My hippie parents met at Berkeley in the 1960s. To protest the Vietnam War, my Dad once lay down under the front wheel of a truck delivering napalm at Port Chicago Naval Base (he got maced). Before completing their degrees, they moved to Vancouver, Canada, where I was born and raised, so my Dad could avoid the draft.
After high school, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend Stanford University and explore my roots. Despite my spiritual thirst, a passion for philosophy, and a latent love of words, my pesky aptitude for math and science suckered me into studying engineering. I worked as a consulting engineer for twenty-four years, and I tried to escape for at least twenty-two.
My most heroic escape attempt was the fourteen years I spent in graduate school between 2001 and 2015, which started at Fuller Theological Seminary where I earned an MDiv (2005), and culminated in a PhD in philosophy from UCLA (2015). My hope was to become an academic, but the financial transition proved too challenging with two soon-to-be-teenage daughters.
One consolation of this slow-motion academic train wreck was my discovery of joy in writing: the dissertation (On Loving Some People More Than Others) was my favorite part of the PhD. After graduating and returning to full-time engineering (*sigh*), I started work on a non-fiction book related to my dissertation. During my research for the book, a novel-sized story dropped in my lap and insisted on being written.
I recently finished that manuscript—Neither Slave nor Free, a literary-historical novel that tells a dramatic backstory to the New Testament letter, Philemon. It's a story of two brothers, Onesimus, a slave, and Philemon, his master. Their relationship turns violent, and Onesimus escapes. When he's recaptured and sent back to his brother, his only hope is a letter from the Apostle Paul. (I also wrote a Bible study on Philemon that I'm giving away, free.) My original non-fiction project remains on the back-burner: a pop-philosophical theology book tentatively titled, How to Love Your Neighbor. I have also begun research on a second novel.
Why do I write? On one level, I find that words, sentences, ideas, and stories simply offer themselves to me, and that I take great pleasure in writing them down and tinkering with them. It feels like part of my nature to write; if I don’t do it, I begin to slide toward misery. But, on another level, I write because the words, sentences, ideas, and stories feel important to share with the world. For example, my first novel raises questions about the relationship between Christianity and slavery, and about the limits of reconciliation. These questions seem especially important in the current American moment as we continue to wrestle with the legacy of slavery and strive for racial healing.
I was fortunate to attend the 2022 GoodLit Writers Retreat in Stanford, Kentucky. I've studied fiction with the Gotham Writers Workshop, I'm an avid consumer of literary podcasts (especially Between the Covers with David Naimon), I write occasional articles on Medium, and I blog about whatever catches my fancy.
I served as a Lecturer in philosophy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) during the Spring 2015 and 2016 terms, teaching introductory and advanced undergraduate courses in ethics. I also served as an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Azusa Pacific University during the Fall 2014 and 2015 semesters. I currently work at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (#bestdayjobever) planning Colorado River imports for Southern California.
I enjoy hiking in the mountains, I'm a fan of the beautiful game, and I played varsity volleyball during my undergraduate years. I live in Pasadena, California, with my wife, two daughters, and an energetic chocolate lab named Hazel, who enjoys tug-of-war, chasing squirrels, and barking at strangers.