Some years ago I had an agent who encouraged me to write a screenplay for a novel of mine that we were shopping to publishers, hoping that the two products would each make the other more marketable. Unschooled in the art of screenwriting, I did some research. As I did so, one piece of advice kept surfacing more than any other—don't try to adapt your own work!

Undaunted, I forged ahead. But they were right. The transition from novel to screenplay involves removing a lot of detail, and the author already knows too much about the characters. By the time my contract with that agent expired, I had written about an hour's worth of movie. Unfortunately, I had told less than a quarter of the story.

Writing an autobiographical sketch presents me with a similar conundrum, because, once again, I know far too much about the character. Add to that the fact that my adult life has taken place in four cultures and in three countries/languages, and it becomes difficult to sort out just which bits of that experience readers might find most noteworthy. I do trust, however, that having some sense of where I've been will shed some light on what I have to say.

I spent my early years surrounded by a loving family in the security of an exurban home life, a Christian High School, and a conservative evangelical church. Fueled by a genuine sense of Christian vocation and an equally robust sense of my own importance, I zipped through my educational career, graduating from a Christian liberal arts college just days after my twentieth birthday. I promptly married my college sweetheart, Cindi, and moved on to Grace Theological Seminary. Four months later an icy automobile accident nearly took my life, and the subsequent months of rehab temporarily detoured my mad dash to change the world.

These early experiences served to ground me both personally as well as spiritually, strengthening my grip on an already familiar paradigm. Along the way, however, my intense interest in the world outside my own experience began to redefine how and where I would pursue my mission. As a result, I have spent most of my adult life living and worshiping in cultures other than my own, integrating neighborhoods and church leadership teams along the way. After seminary we began a ministry in an African-American community, moving on to serve as an associate minister in both a Missionary Baptist as well as a Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Sandwiched in between these black church experiences, I spent twelve years as a missionary in Europe, focusing on theological education. After completing a one-year program at the University of Barcelona, I taught Bible and theology for a number of years at the Spanish Bible Institute. Then, in 1994, we moved to Timisoara, Romania where I taught English and Personal Leadership in a state-sponsored university, while working with a Romanian team to establish a theological faculty. During that period I also co-founded the Areopagus Center for Christianity and Contemporary Culture in Timisoara.

By the time we returned to the U.S. in 1998 I had discovered something of a voice for addressing my own cultural and religious heritage from a sort of sideways perspective. I began that commentary through my essay series, Unconventional Wisdom, tackling tough issues with a touch of humor. Then, in 2003 I published my first novel, The Rapture Follies, combining cultural/religious satire with some of my offbeat experiences in Romania.

Another outgrowth of my cultural and theological journey was an evolving passion for the racial unity of the Church in America and the possibilities of multicultural ministry. In pursuit of that dream I accepted a position in 2003 as Senior Pastor at Washington Community Fellowship in Washington, DC, a multi-ethnic and multi-denominational congregation. It was a unique privilege to minister in the rarified air of Capitol Hill until 2008, an experience that further informed and stoked my vision for the multiracial Church.

I'd always been interested in politics, but politics and pastoring don't exactly mix. When I left that pastorate, however, I saw an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream, while also making a contribution to racial progress. So I spent several exhilarating but exhausting weeks on the first Obama campaign as a volunteer liaison to the faith community. Then, after dedicating some time to fixing up our Capitol Hill fixer-upper, it was time for a new chapter. My wonderful wife, Cindi, knew that I had a book in me and encouraged me to focus on writing as a profession. I don't think she imagined that White As Sin would be more than five years in the making.

Cindi and I still live in DC, where she enjoys her work as a budget analyst for the Justice Department. She's still my biggest fan and best critic, not to mention the love of my life. Together we have one daughter, Jennifer, to whom my book, Keepsakes, is addressed. She and her husband, Rogelio, are both attorneys and live nearby. Our six year-old grandson, Liam, spends a great deal of time at our house and lights up our lives.

We're very involved at Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, where I teach, occasionally preach, and have even taken up the challenge of simultaneous translation into Spanish. Bridgeway is one of the flagship multicultural churches in the U.S. and a great place to live out my passion for racial reconciliation. A church-sponsored small group Bible study meets in our home each week, and that has been a real source of joy.

When I'm not writing, I manage the short-term guest apartment in our English basement, try to stay in shape by running and cycling, and dabble in home remodeling. For fun I like to read, hike, travel, and take advantage of DC's cultural offerings. In recent years I've also become something of an amateur recording artist. The fruit of that effort is a whole CD of fourteen love songs for Cindi, my devoted audience of one.

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