Thursday, July 03, 2008

Some Information About Me

At the suggestion of a frequent reader of this Blog, I have decided to add an “About Me” section, mostly so I can add a link in the side-bar:

Shawnee Mission UU Church, Overland Park, KS (2003-present) Parish Minister
First Parish in Needham, MA (2002-2003) Student Minister and Youth Advisor, Rev. John Buehrens, supervisor
Horizon UU Church, Carrollton, TX (2001-2002) Intern Minister, Rev. Dennis Hamilton, supervisor
First & Second Church in Boston, MA (2000-2001) Student Minister, Rev. David Horst, supervisor

In addition, I have guest preached at an additional 19 UU congregations, including:
First Unitarian Church, Dallas, Texas
Unity Church-Unitarian, St. Paul, Minnesota
Eno River UU Fellowship, Durham, North Carolina
First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas
All Souls UU Church, Kansas City, Missouri
First Unitarian Church, Des Moines, Iowa
First Jefferson UU Church, Fort Worth, Texas
First Religious Society, Carlisle, Massachusetts
Ordained: October 25, 2003 by the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church.
Final Fellowship: Received Fall of 2006; recognized at the Service of the Living Tradition, June 2007 in Portland, Oregon.
Preliminary Fellowship: Received Fall of 2002; recognized at the Service of the Living Tradition, June 2003 in Boston, Massachusetts.

I am a life long Unitarian Universalist who grew up attending First Parish in Wayland, MA. I have also been an active lay-person at First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon, Wy’East UU Congregation in Portland, Oregon, Octagon Unitarian Chapel in Norwich, England, and First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a lay person I was involved in pastoral visiting in Wayland, was a member of the Mass Bay District YRUU Steering Committee, and was a Young Adult conference planner in the Pacific North West District.

• Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association Executive Committee (2006-2009)
• Participant in the UUA Growth Summit held in Louisville, Kentucky (11/2007)
• Midwest Leadership Institute, Lecturer in History and Theology (2009-2010)

MAINstream Coalition, Kansas City Metro Area – MAINstream operates is a non-partisan organization committed to the Separation of Church and State and Public Education. It operates as an educational foundation and as a PAC. In my 3+ years with MAINstream I have served on the Board, the Executive Committee, as well as on its “Voices of Faith” steering committee.
ChoiceUSA / Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute – I have spoken twice about the “theology of reproductive justice” at Midwest leadership conferences. In 2006, ChoiceUSA flew me to Washington D.C. to speak at a national leadership conference.
Planned Parenthood – Planned Parenthood frequently asks me to testify in Topeka about various issues related to reproductive health, including sexuality education in schools and in opposition to legislation that makes it more difficult for women to receive health care and/or to exercise their right to choose.

Listening to Experience: 12 Visionary Ministers Discuss Growth (DVD, 2008)
“Listening to Experience: 10 Lessons from 12 Ministers” (General Assembly Workshop with Rev. Harlan Limpert, June 2008)
• "Leadership Keys for Congregational Growth" (10/4/08) at a leadership conference hosted by the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, New York
“Other Impediments to Growth: A Personal and Institutional Essay”
“Thomas Jefferson” for the Dictionary of UU Biography
"The Primitive and Not-so-Primitive Church" Remarks at the 2006 UU Christian Fellowship Dinner, Hymn Sing, and Annual Meeting
• Charge to the Congregation, Installation of Eva Cameron in Cedar Falls, Iowa
• Charge to the Congregation, Ordination of Meghan Conrad, All Souls UU Church, Kansas City, Missouri

• "UUA Internship Supervisor Training" - In 2007 I attended a half-day training for prospective intern supervisors. The training was led by UUA Staff and ministers with considerable experience with interns. In 2008-2009 SMUUCh will be a teaching congregation as we welcome an intern minister.
• “The Executive Experience” – In 2004 I completed this week-long (40 hour) course by This course in management is designed for managers who are being groomed for executive level positions by their companies. (I was given a full-scholarship to attend, which is fortunate because the standard cost for a week is $6,000 per participant.)
• “All Options Clergy Counseling Training” – In 2003 I attended this one-day workshop sponsored by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Harvard Divinity School (1999-2003) M.Div degree.
Courses in UU History, UU Polity, UU Theories of Religious Education, Preaching as Ministry, Black Preaching, Introduction to Counseling, Counseling with Adolescents, American Religious History, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Adult Developmental Psychology, Comparative Mysticism, Biblical Theology, etc.
Reed College (1995-1999) B.A. in Religion. Phi Beta Kappa.
Courses in Early Christianity, Judaism, Chinese Religion, Eastern Religious traditions, Religious Theory, American History, American Literature, Poetry, Literary Theory & Semiotics, Spanish, Drama, etc.

Spanish – Completed 7 years of coursework; have traveled twice to Spain and once to Puerto Rico; I meet with a native Spanish speaker twice each month for an hour of practice.
French – I took “French for Reading” to fulfill my Divinity School language requirement. (No longer in use.)
Coptic – At age 19 I completed an independent study in Sahidic Coptic which culminated in an original translation of a part of an unedited Coptic manuscript. I then traveled to London where I was granted full access to the special collections of the British Museum and Library. I had a chance to handle and work with many of the key manuscripts in the Nag Hammadi Library. (No longer in use.)

Movies – especially independent films and documentaries**
Live Music – all kinds but especially alternative rock
Social Justice – especially Reproductive Justice, Immigrant rights, Civil rights, Labor issues, and Financial well-being
Creative Writing
Public Speaking
Juggling – I have been a juggler for over 13 years and studied with a pair of professional jugglers for 4 years. I can juggle five balls, pass clubs, juggle torches and machetes, and manipulate cigar boxes. I also tight-rope walk, use a walking globe, and balance on a rolo-bolo. I’ve juggled at church picnics, at the local Head-Start, and at schools and day-care centers.
Ultimate Frisbee & Frisbee Golf
Playing the Electric Guitar
Playing the Didjeridoo
Stand Up Comedy
Spanish Conversation and Travel to Spanish speaking countries
Rooting for the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and New England Patriots (you can take the boy out of Boston…)
I am a voracious reader. I am particularly fond of the experimental modern writing put out by McSweeney’s Press. I am also a fan of poets such as Jane Hirschfield, Tony Hoagland, Sarah Lindsay, and Carl Dennis. My favorite authors include Dave Eggers, Marilynne Robinson, A.M. Homes, David Foster Wallace, Nick Hornby, Sarah Vowell, Chris Bachelder and Chris Adrian.

I especially enjoy the experimental films that can be found on the Wholphin DVDs. I am a fan of films directed by Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep.) Documentary films are another genre that I enjoy. (I also have a little-known weakness for Zombie movies.)

Some places I regard as sacred:
Ecola State Park on the Oregon coast
Walden Pond, Concord, MA
Chimayo, New Mexico
The beaches of Nerja, Spain
The Harvard Divinity School chapel, Cambridge, MA
El Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain) which houses Picasso’s “Guernica.”