For as long as I can remember I’ve had two obsessions, well besides playing first base for the Chicago Cubs.
I’ve always loved words – reading them, speaking them (way too much for my own good) and eventually writing them. My mom was convinced at a fairly early age that I would be a writer. I told her she was nuts. It turns out she wasn’t.
Once I became a serious Christian in college, I became obsessed about something else – learning how to live a real and actual life as a committed Jesus follower. I wanted to learn how to live a full and integrated life – not the easy and divided one where faith confirmed what I already thought and believed, but something more difficult and a lot better.
No, I want to live a life that was about prayer and spiritual formation and being shaped by the Bible but that was also about ethics and social justice and making the world look more like the one God intended. I want to learn how to grow more connected with God while also working to make the world a better place for all of the people God calls Son or Daughter. I want to live a life that matters and I want to share that life with other people who are trying to do the same thing.
So now, I write about the intersection of where faith and real life meet. I write about prayer and the search for a connected spiritual life, about paying attention and noticing God at work. I write about good books and fun music that keeps me from taking myself too seriously most days (Thanks Taylor!). I write about justice and theology and how God cares for both the people in my neighborhood and the neighborhoods that I try to forget but that God never does. I write about trying to be humble when I’m really not good at it and I write about how the church, despite its craziness and brokenness, is still somehow the hope of the world. And I write about how all of this is really about the ways that grace is amazing and somehow still at work in me despite all the ways I don’t understand it. Basically, I write about all the stuff most of us desperately want but are too scared to say out loud.
The smart people I went to graduate school with would say I write about Incarnational Theology and Lived Christian Practice – but if you are looking for 20 dollar words you’ve probably come to the wrong place.
I spend my days, and not a few of my nights, serving as the lead pastor of a great United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee – about twenty minutes from the house where I grew up and learned sarcasm and grace in equal measure. So I write a lot about what it means to lead a community of Christians with creativity and integrity in the Bible Belt – with all the fun and crazy our part of the world can come up with. And if you read the news or happen to live here too, you know that’s usually quite a bit.
I’ve got a great family, who keep me grounded and hopeful and full of expensive coffee and the best police procedurals on television – if it starts with NCIS, you can bet we watch it.
While in seminary I met a woman from Chicago who would later call herself a seminary dropout. She’s the best introverted fundraiser I know, and because of me she does a lot of the things she swore she never would – spend her life married to a preacher, teach the Bible to children and teenagers, learn how to make shrimp and grits and make her parents swear she talks with a Southern Accent. We’ve got a daughter named Georgia who is bringing us joy and a lot less sleep and a Beagle-Chihuahua named Socks who rescued us and keeps us and the neighborhood awake and laughing.
Thanks so much for finding me here. I’d love for you to stick around and hang out a while.