Meet the Team | Crosswise | Concordia University Irvine

Meet the Team


Joel Oesch, PhD

Executive Director

Preferred Super Power: Teleportation
Day Job: Director of the Graduate Programs in Theology at Christ College, Concordia University

I would appreciate the power of teleportation. One, I can teleport to Dallas every Sunday afternoon to watch the Cowboys play. Two, I can finally fish the world's greatest trout streams without spending a dime on travel. Three, if I found myself in a sticky situation...I could get the heck out. I suppose you could do all these things by flying as well, but I have to wonder, wouldn't flying like Superman leave you with an incredibly sore neck?

Joel Oesch, MDiv, holds a PhD from Concordia Seminary and is a graduate of Yale University. Dr. Oesch has served as the Director of the Graduate Programs in Theology for Christ College, Concordia since 2012. Prior to his tenure as a college professor, Oesch served as Director of Christian Education for 10 years. His research interests include embodied theology, the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and contemporary culture.

  • Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, PhD 2015
  • Yale University, New Haven, CT, M.Div. 2009
  • Concordia University, Irvine, CA, B.A. 1997

Rebecca Duport, MA

Associate Director

Preferred Super Power: The Force
Day Job: Assistant Professor & Director of the Director of Christian Education Program of Christ College, Concordia University

I would like the power of the force. It would be awesome to be a Jedi, of course, and use my powers for the right cause: protection. I would not be swayed by the Dark Side.

Rebecca became an Assistant Professor/Director to the DCE Program of Christ College after serving Lutheran Churches as Director of Christian Education throughout the country (Idaho, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida) in life-span education roles working with Children, Youth, Family, Older Adults for 14 years. Her service to the body of Christ also includes speaking at youth gatherings, conferences and leading training events for Family Friendly Partner's Network (FFPN).

  • Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska, M.S. 2010
  • Concordia University, Irvine, California, B.A. 1998

Daniel Deen, PhD

Program Director

Preferred Super Power: Cyberpathy
Day Job: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, specializing in the Philosophy of Science at Christ College, Concordia University, Irvine

The ability to control software with your mind. The world will be in dire trouble from two post-apocalyptic sources: zombies and killer robots. When, not if, those two threats to humanity merge as zombiots nobody will be ready for what follows. In such an environment computer-programming skills to deprogram the zombiots will be key to survival. Thus, my desired superpower is the ability to program computers with my mind, aka cyberpathy. But wait! If biological zombies do not have minds, will zombiots not have a functioning CPU to run software?

Dr. Daniel Deen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University, Irvine. He earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University in 2015. His philosophical musings lean toward virtue epistemological perspectives in religious and scientific epistemology with a strong penchant for dialogue between science and religion, Christ and culture. In other words, he is committed to that philosophical ideal of promoting great conversations with an eye toward apologetics. When not philosophizing, he is often found surfing, exploring nature with his wife and three children, or getting into trouble with power tools.

  • Florida State University, PhD. 2011
  • California State University Long Beach, MA 2006
  • Concordia University, Irvine, BA 2001

Jeff Mallinson, DPhil

Team Member

Preferred Super Power: Animal Telepathy
Day Job: Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Concordia University, Irvine

The ability to control animals with telepathy to fight as an army against the coming robot apocalypse.

Dr. Jeff Mallinson earned his doctorate from Oxford University, studying under Dr. Alister McGrath, where he focused his research on the topic of religious epistemology during the Reformation era. In addition to his broad academic interests, he enjoys riding beach cruisers with his family up and down Balboa Peninsula, in Newport Beach, CA, or riding his new era Triumph up Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach to Venice Beach. Mallinson loves all human beings, and avoids needless battles just as Kwai Chang Kaine of Kung Fu fame was taught to do. As he travels through this world of woe, he seeks to spread a rumor amongst fellow strangers that all manner of things shall be well.

  • DPhil Oxford University, England, 2000

Dana Burkey, DCE

Team Member

Preferred Super Power: Time Travel
Day Job: Director of Local Mission & High School Youth at Christ Lutheran Church & School, Costa Mesa, CA

The ability to move through time​

Dana Burkey ​serves as the Director of Local Mission and High School Youth at Christ Lutheran Church and School in Costa Mesa, California,​ since the fall of 2014. She finds joy in leading the church and school into the neighborhoods of Costa Mesa through local partnerships​. Dana has a heart for all youth to know and live the gospel of Christ. She gets to shape the faith of youth as she leads the confirmation course and high school youth ministry.

Dana was certified as a Director of Christian Education after completing an internship at Trinity Cristo Rey Lutheran Church in Santa Ana, California. Following her internship, she served as a Graduate Assistant for Concordia Irvine’s Around-the-World Semester® program and traveled to over 10 countries in 5 months. From 2012 to 2014, Dana worked in the Global Programs Office at Concordia Irvine where she assisted and led in areas of study abroad, global mission and service-learning trips. Dana’s heart has been shaped by people from all over the world and now even more in Costa Mesa.

  • Concordia University Irvine, B.A. 2011

Rev. Mark Manning &
DCE Heather Manning

Night Life Leaders

Mark's Preferred Super Power: The ability to eat a whole roll of cookie dough in one sitting
Mark's Day Job: Communicator of truth specializing in biblical content

Heather's Preferred Super Power: Memorizing teenagers' names
Heather's Day Job: Youth specialist with an emphasis on belching

Mark and Heather Manning have been involved in Lutheran youth ministry for over 24 years. Heather is a Director of Christian Education, and Mark is a Lutheran pastor and published author. Both are graduates of Concordia University Irvine, and both love YOUTH! They are proud parents of three young men, aging from 15 to 20, with one about to start college at CUI! Last year's experience at Crosswise was life-changing, and they can't wait to be a part of it this year!

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