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I’m a theologian and pastor who cares about healing the rift between knowledge and faith, between the life of the mind and the more subtle ways of the heart. If you care about these things too—you may be Jewish, Christian, skeptical, or none of the above—I think we can be friends.

 

I have a PhD from Harvard University in the Study of Religion, and am Teaching Pastor at The Bay Church in California’s Bay Area. I’ve written for Christianity TodayThe Harvard Divinity Bulletin (also here)The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. On this site live my sermons, podcast, blog, and other ways to connect that are for churches, scholars, and individuals who seek intellectually-integrated, spiritually-vibrant lives. The blog explores theological, cultural, and spiritual themes, and also shares some poetry. If you’d like to know when any new content drops, you can subscribe here.

 

A little about me. I grew up in rural Montana (still a bit of a hick) and am the son of a pastor. After college at Northwest University in Seattle, where I earned a BA in Biblical Literature, I broke my neck in a car accident and dropped out of seminary. Three years in the Middle East followed—years of much doubt, confusion, and reading. I worked in Jerusalem at a non-profit named Shevet Achim that provides heart surgeries in Israeli hospitals for children from the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Syria. I also studied Hebrew intensively during these years at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. When I returned to the States I spent six years at Harvard University, earning a MTS in Philosophy of Religion and a PhD in the Study of Religion. My seventh, dissertation year was as a visiting scholar at Stanford University. My areas of interest in theology and philosophy are, broadly speaking: epistemology, hermeneutics, theories of secularization, and political theory; in biblical studies I’m interested in issues related to genre, intra-biblical exegesis, narrative theology, apocalyptic symbolism, and creation care. In short, I’m a diehard generalist with the Bible at the center of my imagination. For a fuller resume, see here.

My doctoral studies were guided by my advisor Jon D. Levenson, a Jewish Studies scholar; D. Andrew Teeter, a scholar of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple literature; Miroslav Volf, a Christian theologian at Yale under whom I did coursework, general exams, and the dissertation; and N. T. Wright, a British theologian who was kind enough to supervise independent study. My dissertation is called Royal Runaways: A Theological Analysis of Love’s Kenotic Power. Its argument is simple: the reason the Bible repeatedly tells stories of high-born “prince” figures who spend years in painful exile (Joseph, Moses, David, the people Israel, etc.) is that this is the story of the heavenly King himself, revealed in the suffering Messiah. Such powerlessness and self-giving radically redefine power itself, love, and God. 


Alongside this academic work, I am also an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. At The Bay Church, a multisite, multiethnic community in the San Fransisco Bay Area, I oversee weekend teaching, pilgrimage trips to Israel, and our Spanish congregation. (The sermons and podcasts on this site are mostly for The Bay Church, while the opinions in the blog are my own and do not speak for the church.) I am married to my best friend Sarah, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. You can find out more about her work here. I’m her #1 client, I mean, fan.

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