~ Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic by Reinhold Niebuhr
Forced to attend church the first time as a teenager in in Richmond, Virginia, the pastor a few months later handed me an old wrinkled paperback he thought I might enjoy:
Reinhold Niebuhr’s Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic.
Aquinas’ Summa followed the Cynic recommendation.
Since then, Jesus has gleefully afflicted me with the right kind of nightmares and continues to tame my stubborn cynicism. Or should I say, Jesus is giving me different things about which to be cynical- after all, if Jesus is King and the world knows it not then there’s plenty in the world for which cynicism is the sanest, healthiest posture.
Thanks to being given a copy of Leaves, I’m now the least well-rounded person in the world, having studied theology at UVA and from Princeton. Seriously, I’ve got no skills apart from parsing Greek nouns and obscure theological categories. Fortunately, the United Methodist Church is the perfect place for someone like me. I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, and since 2002 have served as a pastor of churches in New Jersey and Virginia as well as a prison and hospital chaplain. I’ve been a pastor at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria, Va for 9 years.
I started the blog in June 2012 on a lark and through the encouragement of Tony Jones and named in homage to how my journey started.
My wife, Ali, is my high school sweetheart. We first met on the swim team. One look at me in my Speedo and she was a goner. She’s shy and easily embarrassed so suffice it to say that she’s my better 3/4 in every way but cooking. To read about what Ali has taught me about marriage, click here.
My youngest son, Gabriel, is a budding standup. He loves swimming and the White Stripes. My oldest son, Alexander, is a hardcore hiker and gifted in everything but common sense. For a better idea of what they mean to me, click here.
But all that may not say as much about me as:
Favorite Bands: Blitzen Trapper, Trampled by Turtles and The Low Anthem (Dylan is too obvious but him too)Favorite Movies: Chinatown, The Big Lebowski, Pan’s LabyrinthFavorite TV Show: The Killing and Battlestar GalacticaFavorite Authors: Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Lynch, Richard FordFavorite Smell: Roast ChickenFavorite Sound: Gabriel’s Belly LaughFavorite Theologian: Karl Barth, Herbert McCabeIf I wasn’t a pastor I’d be a….chef.I tolerate: 2 crazy Australian Shepherds.