(View all of Ben’s posts here)
I’ve been known to embellish elaborately when a simple answer might suffice. When writing bios that is usually the case. My hope is to impress my wife, Lydia, and daughter, Margot; secondarily, I’d love for you to utter the phrase, “That might have been the best bio, ever!”
Never believing life would unfold this way, particularly growing up as a PC(USA) pastor’s kid, today I find myself in Tarboro, NC where I am a husband, father, sibling and son who is called to be the pastor at an amazing church, Howard Memorial. I came here in April of 2014 after spending eight years in Nashville, TN where I served as Associate Pastor at Westminster. Initially I came back to Nashville to study at Vanderbilt Divinity School after graduating from Pitzer College (not the drug company) in Claremont, CA. I came east, truthfully, because I didn’t have a better plan. Hoping to be a ski instructor after college my parents subtly exposed me to the reality that I would be broke within three months and I had student loans coming. “Apply to one graduate school,” they suggested. I was heading to my brother’s wedding in Nashville soon so Vanderbilt Divinity School it was!
Aspiring to study for a PhD I embarked on a masters degree at Vanderbilt. I quickly realized I didn’t have the academic credentials nor was I able to keep my nose in a book long enough to warrant acceptance into the doctoral crowds. Providentially, after tearfully recognizing this truth I forged a connection with a professor who guided me towards a realization that I was avoiding the church and ordination because, “I was always trying to find something better.” In the end I couldn’t (and still can’t) find anything better than the church–I realize what that statement sounds like! At the same time all this providential stuff was unfolding God doubled down on me as I met my wife in Greek class–romantic, right? On our first date when I told her of my plans to be an ordained pastor she didn’t run the other way; in fact, we kissed soon after that. It was love.
I passionately love the church because I firmly believe God hasn’t given up on us yet. The small moments when grace, love and mercy permeate through our words, actions, prayers and hymns remind me of this truth. The call I’ve felt to the church perpetually reminds me of the need to talk ourselves into something new–something God is calling us to be and/or do. As best I can I maintain a hopeful outlook on what God’s people can be and do when we recognize our gifts and actively seek to nurture and sustain them!
Playing, singing, feeding and cuddling with my daughter and wife takes up most of my time. I run so I can eat; as a byproduct it makes me feel fit. I love Duke basketball and, if given the chance, will watch any college basketball game on t.v. or in person. I have aspirations to own a VW Vanagon, visit all 50 states, read all the literary greats, travel extensively and lead people into a life where God’s grace abounds despite all that is happening around them.
(View all of Ben’s posts here)