Professor of American Religious History
As a Messiah undergrad, I was a chemistry major. My plans at the time were to become a medical doctor, but after being accepted to medical school, I decided to take a gap year to attend seminary. To make a long story short, I never went to medical school; rather, I completed my seminary degree, pastored for five years, and then pursued graduate work in religious history.
I currently teach a variety of courses in the areas of religion and theology, including Christianity in the United States, Religious Pluralism in America, Theology and American Culture, and Anabaptist Theology. I also teach a First Year Seminar each fall that focuses on Amish life and culture. Much of my research and writing over the years has focused on Amish life, including Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, a book that examines the Amish response to the 2006 Nickel Mines school shooting; and The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World
I’ve taught at Messiah College since 1997, when I completed my doctorate in American religious history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Moving from North Carolina to Grantham was a “coming home” of sorts, returning to the college where I had done my undergraduate work, worked in student government, and played on the baseball team.
My life away from Messiah College revolves around my family, which includes my wife Valerie, an editor at Herald Press, and three growing boys—Samuel (16), Isaiah (14), and Henry (12). We all love to read, we play lots of sports together, and in the summertime we like to camp and hike. Acadia National Park is our favorite place, though we’re looking forward to a trip this summer that will take us to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. We attend the Slate Hill Mennonite Church in Camp Hill.