patrickoden @ gmail.com
Hello. So who am I and what am I up to?
For the past fifteen years it seems
like I have been on a quest. God has called, and I have sought
The quest hasn't looked like I expected.
In 1997 I received my BA from Wheaton
College. I began as a history major with the intent to pursue
law. My sophomore year, however, I took Early Church History. This
awakened a passion for studying the history of the church to its
fullest. Coupled with my already developed love for Scripture and
spirituality it became an easy thing to add a Biblical/Theological
studies major. My emphasis, though not official, was church history.
When I finished I, for many reasons, did not go straight to law
school and returned home unsure exactly what to do with myself.
In late 1998 I sat in a park and thought about my passions, considered what I would do if money was not an issue. My love for theology and Scripture came to mind, and I started the process of pursuing this passion. In 1999 I began studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. The bulk of this work can be found conveniently located for your perusal. At the end of 2002 I finished my Masters of Divinity degree.
God was not yet finished with me. While the academic aspects of my education seemed to end, learning the deeper aspects of pursuing the Spiritual life was still before me. Seminary is a beginning.
After consideration and prayer I found my heart drifting towards a field which had always flirted with me, but which I never really favored. Late in August 2003, it grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go. I decided it was more than a hobby, and I began the process of becoming a full time writer. Being that I had not considered this before with any seriousness I had a lot of catching up to do. Sure, I'd written theology, and history, and exegetical studies. Only once in my life had I written a bit of fiction. That's what called.
I still feel that strong drive in the present to develop as a writer, and to focus my heart and life on pursuing the depths of the Spirit, discovering what it means to live this life for Christ. In some ways I am pursuing what could be called an evangelical monk lifestyle, sacrificing much for the sake of a greater goal.
I am striving to grow in prayer and Spirit, using my fiction and non-fiction as both a creative outlet and a spiritual discipline. I balance my life through meditation in God's creation, kayaking on Lake Arrowhead, running through the forest. In all I seek to discern the leading of the Spirit in my life, listening for the movements and rhythms, eager for change, patient in waiting.
God has worked out a situation in
which I can make this pursuit, in a beautiful setting, though not
without sacrificing much of what we value in this world. Thus,
I am here, writing and listening.
Much of the thought and pursuits of
this time in the mountains has gone into my first book, It's
a Dance: Moving with the Holy Spirit, released November
In this book I pursue a theology of the Holy Spirit, based on Scripture and the practical efforts many are making around the world. Too much thought on the Holy Spirit has been limited to narrow views that have little other foundation than tradition. In looking at Scripture, however, we can see the Holy Spirit is extremely active, not only in the charismatic gifts or within the Sunday services of a church, but all around the world, pursuing the mission of God in radical ways. We have been called not to lead this mission but to participate in it. Though a theology book, It's
a Dance is written as a conversation between a pastor and a journalist. In their conversation about church and life we begin to realize the work of the Spirit is much broader and deeper than the church has often taught.
This study has opened up other doors. In
March 2008 I presented a paper to the Society of Pentecostal Studies
Annual Conference at Duke. The title was "Emerging Pneumatology:
Jürgen Moltmann and the Emerging Church
in Conversation". In this paper I move away from a
conversational approach to theology and show more clearly the direct
influences that led to my book. This paper is now presently
being considered for publication. I have posted a later reading
of the presentation here.
This has also opened up many other
conversations--in person, online, and at churches--about the work
of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in this world; something that
excites me as much as writing. Here is a later reading
of a sermon I gave in April 2008.
In the Fall of 2008 I will begin PhD
studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, with my dissertation likely
continuing and developing my interest in Moltmann and the emerging
church. Before then I hope to have finished writing the first
draft of my second book (on God's process of spiritual maturity),
and maybe even start gathering thoughts on my third book (again
focused on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives).
Surprisingly, I've also begun to develop skills as a web designer, focusing especially on creating an e-learning curriculum for use in a juvenile hall setting. The context is one which has been neglected, but in fact really would benefit from the fluid and interactive environment the net can provide, set up for students with a wide range of skills, and needing a flexible and interesting format.
If there is any more interest in
what I do or who I am, I'm happy to reply.
May God bless your own quest, and may the Spirit fill you with the life and courage to become who you are called to be.