i am greg: husband to Shannon; father of Jackson (3), and Caedmon (1); associate pastor to the clinton united methodist church and probationary member of the greater new jersey annual conference (about to be ordained an elder in may!); native of pennsylvania and former resident of kentucky; alumnus of grove city college (b.a. – 1998) and the theological school at drew university (m.div. – 2005); passionate fan of the pittsburgh steelers and new york yankees; artist; listener to nearly every genre of music (7,751 songs on my ipod); lover of words (but no friend of capital letters); and blogger at agentorangerecords.
i have, for most of my life, had an unusual affinity for anything underappreciated or underdogged, and the color orange came to symbolize that for me. agentorange was a moniker that just began to capture all of that, despite its pesticidal meaning. the ‘records’ part is there only as fantasy: i’ve always wished to own a radio station or record label. i was a mix-tape champion in college and made all my own mixes under the pseudonym agent orange records. it just became my little fantastic company that was about art and creativity and celebrating the underdog and loving hard.
Why do you blog?
i blog because i:
love to write,
like to stay in touch with my family,
need to confess at times, profess at others,
use it as a spiritual discipline,
have nothing else to do,
and am desperate for attention.
What has been your best blogging experience?
this has been an experience in authenticity for me. i suffer from the disease of always trying to make everyone happy and working tirelessly to ensure that i am meeting people’s expectations of me (or what i think they are expecting of me). blogging, then, has been an exercise in being honest, genuine, authentic. it’s been a place where bytes and pixels have offered me enough digital space to be me.
What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
be honest. don’t write what you think you should write or what you think others want to read. write from your gut.
If you could only read three blogs a day, what would they be?
locusts and honey
Who are your spiritual heroes?
john wesley – for his discipline
frederick buechner – for his words
henri nouwen – for his love
What are you reading at the moment?
paths to prayer – patricia d. brown
arther – stephen lawhead
i am America (and so can you) – stephen colbert
breath for the bones – luci shaw
the emerging church – dan kimball
What is your favorite hymn and why?
fairest lord Jesus, for the following reasons:
-written by a dude named munster (reminds me of cheese)
-has a meter of 568.558 (whatever that means)
-is short (i have a small attention span)
-contains the words cherish, joy, honor, God, garb, sing, sunshine, moonlight, brighter, purer, angels, praise, adoration and thine (all good words).
-i love the melody (my soul feels at home in it).
-the fourth stanza starts like this: “beautiful savior!” (its poetry, praise and plea, all in one).
Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
its too difficult for me to pick just one. the way i see it, the whole journey of discipleship is an ongoing process of having not only your heart but also your mind changed. if you are not currently having your mind changed about something, well…
i think this is part of the normal and natural growth of any human. in our youth we tend to see the world as so much black and white, but living in the present moment seems to teach us that life is always more grey than we thought yesterday. it is absolutely true for me that the older i get, the less i know.
What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
i hate answering “most” questions – i’m just not sure which –ism is most threatening, but i can say that one of the biggest ideas i find myself up against all the time is something i would call “rightism,” or an unhealthy addiction to being right. i think it is absolutely important, even crucial, for us to think critically about what we say we believe, and for us to dialogue with one another (and others) about these things, but i think Christians in particular are far too worried about being right. much too often rightness (or orthodoxy or theological correctness) is actually just a way to maintain power or entitlement. i just wish more Christians (including this one) would worry less about being right and worry more about loving people.
If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
i’m afraid i’m much too ignorant to speak intelligently about this, but i guess if i could change one thing it would be equalizing healthcare, and overhauling the whole idealogy of health and wellness and how it is funded/offered in this country.
If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
its not really a policy change – i just wish we could get over our division around the issue of human sexuality.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
never ever forget that you are God’s wonderfully created, wildly celebrated, and deeply loved child, and then do your best to love like that. die trying.
What, if anything, do you worry about?
how long the earth can sustain us living this way, and what kind of world we are handing to our children.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
Ireland. particularly county galway.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
watching the steelers during football season
watching the yankees during baseball season
playing my guitar or banjo or mandolin
spending time with my family
enjoying a film
What is your most treasured possession?
as i’ve already said, i hate “most” questions. i’ll pick my top 3:
-the scrapbooks that verbally and pictorially tell the story of my family
-my voluminous collection of journals
-my ipod, the soundtrack of my life
What talent would you most like to have?
go go gadget arms
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
frederick buechner, rob bell, donald miller