As a New Testament scholar, I am equal parts teacher, writer, and researcher. My public speaking keeps me connected to people, communities, and the questions they ask about the Bible. Without that work, my writing would quickly become just me talking to myself.
While some scholars become scholars so they can get away from people, I got into this field because of a desire to contribute to people’s lives. I don’t see myself as an expert who interprets the Bible for others. Instead, I’m someone who helps others engage the Bible more thoughtfully, within their communities of faith and service.
The things energizing my work are the same things that prodded me to begin graduate work in biblical studies in the first place. I find the Bible profoundly interesting and profoundly strange. It comes from times and places very alien to my own, and yet it informs my understanding of God, the world, my neighbors, and myself. People have used the Bible to inflict all sorts of damage, even while it has spurred others to great acts of service, faith, and liberation. How can I not be interested in such an influential book?
I’m interested in what the Bible says and how it continues to speak. Understanding the Bible involves knowing something about where it came from, how it tells its stories, and how it continues to fuel people’s imaginations about what God makes possible. I enjoy teaching others, because in the process I always learn something from them as well.
I teach people from a variety of denominational backgrounds and in a variety of cultural regions. I’m a native Californian who was educated in the Northeast and now lives in the Upper Midwest. I’m a professor at Luther Seminary, a seminary of the ELCA, yet I am an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). What’s more, some of my best friends are Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist, and from other traditions!