My name is Kevin.
There was a time when I tried to be "normal."
Raised within a very confident and certain religion, I assumed we had this whole thing figured out already. I subscribed to all the regular ideas, steeped myself in them, and went along with the understanding I had been handed. I assumed then that all the important thinking and processing had already been done. All I had to do was soak up the wisdom of those who had come before, and continue on in their achievements, their perspectives... I believed then that I could do meaningful work as a "pastor" that way.
Like I said... There was a time when I tried to be "normal".
(It didn't take.)
The big disruption to my life came when I (quite accidentally) met Jesus.
I didn't hit a dramatic rock bottom first. I didn't cry out in desperation. I just started letting go of things I had once thought mattered, and Jesus snuck into the void somehow. I loosened my grip on fundamentalism, and love and unity and beauty all gripped me as though for the first time. Though I had been a Christian my entire life, the foundations I had always trusted in melted away as I experienced a new kind of infancy. I felt free to love things and to cherish them openly for the first time, regardless of their label. I saw truth and beauty all around me. I discovered God was speaking always and everywhere, and my compartments for the sacred and the secular had robbed me of that experience for so long. Jesus was no longer a magic word or a set of dogmas or a name invoked to get to heaven... I knew him. I knew what he was like. I began to talk about him like I would any other friend. It wasn't a conscious effort. It just happened.
It was as though a lightswitch had been flipped on inside of me. Everything began to change. The orientation of my heart had shifted, and in every direction I looked, I saw things in a new way. The lenses through which I perceived everything had been replaced, and I began to work out the implications.
I am still working out those implications.
Christian culture at large remains as it is, and I am reminded of my own "former things" every single day.
I am the child of two wonderful Jesus Movement parents who never presented me with the depths of the ugly Christianity I once tried to take on... But that culture of religiosity is strong. It is enticing. It is seductive. It makes grand promises to those who jump through its hoops and regurgitate its formulas. Promises it does not keep.
I was an Evangelical, non-denominational, Bible-believing Christian with all the proper doctrinal positions checked off... But all of that became nothing to me when I met Jesus.
And strangely enough, when I let go of so much of what Christianity had taught me to be "biblical", I began to read the scriptures meaningfully for the first time. I began to see holes in the common views and perceptions I'd once held that had been there the whole time. I began to embrace a healthy level of mystery, because theology itself was no longer my god. And I began to look for a more consistent ethic of interpretation - one which didn't tuck all of my beliefs away into dissonant, systematic compartments. I began to interpret Paul through Jesus and not the other way around. I began to read the Old Testament through Jesus and not the other way around. For the first time in my life - despite being raised in Christian culture - Jesus became "Lord". Jesus became the primary way God desired to be known, experienced and understood. He was not subject to all my other preconceptions and positions: He was their master.
I've discovered that this change in a person can really put them at odds with the status quo.
The powers that be often like the structures to remain just as they are, however hollow and decaying they've proven to be.
And that's where my writing, speaking, and this site comes in. Christian sayings and clichés are really just the tip of the iceberg.
The long-form "ENTRIES" are about much more than their titles might imply - they begin with a popular phrase, and then delve below its surface (sometimes at significant length) to deconstruct it and challenge it.
I find multiple approaches are necessary. So much of my growth has been a result of peeling back the layers of tradition and certainty - deprogramming from what I once accepted to be absolute. I was like a garden that needed weeding in order for anything to grow.
But once you level that ground, it's amazing what you can begin to see grow and take shape, replacing the former things.
I'm married to my junior high sweetheart. I have pretty intense chromesthesia and spent years not knowing it, assuming it was something that everyone did until I was well into my 20's. I love animals. I love good Anime. I love the aesthetic of Steampunk. I adore film, and particularly the works of Joss Whedon, Hayao Miyazaki, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, The Wachowskis, Wes Anderson, and Steven Spielberg. I've led multiple groups through the process of "The Gospel According to Film," in which we explored the idea of all truth belonging to God regardless of its source, and practiced Art as a means of engaging the dance of truth around us rather than as mere amusement or escapism.
Music is another thing which has always been precious to me. I am a musician myself. Some of my music is here on the site. My favorite artists include Stevie Wonder, Elliott Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Neil Finn/Crowded House, Stone Temple Pilots, Zero 7, Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, The Cardigans, Soundgarden, Travis, Elbow, West Indian Girl, Copeland, Dark Captain Light Captain, Ivy, Coldplay, Switchfoot, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Regina Spektor, Aqualung, Greg Laswell, The Ditty Bops... I could go on. I prefer Jazz to Blues, especially Hard Bop and Bossa Nova. And I could be happy listening to only the early Pop from the 1930's and 40's...
I don't like crunchy peanut butter. To me, the fact that it's a type of butter implies creaminess. I never put sriracha on anything, because I think it's gross. I cook a lot, and love hosting people and being hospitable. I'm a vegan and pretty passionate about animal rights, and I love to discuss the subject with people, though I'm definitely not preachy about it.
I am equally left-brained and right-brained, and equally introverted and extroverted. I need all of it.
Personality tests label me as an INFJ (Meyers-Briggs) or a Type 4 (Enneagram).
If I had my way, I would just travel all the time. I'm particularly interested in Thailand, India, and Japan.
I do not like to be labeled (and often dismissed) as an "intellectual." To me, the things I am passionate to discuss are, ultimately, "normal people stuff" with traction in the real world. Ideas have consequences, and philosophy and theology are about ideas that shape how we perceive this world and live in it, so it can be difficult for me when faced with our culture - which is sometimes quick to suggest that thinking about something at any depth at all means you are "overthinking" it. I disagree with that mentality entirely, and I wish that our society did not show such disdain for anyone who desires to be informed or articulate... On the other hand, actual intellectuals can prove difficult for me as well. Some of them can be dismissive when I appeal to conscience or intuition as easily as I do the type of reason they're more comfortable with. I've found that a lot of intellectuals don't understand why I have emotion tied up in what I believe, or why I think that good theology should produce real and revolutionary social change. They can seem confused when they discover that I have no interest in ivory tower discussions and fruitless debate over fringe ideas.
So it can be frustrating and lonely here in the middle. That's the honest truth. That's as real as I can be about it.
At my core... and as a student of scripture, theology and doctrine... my heart is to protect people from the more ugly and abusive exercises of those things. I aim to misbehave. I desire to speak the truth to power, call the "authorities" to account, and expose the faulty foundations for what they are, wherever they are. I wish to see people who feel beaten down and overwhelmed by the religious culture of our time empowered and emboldened. I wish to see believers feel free in their own faith. I wish to see non-believers realize that they're more into Jesus than they might have thought.
I do not like being constrained: I'm claustrophobic, and I struggle through small talk. I think I was born without a small talk gene or something. I tend to bypass "normal" conversation and jump straight to subjects like art, politics and religion, which puts new people off at first. I get that. I just don't know of any other way to connect.