About the Author

Updated Sept. 11, 2021: I am James M. Branum. For my professional life, you can out more about me at www.jmbranum.com or you can contact me here.

But for the more personal stuff, read on… 

I’m in my 40’s and married to Becky with a teenage son (I’m his second dad). I work as an attorney (mostly in the area of GI Rights law) but also serve as an interfaith minister with the Oklahoma Objector Community (religious humanist) and am the part-time editor of Humanistic Judaism Magazine.

I have lived in Oklahoma most of my life, except for 5 years spent in the Austin, Texas area, and a few weeks here and there spent in Elkhart, Indiana and Killeen, Texas.

I love to travel, especially by train. I’ve been to most of the United States (with the exception of Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota and the states of New England), Mexico, Canada, Belize, Honduras, the US and British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, and (saving my favorite for last) Cuba.

I am a ham radio operator (callsign KG5JST), writer, stamp collector, organic gardener, bicyclist and wikipedia editor. I also love learning languages, but am not fluent in any of them. — I do know enough Spanish to make small talk and navigate around but not enough to have a serious conversation. My Hebrew is enough to stumble through reading Torah aloud (but very slowly) but not enough to translate accurately. I am also working on Yiddish and Esperanto thanks to Duolingo, and hope to someday resume learning Tsalagi (Cherokee).

Politically, these days I would describe myself as a Democratic Socialist with some anarchist leanings, but in the past I’ve been active in the Green Party (from 2001-the late 2010’s), the Libertarian party (1999-2001), and the Republican party (1994-1999). I’m pretty jaded by national electoral politics (with the exception of Bernie Sanders and the younger generation of democratic socialists in politics), but I have much more hope in local politics —- and speaking of that, while I do talk about politics some on this blog, it is important that my writing reflect my views at a given point in time, and do not necessarily represent the views of anybody else or even myself today.

Religiously, I am a Jewish Humanist but the journey to getting there has been long. I grew up in the acapella-only Churches of Christ, moved towards evangelical/charismatic churches as a young adult, and then became active in the progressive Mennonite tradition (including more than a decade of ministry. Someday I’ll write a longer piece that tells more about this journey (including my detours in Quakerism, Buddhism and Taoism), but for now I think it is important for readers to know that I am a religiously obsessed person (and always have been), but that my religion has changed a lot over the decades, and hence many of my earlier writings (especially on the JMBzine blog archive, which goes back to the mid 1990’s) have ideas I wouldn’t agree with today — still I don’t like “dirty deletes” so I try to leave as much of my old content up as possible.

Ethnically, I am, like most white Okies, a person with both European and Indigenous ancestry. I do have good documentation of some of these ancestors (especially on the Cherokee side of the family) but it appears that they were already part of the Cherokee diaspora by the time of the Dawes commission, which means I’m not eligible for tribal citizenship. But I still value my indigenous side of the family and try to find ways to connect with that heritage as much as possible.

And speaking of family connections, I am into genealogy. My main interest is digging into my family tree with an eye for BOTH the heroes and the villains, with a special focus on the role that religion, place, race and social class has played in my ancestors lives, for both good and ill.

Lastly, I’m proudly and defiantly autistic. I believe this plays a big part in me being who I am; despite my challenges in some areas, I wouldn’t want to be neurotypical. Most of the time, I like who I am.