Magnificent, Meteoric, Maverick!
Magnificent, Meteoric, Maverick
The otherworldly intensity of his eyes, the mischievous grin, the heart that runs oceans deep… Albert Bogle is simply one of a kind. He is a man with a tremendous personal, professional, and spiritual legacy, but who wears it lightly: with grace, humility and wit. It has been my privilege to work with him and learn so much from him these last several years at Sanctuary First. I will dearly miss him as he retires from being our Minister here, but I have no doubt we will continue to collaborate and there is much more I look forward to learning from him.
Albert and I have always had a tremendous laugh together and that is one of the things I treasure most in our friendship. It’s fair to say the last few years have been very up and down globally, nationally, professionally and personally — as we have all been weathering the storms of the 2020s — but throughout it all Albert has married wisdom with laughter, lending the warmth of his experience and insight to me countless times.
He’s also a phenomenal writer. It’s been my pleasure to work closely with his texts and the three things that strike me are: 1) the immediacy, his words leap off the page, you can always hear him saying them in his inimitable way, 2) the lack of complacency, Albert is neither precious or careless, his prime focus is always on communicating the message and taking the reader there, 3) the lyricism — the songwriter and poet shines through all his work, turning memorable phrases with ease.
Take this extract from a Daily Worship contribution Albert wrote in April 2022:
“Lord help us to
Believe in order to Love
And to doubt our fears
In order to believe
Help us read the rooms of our lives better
Give us faith to see beyond the fear
To see the unnoticed joy we have missed
Call us by our names
That we might hear — unheard joy
And feel the peace for which we long.”
In light flowing lines, it encapsulates so much about the human condition. That right there — learning to doubt our fears as we try to read ‘the rooms of our lives’ — that’s where we find ourselves day by day, leaning as we can towards love, towards joy, towards pace. It’s poetic without being heavy, mystical without being mysterious, and all the while directly relevant to our lives.
Or this incredible, beautiful phrase from a Daily Worship post the year prior in April 2021:
“You see there is no end
Only an awakening”
Albert is also an electric preacher, always present in the moment, heartfelt and honest. One of the key insights I’ve gained from him and tried to apply myself is one deceptively simple point. That when you preach, you are someone saying something that is true to some people who need to hear it. Memorably, Albert told me on many occasions,“Your sermon notes are the people out there, their faces! That’s your sermon notes!”
Albert when preaching — in person or online, pre-recorded or live — never forgets that he is speaking to people. It might sound strange, but it’s all too easy when preaching to get lost in the ideas, or end up caught up in your own emotions, or to focus on some theological minutiae… and forget your one job — to speak to people about God. The resonance of Albert’s preaching comes from the confidence he has in sharing a true and timeless gospel to people God longs to hold close. He never phones it in or forgets those who are listening.
As a leader, Albert is and always has been, a pioneer, a loveable maverick with meteoric vision who has stretched and inspired me through all our projects together. It is, I suspect, a familiar experience to many, that unique mixture of panic, alarm and disbelief as Albert gets a glint in his eye… The Gospel Train is picking up a head of steam…
I would like to end this little tribute by highlighting one last element of Albert’s character — the generosity he shows in investing in people. I am myself a glad recipient of this investment. But I’ve also been able to witness the effect in others firsthand over the years. Watching people blossom as Albert draws them in and on. To be able to see people as they truly are is brilliant. To be able to see how someone can flourish and become even more themselves is wonderful. But to actively commit time, emotion, resources and energy time and time again to help people achieve that flourishing… that is magnificent.
To the Magnificent Albert Bogle — thank you.