Academic Work

My book Metaphors of Eucharistic Presence: Language, Cognition, and the Body of Christ was published by Oxford University Press at the end of 2021. It brings cognitive linguistics together with eucharistic theology to propose a new way forward through a very controversial ecumenical issue: the relationship betwen the eucharistic bread and wine and the body and blood of Jesus. I also published a monograph on eucharistic sacrifice and have written articles in Worship, the Anglican Theological Review, Open Theology, and elsewhere.

In October 2017, I completed my Ph.D. in liturgical studies at the Graduate Theological Union, with secondary specializations in New Testament and cognitive linguistics. My main research interests are in eucharistic theology, eucharistic origins, and the intersection between sacramental theology and cognitive linguistics.

While working on my doctorate, I had the privilege of being part of seminarians’ formation as an adjunct instructor at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. For a few years I taught Liturgical Leadership, the most fun class (in my biased opinion) in the whole seminary curriculum. Not only did we reflect together on the skills of planning and leading extraordinary worship, students also got to preside in their own practice liturgies, complete with video and feedback. In previous years I co-taught a seminar in eucharistic theology with the remarkable and beloved Louis Weil and served as a teaching assistant for classes in liturgy with Ruth Meyers and Lizette Larson-Miller and in Christian education with Susanna Singer.

Here are a couple of extra things I wrote in the past, mostly for coursework in the first few years of my Ph.D. program:

“A Sacramentality of Grace in George Herbert.” A short paper on the way Herbert is able to use the highest sacramental language in a way that holds together Catholic and Reformed understandings. For Herbert no material symbols and no human beings are capable of mediating Christ’s presence through their own merit, but through God’s overwhelming grace both things and people can become genuine bearers of the divine. You can read the whole thing here.

“Intimacy and Faith: Cranmer’s Concept of Communion in the 1552 Rite.” As Anglican liturgies go, the 1552 communion rite is not exactly my personal favorite. It marks the low-water mark of Anglican sacramental theology. Anglicans on the more catholic end of things have tended to romanticize Thomas Cranmer’s earlier 1549 version–but history suggests Cranmer was moving toward 1552 all along. In this short paper I try to read 1552 on its own terms, taking an appreciative stance, and I do after all find something to appreciate: the way in which Cranmer reframed “communion” as not just a moment in the service but as its very center. You can read the whole thing here.

“‘Blessed is He Who Comes!’: History and Eschatology in the Episcopal Church’s Liturgical Resources for Advent, 1928-2012.” The season of Advent has always been a special one for me, filled as it is with mystery and anticipation. How have theologies of Advent changed for Episcopalians over the past century? In this project I decided to try to find out by doing a close reading of all our authorized liturgical texts for Advent (prayer book and supplementary liturgical material, lectionaries, hymnals) between 1928 and the present. What I find is that the balance among themes of Christ’s first, final, and present comings has changed over time: Episcopalians have shifted to some extent from looking ahead to the final victory of Christ to looking back in a sort of reenacted preparation for Christ’s birth at Bethlehem. Read the abstract and introduction here.

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