“To know God is to love many things.” -Vincent van Gogh
I am a writer and minister who loves many things: a good cup of tea, theology, philosophy, Rilke, cats, dark chocolate, Mary Oliver, Jane Austen, Bach, the Beatles, trees–and, of course, Vincent van Gogh.
I am also a teacher. Having led retreats and conferences on Beauty and the spiritual life–both in the US and Canada–I will soon be teaching an online course called “Living with Beauty” with Spirituality & Practice (coming February 2019).
Before earning advanced degrees in philosophy, theology, and education, my first degree–my first love–was music. Music, poetry, and the wonder of nature have inspired my experiential impetus toward a “Theology of Beauty.”
Living abroad on the coast of Ecuador for five years also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the beauty of diversity, both in people an in nature.
Beautiful ideas also inspire me. My favorite philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, thought of God not as an all-powerful king in the sky, but rather as the “poet of the world.” The spiritual aspects of Beauty–with a capital B–continue to unfold in my life.
As an activist for the planet, I also believe we need to step away from our computers and tech toys and return to the beautiful world outdoors. A Theology of Beauty is one expression of Eco-Spirituality, a way in which people of all faiths can join hands for the sake of our planet and future generations.
You will find a full collection of my essays on Open Horizons (formerly called Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism), where I now serve as associate editor. Jay McDaniel and I also share a blog called “Process Musings” hosted by Spirituality and Practice. Other online magazines which publish my essays and articles include The Interfaith Observer and A Network for Grateful Living. My work has also been featured in the online journal Daily Good, Thought Catalog, and in The Philadelphia Sunday Sun.
My books include two books of inspirational nonfiction Embracing a Beautiful God (2003) and Fat Soul: A Philosophy of S-I-Z-E (2016), and two theological novels, The Metaphor Maker (2009) and Fat Soul Fridays (2013). I am also co-editor/contributor of an anthology of essays on beauty and ecology, Replanting Ourselves in Beauty: Toward an Ecological Civilization (2015).
I am ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and pastor a small, loving congregation in the beautiful rural landscape of Millersburg, MO. We are “Green Chalice” church, seeking to lesson our carbon footprint and make a difference to the community around us.
February 3-28, “Living with Beauty” at Spirituality & Practice. Click here for more information!