Who am I? Well, that question may take a while to answer. I grew up in Boise, Idaho the oldest in a family of four. My mom and dad were hard working, evangelical Christians and we attended the Church of the Nazarene. When I was about 15, I decided to rebel against the standards and values held by my parents and rejected their church tradition. In the vernacular of the times, “I dropped out and dropped in.” I became a hippy and engaged the culture that wanted to make love, not war. I was never involved in many protests, but like the protesters, I opposed the Vietnam War and sided with the Woodstock revelers, those who worshipped at the altar of love, drugs and rock & roll.
This lifestyle is not easily sustained and when I was in my second year of college, I realized that if I continued on this path, I would not graduate; in fact, I may not live past the young age of 30. I heard a song by U2 today and the title of the song was the reality that set me upon a different path. It was entitled “Love Lifted Me,” and indeed that was the power that set me down a new, more meaningful path. My parents loved me; my grandparents loved me; and my family members loved me…and they prayed for me. It must of worked, because I turned from a life of drugs and returned to college in preparation of becoming a minister, a goal I achieved in the early 80s when I was ordained a United Methodist Minister.
While it was true that the direction of my life changed radically, it is also true that we take lessons and values from the life experiences that defined our past. Inherent in the rebellion of my youth and the radicalism of the hippy movement was a prophetic voice that defined me as a person. It was one that would not let me rest content with the status quo. Challenging the norms of society, however, can be done in much more constructive ways than drugs and rock & roll. Don’t get me wrong, I still love rock & roll and the blues that inspired it, but I can do without the drugs. What I want now is to find ways of lifting society out of the mire of alienation and prejudice by discovering the spirituality and power that comes from divine relationality (I will elaborate on this in future blogs).
Since starting on my new path, I have earned two master’s degrees, a Ph.D. and have done post-doctoral work in the area of psychology and marriage and family therapy. I work as a marriage and family therapist, have taught MFT theory at the master and doctoral levels, and I also taught philosophy and religious studies for more than twenty years while retiring from the ministry in 2006.
I’m not done yet. I still work as an LMFT, am working on a book on spirituality and plan to begin teaching philosophy at the undergraduate level simply because I enjoy teaching. I hope that my work and passion for meaningful relationships grounded in a deep and abiding spirituality will touch some while bringing greater joy and purpose to their lives.