Thursday, April 9, 2009

Journeys Home

I love images of home, “roots,” and journeying. I was born and raised in Vandalia, Illinois, the former state capital where Lincoln had served in the legislature. Several branches of my family tree lived in Vandalia or the surrounding Fayette County. My grandmother, who lived on a small Fayette County farm, taught me stories of pioneer families who lived along nearby country roads. My dad was a truck driver who delivered gasoline to filling stations along routes 66, 40, 50, 37, and others. I grew up loving old highways and also local history and genealogy. I developed these interests into my vocation as a history instructor. Eventually I wrote two books about Vandalia.

Eventually I went on to study theology, too. Perhaps I did so because of my early fondness for my home region; as Thoreau puts it in another context, “Why has man rooted himself thus firmly in the earth but that he may rise in the same proportion into the heavens above?” My grandmother was an important influence; she was religious in a way that emphasized “doing good in secret” (Matt. 6:1-4). I love to teach people about religion and spirituality: to help people find their way home to the Lord via the journeys of their own life experiences and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Other parts of my overall vocation include service in congregations, discipleship in everyday life, and writing church-related study books and curriculum. To date I’ve written ten study books and many curricular pieces for the United Methodist Publishing House

Hopefully my modest thoughts in this blog will help people in a variety of ways: to reflect on discipleship, to recall their own beloved places, to appreciate life's beautiful, everyday moments, and to unite faith and life in mindful, caring ways.

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