Welcome to my website! I am a sociologist at the University of Washington and a professed member of the Third Order, Society of St. Francis. The Third Order is a religious community for people who wish to follow the Franciscan way “in the world,” that is, within the families and occupations where we find ourselves.
As a sociologist, my research examines how marginalized groups use museums and other tourist attractions to tell their stories, to set the historical record straight and (re)construct their identities, themes I explored in Identity Tourism: Imaging and Imagining the Nation. My teaching focuses mainly on issues of human suffering, both within the U.S. and globally. I also lead study abroad programs, and have taken students to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Northern Ireland. I currently lead a program in Rome, Italy every other year (next program is spring 2015). This focuses on the historical and ongoing tension within the church between the seduction of worldly wealth and power and the church’s original mission of self-sacrificing love and service.
In the area of spirituality, I am the author of The Sacred Gaze: Contemplation and the Healing of the Self (released April 2014); God in the Dark: Suffering and Desire in the Spiritual Life; and Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone. I also lead classes, workshops and retreats on the intersection of the active and contemplative elements of the life of faith.
Seattle is home but I do get around. Contact me about speaking at your event!