my conviction that there can be a bright future for congregations.
We are no longer living in a church-centered culture. The time for lamenting that is past, and we need to seize the opportunities to discover the significance of living in spiritual community with others again.
It goes back to belief. Those who believe in the value of spiritual community have the foundation necessary to build a good future for churches who will encourage members and bless their communities.
The days of cultural dominance are over, and that is a good thing. The time for service is here. Let’s seize the day!
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.