I survived childhood in California’s suburbs (Bakersfield, Lodi) with enough curiosity still intact to spend the rest of my life in academic pursuits.  But it was a long and winding road that brought me to UT: a B.A. from Fresno Pacific College (1976; now “Fresno Pacific University”); an M.Div. from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena (1979); a three-year study service assignment in Bucharest, Romania, with Mennonite Central Committee (1980-83);  a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University (1990); a post-doc at the East-West Center in Honolulu (1990-93); 12 years at Big XII rival Mizzou; and various menial jobs too sordid to recount.  My research interests revolve around early Christianity and other religions of the era, and around religious studies in general.  The themes to which I seem to return in my work relate to the social locations and functions of religion.