Saturday, June 30, 2007

My biography

I was born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., where I graduated from Hillsboro High School. I earned my BA degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University. An ROTC scholarship student, I took a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army field artillery.

I married the former Catherine Stephens of Durham, N. C., in 1980. We have two sons, the elder a former U.S. Marine and Iraq veteran now living and working in Madison, Wisconsin. Our younger son is a trauma surgeon in the U.S. Air Force; his wife is a civilian pediatrician. Our daughter is a chemical engineer in Nashville.

I served on four continents in the Army. I was an artillery forward observer and battery fire direction officer in Korea, including service at an active artillery fire base at the DMZ. In Germany I served as an artillery battery commander and a brigade fire support coordinator in 3rd Armored Division. Afterward, I was the operations officer of an 8-inch howitzer battalion of V Corps Artillery. I was also operations officer for a Multiple-Launch Rocket System battalion in XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery at Fort Bragg, NC. Along the way, I was trained and served as a nuclear target analyst in two assignments. I also completed counterterrorism training at the Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg. I was one of the relatively few officers to graduate from the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, S.C..

In 1986 I attended the Defense Information School, from which I graduated first in my class. I then served as chief of media relations for XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, N. C. During the invasion of Panama in December 1989 (Operation Just Cause), I served on the Corps' Battle Management Cell. I also served a six-month, joint-staff tour as director of public affairs for Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras.

Assigned to the Pentagon in 1990, I was the speech writer and personal public affairs officer to Secretary of the Army Michael P. W. Stone, traveling with the secretary until January 1991, when I was assigned to the U.S. Army Operations Center for the Gulf War.

After the return of forces to America, I was appointed Director of Media Relations for the National Victory Parades in Washington, D. C. and New York City, coordinating directly with White House staff and more than 650 national and international news organizations.

Subsequently, I was a plans officer on the Army Staff until May 1993. My final Army assignment was as chief of public affairs, U. S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Just before retiring, I served as a member of the Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation Task Force, whose work resulted in the arrest and conviction of Timothy McVeigh for the bombing of the Murrah federal building in spring of 1995.

I retired in August 1995, answering my call to ordained ministry. I began classes at Vanderbilt Divinity School the same month.  I began serving full time as a United Methodist pastor in 1997. I was awarded a Master of Divinity in 1999 and was ordained an elder in full membership of the Tennessee Conference of the UMC in June 2002. I served as well for seven years as a chaplain for the Williamson County, Tenn., sheriff's department.

Since 2003, my work has been cited by The Washington Post, MSNBC, ESPN, OpinionJournal, ABC News, Commentary magazine, Time Magazine, Real Clear Politics, Real Clear Religion and many other major media outlets. I authored an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on the subject of same-sex marriage entitled, "Save marriage? It's too late," which was subsequently reprinted in several religious journals. I was cited in the record of a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, United States Congress, dated May 13, 2004, on, "Federal Marriage Amendment: The Musgrave Amendment."

I have also written for the Knoxville News Sentinel on the security implications of Osama bin Laden's death. I was a columnist for Right Network during its brief existence.

In April 2005, as a result of my online essay, "The pope and communism’s fall," I was an interview guest on Fox News Channel's, "The O'Reilly Factor," on the topic, "Does the Vatican have a Realistic Plan to Confront Evil in Today's World?" On Sept. 2, 2013, I was an interview guest on the British Broadcasting Corporation's program, "World Have Your Say," on the topic of the then-impending American war against Syria (a follow-up post is here, "Just War and Syria Strikes").

By the grace of God I served under full-time appointment as pastor of United Methodist churches in Middle Tennessee from 1997-2020, when I retired, and I joyfully serve with the good people of the Church for the salvation of souls and the transformation of our lives and communities.

Rethinking Marriage

What the Christian religion has to do with marriage is a huge subject, so at best this is an overview. I call it Rethinking Marriage becaus...