About Me

I teach writing at Duke University but also work for The Navigators. (Yes, it gets a little busy at times!) This site is a place for me to share my thoughts and a few resources.

Why I Write

I once led a weekend retreat for teachers. I was shocked when one of the participants came to me, crying, ashamed that she was no longer "investing her life" in people. For her, "investing her life" meant leading Bible studies and meeting over lunch with people to talk about faith. When I asked what she was doing instead, I learned she was a kindergarten teacher in an inner-city school. She told me that some days, the best she could hope for was giving her kids just a little love and a little hope.

I have lead Bible studies and have met with more than a few people to talk about faith over lunch, but it broke my heart to hear someone like her, a young woman who was so clearly investing her life in others, to feel like a second-class citizen in God's Kingdom. Leading Bible studies is a great thing to do, but this is not the end of "investing." Pouring your heart out to teach reading or learning how to be a good hostess or working as an engineer on more efficient engines, these are also deep investments. God's economy does not put one kind of work or one kind of worker above another.

A second motivator for me is the constant stream of stories I hear whenever I tell people I am working on a project to help people talk more respectfully with others about their faith. Almost every time I tell someone what I'm doing, they say something like, "I know exactly what you mean! There is this guy at the gym..." or "this friend of my mom's..." or "this person I met on a bus" or.... I believe that it is mostly misunderstanding of our faith, not insensitivity, that drives people to what is, to be frank, some pretty unattractive communication. Most people, thankfully, resist pressure to "just blurt it out," but they often feel guilty for not talking more about what they believe. One of my hopes is to help people replace such guilt and doubt with tools for truly great conversations, tools that are built around humility, respect for others and a heart to learn.