How do we reconcile what we often hear about God with our own experiences and the experiences of those both within and outside our own communities? As a public theologian, I believe our actions in the world are shaped by our true thoughts and beliefs. For example, we often say God is love, but do we really believe it? How does that love exhibit itself in how we relate to the stranger and our neighbor? Are our lives defined by that same love, or is that love tempered by concerns regarding obedience, purity, and who is in or out?
Public Theology is where belief about God intersects with politics, gender, race, sexuality, environment, and culture issues. As such, this particular method of doing theology becomes a conversation about how we apply theology to our lives and how that application impacts the way we live within society. When we believe that God is exclusive and for a "chosen few," solidarity with others who are perceived to be outside the boundaries is often discouraged, rebuked or even punished. When we believe that God calls us to welcome, identify with, and provide hospitable space and safety to the stranger, our actions of providing sanctuary create stronger, healthier, vibrant, cooperative communities. In particular, I'm interested in legacies created by social injustice, violence, peace, reconciliation and moral courage, and I'm drawn to cause and effect: "if we believe x, what effect will it have on us, our community, and our world?"
Born and raised in the Deep South of the U.S., I learned early on about negotiating boundaries related to race, gender, identity, politics and faith. Over the last 20 years, I have worked as a consultant, researcher, advisor, minister, chaplain, lecturer, and manager in the United States, United Kingdom, Former Yugoslavia, and Northern Ireland. In 2004, I received my M.Div. from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Virginia, US), in 2007 an M.Phil. in Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation, and in 2012 I received my Ph.D. in Theology from Trinity College, University of Dublin. My latest publication, Safeguarding the Stranger: An Abrahamic Theology and Ethic of Protective Hospitality is available from Wipf & Stock or from your favorite book retailer.
I live in Dorset, England.