Brief Biography

I grew up in a one-stoplight town. When I was eighteen, I went to Ann Arbor, a “big city,” and I spent four years there learning to be a teacher. Then I moved to Baltimore, where I spent three years really learning to be a teacher. I taught an amazing group of middle schoolers–my first “family and team”–how to read, write, and carry themselves like intellectuals. I was forced to begin asking what Jesus Christ had to do with the contemporary public school classroom.

Before I moved to Ann Arbor, a death stole my complacency. My grandfather, one of the dominant male role models of my youth, was precisely struck in a country intersection by a drunk driver. The perfection of the collision–a split second earlier or later, and he would have lived–reeked of the God I had grown up learning about. I was enraged. I spent college getting back at God, doing whatever I pleased, with and to whomever I wanted, careless of the consequences.

Before I moved to Baltimore, a death gave me new life. Throughout high school and college, I had two joy-exuding friends, Laura and Lindsay, who met with me and joked with me and, secretly, prayed for me. Laura died in the spring of 2006 in a multi-fatality interstate accident, but, for five weeks, she was mistakenly believed to be alive. Five weeks after the crash, when “Laura” was finally identified as someone else, I flew home from Seattle to attend the memorial. During Laura’s father’s humble-bold opening remarks, the floor opened up beneath my life, and I clearly saw my desire for what he had. When the tidal wave of my grandfather’s death struck, my life had been crushed. When the tidal wave of Laura’s death struck, her father and family and friends all stood. This strength in weakness brought me to life; I now believed that Christ was God.

Less than a year later, I met my best friend at a wedding. A few months later, we decided to get married. Since then, we’ve had many adventures, ranging from exotic to mundane. Recently, we began the adventure of parenting with the birth of our daughter, Hadassah Ellen.

We’ve lived in Baltimore and New York City, and we currently reside in Cedar Springs, Michigan.


Crystal and me at Assateague National Seashore.


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