I like to do things fast. My middle school track coach noticed my propensity to talk fast, move fast, work fast, read fast, eat fast, and nicknamed me “Action Jackson.” Things haven’t changed much since then. I’m energized by getting my hands dirty (figuratively and literally, as I have recently taken up gardening), and have trouble sitting around shooting the breeze when things need to be done. Thankfully, God has used a tough year of illness to teach me the pleasure of being still and noticing things. Most recently I’ve noticed that it’s impossible to win a staring contest with a lizard, and that beetles, upon close examination, look like Power Rangers wearing jet packs.

On quiet afternoons I’m especially fond of snuggling up with a good book and a cup of tea. Good books usually inspire me to write, and so I do. Writing, for me, is hard but cathartic, and helps me to discover important things about God and myself. (I write weekly at Not divorced from my writing is my love of intellectual gymnastics. I enjoy taking an occasional tumble into the thoughts of Augustine or a backflip into Aristotle’s ideas. My pursuit of a master’s in philosophy has provided a lovely outlet for these acrobatics, as has my job teaching college English.

Stories are my favorite thing in the world. I love stories that teach me the power of grace and redemption, and recover for me a clearer vision of the world. Good and beautiful stories make me hunger for truth. My favorite stories, though, are those played out on this earthen stage by characters of real flesh and blood. I think it’s marvelous that I get to live out a story, and that my story intersects with the stories of other people. Most of all, I’m thankful that my vaporous life-story has been grafted into God’s sweeping, eternal one. My fiercest desire is to live my story well—to use my short time on earth to point people to the divine Author, whose scarred hands pen glorious grace and meaning into our lives.

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