This is me

old picture of two boys on dirt road
I am the tall one looking around

Being a curious wander with a questioning mind from birth, my eyes seek always what lays hidden, yet important. I’m always asking questions with an acute observation to the mysteries of life.

I once was required to write a very short statement about who I am. The above is what I wrote. And although I could have been a bit more-humbler, that is me.

If I were to do it again, I would say that I am a gray sort of guy. Yes, I have grey hair and am getting on in years. That is not what I mean. When I say I am a gray sort of guy, I mean that I seek to explore those gray zones, that gray in-between that exists where the lines meet. Not what is inside lines, but what is in the line.

These are the Side Streets of life. It is these side streets that I want to live. I don’t particularly like black-or-white thinking. I do not cherish absolutes. For truth – Divine Wisdom – is not found in absolutes, but in the gray, along the side streets of life.

I am a wanderer. I wander the side streets of life in search of those places of resurrection—not redemption, but resurrection. Places where I find the Side Street God. And the Side Street God is everywhere!

I resist writing bios, but some of you, I know, will want to know, so …

These days I am “officially retired,” but I still write, review books and exhibit (and sometimes sell) my photographic images. My passion is to help people speculatively explore what it means to be a person of faith (even if one acknowledges no faith). One avenue is my website & Facebook pages. I am particularly interested in how we might do ministry in the future given the current state of Christianity and the environment.

In the past…

My ministry has taken many roads. I have been a Presbyterian Minister (USA) working frequently with churches in crisis, merging churches, and alternative communities. I also served as a YMCA Chaplain, simultaneously serving as youth director, and downtown branch director. This led to several years where I ministered to disadvantaged youth and young male and female prostitutes, among others.

Through such ministry I learned much about myself, both strengths and weaknesses. One skill that came from this sort of work was that of being able to work toward diffusing crisis situations. Sometimes they were large-scale (like during the student protests of the 60s), conflicts between neighborhoods (Austin, Cleveland), and sometimes simply between people.

While not normally considered “the ministry” – although I saw it as one – I worked as a Faculty-Administrator (Institutional Advancement, University of Akron) and “visiting faculty” at Marylhurst University (Portland, OR) where I taught in the Cultural Studies Department [Celtic Studies (including Celtic Christianity), Urban Anthropology. During my time in Portland, I was the editor of Brigit’s Feast: Journal of Celtic Thought, History & Folklore.

I have continued to teach, preach and speak on Celtic Christianity, as well as provide spiritual direction from a Celtic Christian perspective. Celtic Christianity greatly informs both my speculative theology as well as my approach to the world in general.

My other former “hat” was that of working as an urban consultant in Cleveland, specializing in neighborhood behaviors, future visioning, conceptual visioning, and the role of the church in the city. My work in the urban setting led to numerous opportunities to speak and write. I was the Feature Writer for Urban Dialect (a piece I wrote was nominated for an Indie Award) and a guest editorial writer for Crain’s (Cleveland) Online.

I grew up in Baltimore (near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay). I have lived in Boston, Huntington (WV), Akron, Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Cleveland and Austin. And now, once again in Cleveland, in a little beach cottage in Sheffield Lake.

Lastly, but not at all, least important, I am a father, husband, grandfather and great grandfather.

And, I would love to hear from you about your quest for the Side Street God.