- Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.
I grew up in central New Jersey, along the shore, in a single-mom home. The Lord saved me when I was a high school senior. I met my wife-to-be Lauren in college and we married in 1983 while I was an M.Div. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. After seminary I pastored for 19 years in WV and completed my D.Min. at Westminster Seminary. In 2004 we moved to Wake Forest, NC, where I taught at Southeastern Seminary for 12 years and also completed my D.Theol. (U. of South Africa). I left the pastorate because I love the pastorate, i.e., because I wanted the next generation of pastors and missionaries to excel in pastoral care and counseling since most seminaries underemphasize the importance of this ministry. In June 2016 we moved to Louisville, KY where I now teach at Southern Seminary and serve actively in my church, Third Avenue Baptist.
I don’t have much spare time, but when I do I love watching sports, playing chess, summer trips to minister in Brasil, traveling with my wife, and visiting my children and grandchildren that we left behind in NC.
- When did you first want to write a book?
Not until I was well into my pastoral ministry and I was encouraged by professors and friends to convert my D.Min. project and preaching on anger into Uprooting Anger (P&R, 2006).
- Have you always enjoyed writing?
I think so. I am thankful for some excellent teachers and professors—Christian and non-Christian—in junior high, high school, and college who taught me how to write and who encouraged me to try.
- What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?
In many ways, my reasons for writing both Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem (P&R, 2006) and the 31-day devotional, Anger: Calming Your Heart (P&R, 2019) were the same: pastoral and counseling interactions with hundreds of people coupled with an ever growing conviction that Jesus through his Word and Spirit can forgive and change us.
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Aside from an occasional person who rejects the biblical view of the heart and the gospel, I have been spared attacks; I’m my toughest critic. The most meaningful set of compliments came from a dozen or so women at a residential Christian group home who together read Uprooting Anger and mailed me a thick packet of handwritten thank-you letters. I read their stories with tears of sadness and joy as they described the Lord’s redemptive work in their lives and the impact of my book. Those letters are keepers!
- Favorite sport to watch? Favorite sport’s team?
The Boston Celtics, the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Yankees, because they were the dynasties when I was a kid and therefore often on TV, and WVU, since you can’t pastor in WV for 19 years without becoming a Mountaineers fan.
- Favorite food?
A half-dozen meals that my wife makes and Brasilian churrasco (BBQ) that she doesn’t make.
- Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate Chip Mint (though I will also settle for Mint Chocolate Chip).
- The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?
I like both but lean to Narnia because I read the series to my sons 2.5 times when they were young, because my son and daughter-in-law have promised the exclusive and irrevocable rights to read them to my grandchildren, and because I still weep over “the deeper magic before the dawn of time.”
- Tea or coffee?
To the disappointment of my coffee-shop owner son, neither. Give me Guarana Antarctica (Brasilian) or Mountain Dew Code Red.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?