Richard Beck // Biography and Books

Richard Beck (PhD) is Professor of Psychology and Senior Fellow of the Landon Saunders Center for Joy and Human Flourishing at Abilene Christian University. Richard also teaches in the Doctor of Ministry programs at Fuller Theological Seminary and Abilene Christian University. 

During his teaching career, Richard has been honored twice as ACU Teacher of the Year. Richard has also been recognized as Honors Teacher of the Year and has won the College of Arts and Sciences Classroom Teaching award and Faith Integration award.

Outside of the classroom, Richard travels the world as a sought after speaker and an award-winning blogger and author. 

To explore speaking engagements for your church or organization email

Richard's most recent books are Hunting Magic Eels: Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age (Broadleaf Books, 2021), Trains, Jesus and Murder: The Gospel According to Johnny Cash (Fortress Press, 2019) and Stranger God: Meeting Jesus in Disguise (Fortress Press, 2017). 

Richard’s newest, soon-to-be released book (now available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop) is The Shape of Joy: The Transformative Power of Moving Beyond Yourself.

Richard's other books are Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality and Mortality (Cascade, 2011), The Slavery of Death (Cascade, 2013), The Authenticity of Faith: The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience (ACU Press, 2012), and Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted (Fortress Press, 2016).

Richard is married to Jana, who is a High School theater teacher, and they have two sons, Brenden and Aidan. The Becks attend the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, TX, where Richard serves as an elder and adult faith Bible class teacher. Richard also serves and leads at Freedom Fellowship, a mission church plant of Highland that reaches out to the poor and homeless of the city.

Lastly, Richard serves as a prison chaplain at the maximum-security French Robertson unit and has written and spoken extensively about his experiences working among the incarcerated.

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