I was the fair-haired son of my tradition, a seminary professor, pastor, and conference speaker, a rising professional theologian on the make…
…and then I had a series of startling encounters with an ancient teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, and He changed my life.
I know that sort of line is supposed to be reserved for a salvation testimony. This is that, in a way. It’s not the story of how I joined the family of God; it’s the story of how I found abundant life — and that, too, is a kind of salvation. I grew up in the church, and my life was pretty much what you might expect for a long time. For me, the change came after college, after seminary, and after some time serving as a pastor and seminary professor. I found myself forced to consider a life-altering question: Was I going to continue to build my own career as a pastor and seminary prof, or would I give myself entirely to Jesus’ priorities? I recognize, of course, that many people build Jesus’ kingdom by serving as pastors and seminary professors. I’m not speaking ill of them. For me, the road forked.
Down one path, I could serve my ecclesiastical tribe by turning out congregants and ministers who would be loyal and productive members of the tribe. Down the other path was the kingdom of God.
What does that even mean? I didn’t really know at the time. I just knew that God was calling me down that other path. I went, sometimes willingly, sometimes reluctantly, and sometimes because God dragged me. It’s been good, even when it was hard.
I’ve been writing here since my lean-and-hungry-young-professional-theologian-on-the-make days, so take that into consideration as you read. This blog starts there, continues through six years of church planting, which overlapped with nine years of graduate-level teaching and curriculum revision, into my return to youth work and then into my present station as a bivocational pastor at large with Headwaters Christian Resources. Along the way, there’s been a lot of repentance and a bit of mission creep. These days, the blog (when I still post) seems to have metamorphosed into a place to reflect on how God’s Kingdom is growing in my community.
I considered taking some of the older stuff down, but leaving it in place is a kind of historical honesty. I wrote all that; that’s who I was…then. Besides, it would be way more work than I want to do, sorting all that.
So. Onward and upward. I’m glad you’re here. Be aware that if you read back, you may find various things I don’t agree with anymore. I hear most people settle their basic beliefs by age 30 and don’t change them thereafter, but I’ve not found that to be true for me.
Feel free to stand back and watch from a safe distance; you’re in good company there. Your comments are welcome too, and if you want a more private word with me, you can use the form below.