I teach and write and conduct research related to the health effects of particular diets and exercise regimens. After nearly 15 years working at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ann and I decided to make a change. We live in Alabama now and absolutely love it.
My faith story is, I think, pretty common. As a young child I attended a religiously-oriented school so, on Friday afternoons, we would amble over to the church across the schoolyard and line up to confess our sins to the priest. We must have looked like a bunch of death row inmates waiting to be executed. I remember the darkness, the smell of burning candles, the somber looking statues, and the nuns policing our behavior with stern looks and the occasional slap on the hand.
I was raised to focus on my shortcomings, on my inability to do the right thing. Because it was a losing battle, by the time I entered college, I gave up trying to reach the lofty standard of conduct that was drilled into me as a kid.
Although I’d made a few attempts to re-connect with my religious affiliation they were always short-lived as I quickly became discouraged by failings, or, more critically, by the paralyzing fear that I could not live up to what was expected.
My childhood indoctrination of high standards of personal conduct in conjunction with the penetrating guilt at the realization that I would never be able to live up to it, produced a nagging emptiness in my life. Sure, I was pretty successful but professional accomplishments did not satisfy the hole in my life, the sense that I was a failure. The more I attempted to fill this hole with the things that the world values (success, money, awards) the more lost I felt. I’d get temporary relief from this angst by feeding a vicious addiction but it never really satisfied. Not only that; but it left me saturated with even more guilt. To try to deal with the growing conviction that nothing mattered, I read the works of the great philosophers but that only compounded my confusion. They were as messed up as I was and were trying to use their intellect to find meaning (even if the meaning they found was that there was no meaning).
At the age of 46, something compelled me to start watching The Gospel Truth with Andrew Wommack weekday mornings before I drove my son to school. If this slow talking Texan on the TV was right and that God longed to have a close personal relationship with me and that He wasn’t angry with me for my innumerable failures and shortcomings, then maybe, just maybe, there was hope for me.
Eventually, I reaffirmed my faith and gave my life to Jesus. Since then, there have been dramatic changes in the way I perceive and respond to the things that happen in my life. I’m more stable, less prone to be plagued by the extreme emotions such as anger, depression and impatience. I’m also better able to handle stress and my relationships with my wife and son have improved beyond measure. For the first time, there is love in my heart. I am no longer pre-occupied with failings and inadequacies. It’s liberating to realize that I am accepted and loved by God.
I suspect that many are where I was. Despite being successful by the world’s standards I was unable to chase away feelings of unworthiness and the strong sense that I was incomplete, that I was just going through the motions. Jesus filled this hole for me and as I continue to evolve my relationship with Him my life increases in purpose and meaning.
"Love doesn't have rights. Love loves, You have to be willing to become love. You can never find your identity and purpose outside of Jesus" -- Dan Mohler
Windsurfing and working out
Fantasy dinner guests
Saint Paul, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth and Mel Gibson
Best advice I ever received
My worst subject in school
If I weren't a professor, I would
be a professional dreamer
The Road, American Ground, Serpico, The Perfect Storm, The Message of the Cross
Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Thank You for Smoking
Effects of ketogenic diet on cancer
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