About Reverend Douglas Olds, Teaching Elder, Minister of Word and Sacrament, Presbyterian Church (USA)

posted Dec 10, 2012, 9:59 PM by Douglas Olds

I am a seminary graduate, an ordained Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister, and an fprmer “all-but-dissertation” Ph.D. candidate at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland concentrating in environmental sustainability, social justice, and ecological economics. I have completed 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education with 2000 hours in direct visitation, pastoral care, and chaplaincy to the hospitalized, sick and dying. I have worked four years as a director of homeless shelter in San Francisco that served primarily Latinos and HIV/AID- afflicted clients.

I am currently a Parish Associate at a PC(USA) church in Marin County, California, and I am pursuing research in theodicy, in the healing applications of lament in Psalms for health ministry, and in Christian social action. My publications and sermons can be found at www.douglasolds.net

I am the father of two young boys whose future concerns me as Mammon increasingly is loosed into social and family systems, an intensification with the onset of the neo-liberal “Washington Consensus” of the last 30 years in the USA. To my mind, unfettered, deregulated markets misallocate resources toward the rich (through bubbles and the amenability of the American government to financial feedback) who then chase “absolute advantage” in a race to the bottom in labor and environmental protections. My ministry includes a call to human virtue to organize our economy and society based not on our natural inclinations to greed, fear and domination (militarism), but to give voice and power to “our better angels” of compassion and God’s justice: “‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Mammon).” Gospel of Matthew 6.24. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6.19.

Before attending seminary, I taught myself Greek and Hebrew to read the Bible as faithfully as I could. I hold the Bible in the highest esteem though I am neither a literalist nor fundamentalist. I believe the Bible reveals the “processive revelation” of God to Israel and then to all humanity, and from that process of revelation, certain truths emerge for ethics and structuring our relationship with the divine. 

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