Who: Blessed to be married to Sharon since 1990, and parents of Andrew, Brennan, and KaiLi
Why: Inspiring people to discover and recover their true selves inside the Trinity
What: Pastor, Author, Speaker, Spiritual Director
Where: I am originally from California (northern), and after spending 12 years of our married life outside of the USA, we currently make our home in Camas, Washington (just outside Portland, Oregon)
Publications: Trinitarian Grace and Participation – an entry into the theology of Thomas F. Torrance (2017)
Religious Affiliation: I am an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) in good standing with the Presbytery of the Cascades.
I believe that Grace is far more surprising, far more beautiful, far more “good news” than any of us might realize. Whether you identify as a “follower of Jesus” or if you are still unsure about him and the community of people who have risen up in his wake (i.e. “the Church”), I believe all of us will be surprised one day when we finally have our eyes opened to the glory that under-girds and encompasses all things. Wherever you come from and however you arrived here, I hope you’ll have a look around and consider adding to the conversation, either through commenting or sharing my posts with others.
For more background on my journey, read on….
After completing my seminary studies at Regent College, I was fortunate to be called to serve as Associate Pastor for Congregational Care and Spiritual Development at Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. I was installed at Fremont in 1999 and enjoyed 8 ½ years of serving alongside the wonderful people there.
My primary focus at Fremont was in the area of spiritual formation, which suited me well after having studied under Eugene Peterson while at Regent. But Regent had planted some other seeds in me that were also looking for a way to grow – specifically, in relation to the Trinity. I had grown up with a very abstract and functional view of God as Trinity: abstract in the sense that it was sort of irrelevant or at the very least confusing; functional in the sense that the easiest and most common way they were talked about was like tag-team wrestlers – the Father creates, the Son saves, and the Spirit leads the Church through to the end. Well, Regent had suggested to me something more integrated and relational and I was looking for ways to explore that territory and mine its depths and fruitfulness for Christian living today.
Fast forward to March of 2007. It was Sunday morning and we had a guest preacher, Andrew Purves, whom I had invited to do a pastors preaching workshop for the presbytery. The time was approximately 9:48am and Dr. Purves had just finished his sermon on Phil 3:12-14 about how in his life, death, and resurrection to the right hand of the Father, Christ has grabbed hold of us and will never let us go, and as Andrew finished his prayer and went to sit down something happened that had never happened before nor has ever happened since – the traditional congregation clapped. They clapped…after the sermon! And here’s the thing. They weren’t clapping for Andrew or for what a great sermon he gave. They were cheering God, cheering the good news of the gospel that they had just heard and they were compelled to respond to with something like…gratitude and joy. It was in that moment that I received my call to go to Scotland. I felt God clearly saying to me, “Geordie, you need to go to Scotland to study trinitiarian theology so that you can come back to the Church and communicate this incredible gospel as clearly as Andrew just did.” From that point on, I had no doubts.
Shortly after that I submitted my resignation and a few months later we had sold our cars, our house, our children (no, we didn’t do that!), and most of our other possessions, and moved to a small town (Banchory) outside of Aberdeen, Scotland where I began post-graduate studies. It was a long journey. What I assumed would take 3-4 years ended up taking 6 (and then some), but by the summer of 2014 I had submitted and defended my thesis and was “doctored.”
The fruit of that long season was published by Fortress Press in their “Emerging Scholars” series under the title, “Trinitarian Grace and Participation: An entry into the theology of TF Torrance.” What’s the book about? Well, basically, it is about Grace, and that Grace is not a “thing” or a “force” or some “legal status” we have before God; rather, Grace is a person (Jesus) in whom we are included, and because of whom we have communion with God. That is, through the Holy Spirit we are brought in and lifted up to fellowship with the Father through the Son. We think that grace exists because we are bad, but actually grace exists because God is good. Sadly, most Christians most of the time live as if it is all up to us and so we work really hard to be good people – we do “churchy” stuff, we read our bibles and say our prayers and serve the needy…when all the time God isn’t interested in our goodness. What God wants is for us to share in his life and love. That is the gospel: through the Spirit, you and I are included in Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
In 2013 my family and I moved from Scotland to Camas, Washington where I served on the pastoral staff at Columbia Presbyterian Church for six years as Pastor for Adult Discipleship. In 2019 I decided to dedicate 100% my time to doing whatever I can to inspire people to discover and recover their true selves inside the Trinity. I’m currently doing that through various writing projects, speaking engagements, and one on one spiritual direction.