About Me

2015SkinnerOffice_d_As a New Testament scholar, I am equal parts teacher, writer, and researcher. My public speaking in settings beyond the classroom keeps me connected to church leaders, congregations, communities, and the questions they all ask about the Bible and the character of Christian faith. Without that work among people with a variety of perspectives, my writing would quickly become just me talking to myself.

The motivation behind my teaching and writing today is the same curiosity that compelled me to begin graduate school in the first place two and a half decades ago: 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 a unique and influential book?

I’m interested in what the Bible says and how people continue to interact with it. Understanding the Bible involves knowing something about where it came from, the ways it tells its stories, and its ability to fuel people’s imaginations about God and what God makes possible.

I teach people who identify with a variety of denominational traditions and in a variety of cultural settings. I’m a native Californian who was educated in the American Northeast and now lives in the Upper Midwest. I’m a full-time professor at Luther Seminary, a seminary of the ELCA, yet I am an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and I serve part-time on the staff of a Presbyterian congregation. I’m much more interested in what unites people across their different backgrounds and commitments than what divides them.