This week’s author interview is with Jonathan R. Stoddard. He is the author of Computer Science: Discovering God’s Glory in Ones and Zeros.
- Question #1—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 Colorado but when I was eighteen I wanted to get out and explore the rest of the country. Enlisting in the Marine Corps and going to college out of state helped do this. Over a period of thirteen years I had the opportunity to live in California, Georgia, Virginia, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. I also deployed to Iraq twice, first in 2006-2007 and then in 2008. After seeing much of the country I realized that Colorado was the best place to live! At that time I was finishing seminary at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and looking for a pastoral call. I couldn’t find anything in Colorado, but was connected with a church in Utah. Utah was a lot like Colorado, I could ski in the winter and ride my bike in the summer. So in 2013 we moved to the Salt Lake area. I serve at the pastor of Jordan Valley Church (PCA) in West Jordan, UT. I’m married to a wonderful wife, Lisa and we have three beautiful girls.
- Question #2—Have you always enjoyed writing?
No, writing was always my most dreaded subject in high-school. I was bad at spelling and struggled to understand grammar. I enjoyed science and math much more. In college I had to take an English Composition course and the professor (Dr. Paul Hesselink at Covenant College) really encouraged us to just write and worry about the grammar and other details later. This approach was revolutionary for me. When I wasn’t so hung up on the details of grammar and style, I found that I enjoyed writing, because it was about communicating ideas.
- Question #3—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?
I wrote this book to my college-age self who was studying computer science but struggled to understand how the work of programming connected with my faith. The ideas for this booklet came out of a conversation with Dr. Vern Poythress at Westminster Seminary. I was taking a class on Science and Faith and we were discussing paper topics and I found his ideas in Redeeming Science to be really helpful. I wondered what it would look like to use that same approach with computer science. He loved the idea and told me he had been waiting for someone who had experience with computer science to write something on this. (I was rather intimidated because I suspected that he probably knew far more about Computer Science than I did!) To my relief, he ended up liking what I wrote and recommended it be published.
- Question #4—What book are you reading now?
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Communion with the Triune God by John Owen, Kelly M. Kapic (Editor), and Justin Taylor (Editor)
- Question #5—Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?
I like to watch sports that I participate in myself. For me that’s skiing and cycling. My productivity in July always goes down as I have to watch every single stage in the Tour de France. This year I’m rooting for Richie Porte and hope he can beat Chris Froome and team Sky.
- Question #6—Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Homemade Vanilla. Growing up my family would make hand-cranked ice cream for special occasions. We had this amazing vanilla ice cream recipe. As a kid it felt like we would be cranking forever before the ice cream froze. But I suspect all that work makes the ice cream taste better! Now I’m teaching my daughters the supremacy of hand-cranked ice cream.
- Question #7—If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?
The Psalms. In 2004 I backpacked the Colorado Trail, which runs some 470 miles through the Colorado Rockies. Each morning I would pray through a few Psalms as I walked. Those times alone with God transformed my faith. Since then the Psalms have been a constant companion, always reminding me of God’s unfailing love.
- How can readers discover more about you and your work?
– Church’s Website: www.jordanvalleychurch.org
– Church’s Blog: www.jordanvalleychurch.org/blog/
– Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.stoddard