All entries by this author

StoryCloud Counseling

Fifteen years ago, I was living living in Southern California and in grad school, working on a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. I was about halfway through a 1,000 hour internship, doing individual therapy, group therapy, and teaching life skills classes at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in downtown San Diego. While it was certainly challenging work, I found it to be very rewarding and life-giving. When I graduated in 1999, I was planning to pursue a private counseling practice. As it turned out, the church I had been attending for almost a decade invited me to become a full-time member of its pastoral staff, and thus began my career in Christian vocational ministry. Since that time, I have done church-based pastoral ministry, university-based ministry, community mental health clinical counseling, and furthered my education through a Doctor of Ministry degree. My academic interests led me to start a PhD […]



So Long, Seattle

A little more than eight years ago, I arrived in Seattle, looking for some new adventures. And adventures I have had – some more painful than I would have imagined, and others more fulfilling and life-giving than I could have hoped for. When I arrived in Seattle, I decided that I was going to fall in love with it, which didn’t take very long at all to accomplish. My love for Seattle is also why I am sad(ish) to say that it’s time to say goodbye. Sarah and I left Seattle in September 2011 to go to London for my PhD studies. As it turned out, that was a shorter excursion than we had originally planned (which I briefly blogged about here). We returned in the Spring of 2012. But for some reasons I didn’t fully understand at the time, I didn’t plug back in to the Seattle scene. I […]



Election Results, Evangelicals, and the Missing Link

Let me just say from the outset that I’m nobody to be trusted when it comes to politics. I watch almost no television news, I read very little political analysis on news websites, and my voting record is out of step with just about everybody I know. However, I, like most people, watched closely as the presidential election results came in on Tuesday, and I have my own set of opinions and emotions about the results. Having been bombarded with other peoples’ opinions and emotions on Facebook like many of you, I’ll leave mine out of this. (You’re welcome). As I watched the tallies pop up on the state-by-state boards, I was very interested that in nearly all of the closely contested “battleground/swing states,” the county maps were predominantly tipping to Mitt Romney, but President Obama ended up winning almost all of the states anyway . . . because he […]



Life update . . . live from Seoul

It’s been many months since my last blog post. In over ten years of blogging, this is definitely the longest stretch between updates. Unlike other recent quiet periods on the blog, I have also been very quiet on Twitter and Facebook. As you’ll see below, it’s not as though I’ve had a boring life this year, I just haven’t been living it in a public way. There’s no way to do a thorough life update here without being unreadably boring, so I won’t even try, but here’s a quick overview: –       After moving to London in the Fall of 2011 in order to start my PhD research at King’s College London, Sarah and I made the decision to return to the Seattle area in Spring 2012. This was much sooner than we had originally planned, but our financial game plan didn’t work out as we had hoped. Sustainable employment was […]



My Bad Beliefs

When I was an undergrad at UC San Diego, I was also a full-time employee of the university. I had an extremely low stress, low responsibility swing-shift job, which gave me freedom to go to class during the day and a lot of time to get my reading and writing done at work. Faithful, young, fired-up evangelical that I was, I also used the quiet night-time hours at work for spiritual self-care. I did my Bible reading and prayer nightly, as well as books and books worth of journaling. I kept up this rhythm up long enough that every year, around my birthday, I’d go back to the previous years’ journal entries on that day. I remember these times of review as moments of red-faced embarrassment, because I would inevitably think, “Man, I can’t believe I wrote and thought and believed that stuff. I’ve come a long way since then. […]



Why We Care About Mark Driscoll

A couple days ago, I wrote a blog post about Mark Driscoll. No big deal. In nearly ten years of blogging, I’ve written something like 1,200 posts, and a handful of them have mentioned Mark – some in a positive way, and others not so much. But this one was different. It hit a nerve with some people. Well over ten percent of the page views that I’ve gotten in the past 28 months have come in the past three days since that post went live.* I feel a bit dirty right now. Like I need a shower. I just got out of the shower, though, and I still feel dirty. I don’t regret anything I wrote – I stand by all of it. Mark Driscoll is a very gifted communicator. He’s funny, he’s culturally savvy, he has a quick mind, he takes theology very seriously. Though this may shock […]



Breaking News: Mark Driscoll Repents

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen what many many many people have seen on Facebook news feeds – way too much of Mark Driscoll. First the hype about his new book about sex, marriage, and sex (which I have not read). Then about his insults toward the maybe-godly-but-definitely-wimpy preachers of the UK for not being famous enough. Then about the church discipline process enacted upon some members who weren’t willing to repent enough to be accepted back into fellowship after voluntarily confessing sin. Just moments ago, I finally read something that I, and many others have eagerly been waiting for . . . a sincere word of repentance from Mark Driscoll, as delivered from the pulpit at Mars Hill Church. Yes, really. Read it yourself: I believe that humility is the great omission and failure in my eleven years of preaching. I believe that this is my greatest oversight […]



Ecclesiology and Ethnography

Among the many things I’ve been learning about thus far in my PhD program is how the fields of theology and social sciences interact. One area that I’m particularly interested in, and will be using in my research, is Ethnography. There’s a growing field that discusses the interaction of Ethnography with Ecclesiology. A network of scholars has developed around this theme.  I was able to attend a terrific conference on this in September 2011, at St. John’s College in Durham. It was extremely helpful to me as a new researcher. I was pleased to receive notice of some upcoming events related to the network. There’s a new book, edited by Pete Ward, called Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, a symposium at King’s College London, another symposium at Luther Seminary in St. Paul,MN and a day conference in Oxford on Critical Realism and Practical Theology. This fall, there will also be another […]



Loving Religion, The Atheist Way

I wasn’t planning to jump on the bandwagon of those who have watched the viral video about loving Jesus, but hating religion (which got 15 million views in its first 10 days). Not only are lots of people watching it, they’re blogging about it, from a number of angles. I’ve cynically smirked at several emerging church bloggers, because of the conundrum the video puts them (us?) in. On the one hand, they’ve been deconstructing and sniping at the religion side of Jesus-following for the past ten+ years.  On the other hand, two things are happening – first, many emerging church folks have been at the deconstruction/reimagining thing long enough to have learned that the institutions of religion aren’t all bad all the time after all; and second, even if they agree with the sentiments of the video, the viral “success” of the video means they’re not on the hipster fringe […]



Saying Goodbye to Off the Map

My friend Jim Henderson has posted the news that Off the Map, a project he started with some friends a dozen years ago, is going to walk off into the sunset. OTM hosted a number of events that were gathering places for a wide range of people over the years. The conferences were a great mix of the usual emerging church celebrities, and people I had never heard of before. One thing I’ve admired about Jim since the time I met him is his ability to identify people who are good thinkers and practitioners, but who have gone unnoticed by others. He “finds” these people, and just sticks a microphone in their hands . . . sometimes without asking permission! For all the conferences and events I’ve attended over the past ten years, Off the Map was far and away my favorite place to just hang out with people. There […]