About Joel Anderson

I am an aspiring author and blogger, as well as an adjunct Old Testament instructor at UNA.  I hope to use this blog as a “hub” for all my writing projects. If you subscribe and follow my blog, you will soon find out that I like to write on a wide range of topics, from Biblical Studies, Church History, Theology, Cultural and Social Issues, as well as things like Literature and Poetry. This should not be surprising if you know me. I graduated college with a B.S. Ed. in English Literature, and then went on to graduate school and eventually got an M.A. in Theological Studies, another M.A. in Old Testament, and eventually a PhD in Old Testament.

I have been a full-time teacher for 16 years. My career has been as an English and Biblical Worldview teacher at various Christian high schools in California, Arkansas, and Alabama. I also taught English as a Foreign Language with the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan–I was part of the first Peace Corps team to go into Kazakhstan after the Soviet Union fell.

At this point in my life, though, I am devoting all my time to my writing projects. I have a memoir entitled Getting Schooled that I currently am in the process of trying to get published. It is a humorous book about a number of my funny teaching experiences over the years. I’ve written a book entitled, The Heresy of Ham, in which I address the claims and tactics of the young earth creationist movement, and argue that not only is young earth creationism anti-science, but it is actually rooted in a deeply flawed reading of Genesis 1-11, and it completely ignores, and indeed rejects, the historical testimony of the Church.

In addition to that, I’m am slowly but surely working on my own translation of the Bible.

I grew up in Carol Stream, Illinois, and grew up in the Assemblies of God church in a thoroughly Evangelical subculture. Over time, I eventually found my way to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Some of my favorite writers are: C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Merton, Kathleen Norris, Kallistos Ware, N.T. Wright, Gordon Fee…the list can go on.

As for music, the two biggest influences have been Sting and U2. Having grown up a good Evangelical Christian kid in the eighties, I still have no shame in admitting I still listen to my Amy Grant, Keith Green, Phil Keaggy, Petra, and Bob Bennett.

I feel I am a poet at heart, but I have become what I call a “blue-collar” Biblical scholar. I think the most effective way to understand theology and the Christian hope is through poetry and literature. After all, the majority of the Bible comes in the form of poetry and literature…even when it is about historical events.

I love learning about Biblical Studies, Church History, and Philosophy, and I love the challenges of the academic world. At the same time, though, I have always felt I have a vocation to take what I’ve learned in the academic world and present it in a clear, easy to understand fashion to the majority of Christians who never will go to graduate school. In short, I want to take the world of academia and make it accessible to the laity.

6 Comments

  1. Hi Joel,

    I am looking for the origins of the story mentioned on your blog which comes from C.S Lewis’s book Mere Christianity of a man who wore a mask. I have heard this story as a child and I am trying to find the original story.

    Story as I remember:
    There was a very ugly looking king who never left his palace. Then a mask maker made a very handsome mask for him wearing which the king started going out. But the mask maker became greedy and started blackmailing the king for money or he will reveal the secret to the world. Once king was outside and the greedy mask maker snatched out the mask from the king’s face, but now the king became handsome from the outside as now he felt handsome from the inside.

    Could you please help me with this.

    Thank you,
    Amrit

  2. Hello Joel, I have your New Testament the JAV. I have read quit a bit of it. It reads smoothly and I love many of your word choices. Thank you for your work. Have you made and revisions to it? And if so are they available? Thanks again.

    Felix Marin

    1. Thank you for the compliment! As of yet I haven’t made revisions, (the same goes for my Old Testament). Having self-published it, I’m aware that there are random typos, etc. I think it will be awhile before I’m able to doing revisions. I’ll want to re-read the WHOLE thing, and then do the revisions all at once. So feel free to email me any typos you’ve noticed, and I’ll note them.
      Thanks again.

  3. We have much in common. I grew up in Batavia, IL and was an English Literature major. I grew up in the Catholic Church but left it after discovering the living Christ through a combination of charismatic Methodists, grizzled Pentecostals and old-fashioned Southern Baptists (in Jonesboro, AR). I became a Christian in college where CS Lewis played no small role. I read Tolkien with earnest as a young teenager. I ended up going to law school rather than into the ministry, to which I strongly tended before making that right hand turn. That was over 25 years ago. I am reminded here of something Christopher Hitchens said of his infamous brother that has relevance to our approach to truth and reality and to reaching those who are not followers of Christ:

    “It is my belief that passions as strong as his are more likely to be countered by the unexpected force of poetry, which can ambush the human heart at any time…. [and] those who choose to argue in prose, even if it is very good prose, are unlikely to be receptive to a case which is most effectively couched in poetry.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255983/How-I-God-peace-atheist-brother-PETER-HITCHENS-traces-journey-Christianity.html#ixzz4qycIBwnS

    Although I am somewhat of a spiritual mutt, I don’t reject Catholicism as a whole or any form of orthodoxy, though I see some whitewashed tombs and dead corpses in those institutions. Yet, the light of Christ shines there, just as darkness casts shadows over Protestant circles. The wheat and tares have always coexisted and will continue to grow next to each other until the great harvest occurs. I love the scene C.S. Lewis paints in the final book of the Narnia series in which the stars are being plucked from the sky, the mountains are being leveled and he earth rolled up like a wrestling mat, as great lines are gathering in front of a doorway where Aslan, the Great Lion stands. And, as each individual comes to the Lion in that doorway, they are either attracted or repelled. It is not even a choice at that point, as the momentum of their life choices in that moment have determined for them whether they are attracted or repelled. And, many are surprised at who is attracted and who is repelled when those individuals come face to face with the Great Lion.

    1. Hey there Kevin,
      Interesting…Illinois, English major, CS Lewis lover, and apparently time in Arkansas too? It’s amazing we haven’t crossed paths earlier!

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