Hometown: Born in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, Derek has lived in two countries, five US states, and more than a dozen cities.
Education: MA, History of Christianity, Wheaton College
MA, Theological Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
BA, History, Psychology, Anderson University
Under the supervision of Judith Wolfe, Derek has written a thesis on C. S. Lewis’s early (1929–1945) theoretical reflections upon the nature and operation of literature that uses a question from Plato’s Phaedrus about the capacity of logos to lead the soul as a framing device, the premise being that one will miss Lewis’s full word about literature and its operation in human experience unless one proceeds in view of all the ways that psyche or ‘soul’ is caught up in the making and receiving of literature.
More broadly, Derek is an intellectual and cultural historian interested primarily in human longing, value, and idealization and their social and cultural concomitants: i.e., with values and ideals, the social and cultural forms they take, and the process by which they take these forms. His research consists in historical, philosophical, and theological study of (1) language and literature, particularly the ethical, spiritual, and psychological dimensions of language and literature in use; (2) culture, value, and idealization, particularly art and literature as a site of human longing and dissatisfaction, especially in relation to social and communal ideals (e.g., belonging, home, shalom/peace/harmony, dwelling, conviviality); and (3) Christian reception, particularly the interplay of factors governing the Christian reception of ideas, symbols, artefacts, and practices. Finally, Derek is interested also in (4) areas of Christian doctrine coordinate with his primary research, especially theological anthropology (including axiology, teleology, social ethics, aesthetics, and hermeneutics), and the theology of culture, mission, and revelation.
Derek’s work experience includes stints as research assistant for the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland, as theology editor and book review manager for Christianity Today magazine, and as senior copyeditor in media and publishing for the Presbyterian Church (USA). He also provides editorial services on contract for clients such as Baker Academic, Brazos Press, and Duke Divinity School. He currently manages the Journal of Inklings Studies, having previous served as its lead reviews editor.
Derek enjoys conversation, rambling, weather and landscapes of all sorts, podcasts, reading aloud, and radio drama and documentaries. His pet interests include apple lore, woodcuts, typography, golden age hip-hop, early bluegrass and traditional folk music, vernacular architecture, and the paintings of Russian Symbolist Mikhail Nesterov.
Derek’s wife, Sherrill, works for the University and is a visual artist who works in various media. They are the proud parents of a busy toddler, Eoghan.