Faithlab is, well, a lab. We are exploring and experimenting with what it means to live out and communicate faith. We are pleased to share the thoughts and insights of a brave and creative team of writers. We rarely edit the content of their posts, and do not always agree with one another. We think that’s part of the wonder of exploring faith together.
Creative Writing Team
David Adams is sort of Jack of All Trades who over the past 20 + years has been a minister, a writer, a resource designer, an editor, a consultant, a professor, a legal researcher, a “professional” basketball player (youth minister in KY), a “professional” golfer (campus minister in IN), and father. His best work has been in nurturing others, so it’s easier for him to talk about people than places. While his true love in sports is baseball, he deeply appreciates free golf and will go to great lengths to obtain it. Cats Rule!
Rev. Katie Lay- Anderson was born on a beef-farm on the outskirts of Danville, KY. She earned a B.A. in Music from the University of Louisville in 2003. She also landed herself one of the finest men she’d ever met as a husband that year, Chip Anderson. She followed him to the fine metropolis of New Castle, KY where he serves the Director of Bands. Their family blossomed and brought forth two beautiful little girls, Georgia, 5, and Shelby, 2. Katie has served as a Minister of Music and Families over the past six years. In her free time she earned a Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky in 2010. She is presently working her way through a residency in the Clinical Pastoral Education program of Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, KY.
Diana Bridges is a native Texan and a practicing Franciscan Baptist. She and her family live with two Houndmatians, a goldfish, and a couple of bunnies. Diana discovered a passion for intercultural ministry in California and has continued to pursue it during her sojourn in Mississippi. She works with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Global Women, and in her local community to promote intercultural friendship and understanding. Diana loves books, board games, and knitting, and considers chesse enchiladas to be the ultimate comfort food. She and her husband David are kept on their toes by three active and thriving children.
Kessler Brown has been working with University Baptist Church in Starkville, MS since January of 2011. She has previous experience with youth at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Columbus and occasionally has Episcopal tendencies. Kessler graduated from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in 2010 and is now a junior studying Secondary Education (concentration in Biology) at Mississippi State University.
Jerry Cappel is the Environmental Network Coordinator for Province IV of the Episcopal Church (Southeast United States). In that role, Rev. Cappel works to connect people and groups to each other and to the resources they need for environmental ministry. Jerry’s professional interests are in ecology and faith, adult education and interfaith relations. Jerry is a fellow with GreenFaith, Inc. and also serves as president of the Kentuckiana Interfaith Community and Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light. He has worked as an author and editor of youth and adult education materials and as a Learning Consultant before being ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in December 2005.
Jeremy Colliver lives in Georgetown, KY and has spent the majority of his life in Central Kentucky. He met his beautiful wife Laura while attending Georgetown College where he received his degree in Accounting. Laura and he had their first son Blaine while Jeremy was pursuing his Masters of Divinity at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. He is currently the Minister with Youth at Faith Baptist Church where he regularly sees the results of mixing ADD with Jesus. The radio in his truck has all the presets for AM but none for FM. Jeremy dreams of receiving his PGA Tour Card, but daily awakens from this dream.
Stephanie Little Coyne, originally from Athens, Georgia, is currently living in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband, Jesse, and daughter, Annie. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia, (B.A., English), and McAfee, School of Theology, (M.Div.). She is a hospice chaplain and has worked in the field since 2005. Also, she is serving as the Youth and Children’s Minister at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church. Her blog, “A Redhead’s Revelations,” looks at the parallels between chaplaincy, parenthood, literature, and theology. Jesse is a Ph.D. student in the Biblical studies program at the Baptist Seminary in New Orleans. His focus is New Testament and more specifically, textual criticism. He will need a job in the coming year—universities and seminaries, please inquire.
Michael Duncan has been pastor of the Eminence Baptist Church in Eminence, Kentucky since Noah landed outside of town—actually since 1979. He grew up in southeast Missouri (Gideon and Tallapoosa) and graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee (B.A.) and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (M.Div.). He and his church left the SBC and opted for affiliation with the Cooperative & Kentucky Baptist Fellowships in the early days of fellowship life. He’s married to Donna and together they provide a home for Yellow Buddy, a Maine Coon feline rescued from a house fire. When others peg him as liberal and blame it on the once liberal educational institutions he attended, he proudly proclaims, “It’s not so! My momma made me a liberal. She taught me to question what preachers said and to think for myself. According to mama, ‘God likes people who think.’”
Jennifer Harris Dault is a church administrator, freelance writer, and supply preacher living in downtown St. Louis. She lives with her husband, Allyn, and their two cats, Sassy and Cleo. She is a graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and enjoys expressing her faith as a Baptist working in a Methodist church while worshipping with a Mennonite congregation. She is editor of the recently published “The Modern Magnificat: Women Responding to the Call of God” and working on a new book project with FaithLab partner Jim Dant.
Darian Duckworth grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated from Vanderbilt University with degrees in mathematics and English. After pondering careers in medicine, journalism, and business, she gave in to the Voice calling her to seminary. She received her M.Div. from Emory University in 2007 and moved to Natchez, Mississippi shortly thereafter to pastor Grace United Methodist Church. She recently relocated to the Mississippi delta to pastor St. Luke United Methodist Church and Shipman Chapel in Cleveland. While not trying to preach the good news in word and action, Darian blogs at www.darianduckworth.com: a place of reflection on bicycles, homemade granola, yoga, getting lost in the woods, and other ways of seeing an extraordinary God in the ordinariness of life.
Sara Herrington Jones is a trained catechist for children ages 3-12 with the Montessori based, ecumenical program known as Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The daughter and granddaughter of Baptist preachers, Sara has found herself at home in many different Christian denominations over the years. Married to Nolan since 1997, Sara has two young boys who teach her much about faith and belonging. Currently she serves an Episcopal parish in the greater Memphis, TN area.
Rabbi Justin Kerber, wandering Israelite. He has lived in the midwest, the northeast, the Middle East, and the deep south. When not fighting super villains with his son, Eli, or trying to coax his slightly too-smart-for-her-own-good terrier mix, Daisy, into a walk in the fresh air, or trying to love his wife of 10 years, Hope, more every day, he’s likely to have blessings to say, Torah to learn, or justice to pursue. He hopes to love the people Israel well enough to lead it, and to serve it long enough to save it. Among his greatest accomplishments are learning Torah with Lawrence Kushner in San Francisco watching the fog roll in through the golden gate, and there was also the time he paid a pastoral visit to a formidable African-American lady about to have surgery — she challenged him with a quote from the Bible and he correctly provided the citation. (It was Joshua 1:8, by the way, which didn’t much impress the patient, but the OR nurse nearly had to be peeled off the floor).
Lauren McDuffie just graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, with a B.A. in Religious Studies, but having a minor addiction to education, she is jumping headfirst into the Master of Divinity program at Vanderbilt Divinity School. After that degree is done, she will leave academia behind (for a while, anyway) so she can be ordained and pursue a career in parish ministry. In addition to her studies and holding down a job (or two), Lauren is an active member of a local church, involved with several campus ministries and social justice campaigns, and sings in an a cappella group. Somewhere in there she finds time to eat and sleep, but only rarely. When she actually has some free time, Lauren does like to head back to West Tennessee and hang out with her parents and little brother (who isn’t so little anymore). Her random loves are her mom’s chicken casserole, the color purple (the actual color, not the book), Golden Delicious apples, deep theological discussions (although silly ones will also suffice), running, Israel, and thunderstorms.
Bert Montgomery grew up outside of New Orleans, lived in Memphis, and dearly loves the state that connects the two. Presently, he is a bivocational pastor living in Starkville, Mississippi, where he also teaches sociology and religion courses when he’s not musing or muttering about life, faith, and everything in between. For what it’s worth, Bert has studied at Mississippi State University, Union University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mississippi College, Memphis Theological Seminary, and the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky; he actually hung around long enough to get degrees from three of these institutions. To learn more about Bert’s books, columns, speaking engagements, etc., visit his website (hosted by theFaithLab – how’s that for a plug?) at www.BertMontgomery.com.
Seth F. Oppenheimer is professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and director of undergraduate research for the Shackouls Honors College of Mississippi State University. He also served a year as interim head of and is still affiliated with the of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. An ALEPH rabbinical student, he serves Congregation B’nai Israel in Columbus, Mississippi. He guest lectures several times a semester on religious issues and Judaism in different classes, forums, and congregations in the Golden Triangle area of Mississippi. His primary area academic of research is the development and analysis of mathematical models, primarily in the areas of biomedical sciences and ecology. He runs one or two marathons a year; a rate slightly higher then the number of poems that he gets published during the same time.
Crystal Shepherd has lived in Kentucky her entire existence except for a 3 month stint in sunny California. She lives in Louisville with her husband and daughter and is currently awaiting the arrival of baby number two. As a part-time writer and full-time mom, life is always interesting. She enjoys being outdoors and is passionate about saving the environment one cloth diaper at a time. Crystal also loves to read and is somewhat obsessed with Amish culture and vampire novels. With a degree in Theatre and two years of seminary under her belt, what do you expect?