Where I come from
I was born in Richmond, Virginia, but my family soon moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and we lived there for 3 years. Eventually, though, my parents heard a call beckoning them north (and west), and we relocated to Corvallis, Oregon. I spent my youth in that lovely town—kindergarten through undergraduate studies. After graduation, my wife and I moved up to the Portland area for work and our perspective academic pursuits.
Why I teach at Multnomah
I remember getting the call from Daniel Scalberg asking me to teach Western Civilization for the undergraduate school—I was so excited! It was just the start of my Multnomah involvement as later I would be honored to teach other courses for Degree Completion such as Philosophy, Sociology, History, and the Bible. I feel a deep connection with the adult learners because I, too, went back to school (Master’s) as an adult and had to work out the balance between work and school. It gives me great joy to know that I have had some part in helping others accomplish lifelong goals of getting their degrees.
Current ministry outside class
I have worked with the junior highers at Rolling Hills Community church for several years; however, God has been whispering in my ears that I need to expand my ministry to work with the young college kids, which is in the works!
Education and research
I graduated from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, with a PhD in Theology and Religon in 2009. I focused on radical individualism and did a comparison of the religiosity of two cities—one in Oregon (McMinnville) and one in England (Kendal). I received my Masters in Theological Studies: Christian History and Thought from George Fox Seminary in 2002. I earned a BA in History from Oregon State University in 1991—I have also completed all the course requirements for a BA in English from Oregon State University, too…because I am a collosal nerd.
People who inspire me
Besides Jesus, of course, Peter, Paul, James, and John are my heroes for their amazing work in the first century. I wish I could have been there to see the Holy Spirit at work in their lives and ministry. In contemporary times, I think N.T. Wright is a brilliant scholar and thinker, and I love the way he dialogues with people of contrary positions. He has taught me that one can stand for the Truth, but still do it in a respectful and loving fashion.
Favorite book in the Bible
In the Old Testament, I have to go with Genesis for its amazing narratives of human weakness and Divine grace. In the New Testament, my favorite book is Galatians because 1) it has the oldest self-definition of Christianity (which is Orthodox, btw) and 2) it does not soften or water-down the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The only “good news” is contained in the messages of Peter, Paul, James, John, and the other disciples who lived with and were taught by Jesus. Any take that deviates from these tomes of Truth are utter rubbish—these unorthodox gospels contain “the bad news” and are profitable for no one.
Extra-curricular, non-ministry activities
I love playing racquetball with people half my age and beating them (without experiencing a heart attack). I love to go to the beach and the mountains—there is something special about being in the wild and taking in God’s handiwork.
Family I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 20 years and we have two sons—Jacob, age 10, and Joseph, age 2. Jacob is already taller than his mother and is on track to be taller than Goliath. Joseph was born with some major heart defects and other complications that needed reconstructive surgery. I am overjoyed to say that he is fully healed, healthy, and happy (as long as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on).