I thought, I’ll forget him; I’ll no longer speak in his name. But there’s an intense fire in my heart, trapped in my bones. I’m drained trying to contain it; I’m unable to do it.Jeremiah 20:9 (CEB)
My journey in faith and ministry has been an ongoing pilgrimage, a seeking of where God is active and working in the world. Even though I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist family, I was first exposed to the beauty of the church as a teenager when I attended Roman Catholic mass with my grandmother. In those days I longed for something rich and meaningful in spirituality, from feelings that I would later understand as the Spirit’s nudging of me toward a bigger-picture view of the Church. My life’s passion has since been a relentless pursuit of that bigger picture. In college I discovered and grew to fully embrace the progressive ideals of Jesus as a pacifist.
I served for 10+ years in pastoral positions after college, most of that time in two small congregations working on revitalization and renewal. I sought to bring progressive Christian values—nonviolence, social justice, inclusion—and worship renewal to both of them. About two years ago, amid a personal crisis, I left a pastoral call and took a leave of absence from vocational ministry to discern my next steps. I voluntarily withdrew my ordination credentials from the Mennonite Church so that I could discern and explore my faith and spirituality independent of the exclusivity in that denomination. I am now (as I have always been) a Christian pilgrim looking for my next home.
I was born to a Baptist family and have long appreciated the Baptist ideals of soul freedom and the separation of church and state. I was educated among the Baptists, Reformed, and Anglican, and ministered among the Anabaptists. I consider myself deeply and intentionally ecumenical, drawing upon and appreciating the depth of insight and beauty that comes from a variety of traditions. I believe that the church is most enriched when all persons from every walk of life and faith background are invited to participate at the table. We learn from each other and with each other how God is living and moving in the world.
Personally, I am a joyful person who loves laughing and making others laugh, too. I believe that joy is an indispensable part of our humanity. I wear bow-ties to the office—for whimsy and style—and an alb and habit in worship as part of my commitment to the church’s ancient ways.
I hold a BA in Music (Ouachita Baptist University), an MDiv in Leadership and Postmodern Theology (Missio Theological Seminary), and a DWS in Worship Studies (Institute for Worship Studies). I am a vowed member in the Order of Saint Luke (saint-luke.net), a dispersed religious order dedicated to liturgical scholarship.
I married Amanda Montgomery, my best friend and partner, in 2005. She is a speech-language pathologist in the public school system and is committed to diversity and empowerment of the disenfranchised with whom she works as an educator in low-income areas. We have three children who continue to inspire us with laughter and curiosity. Samantha Mae is 9 years old, a third-grader. She loves drawing, music, and exploring. Theodore, 5, is relentless and unending energy and curiosity. Elaina is 2 and works hard to talk louder than her brother and sister.