Bio

2016 Ben headshot colorI have just finished my fifteenth year as a professor teaching in the areas of history of world Christianity, Christian mission, history and theology of the Methodist movement, and, most recently, medieval and twentieth century thought as part of a “great books” honors program at George Fox University.  I was at that institution between 2016 and 2020.  Prior to that I served for eleven years at Palmer Theological Seminary, the seminary of Eastern University.

In the summer of 2020 I moved with my spouse, Laura C. Hartley, to Seattle so that she could begin serving as Provost at Seattle Pacific University.  I will be teaching some courses there as well, and I continue to do research and writing for a new biography of John R. Mott, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate from 1946 and a famous organizer of the world Christian missionary movement in the early twentieth century.  Research for that project will continue to take me to the archives at Yale University for a while longer.  I’m interested in writing a new biography of Mott for several reasons.  One of those reasons is that John Mott and I grew up in small farming communities along the Iowa / Minnesota border just 40 miles apart from one another. I am grateful for the Project Grant for Researchers program at the Louisville Institute, the Rockefeller Archive Center, and the Elmer Andersen Research Scholars Program for their generous financial support of this project.

I also serve as as a clergy member of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  In my work as an ordained deacon I have been appointed to both George Fox University and Mountain Home United Methodist Church a few miles north of Newberg on Chehalem mountain.  During my time with the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference I also have had the opportunity to join a dozen or so friends (mostly connected to United Methodist congregations in Portland) on a two-year training experience with the Missional Wisdom Foundation.  The mission of the Missional Wisdom Foundation is to “experiment with and teach about alternative forms of Christian community.”

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