I never get tired of teaching and talking about religion (though others might get tired of me doing so sometimes!). I have dedicated my life to it, and almost every day I feel a deep sense of vocation. I know this is what God wants me to do with my life.
I remember very clearly the day in May 2000 when my life goals clicked. I was considering a career in CES, and then I heard Noel Reynolds, one of the founders of FARMS, share his experience examining a 3rd century manuscript of Matthew in the Vatican library. In that moment, I knew. I was going to become a Bible scholar. (Too many) years later, I am now working to finish my dissertation on the gospels to complete my PhD.
I currently live in Salt Lake. I have taught religion academically for ten years and now teach World Religions at Westminster and independent study Bible courses through UNC Chapel Hill. Teaching religion academically has changed the way I see and approach religion. I have joked while bearing my testimony that thinking too much is an occupational hazard. And because film critics can’t watch movies the same, and food critics can’t eat the same, you can imagine what studying religion professionally does!
My greatest desire and motivation is to increase well-being. I aim to share information and approaches that will help others foster a healthy and mature perspective on religion. I want to be a resource.
What motivated me to start this Sunday School podcast was reflecting on the paradox that in any given ward, what the minority needs (asking hard questions, digging into details) would potentially disturb or even harm the majority. This podcast seeks to provide lessons and discussion that meet the needs across as broad a spectrum as possible. My specific goals include modeling discussion that:
- Spiritually nourishes, uplifts, and transforms. I agree that this needs to remain the primary purpose of Sunday School. Whenever possible I work to teach in a way that can nourish and satisfy a broad range of members.
- Empowers listeners to “challenge and be challenged by the scriptures”. This is the “engaging” part of our Gospel Doctrine project. This means we allow passages to challenge our own preconceptions and call us to a higher level of discipleship, but we also challenge other passages that seem harmful or otherwise problematic. Both history and human nature inform the creation and reading of scripture.
- Accurately reflects the lived experience of members, including the questions and concerns we have. I want to provide a safe space to share with each other the thoughts we have in our heads as we sit in Sunday School.
- Points listeners to a more complex picture of scripture and religion that they can either follow up on or not, as they wish and need.
I deeply appreciate the chance I have to teach and discuss the gospel and scriptures with you all. If you have questions or comments, I welcome your email at MormonSundaySchool@gmail.com.