Hi everybody! Well, I’ll dive right in. Although I have submitted writing here on Patheos in the past as a guest, it is my first post as an official blogger so here’s a little bit more about me and the vision I have for this blog…
I’m Brandon Mark Showalter, a new writer on the Evangelical channel and I am truly honored to contribute to the online conversation on faith in this forum. I have enjoyed the spirited debate over the years on this particular website and am hopeful that my perspective will add yet another unique dimension to the discussion.Most importantly, I sincerely desire that through my writing all who read will encounter the presence of the living God.
As I said in the intro, I have contributed here a few times before as a guest, once on what it’s like to be a church janitor, another time on how to get over embarrassment of the supernatural, yet another time on what God himself does to the human face, and just a few weeks ago a review of author Gordon Dalbey’s latest book, Pure Sex. A broad variety of topics, yes, ones I will continue to explore in greater depth in future posts.
What’s up with the blog’s title? I decided to call it “Tip of the Spear” for several reasons, chief among them is my desire to plunge into and report on what the Lord is doing out on the edges of society and margins of the world, showing where real, spiritual breakthrough is happening. Often frustrated by the lack of unity in the Body and the ways in which fellow Christian travelers frequently talk past each other, I intend to bring insight (so help me God) to curious minds who are hungry for the truth and be a catalyst for other people, ministries, and creative projects that keep the main thing the main thing: the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the advance of his Kingdom.
Rarely does a day go by that we are not inundated with bad news of some kind but because our God is moving and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:7), stories of hope because of the gospel’s transforming power need to be told and shared. I will regularly highlight the good, truly encouraging things that are happening in the earth though from time to time I will call attention to real problems and injustices but will always posture myself (and all of you!) toward finding and being a part of solutions because I wholeheartedly believe that in the person of Jesus Christ there is always a solution. I have a huge heart for the poor, broken, the hurting and bruised, and those often misunderstood and left out. Since I’m seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6) I refuse to wallow in hopelessness in the midst of the nefarious darkness in this fallen world.
My favorite thing to do in life is to sing. Can’t explain it except to say that every fiber in my being comes alive when I do. Ask anyone who knows me well, especially my family and past housemates, and they will tell you that I sometimes start singing spontaneously and spend hours at my keyboard writing songs because I just can’t keep it in. My mom informs me that “music” was my fourth word when I was learning to talk. In March of 2014 I recorded an EP of five original adaptations of selected Psalms (24, 63, 95, 121, & 139) and if you’re interested, you can get it here on Amazon for less than $5. Be sure to also check out this video I made of one such song on the album:
Like many American Christians, my background includes a variety of traditions. I like to joke that I’m a “mutt” believer and I really value what I have learned from every group. Not so long ago I served for four and half years as a tenor cantor in an Anglican parish (where I was confirmed in 2010), and my roots also include time in Mennonite, Pentecostal, and non-denominational churches, and during my college days I spent three years in a Baptist campus ministry.
I hail from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, graduated in 2007 from Bridgewater College (go Eagles!) with a BA in International Studies and Spanish, am a fellow of the John Jay Institute for Faith, Society, and Law, and am a member of the Board of Directors for the Brushfires Foundation. In May of 2015 I completed three years at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California which was without question the most transformational season of my life.
I’m already way over 700 words so I’ll close by saying thank you in advance to every one of you who will read, share, and subscribe to my blog. I want to reiterate how glad I am to be a part of the Patheos crew and, again, I hope and pray that each of you encounter King Jesus here.
For the Kingdom,
Photo Credit: Brandon Showalter