Like everyone, I wear a lot of different hats. I’m a father, a husband, and a full-time employee. Since somewhere around age 10, I’ve been a writer and reader. Most importantly, I am a Christian.
My Christian faith lies at the core of all the other pieces of my identity. I strive to be a Christian father, a Christian husband, and a Christian professional. When I write, I write in order to communicate the Christian worldview. When I read, the Christian worldview provides the methods and presuppositions with which I interpret and apply what I read.
During my teenage years, shortly after I was baptized, I felt called to serve God and the church. Naturally, like most young men who feel so called, I assumed that meant pastoral ministry. But God’s will has not taken me down that path. After a few detours, I wound up in a public service career, working in the criminal justice system. That career has been good to me and my family. But I still felt called to do more.
During a particularly difficult time in my life, when my faith was tested almost to the breaking point, I discovered Christian philosophy and apologetics. During this difficult time, I was asking all of the “big questions.” Was God really there? Does God really exist? If God does exist, what explains evil and suffering? If God doesn’t exist, what possible meaning could attach to human existence? At some point during this difficult time, I had my own Job-like experience. God didn’t appear to me in a whirlwind. It was more like my life was a whirlwind and the only stable grounding I found was that God is God. That experience was made possible because of faithful apologists who gave answers to those “big questions.”
Sometime later, my wife and I were talking about the future. She suggested I think about graduate school. After all, the kids would eventually grow up. Eventually, I would be eligible to retire from my criminal justice career, but still young enough to pursue something else, something completely different.
After prayer and more talks with my wife, I decided to enroll in seminary. But I didn’t want to pursue the path of pastoral ministry. I didn’t feel like that was where God was calling me. Instead, I earned a graduate degree in Christian apologetics. This decision was, in large part, due to the influence apologetics had on me. It was more than that, though. I also felt called to be an apologist. To be capable and willing to defend the gospel when the circumstances called for it. That experience in seminary led me down what a few years before I would’ve thought to be an unlikely path.
At the time I write this, I am almost at the dissertation stage of a Ph.D. program in public policy.
Studying Christian apologetics led me to study public policy and political theory.
The way that happened is a long story. Longer than your patience would allow me to tell on this page. So I will give you the shorter version.
My undergraduate academic background is in legal studies. After completing my undergraduate degree and before starting my current job–where I’ve now worked for over 13 years–I spent just over a semester in law school before realizing that being a lawyer was not what I nor God wanted for me. I had originally enrolled in law school thinking that it would be all about the Federalist Papers and the Constitution. When I realized that my career would more than likely be made up of real estate closings and technical motions, I decided to save my money. On top of that, I’ve always been a civics nerd. I was always the kid who knew all the answers to the test on the American founding and the Revolution. I was just one of three kids in my eighth-grade class who went on our class trip to Washington, D.C. In other words, politics and civics have always been an interest of mine. In my apologetics program, I found an unlikely connection with civics.
As I read and studied the classics of Christian thought–Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther–I found theological thinkers who did not stop applying Christian philosophy at the church’s door. Instead, they applied theology to social, political, and economic issues. Maybe it sounds a bit melodramatic to say that this inspired me . . . but it did. Why, I wondered, were there not more Christian apologists operating in the political field? Why wasn’t anyone raising the issues that these men, and many others, had been raising for centuries?
Of course, there are many such people. But not enough.
In my final semester at seminary, I withdrew an application I’d made to a doctoral program in biblical studies and applied to a program in public policy. I had found, finally, what I believe God was calling me to do: to be ready and willing to offer a defense of the Christian hope (1 Peter 3:15) within and to the political sphere. The turmoil and confusion that has gripped American public life since the beginning of 2020 has only confirmed this sense of calling. My writing and my scholarship now have a purpose: the communication of the gospel into the political and cultural sphere with the faith that American civics and culture can be renewed to God’s glory.