Ina Albert, co-author of Write Your Self Well…Journal Your Self to Health, finds that listening is her most valuable quality as she grows older. Her children’s book, Granny Greeny Says…Listen Louder, tells us how it’s done.
A life transitions coach, certified Age-ing to Sage-ing® seminar leader, and adjunct instructor at Flathead Valley Community College, Ina has logged 40 years as a healthcare communications professional. She shares 78 years of life experience with clients and readers of her monthly column in Montana Woman Magazine.
She is published in Second Journey, Beliefnet.com, Jewish Magazine, Elder Woman Newsletter and various other publications, including a chapter in The Art of Grief edited by J. Earl Rogers for Routledge Press. Ina’s “A Letter On Behalf of Myself,” was selected by University of Portsmouth (United Kingdom) for their anthology, Borderlines.
Ina lives in Whitefish, Montana with her husband, Rabbi Allen Secher, and their dog, Kugel.
Carla Barnhill is the author of numerous articles and several books, including The Myth of the Perfect Mother, Shaping Your Family’s Future, and Blessings Every Day, which has sold more than half a million copies and was awarded the 2002 Gold Medallion Award.
The former editor of Christian Parenting Today magazine, Carla has also edited many books on topics ranging from leadership to Christian community to worship. In 2011, she was chosen as one of four finalists to be the Advice Guru on Good Morning America and is a regular guest on Twin Cities Live where she gives advice on everything from wedding etiquette to friendship problems to workplace drama. She offers her two cents on life at her blog, carlasays.com.
Carla is the mother of three and the wife of one. She and her family live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Amy Julia Becker is the author of A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House), named one of the Top Books of 2011 by Publisher’s Weekly, and Penelope Ayers: A Memoir. Her next book, a parenting memoir, will be published by Zondervan in 2014.
A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she blogs regularly for Patheos at Thin Places. She is also the author of two e-books, What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing: Insights from a Mom who has Been There, and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times online, the Atlantic online, First Things, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hartford Courant, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, and Parents.com.
Amy Julia lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee, in western Connecticut.
Tracey Bianchi is a pastor/preacher who lives in the Chicago area and serves at a big-ish church where she leads women’s ministry and a contemporary worship community. She’s married to a super patient and forgiving man named Joel. They have three young children, which means she spends much of her time as “that suburban mom.”
Tracey is a freelance writer and speaker with two books, articles and all that. She also serves on a few boards and stuff.
Debbie Blue is one of the founding pastors of House of Mercy, a church in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of Sensual Orthodoxy, From Stone to Living Word, and Consider the Birds: a Provocative Guide to the Birds of the Bible.
Blue’s sermon podcasts are listened to by subscribers around the world and her essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications including, Geez, The Image Journal, and The Christian Century. Debbie and her family live with friends on a farm near Milaca, Minnesota.
Dale Hanson Bourke is president of PDI, a marketing and communications strategy firm, and is the author of 10 books. Her most recent book is The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers. Previously president of the CIDRZ Foundation and SVP at World Relief, Bourke has also served as publisher of Religion News Service and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist.
A graduate of Wheaton College, she holds an MBA from the University of Maryland. She has served on the boards of World Vision US, World Vision International, International Justice Mission, Sojourners, ECFA, and Opportunity International. She currently serves on the board of MAP International.
The mother of two grown sons, she lives near Washington, DC, with her husband, Tom, and is a member of National Presbyterian Church.
Anna Broadway is a writer and Web editor living near San Francisco. The author of Sexless in the City: A Memoir of Reluctant Chastity, she is also a contributor to the anthologies Faith at the Edge and Talking Taboo.
She holds an M.A. in religious studies from Arizona State University and has written for TheAtlantic.com, Books and Culture, Christianity Today, Paste, the First Things and Sojourners blogs, Relevant, and The Journal of the History of Sexuality, among others. She also contributes regularly to the Her.meneutics blog.
The Rev. Steve Brown is the Founder of Key Life Network, Inc. (www.keylife.org) and Bible teacher on the national radio program Key Life and host on the talk show, “Steve Brown, Etc.” (streamed on the internet at http://www.stevebrownetc.com) and aired on the Salem Radio Network on weekends.
His weekday fifteen-minute broadcast and the one-minute feature You Think About That (www.youthinkaboutthat.com) are currently heard on more than six-hundred outlets. Key Life Network also has a ministry dedicated specifically to pastors. (www.poopedpastors.com)
Steve is Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry at Reformed Theological Seminary, in Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington D.C. He is a visiting professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and Knox Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
He is the former pastor of Key Biscayne Presbyterian Church, Key Biscayne, Florida; First Presbyterian Church, Quincy, Massachusetts, and East Dennis Community Church, East Dennis, Massachusetts. Steve is also a former disk jockey and newsman at radio stations in Boston and North Carolina.
Steve is the author of several books, including his most recent Three Free Sins. He is married to the former Anna Williamson of Dublin, Georgia, with whom he has two daughters and three granddaughters.
The Rev. Victor H. Conrado is Assistant Rector for Spanish-Language Ministries at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Prior to being received in the Episcopal Church in 2011, Fr. Victor was a Roman Catholic missionary priest and worked for eleven years in Kenya, Africa. Victor holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from the St. Bonaventure University in Colombia and completed a Masters in Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya (a constituent college university of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome).
Ian Morgan Cron is the bestselling author of Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts, and Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale.
He is also a Nashville-based songwriter, a free-range Episcopal priest, and one of the founders of the Wild Goose Festival. Ian, his wife Anne, and their two Portuguese Water Dogs live in Tennessee or in Dorset, Vermont, depending on the heat index.
Alice Currah is a cook, baker, writer, and photographer of SavorySweetLife.com and the author of the cookbook SAVORY SWEET LIFE: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion (William Morrow/HarperCollins June 2012). She also writes a weekly food column for PBS Parents and hosts a cooking series on the PBS Digital Studios network featuring great food and authentic interactions from a three-generational Korean-American family.
Alice loves her family, drinks way too much coffee, and keeps a secret stash of chocolate (the good stuff!) hidden from my children like every good mommy does. She’s been married to Rob for thirteen years and have three of the greatest children (Abbi-12, Mimi-10, and Eli-5) a mother could ever have hoped for.
On any given day you can find Alice shuttling her kids to and from school, sports practices, and cooking up recipes to share with you. After everyone has gone to bed, she is often working on blog-related things until the wee hours of the morning while munching on snacks she probably shouldn’t be.
She loves technology, traveling, food culture, eating out with friends, exercising, and quiet meditation through prayer and reflection (Jeremiah 29:11). Prior to having children Alice worked in the design and food service industry. Her background in 3D animation and restaurant experience eventually led her to start my own wedding cake business.
Although Alice no longer does wedding cakes anymore, she still bakes and decorates birthday cakes for each of her children.
Calenthia S. Dowdy, Ph.D. teaches youth ministry and cultural anthropology somewhere. She grew up in Philadelphia, enjoys movies, the gym, people watching, a good book, and sleeping. She also struggles with the ways and means of church folk and church life.
Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of the critically acclaimed The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber, and the forthcoming Disquiet Time: A Devotional for Ordinary Skeptics (edited with co-author Jennifer Grant and published by Jericho Books, fall 2014.)
A Connecticut native and granddaughter of Italian and Irish immigrants, Cathleen is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University as well as a master’s degree in theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She also was a 2009 Divinity School Media Fellow at Duke University, a Gralla Fellow in Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, and was the 1996 Stoody-West Fellow in Religious Journalism.
Cathleen was the religion writer and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times from 2000 to January 2010, and is a longtime contributor and columnist for Religion News Service. From August 2011 to December 2012, Cathleen was the Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners, where she ran its popular God’s Politics blog. She also was a contributing editor and columnist for Sojourners magazine.
Most recently, Cathleen was the Faith & Values columnist for the Orange County Register (from February 2013 to January 2014, when her position was eliminated) where she covered the election and first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate (traveling to Rome for his election), the post-AIDS-emergency rebirth in Zambia and Malawi, music, film, comedy, and faith (among many other things.)
Cathleen has been married to the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Maurice Possley, since 1997. After 20 years in Chicago, in the summer of 2009, Cathleen moved with Maury and their son Vasco to Laguna Beach, California. Vasco, who was born in Malawi in Central Africa, became a permanent part of the Possley family on June 1, 2010 when his adoption was approved by the High Court of Malawi in Blantyre.
David Fletcher is an associate professor of philosophy at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is interested in ethical theory, particularly deontological and rights theories. He is researching a range of bioethical issues, including such developments as the genetic, biological, and technological enhancement of human beings as well as traditional concerns about justice in access to health care, and is interested in the ethical methodology used to address bioethical concerns.
David is interested in the “private vices” of gambling, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco as matters of personal ethics and social policy. And he has an avocational interest in liturgy, writes a liturgy column for a church paper and in the past has taught a liturgy course to church musicians.
David enjoys guitar playing, travel, theater, history, and humor. He applies his ethical insights on two healthcare ethics committees. He has served on the vestry (board) of his church and is active in adult Christian education.
Author. Communicator. Creative Director.
Originally from the United States, Greg has lived in Dublin, Ireland for 23 years working with artists, archbishops and at times small animals; globally collaborating, creating, drinking coffee and risking innovation- all in an attempt to find and inspire hope.
Greg has seen exclusion and has experienced the frustration of the sacred/secular divide first hand around the world, most acutely in Ireland, and has worked tirelessly to help eradicate the perception of an exclusionary gospel.
His work has taken him from night clubs to cathedrals, from print media to short films and from an IRA wake to an Irish Presidential Inauguration.
Greg is the author of Liberate Eden, the groundbreaking interactive iPad bookApp. He is the co-founder of Rubicon- the faith and culture think-tank and the Creative Director and a founding member of Holy Trinity Church, Dublin.
As a communicator Greg has spoken live to over 250,000 people and from his base in Christ Church Cathedral he continues to develop new ministries within the Church of Ireland.
Greg is married to Alexandra and they have a lovely girl named Chloe, two brilliant boys named Joshua and Eden and a hyper dog named Mr. Bojangles. He also loves New York City, directing music videos and ice-cream.
A writer and mother of four, Jennifer has particular interests in “good enough” parenting, the whims of popular culture, and exceptional Vietnamese food. She has written a column and many health and parenting feature stories for the Chicago Tribune and is a regular contributor to Fullfill, Sojourners‘ God’s Politics blog, and Christianity Today’s her.meneutics blog for women.
Her work has also been published on britannica.com, adoption.com, momitforward.com, eatdinner.org, and in magazines including Chicago Parent, Christianity Today, Draft, MomSense, and Conscious Choice. For more than a decade, she wrote features, restaurant profiles, and general interest and family life columns for Sun-Times Media newspapers. Jennifer was a founding member of Redbud Writers Guild and is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).
Released in May 2012 from Worthy Publishing, her second book, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, was featured in Publishers Weekly and The Christian Science Monitor.
Jennifer’s memoir, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter was published in August 2011 by Thomas Nelson publishers.
Jennifer is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and received her Masters degree in English literature with concentrations in fiction writing and critical theory (Go Derrida!) from Southern Methodist University.
Melody Harrison Hanson lives one day at a time, one word at a time – a missionary kid who lost her faith, Melody found her way back through leaving full-time ministry for motherhood, finding feminism, getting sober and fighting chronic depression, all the while discovering the grace of Jesus.
She has published an essay in the book Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression, 2012, poetry in the forthcoming book No Fear, and an essay in the book Finding Church, 2013, with Civitas Press.
Melody currently is writing a book of poetry and the story of her recovery from alcoholism, renewed faith and slow healing. She blogs at http://www.logicandimagination.com, a quiet, contemplative blog with poetry, original photography and essays. Melody is member of the Redbud Writers Guild.
The Rev. Jack Heaslip spent the first twenty years of his working life in education — teaching English, ministering as a guidance counselor and chaplain in Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland. He later moved into full time parish ministry in the Church of Ireland as an ordained Anglican priest.
Jack is the longtime Spiritual Advisor for the band U2, travelling with the band members as they have toured worldwide for more than twenty years.
He is married to Patricia. Together they enjoy their family of two adult children, two children-in-law, and four beautiful granddaughters.
The Rev. Sarah Heath currently serves Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church in Southern California. She is the teaching and preaching site pastor for the Rancho Santa Margarita site. She also heads up the outreach mission GIVE team and the Worship Arts teams for the church. Sarah grew up in Northern Ontario Canada and moved to the US in 1994.
She received a BA from the University of Southern Mississippi in Psychology with a minor in Biology. She received her Masters of Divinity from Duke University in 2005. From 2005-2011 Sarah served at University as a Youth Pastor/Campus minister to UCI and Associate Pastor at a United Methodist Church in Irvine California.
Sarah is an ordained elder for the California Pacific annual conference of the United Methodist church. Sarah has written for several blogs and publications usually about the struggle to make faith relevant and how to negotiate the faith when you don’t fit in the average church. She has a passion for music, traveling, acting, creating art, playing and watching sports. Her biggest blessing is her random assortment of talented friends and her amazing mutt of a dog tenor. Sarah is working on her first book, a memoir tentatively titled, Always the Pastor, Never the Bride.
Stephen Henderson has worked as a writer, public relations professional, and communications specialist since he graduated in 1979 from Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois, with a bachelor’s degree in Literature.
His career path has taken a highly circuitous route, leading him at various time to have written for, and publicized, clients ranging from Avon Books’ romance novels, Arrow Men’s Dress Shirts, and Maxwell House Coffee, to the Radio City Rockettes, Union Theological Seminary, and The John Templeton Foundation. Along the way, he received a Master’s degree from Yale Divinity School.
Stephen currently is a freelance journalist who writes frequently about design, travel, food, science and religion. An enthusiastic voyager, he’s filed stories from Argentina, Iran, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Sicily, Sweden, South Africa, and Vietnam – not to mention China, Texas (population: 200.)
His stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Town & Country, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Men’s Health and New York Magazine.
While traveling for a magazine assignment in India a few years ago, Stephen learned of twenty-four-hour soup kitchens operated by Sikh houses of worship (or gurudwaras). After working for a week as a volunteer cook at the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, which feeds twenty-thousand men, women, and children each day in Delhi, he got the idea to write a book about what he terms “gastrophilanthropy.” Chapters of this work-in-progress, which looks at the fascinatingly different ways by which poor and hungry people are fed around the world, can be found at http://www.cookingforothers.com.
Stephen lives in New York City, and is married to James LaForce, his partner of twenty-five years.
Chris Heuertz has spent his life bearing witness to the possibility of hope among a world that has legitimate reasons to question God’s goodness.
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Chris studied at Asbury University in Kentucky before moving to India where Mother Teresa mentored him for three years. While living in India, he helped launch South Asia’s first pediatric AIDS care home—creating a safe haven for children impacted by the global pandemic.
A forerunner in the New Friar movement, Chris and his wife Phileena served with the Word Made Flesh community for nearly 20 years, working for women and children victimized by human traffickers in the commercial sex industry. This has taken Chris to over 70 countries working among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor.
In 2012 Phileena and Chris launched Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.
Named one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership,” Chris is a curator of unlikely friendships, an instigator for good, a champion of collaboration, and a witness to hope, Chris fights for a renewal of contemplative activism. He is known for his provocative storytelling, and Chris has written 3 books: Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World (IVP, 2008); Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (IVP, 2010); and Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community (Howard Books, 2013) offers insight on how the soul is shaped through fidelity in difficult relationships.
Join @ChrisHeuertz on Twitter in his attemps to love on the margins.
Gareth Higgins was born in Belfast in 1975, grew up during the northern Ireland Troubles, and lives in North Carolina, where he was the founding director of the Wild Goose Festival and now works as a writer and storyteller. Movies (and a theatrical mother) made his imagination come to life, and he is a grateful inheritor of the gifts of queer theology, non-violent activism, and anabaptist patriotic skepticism. He writes and speaks about connection to the earth, cinema and dreaming, peace and making justice, the gift of fear, and how to take life seriously without believing your own propaganda.
The Rev. Tripp Hudgins is a doctoral student at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, a preaching pastor, baptist cantor, liturgiologist, ecumenist, writer of articles, ethnomusicologist (hon.), and grateful husband.
Tripp’s work is an exploration of sonic theology, mandodoxy, found objects (like grace, time, timbre, or other holy scrap), and some good old fashioned “sangin'”.
After Susan made a commitment to Jesus as a teenager, her ex-boyfriend lamented: “When you became a Christian, you lost all your spontaneity.” She cried because it was true. She’s been trying to rectify that ever since. Today, she is an actor, comedienne and author with many credits in film and TV (Planes Trains & Automobiles, Seinfeld, Parks and Recreation, et al) and an alumnus of LA’S Groundlings comedy troupe.
Susan toured with author Donald Miller promoting her memoir, Angry Conversations With God, which Publisher’s Weekly named a top religion book of the year. She mounted a full-length production based on the book and tours nationally, speaking at conferences and universities around the country (Baylor, Catalyst, Festival of Faith and Writing, et al). She earned her MFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California and teaches screenwriting and sketch comedy at Azusa Pacific University. APU’s annual “Sketchy” show is an underground hit. So far, no one has shut them down.
The Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson, a theologian and Episcopal priest, is Lecturer in Theology & Culture at Pacific School of Religion (PSR), a member of the core doctoral faculty of the Graduate Theological Union, and serves as Senior Director of Academic Research and Resources at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at PSR.
His publications include: Dancing with God: Anglican Christianity and the Practice of Hope (Morehouse, 2005); Queer Religion (two volumes, co-edited with Donald L. Boisvert, Praeger Publishing, 2012); Divine Communion: A Eucharistic Theology of Sexual Intimacy (Seabury Books, 2013); and Peculiar Faith: Queering Christianity for Social Transformation (Seabury Books in 2014).
Tim King is Chief Communications Officer for Sojourners in Washington, D.C. A New Hampshire native, he is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago, and holds degrees in both theology and philosophy.
After college, Tim worked for the Industrial Areas Foundation as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where he ran campaigns around food access, school funding reform, ex-offender issues, and youth homelessness. Tim also developed and implemented organizing curricula for high school and graduate-level classes. After a brief stint as a campaign consultant, Tim joined the staff of Sojourners in 2008.
Tim has been a guest on many radio shows and podcasts and has been interviewed for various print and online publications, including ABC News, TIME, CNN, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and the Daily Beast. He writes regularly about the intersection of faith and politics for Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog.
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative Christian leaders. His dozen-plus books include A New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, Naked Spirituality, and Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
Brian and his wife, Grace, live in Florida and have four adult children and four grandchildren.
Linda Midgett is the founder of Midgett Productions, a boutique production company that recently created the hit motorcycle adventure series “Neale Bayly Rides: Peru.” The series aired on the SPEED Channel in June 2013.
Linda is an Emmy award-winning writer, producer, and showrunner with a proven track record of developing hit and critically acclaimed series. She has supervised more than 600 hours of programming for networks such as NBC-Universal, The History Channel, PBS, The Weather Channel and Investigation Discovery. Her credits as Co-Executive Producer include Starting Over, the Emmy-winning syndicated daytime reality series produced by powerhouse Bunim-Murray Productions; The History Channel’s groundbreaking series, Gangland; and Investigation Discovery’s FBI: Criminal Pursuit.
Though Linda enjoys producing pure entertainment, she isn’t afraid of tackling difficult topics like poverty and mental health. In 2012, she produced The Line, a riveting documentary commissioned by Sojourners that told the first-person stories of Americans in poverty. The film is available at http://www.thelinemovie.com. Her other independent documentary work includes Through My Eyes, which tells the stories of teens struggling with suicide, depression and eating disorders. Through My Eyes won the national Voice Award for excellence in mental health programming.
Linda is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bill Motz is an Emmy-winning screenwriter living in Burbank, California.
He’s worked for the Walt Disney Studios, Warner Brothers, Sony, Cartoon Network, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, and Fox.
With a B.A. in Christian Education from Wheaton College, Bill worked as a youth director at a church after graduation and then in the media department of Youth for Christ USA for a few years before pursing work in the entertainment industry.
Bill and his family are part of an eclectic little Presbyterian church where they regularly laugh and play and study and struggle and worship with a diverse group of friends who challenge them to be more authentic in faith and life.
LaVonne Neff has taught French, history, English, journalism, religion, and Lamaze childbirth classes. She has also worked in publishing as a marketer, copyeditor, book editor, magazine editor, acquisitions director, editorial director, consultant, writer, and reviewer.
Of more interest (to her, at least), she has one husband, two daughters, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters, and two grandsons. In her spare time she collects small dogs and master’s degrees.
Ellen Painter Dollar is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012).
Her articles, blog posts, and book chapters have been published by the New York Times’s Motherlode blog; the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Foundation; Virtual Mentor (the American Medical Association’s online journal of ethics); Christianity Today; the Convergent Books blog; the Episcopal Cafe; and more.
A lifelong Episcopalian, with a few detours into evangelicalism, Ellen blogs about faith, family, disability, and ethics at Patheos.com.
The Rev. Katherine Willis Pershey is the Associate Minister of the First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois.
Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Katherine was one of the founding editorial board members of Fidelia’s Sisters, a publication of The Young Clergy Women Project.
In addition to infrequently updating her personal blog, she has contributed to publications such as the Christian Century, A Deeper Family, Comment, Gifted for Leadership, and the Englewood Review of Books. She is the author of a memoir, Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family (Chalice Press 2012).
Katherine and her husband, Benjamin, have two daughters.
From 1993 to 1998, the Rev. Eugene Peterson was the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to being a poet, scholar, and author of more than thirty books, Eugene also is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is the founder of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Maryland, where he was the pastor for twenty-nine years.
Dr. Peterson has also been an Assistant Professor at the New York Theological Seminary. He has written numerous books including The Pastor: A Memoir, The Jesus Way, Practice Resurrection, Leap Over a Wall, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Working the Angles, and Reversed Thunder.
He is probably best known for developing a para-translation of the Bible called The Message. Eugene now lives with his wife, Jan, in Montana. They have three children and six grandchildren.
The Rev. Christian Piatt had a Bible (literally) thrown at him when he was kicked out of his youth group for asking too many questions about God, about Jesus, and about the Christian faith that he would end up running from for much of his life.
After painstakingly regaining his faith, God has given this author, speaker, musician, spoken word artist and editor a platform to help reconcile what Christianity claims to be, with what it’s intended to be.
As a speaker he has had a wide range of influence. From the podium at Chapman and Texas Christian University, Drury, Jarvis Christian and Culver-Stockton College to the stages of The Wild Goose Festival and the Soularize Conference, Piatt’s words have spoken to a generation of young people who are defecting from religion in response to years of hypocrisy and abuse.
He has reached a larger and more diverse audience through his on-air appearances on Carol Howard Merritt’s God Complex Radio, Doug Pagitt’s Radio Show, State of Belief Radio with Welton Gaddy or as the co-host of Homebrewed Christianity’s CultureCast.
In 2004, Christian co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, the Rev. Amy Piatt. Currently he serves as the Director of Premium Content for the interfaith website, Patheos, and as the Director of Growth and Development for First Christian Church (DOC) in Portland, Oregon.
Christian is the creator and editor of the Banned Questions book series, which include Banned Questions About the Bible, Banned Questions About Jesus and Banned Questions About Christians. He co-created and co-edited the WTF: Where’s the Faith? young adult series with Chalice Press, for which he also co-edited the book Split Ticket: Independent Faith in a Time of Partisan Politics, and contributed a chapter to Oh God, Oh God, Oh God!: Young Adults Speak Out About Sexuality and Christianity.
Christian’s first book, LOST: A Search for Meaning, was released in 2006, followed in 2007 MySpace to Sacred Space: God for a New Generation, which he co-authored with his wife, Amy. In 2012 Chalice Press published his memoir on faith, family and parenting called PregMANcy: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.
In August 2014 Jericho published Piatt’s first hardcover book called postChritsian: What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care?
In Addition to his books, Christian is a contributor to the Huffington Post, Red Letter Christians, and the Good Men Project; a blogger for Patheos; and a writer for Sojourners.
Anthony Platipodis proved his math teacher right when he said, “It’s a long way to Hollywood when you can’t pass geometry.”
Once Anthony realized Mathletes such as Bradley Cooper would edge him out of work, he sought alternate routes to stardom. He’s worked on reality TV, washed dishes, signed intellectual copyright agreements with Fortune 100 companies, done voice over work, mugged in a Cinemax original series, and written Bible annotation (it’s complicated).
Anthony splits his time as a freelance writer and sales manager. You can ﬁnd him in whiskey bars obsessing about Doctor Who continuity…or on Twitter @platipod.
Carolyn Reyes was born in Miami and raised there by her fierce monolingual Cuban grandmother with a fifth grade education who read the newspaper cover to cover and watched The Price is Right daily.
During her nominally Catholic childhood, Carolyn became an evangelical Christian and while attending an evangelical college, she read everything by Henri Nouwen she could find at the Wheaton Religious Gift Shop and Church Supply, became obsessed with Latin American liberation theology, and dabbled in mainline Protestantism.
During her time at a liberal Protestant seminary, Carolyn revisited Catholicism and Christianity just dropped away. She was minding her own business for some time when she came upon the teachings of Pema Chödrön, which pretty much saved her life.
Carolyn has spent the past dozen years or so as a really bad Zen student. She lives in Oakland, California and her day job involves representing kids in different types of legal proceedings and providing training and technical assistance regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in out-of-home care.
At all other times, Carolyn is either reading with her daughter, Kairos, practicing yoga, or eating yummy food prepared by her wife, Yvonne.
Caryn Rivadeneira might spend more time thinking, dreaming and plotting than she does actually writing. But since it’s the writing part that pays (some of, at least) the bills, she calls herself a writer. Oh, and a speaker. And an editor. Definitely a mother. And a wife.
And now she’s on the worship staff at her church. It gets so complicated. Which is sometimes she has to reread her very official biography to remember who she is.
In fact, Caryn is a sought-after writer and speaker. She’s the author of four books—Shades of Mercy: A Maine Chronicle (River North, September 2013), Known & Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (Revell, April 2013), Grumble Hallelujah (Tyndale House, September 2011), and Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. (WaterBrook Press, March 2009)–and a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.Meneutics as well as columnist for Re:Frame Media’s ThinkChristian blog.
Caryn has written dozens of magazine article. Her work has appeared in such publications as Christianity Today, Relevant, FamilyLife, and Engineering and Mining Journal (you read that right).
Caryn leads workshops and speaks at conferences and church groups across the country. She’s also a regular guest on Moody Radio’s Midday Connection with Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt and has been featured on such radio shows as The John and Kathy Show, Changing Worldviews/WOMANTalk with Sharon Hughes, I Thought She Said with Faith Daly, The Paul Edwards Program with Paul Edwards, and Talk from the Heart with Rich Buhler, among many others. Caryn also appeared on The Harvest Show.
Caryn earned a B.A. in English from Calvin College and attended the University of Chicago’s publishing program. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Rafael, her three kids, a rescued pit bull terrier, two hermit crabs, and several tank fulls of who-knows-what-kind-of fish. Caryn and her family are members of Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church in Elmhurst, Illinois, where Caryn recently joined the worship staff.
Jenny Sheffer Stevens lives in New York City, and intermittently, Los Angeles, with her husband, Eric, their elementary school age kids, Hutch and Violet, and an antediluvian cat named Faulkner.
She is an actress, writer, yogi, moderate health nut, immoderate talker, and shameless shoe enthusiast, chronically torn between conflicting identities as ardent urbanite and closet hippie beach bum, who likes her city Atlantic but her ocean Pacific.
Jenny loves great coffee and passable wine, funny people, books on paper, the New York Times, large popcorns at small movies, the Highline at sunrise, the Hudson at sunset, and Malibu whenever possible.
She holds a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College in Illinois, an MFA in Acting from the University of Alabama/Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and multiple yoga teaching certifications. She’s eternally engaged in hatching innovative interdisciplinary projects and collaborations that allow her to integrate her equal passions for storytelling in all forms (writing, acting, talking…), wellness (physical, spiritual…), and woman-centric initiatives.
In 2010, with two beloved co-conspirators, she spearheaded Three Jennys, a production laboratory and performing artists’ collective dedicated to advancing the female presence in diverse media to help shape a larger creative climate in which the range and depth of women’s experience is explored; in 2012, they were awarded the Lincoln City Fellowship, a generous grant from the Speranza Foundation. Jenny recently completed her first screenplay (currently in development), and is at work on several others.
Margot Starbuck, a writer and speaker, is the author of five books.
Though she does wrestle with many of the tricky bits of faith, she’s pretty certain that in Jesus God is with us and for us.
She lives in Durham, NC with her three amazing kiddos.
Rachel Marie Stone is the author of Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food (IVP, 2013) and of The Unexpected Way (Peace Hill Press, 2014).
She’s a regular contributor to Religion News Service and Christianity Today’s her.meneutics blog, and her work also appears in Books and Culture, The Christian Century, Sojourners, PRISM, andChristianity Today, among others.
Rachel teaches writing at Zomba Theological College in Malawi, Africa, where she also has worked as a labor doula.
She and her husband Tim, a professor of Hebrew Bible, have two children.
Karen Swallow Prior
Karen Swallow Prior, Professor of English at Liberty University, earned her Ph. D. and M. A. at the State University of New York at Buffalo and her B. A. at Daemen College.
Her scholarly work has appeared in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era; The Shandean; The Scriblerian and various literary encyclopedias.
She is a contributing writer for Christianity Today, The Atlantic, and Think Christian. Her writing has also appeared at Comment, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Salvo. Her literary and spiritual memoir, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me was published in 2012 by T. S. Poetry Press 2012. A biography of the nineteenth-century social reformer and abolitionist Hannah More is forthcoming from Thomas Nelson in 2014.
Karen received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013, was named Faculty of the Year by the Multicultural Enrichment Center in 2010, received the Sigma Tau Delta (LU chapter) Teacher of the Year Award, and was the 2003 recipient of the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
She is a member of the graduate faculty and teaches British literature primarily, with a specialty in eighteenth century British literature, which she loves for its emphasis on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, community, and the “middle way.”
Karen is a member of Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. She lives in rural Virginia with her husband along with sundry dogs, horses, and chickens.
The Rev. Jeff Tacklind is lead pastor of Little Church by the Sea in Laguna Beach, California where he has lived and served for the last twelve years with his wife, Patty, and three kids: Gabe, Mia, and Lila. Jeff holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the Talbot School of Theology and a doctorate in semiotics and future studies from George Fox University.
In the gaps, Jeff spends his time reading, surfing, getting beat at chess, and searching for the perfect cup of coffee. He is physically incapable of preaching a sermon without quoting C.S. Lewis or Thomas Merton (or both) at least once.*
*That last bit is from Cathleen, who has had the great joy of being pastored by Jeff since 2009.
The Rev. Kenneth Tanner is pastor of Church of the Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Michigan. His writing has appeared in Books & Culture, Huffington Post, Sojourners, National Review, Christianity Today, and Real Clear Religion.
Follow him on Twitter @kennethtanner.
David Vanderveen is a husband, father, avid waterman, follower of Jesus and a sinner. He has published letters, columns, essays and short stories in the Wall Street Journal, Mars Hill Review, Laguna Beach Independent, Sojourners and the Huffington Post and recently wrote and edited The Love Wins Companion with Rob Bell.
In his spare time, David is a global energy drink entrepreneur and disco dancer. He lives in Laguna Beach, California.
Karen Walrond is a nationally-recognized author and photographer who inspires others to find and celebrate their own uniqueness, through the power of storytelling.
For most of her adult life, Karen worked in corporate America, most recently as a lawyer, and before that, a structural engineer. Yet, her friendship with her Nikon camera began to blossom and, today, she is an award-winning blogger, photographer and author, who has spoken around the world appearing on CNN, TEDxHouston, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Through her book The Beauty of Different, her blog Chookooloonks, and her online courses and ebooks, Karen reminds us that even our uniqueness, skills and even our most mundane stories have the power to connect.