Oldest of four. Moved with my family many times including five years overseas. Grew up Roman Catholic. Became a Christian at age 16. Was confirmed Roman Catholic. Switched to Baptist. Graduated from university. Stayed to earn a master’s then doctorate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (which included Hebrew Bible). Got married. Went to seminary. Had two children. Came to Louisiana in order to engage in ministry with internationals. Also missions pastor. Have published a book and two articles. Working on a third. Have taught at two universities as an adjunct instructor. Married to my brilliant and awesome wife now for twenty five years. Two beautiful and amazing daughters who are both graduates of Louisiana State University.
Follower of Christ since age sixteen. Although currently serving within
the Baptist tradition the Wesleyan tradition aka United Methodist Church am passionately ecumenical. We can and should learn about and learn and adapt from as well as share with other Christian traditions. Have a special appreciation for Anglicanism and Orthodoxy.
Nerd. Weird Al Yankovic’s song “White and Nerdy” is an almost exact description. Astronomy. Computers. Science fiction. Computers. British mysteries. Cooking. Gardening. Love nearly every kind of music but classical, opera, liturgical, international the most – closely followed by classic rock.
Since 2006 had another blog/website called Live the Trinity. Main purpose was to share some of my thoughts and reflections on the Christian faith/life as well as issues of personal interest. Starting in 2008 began more and more to include what can only be called social-cultural-political commentary. So I have started a new blog with a new title. And this time really work at avoiding the politics. Targuman by Chris Brady in many ways is my model.
Why work at avoiding the politics? Simply because I am a pastor. I have parishioners who come to meetings wearing Obama shirts and parishioners who come to meetings with a copy of the Washington Times. The kingdom of God is not achieved through politics. Of course that is a radically political statement.
I imported everything from Live the Trinity and deleted about one third of the posts. Unfortunately was not able to import comments. Many wonderful and intelligent comments from Live the Trinity still survive in Disqus.
Update 2017-07 = My blog Mangy Dog was actually hosted within the web space of the congregation I served for 18 years. (There was about 300 gigabytes of space available of which the church website used less than one.) Having left that place of ministry I need to set up something new.
I struggled to find a good name for the new blog. Live the Trinity began to seem rather grandiose. Chasing Squirrels was a top candidate because we have a dog named Skippy whom we love very much and like most dogs cannot help chasing squirrels. But I wanted something more distinct. And then it hit me.
Skippy is not mangy although he is often rashy.* There are actually two sources of inspiration. One is a quote from The Samurai by Shusaku Endo that has haunted me for many years.
The samurai and his retainer have finally returned to their cold village in the swamps of rural Japan – their mission a devastating failure. The samurai reflects:
I’ve always believed that I became a Christian as a mere formality. That feeling hasn’t changed at all. But… sometimes I find myself thinking about that man. I suppose that somewhere in the hearts of men, there’s a yearning for someone who will never betray you, never leave you – even if that someone is just a sick, mangy dog. That man became just such a miserable dog for the sake of mankind… Yes. That man became a dog who remains beside us. That when he was on the earth, he said to his disciples that he came into the world to minister unto men. (245)
To me this was a transformative insight/metaphor. Christ – a mangy dog? Second Isaiah would not disagree.
The other inspiration was a humble English paper that a friend wrote for a class on Dostoevsky. It is an exceptionally brilliant paper that demonstrates how the dog Zhuchka is a key to understanding The Brothers Karamazov and how profoundly it speaks to the issue of suffering – especially innocent suffering – and in turn to the issue of redemption/salvation. I have become convinced – and my friend hinted at this – that in every Dostoesvky novel there is a “mangy dog” who is a key to understanding the novel.
Perhaps – in light of this brilliant paper by my friend – we human beings are like mangy dogs. One of my central theological convictions is that God is everywhere – there is nowhere that God is not present. And somehow he is especially present in mangy dogs.
Addendum 2014-11-04 – We now have another dog named Jasmine aka Jazzmin who is a black dachsund-terrier.
Addendum 2018-10-27 – We said good-bye to Skippy this morning. For the last year he has started showing his age (about 15) and struggling more. The last few days he was clearly struggling with pain/discomfort. We decided he had had enough and asked the vet to put him to sleep.