Influencers Along The Way

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 1.13.20 PMIt’s been a few days since I posted. I think we’ll veer slightly into the spiritual realm here. I’ve been thinking about the writers/speakers that have influenced me along my spiritual journey. Maybe a little background first. My dad was a Baptist preacher for much of my life growing up. He also was a teacher, and for a brief two year span was a janitor. We’ll get to that in another post. So my formative years were in the church. There’s lot of ground we could cover, and again, we’ll save that for another day. But my dad was definitely the main guiding force during my early days. After high school I went to a christian college, a conservative one, in Miami. I attended churches that, while not baptist, were still in that line of thought for the three years that I attended the college. I spent the next two years attending an art school in Ft. Lauderdale, and attending church bit more sporadically. But I never left the conservative teaching that I grew up with, even as I tried to balance my tastes in music and art and culture with those beliefs. Eventually I married my wife, who grew up in a fundamentalist environment, and we set off having kids and starting our new lives. We became very involved in a local baptist church, eventually serving in many capacities, sunday school teachers, deacon, advisory board, young adult group leaders, Wednesday night kid’s group teachers, etc. I became very interested in christian apologetics during this time, and the advent of the internet gave me resources beyond just books. Francis Schaeffer in particular was very influential in my thinking during this time frame. His video series “How Should We Then Live” blew my mind. So we’ll put Schaeffer in as a big influence. A few years down the road, my wife and I were growing in what we viewed as the Christian walk and we were introduced to the concept of small groups by a close friend of mine. We were amazed by the community that could happen in them. My friend’s church sponsored my wife and I to go to a mega-church in Chicago for a small group conference. The first speaker we heard was John Ortberg, a teaching pastor and author. His teaching was eye opening. My conservative roots were worried but but I was enthralled by John’s teaching. To this day I love his writing. So Ortberg was a great eye opener and influence. Fast forward a few more years to a huge christian music event known as Creationfest. In addition to music, the event has daily speakers. The second year we went, they had a speaker I had never heard of by the name Rob Bell. I had never heard anybody like him, his teaching opened doors and thoughts like no one I had heard. I bought and read his book “Velvet Elvis” and I was never the same. It was the beginning of the end in some ways and the beginning of the future in other ways. So, Francis Schaeffer, John Ortberg, Rob Bell. I read and listened to many others, but these three were the big influences. I’ll explain how in future posts. Feedback time, who has influenced you?

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Starting the Journey

Well here we go. I have occasionally thought about doing a blog over the years, I’m sure many of you have too. Honestly, this time I have just rushed into it, deciding to do it. So this will be a work in progress as I figure out what I want to write, post, create here. I plan on writing about some specific themes, themes that are important in my life like art, music, photography, faith, memories, family, friends. I will be looking for feedback from any wayward souls who have stumbled into here by design or accident. I’m purposely avoiding politics with this blog. Why? Because I feel that area is so toxic right now, we could get way off course. I’m not afraid to tell you where I stand politically. In fact let’s get that out of the way once and for all, and move on. I’ve been a registered, voting Republican since the age of 18. I voted republican in every election until 2016. I no longer view things through the same lens as the GOP. I would describe my current leanings as Independent/liberal. So there you have it. Let’s move on.

A little more about me. I’m 57, I make my living as a graphic designer, I’m married with three adult children. I’m a failed artist, we’ll talk about that in later posts. I’m an amateur ¬†photographer. I love music, but I’m not a good musician. I have recently had a bout with cancer. We’ll talk about that in a later post. I’m a spiritual traveler, having recently “deconstructed” from my past beliefs. We’ll talk a lot about that. I’m very nostalgic, ask my wife, I drive her crazy with my looking back! I’m hoping for feedback here, and I suspect my thoughts on faith will bring that.

So join me, let’s have some fun!