Who am I?

Who I am is best endlessly explored in person. But alas, I’ll at least give you a ‘synopsis’ of my life thus far, at least the highlights. 

People have described me as an interesting mix of someone who is both deep & reflective, and also joyous & energetic. I seek to embody these harmonious traits in myself, and as such can be found doing karaoke, making dancing videos, and making quick witted jokes, yet also in reflective conversations, sitting with peoples pain, and publicly teaching about having a wider & deeper view of faith & life.

My interest in the big questions started when I was a young boy, as I would think about questions like “what happens after you die?” or “If there is a God, what is God like?”. However, such deep thinking though was often overshadowed by a childhood that had baked into it an equally strong desire to have fun parties, be the prankster of the group, and the leader in all things fun. Whilst I didn’t stop being fun, I did refine and seek to be a more mindful and a considerate person of joy as I got older, and this was fostered through a new found faith at 17. I had started attending a youth group at 17, and had an experience of God that in the moment combined my inquisitive mind with an overwhelming sense of the Kingdom of God come-in-flesh. It was here that the big questions came alive for me in deeper, wider, and more grounded ways. 

In 2015 I graduated with an accredited counselling degree. During this degree I learnt to weep with those who weep, to sit with both mine and others emotions, and grow in the capacity to be empathetic. Around the same time, I became interested in exploring topics within Christian faith itself, and started to listen, read, & reflect very intensionally on a variety of theological and ethical topics. I also begun to preach and seek to find new and creative ways to communicate and share that which I thought would be life giving. Since then I have spoken at a variety of churches and been a licensed  minister. 

I now find myself as a counsellor for at-risk youth, a podcaster, continuing in requests for public speaking, infrequently blogging, a participate in some protests centred around seeking the common good for marginalised groups, and am studying a Masters of Divinity. Oh, and I still publish silly videos on Instagram. You’re welcome.   


My ‘flavour’ of Christianity:

Sören Kierkegaard wrote, “Once you label me, you negate me.” In a similar vein I’m always cautious to label myself, because of both the shifting tides of what culture means by particular words, and also the subtle ways I might try to squeeze myself into a box in order to please the masses and or feel ‘settled’ in myself. But likewise, I cannot ignore the ways I have been influenced by tradition and different teachers who have existed across the eons of time, and be so arrogant to say something like “I just follow Jesus”. True, I do identify first and foremost as a follower of Jesus, but I do so within a tradition and with many great teachers. To that end, I would broadly describe myself as spiritual and religious- in that I seek to intentional follow the teachings of Jesus (within my own cultural context), and do so believing that I have a living relationship with Jesus, and I locate all of this within the worldview as broadly described in the Apostles Creed that I believe to be true (including the literal death, resurrection, accession, and return of Jesus to renew the world).

Zooming in a little closer, I would describe myself as theologically and spiritually eclectic in that I learn from many Christian thinkers and seek to incorporate many spiritual disciplines across the Christian spectrum. Yet, I do have a particular soft spot for the Eastern Orthodox understanding of salvation, a existential approach to faith (i.e. it’s about trust, and relational knowing), a holistic approach to faith (i.e. Jesus is Lord of all things, not just the private or public world), a mixture of the contemplative and charismatic expression of spiritual practices, and a lifestyle that seeks to live a simple Jesus-shaped life and contribute to the common good of the world in a Jesus-shaped way- and I ground all of this in the hope of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, accession, and return.

In terms of a church community, I err towards a healthy mix of charismatic & contemplative, with a focus on forming an intentional local community of disciples in intimate tight-knit relationships. Whilst I am not inherently against excitement and hype, you’ll typically find me most comfortable in a church service that has a Ted-talk like sermon, a low key musical set-up, and has people who want to go and grab some food and drink after the gathering. 

Whilst I wouldn’t use the labels “conservative” and “progressive” I understand that I would stereotypically look “conservative” and “progressive” on different theological and ethical topics, but even if I do look like that, I am truly and sincerely just trying to wisely & reflectively discern truth, as opposed to merely trying to be knee-jerk “conservative” or “progressive”. To that end, some of the areas to which I ‘land’ on are quite nuanced and delicate, rather than purely black or white. However, for some, the very thought of being ‘open minded’ tends to lend itself to thinking that one might be “progressive”. And yet, in the same vein, when people learn that some of what I believe doesn’t lend itself to a stereotypical “progressive” view, then I tend to be labelled as “conservative”. Either way, if that’s how I am seen then I can’t control that. Yet once again, not trying to be either.

Of course, none of this implies that I live up the ideal of who I seek to be within my faith, and none of this implies that I think I am ‘certain’ in all of this. Instead, I fail every day, and I hope to be open to learning, knowing that certainty is not the goal anyway- love of God and neighbour is. 

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