Dear Members and Friends of West Baptist Church,
The emergence of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) places us in the midsts of a health crisis unlike anything most of us have faced in our lifetimes. While we seek to protect our loved ones and ourselves against infection, we empathize with those who are ill and grieve with those who have suffered loss. Our continued prayers are with those directly affected by the virus, those in the health care community who are tirelessly working to treat the sick, and those government and public health officials developing responsive measures.
- First Baptist Church Murfreesboro,Tennessee — “We’re All in This Together,” Sermon for the Martha Stearns Marshall Month of Preaching, February 19, 2017
- Robert Carr Chapel, Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University — “Christian Response-ability for‘Never Again,’” A Christian Service for Yom HaShoah: Remembering the Holocaust, January 25, 2011.
- Texas Christian University — “This is ‘Myspace:’ Ending Violence Against Women Through Community,” Graduate Student Forum,Women’s History Month, February 2007.
This article offers a dialogical examination of 1 Kgs 17–19 that deconstructs traditionally accepted characterizations of Jezebel, Elijah, and the Widow of Zarephath. This study proposes that shifting emphasis from Elijah and Jezebel as polar opposites to a literary ménage à trois that involves all three characters makes it possible for the holy man to become a stranger and the strange women to become holy. The narrative tensions thus revealed question the validity of Israel’s definitive identity markers. When reading the stories of Jezebel, Elijah, and the Widow of Zarephath in the Deuteronomistic History, clear-cut distinctions between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ continually collapse.
Commitment to ministry and education have always been intricately woven together in my life thanks to a family full of public school educators, church leaders, and pastors. I first experienced a call to ministry during my senior year of college and have nurtured that call through my M.Div. degree and advanced studies in biblical interpretation, as well as in professional and volunteer ministry work. As I conclude my doctoral studies, I am keeping my mind and heart open to the next place God has prepared for me, whether in a higher education setting or in full-time pastoral ministry. My personal experiences, my educational background, and my professional training have cultivated a number of strengths that make me well-suited for a pastoral position: a facility for preaching, a passion for education and Christian formation, a skill for worship planning and leadership, a heart for empathetic listening and communication, a gift for bringing out the best in others, a desire to advocate for social justice, and an investment in working with others to discern God’s calling for common life and ministry.
“To me the willingness to change and be changed, to remain always open is a defining principle of intellectual life” ~Parker Palmer in Teaching Community
In my experience, education has provided a profound source of joy, as well as opening me to realities of the world that grieve me deeply. Education has empowered me to make changes in my life, expose myself to new opportunities, and take on forms of activism I may have never discovered on my own. It has also made me a more empathetic person. Education provided a window into lives of people whose lives radically differed from my own, and I found their stories compelling, disturbing, and transformative.