Welcome! This website provides information about my work as a theologian and ethicist. I teach, think, and write about the meaning of Christian rituals and social practices. I study how ancient Christians like the apostle Paul or the fifth century north African bishop Augustine thought about Jesus and how those thoughts are still important in light of what we have learned and how the world has changed.
I started asking these kinds of questions partly because when I was a kid, I didn’t like it when authorities felt arbitrary, and my mom told me that it was always okay to ask why. So I guess I became a theologian by working my way up—past parents and teachers—to ask the biggest and most important questions I could ask of the highest authority possible.
In addition to theology, I love literary fiction, I’m a political junky, and I read a wide range of non-theological works like political theory, gender and queer theory, ancient history, and philosophy.
Lately, I have focused especially on some of the strange ideas that Christians like Augustine had about gender, power, and social identity in their historical context. I’ve found, counterintuitively, that some of those ideas can be helpful for thinking about politics, sexuality, gender, families, privacy, and relationships in contemporary society. My hope is that by studying the ways that Christians have learned to talk about God in critical conversation with some of the most important issues in the world today, I can understand better how to think and talk about both God and the critical issues.
(above image by Robyn Vining http://www.robynviningphotography.com)