Vita

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Bio

I was born in Congo, but grew up in Virginia (Richmond and Chesapeake), Ohio, and New Jersey. A history major at the College of Wooster, I wrote a junior thesis on media accounts of the Boxer Rebellion and a senior thesis on the Protestant missionary exodus from China after 1949.  I began studying Mandarin during a summer at the University of Michigan on a PICAS fellowship and then spent a junior year in Beijing and a Fulbright year after graduation in Singapore in Chinese Studies. I struggled with where to put my time: East Asian Studies, theology and religions, or ministry. I have done all three, but it has taken a while to integrate them.

During seminary, I began to piece together my academic, ministry, and cross-cultural interests. I was a youth director at three different churches in friendly denominations (RCA, PCUSA, UCC). I did a certificate in youth and theology at PTS and later worked at Grace Taiwanese-American Presbyterian Church for two years as a youth director. Before seminary I interned for a summer at Senator Frank Lautenberg’s NJ office. I also spent a summer in Ghana at the Tamale Institute for Cross-Cultural Studies and did a unit of CPE another summer at Somerset Medical Center (working with CCU and geriatric patients).

During MDiv and PhD I took 15 PhD courses at Princeton Seminary and Princeton University in history, sociology of religion, East Asian studies, religion, and theology. I was in Princeton Seminary’s History and Ecumenics Department in a subsection called “mission, ecumenics, and the history of religions.” I wrote my dissertation on the first generation of Chinese Protestants, primarily those in the disapora in Malaysia, Singapore, and Canton. After graduation in 2007 I spent a year adjuncting and precepting in Princeton and then for a year was assistant professor of world history at Centenary College. This interim period was helpful in giving us time to decide whether to return to Taiwan longterm.

I first taught at Taiwan Seminary during my fourth year of PhD (2005-2006) and we’ve now been here since August 2009 (we arrived about 10 days after the 8/8 typhoon). My teaching range has included about 20 courses during my time in the US and Taiwan. During grad school I TA’ed Presbyterian History, Buddhism, Church History 101, World Christianity and World Literature, and Modern East Asian History. I’ve taught Western Civ 1 and 2, a two-semester first year college sequence, East Asian and African History. I led an intensive travel course on modern China for the Institute for the International Education of Students, taking undergrads from liberal arts colleges to Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. At Taiwan Seminary I have taught the Ecumenical Movement, Mission History, World Christianity, Mission, Christianity in Relationship to Other Religions, Taiwanese Religions, Campus Ministry and Theological English. It has been a stretch to teach so widely, but I am also grateful for the exposure to so many different methods and fields and for those who have sometimes co-taught with me (Rev. Yang, Prof. Cheng Yang-En, Prof. Maurie Sween).

I am especially interested in Christianity in Asia and have just edited a book on conversion (with my PhD advisor, Richard Fox Young) and also have published an annotated reprint of a key biography of Liang Fa, the early Chinese Protestant pastor. My main current work is a monograph on early Protestant sinology. I am on the Board for the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, and a longterm interest is interreligious work.

Congregational ministry continues to be part of my calling. Near the end of PhD and for two years after graduation I was parish associate  at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton, a multicultural congregation with an amazing pastor and many strong leaders. I also was part of the committee that organized the English Ministry at Shuanglian Presbyterian Church in Taipei; while I only preached the first few months, we often attend there and I have helped some during times of transition. I’m a minister member of New Brunswick Presbytery and attended the last (2014) General Assembly as a Missionary Advisory Delegate.

We next plan to return to the US in early 2016. I love meeting people who come through and would love to hear from teachers, scholars or pastors who visit Taipei.

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