paulwallaceHello. My name is Paul Wallace and I am the author of Here’s a little about me in case you’re interested.

I don’t have a business card, but if it did it might say something like: Paul, Minister to a Secular Age.

The decline of the institutional church during my lifetime has been astounding. To many it feels like failure, and in some ways it may be just that. But I see it as an opportunity for the church to slough off the trappings of power and control, which is of course precisely what Jesus has always asked of us: “Follow me,” he said, and we all know where he’s going. Now the church has a new chance to die, and therefore to truly live. Do we have the nerve?

I don’t know. But what I do know is, our part is to love the world with the uncompromising love of Jesus Christ, and not just that part of it called church. This is only possible if we reject the division between the secular and the sacred. If my own life stands for anything, it stands for the loss of that distinction. The gate to life may be narrow, but it is everywhere and in all things.

A science nerd since childhood, I received my PhD in experimental nuclear physics from Duke University in 1996, did the obligatory postdoc, and moved to gamma-ray astronomy. From 1998 until 2008 I was a professor of physics and astronomy at Berry College in Rome, Ga. At that point I returned with my family to my hometown of Atlanta where I started the Master of Divinity program at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. I graduated with a concentration in historical theology in May 2011. In November 2014 I was ordained into the gospel ministry by First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., a congregation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

I teach physics and astronomy at Agnes Scott College in Decatur. I also occasionally teach at local seminaries. Last fall I taught a class at Candler entitled Natural Science and the Doctrine of Creation, and next semester I will co-teach a course (with Bill Brown) on science and the Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. Though a Christian, I have a deep affection for Buddhism and have twice served on the faculty of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative in Dharamshala, India. In an earlier life I spent three fun-filled summers in Greenbelt, Md. as a Faculty Fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

I have contributed to Religion Dispatches and blog here and at the Huffington Post.

I am married to Elizabeth Sides Wallace and we have three children. We live in Atlanta and like it fine.

Periodically I am invited to preach and/or speak at churches and colleges. Please contact me through the comments form below if you would like to talk about the possibility of me visiting your organization or group. Your email address will not appear publicly. We can communicate via email once I receive your note. I am happy to provide references.

I hope you enjoy Please contact me by leaving a comment below if you have any questions, comments, radical remarks, shouts of joy, or other observations.



Comment Pages

There are 25 Comments to "Author"

  • Henry Wallace says:

    he’s awesome


  • Paul says:

    Thanks, man. Same to you.


  • Tricia Steele says:

    I think Henry needs to start a blog too.


  • […] and Buddhism Paul Wallace: When you whittle it down to its essence, Buddhism is very simple and amenable to Enlightenment […]


  • Julia Wallace says:

    Hey, dad, just a suggestion, maybe you could add a thingy where people press a button and people could find out about, like, Paul’s favorite food or fave color?
    Like just in the middle of the page on top of this message?
    Send in a comment if you think that is a bad or good idea!
    Send me a contact if you like it a ton, or if you absolutely positively hate it!


    • Paul says:

      Hey Sweetie. I shall take it under advisement, dear one. But in the meantime, my favorite food is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, my favorite color is green, and my favorite blue-eyed blonde-haired girl is Julia Bulia.

      Love you,



  • Paul Wallis says:

    Hi Paul,
    I am another Paul Wallis (other spelling!) who loves the apophatic way. It is a faith-saver.
    Glad to discover you.
    Blessings on you,
    (Author of “The New Monastic” – pub OakTara)


    • Paul says:

      HI Paul. Thanks for the good word. I have been connecting with more and more people who love the negative way. I can’t help but wonder if it will play a larger role in the next iteration of Christianity. I sure hope it does.



  • Dear Paul,
    Just for fun, I thought you might be interested in seeing this (“Are We Really Next To Nothing?”)…an essay and a poem (with apologies to REAL poets everywhere!) about the Religion of Scientism.

    I must admit that I just have to chuckle when I realize that the march of science has brought us to a place of “advancement” where the greatest secular intellects all of a sudden are being forced to embrace some of the the most irrational and absurd notions.

    Perhaps all idolatries are like that..

    God bless,
    Tom Graffagnino
    Canton, Georgia


  • John Pederson says:


    I’ve been poking around for a year now, and wanted to let you know that your thoughts and writing are helpful for me. I’m a 60-something Lutheran clergy-type in Denver ( I was almost a chemistry major at St. Olaf College a hundred years ago before diving into philosophy, so my straddle has some of the same characteristics as yours. My approach to the difficult secular challenges are through Rorty, Wittgenstein, and Whitehead. I have used your language and some of your metaphors in preaching (with attribution) and find your thinking both fresh and faithful. E.g., for Epiphany Sunday next I’m dusting off your “Breakfast Club Conceit” notion. Thanks a lot!


  • Dear Friend Paul,
    Hello from Brazil !
    How are you doing ? How´s Life ?
    I´m glad I was able to reach you through this page.
    Tomorow is Turea´s Birthday and I remember it every year ….| miss her and you all a lot.
    You talk about interesting issues in which makes the human mind to reflect. Feeding the soul with productive reflections not only for ourselves but also for others today is rare.
    God Bless,
    Daniel Fleury


  • Dan says:

    Having re-watched “Unforgiven”, I found your study of it to be helpful in discerning the underlying themes. But it seems to end shortly after the killing of Little Bill, and overlooks the closing scene and epilog: a reprise of the opening scene of Claudia’s grave, and a footnote to the effect that Munny had moved to San Francisco and become a successful businessman “selling dry goods”.

    It seems unlikely that this ending represents a relapse into his earlier “insincerity”. For one thing, he has improved his and his children’s lot in life, as a business owner in the city rather than a pig farmer out in the wilderness. This raises the question of which version is the “true” Munny, and which is the facade. Perhaps Claudia had shown him his true self, but had left him too soon for him to know what to do with it on his own–and it took a brief relapse into his previous life to take charge and point himself in the right direction.

    I guess it makes me (surprisingly) an optimist, that I think Munny’s earlier life was the facade to protect himself from being unloved and unlovable, and that his return to his past life was a descent that he decided to make, reluctantly, for the sake of his children–who he also presumably loves, even though throughout the movie he only credits Claudia for reforming his life.


    • Paul says:

      Hi Dan. I appreciate yours thoughtful comment, though your words visit me like a ghost. The thing is, as I was writing the piece I thought of that closing scroll and the possibility of Munny’s life with Claudia being a kind of cover. But there was a deadline and I had to cut off the movie early in my mind: Munny riding off slowly in the rain, threatening to “burn your damn house down.”

      I had not, however, thought of the most obvious interpretation, the one you propose: That he really was doing this for his children.

      That movie really haunts me. I once heard Eastwood described as “the last serious man in Hollywood,” and anymore I think that may be right, his odd RNC rant notwithstanding.


  • Hi Paul,

    I teach in the Religion and Philosophy department at Berry College (though currently I am on leave as a research fellow in Princeton), and am friends with Todd Timberlake and Michael Bailey. They have said wonderful things about you, and i’ve been meaning to get in touch with you for a while now. It seems you and I share some common interests — especially, as I understand from Mike and Todd, an enthusiasm for ways in which apophatic theology opens doors for theology-science engagement. I seem to remember Mike saying you gave a talk on that topic at Berry a number of years back. I was wondering if you’d be willing to share your remarks with me? I’d love to read them. But I’ll also understand if you’d rather not.

    All best,


  • Anita Wellken says:

    Hi there

    I have a website related to free graphics and clipart. I am interested in buying a link on your site.

    Are you interested in something like this?

    If so, please let me know your price, etc

    By the way, nice site! :)

    Hope to hear from you



  • Paul Cohen says:

    Hi Paul,

    Please help yourself:

    Paul Cohen
    Helena, MT


  • RJ Benitz, PharmD says:

    Hello Prof,
    I heard awhile ago that a lady scientist wrote a book (or a thesis?) showing how science actually points to God. I would like to read that but I havent been able to locate it. Perhaps you may know of this. If so, please, please send me an email how I can obtain the book.


  • Jon says:

    Hi…..I am a lapsed Catholic……..for decades……am presently agnostic verging on atheism…and came upon your site via a comment on Outshinethesun. Have not read everything you have to say…..but you give me hope in the face of Nihilism. Thankyou Paul.


  • garden says:

    Good write-up. I certainly appreciate this website. Stick with it!


  • Roy Reynolds says:

    Dear Rev. Wallace,

    I searched rather thoroughly to find a way to contact you by email, and could not find any other way. So I am posting here in order to open up communication with you, if you would want that. I will say little here, except that I have studied process theology for about 30 years, and I am a Unitarian Universalist minister now in active retirement. I would love to chat with you be email or phone, or even over coffee. I live in Dunwoody, GA. If you wish to talk, you may reach me by email.

    Thanks for your compelling website and blog essays.



  • It’s difficult to find educated people on this topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


  • food says:

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it,
    you happen to be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice holiday weekend!


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