Hi, I'm Tommy! Welcome.
You've clicked an "about" link so it's safe to assume you want to know a bit about what I'm up to here.
The TL;DR is pretty basic: I needed a space to dump and process my thoughts about things. I wanted it to be a public space, but not really social media, so a blog made the most sense. The content will primarily be driven by the things I tend to think about and talk about. Additionally, the books I read, the things I watch, and the stuff I listen to will all likely find their way here. The through line connecting all the disparate pieces of content consists of two ideas:
If you want some more details about these two ideas, or why I think you should listen to me at all, then read on!
From my perspective, the theological question is a basic part of human existence. It seems that as soon as we realize we exist, we almost immediately begin to wonder "what else exists?" As the thoughts continue, we start asking questions about causes, purposes, etc... and regardless of how we imagine the answers, eventually the question of God ends up framing the way we look at all of existence - explicitly or implicitly. If we start with an X-axis that runs from atheism to theism, and a y-axis that runs from unknowable to "knowable with certainty", it doesn't matter where the scatterplot of your life concentrates the dots, the frame is still there.
It's my personal belief that even if this is a subject we intentionally try and avoid, it still shows up under the surface. It colors our ideas about everything, lurking here, hiding there, impacting the way that we formulate our view of ourselves, others, and the spaces we occupy. As someone who has a fundamental commitment to seeking after things that are good, right, true, and beautiful in life, it seems to me that the way I answer the "God" question at any given moment is bound to warp my lens and affect where I place those labels. Putting these things on the table and talking about them openly seems to be the only way to get at why we might call one thing "good", or "right", or "true", or "beautiful". Being open and honest about the commitments and beliefs we carry to the table seems like a prerequisite to having a meaningful exchange of ideas.
Having said that, I don't actually think that debating whether or not God exists is all that interesting. I don't think there is much to be gained by having a theoretical conversation about something none of us can really "prove" one way or the other. On the other hand, I find conversations about the current order of things, dreams of how things could be different, and practical ideas about how to move toward those dreams to be incredibly interesting. Those are the conversations that are permeated by possibility, and God (or the absence of God) always seems to be playing at the edges of them.
Assuming you're still with me to some degree regarding this idea that we can't escape the "big questions" (the God question in particular) and the way they frame all of our thinking, I can't help but push things one step further. To some degree, the answers we carry with us are distorting the way we view ourselves and everything around us. The word "remedial" assumes that things have gone wrong at some point. When we bring it into the realm of our own education, it assumes that we've failed to learn some things, or even learned some things that are wrong, and we need to take some active steps to begin to cure or correct the deficiencies and fallacies.
I want to be clear that I'm not claiming to have the remedy in some complete or total sense. I am someone who is increasingly aware of my own failings, fallibility, and deficiencies, and as such, I am actively in search of remediation. I want to stop the damage. I want to see if I can reverse the damage that's been done, and start moving toward something more healthy, more complete. This is not a one time event, but an ongoing journey I am on, and I welcome you to join me.
While I don't know if certainty is something I will ever have when it comes to the big questions, I do believe that we can move toward ever increasing clarity if we maintain an open-handed and open-minded approach to truth. I've been in the middle of a "self remediation" process for a long time. I didn't always think of it as a lifelong process, but I do now. I call it a "self remediation" process, but like everything, nothing we undertake is ever really done in isolation. Consider this an invitation to a process of remediation. Together we can examine the things that pollute and corrupt, figure out how to remove them from our lives, and talk about what should take their place.
My initial reaction to asking myself the "why me" question is "there really isn't any good reason people should listen to me". Having said that, on a personal level, the reason I am doing this is it's a process I need. Looking back over the past handful of years, the process of remediation has been hard at times, but it has also been fruitful and rewarding. It continues to be fruitful and rewarding. Sometimes people talk about deconstruction as though it is something with a clear beginning, middle, and end. I've seen people talk the same way about a reconstruction that ostensibly follows the deconstruction process. In reality, my experience has been more of a spiral, where deconstruction and reconstruction take place iteratively, layer after layer, often in fits and starts. This is what I've begun to think of as the "process of remediation". I want to document the process - where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going - because it seems far too easy to lose my way. I'm hoping that just maybe, the map I leave might be helpful to someone else. I'm also hoping that some others in need of remediation might stumble upon this and decide to join in the process.
If you're going to read along (and maybe even participate in the process in some way) it's probably helpful for you to know what I carry with me into this ongoing conversation. Specifically, I want to tell you a little bit about my place and my past.
Washington, DC is the place I call home. We've lived in the city proper for about 5 years now. Before that, the vast majority of my life was spent in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. The tensions between what I learned living in the suburbs and what I have seen and experienced in the city continue to be formative. Many of the things I believed about race, class, poverty, criminal justice, community, and countless other topics have been challenged and changed through a relationship to this place and the people that occupy particular spaces within it. I continue to look to my local community and the tensions that exist in the spaces I occupy to shape my experience and interaction with those people and places.
I grew up in an evangelical community and family, and though many of my beliefs and commitments have changed over the years, I still consider myself to be a Christian. Honestly, I think am more serious now about following Christ - His teachings and example in particular - than during any other period of my life. As a Christ follower with a long history in and with evangelicalism in America, I carry both gratitude and frustration related to the things I was taught in the past:
So here I am, continuing to seek the good, the right, the true, and the beautiful in a way that I hope continues to shape me (and those around me) into something that is good, right, true and beautiful. If you want to talk more about any of this, hit me up: