Catholic convert, husband, father, deacon, Ph.D. biochemist, Das Schmidt Haus head chef & cheesecake baker, Wisconsin native.
The 411: Deacon, Catholic convert, husband, father, Ph.D. biochemist, Das Schmidt Haus head chef & cheesecake baker, Wisconsin native.
I earned a doctorate in biochemistry from Iowa State University studying how plants make fats. I won’t write anymore about that, because most people don’t care. I don’t blame them, because, frankly, it’s not that interesting. It’s not like the plant kingdom has an epidemic of obesity or something. They seem to have it down pretty well, so we humans can probably move on to something else. Now I work as a software analyst for an agricultural research company in Des Moines, Iowa. Yep, more plants. When I can pry myself free of that, I write about more interesting (hopefully) stuff here. I also sometimes do speaking gigs. Book me solo for bioethics or man stuff. If you want me to talk about marriage or family, you should probably let me bring along Lisa.
You should know: I was recently ordained to the permanent diaconate on August 16, 2014. I don’t know. “Deacon Joel” still seems a little weird to me, but I’m slowly getting used to it. It would seem weird to you, too, if you knew me.
More than you need to know: I grew up on a century-old family dairy farm outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two things about that. First, I’m a total Wisconsin sports junkie. Packers, Badgers, Brewers, I bleed all of it (even Bucks to a degree). I plan to take up Bob Uecker’s canonization cause when he dies. Second, even though I was practically raised in the shadow of a Catholic pilgrimage destination, I grew up Protestant. That’s why I don’t have a sweet First Holy Communion picture like Lisa. I do, however, have that awesome Confirmation picture from my awkward teenage years.
I’m a sucker for: Lisa (duh!), red wine, craft beer (especially IPAs), dark coffee, bow ties, March Madness, basilicas, Gregorian chant, incense, historic barns, old houses, the smell of fresh-cut hay, small towns, cheesecake, ribs, buffalo wings, thin-crust pizza, and dark chocolate. I also think nuns in habits are cool, but saying, “I’m a sucker for nuns in habits,” just has kind of a creep-o vibe to it.
If Hollywood made a movie about my life the title would be C’mon Already!, a dark comedy in which a talented but self-conscious man wrestles with living up to his potential and spends his life trying to actually finish just…one…thing. I’d want a young Bruce Wills to play me, since I’ve admired his approach to male pattern baldness ever since his Moonlighting days.