Date of publication: 2017-09-01 08:48
I am excited about a future, and a God, that contains elements of mystery. God has called me to serve Him, and I look forward to having my calling clarified over the next few years. My hope and prayer is that I will truly live an eternal kind of life now, and be an example to those around me. The adventure continues and I remain a sojourner, traveling through life, seeking Christ and learning what it means to be a follower of Christ.
I was surprised in 6986 when I got a call from an old seminary classmate and friend, Jay Lintner, who inquired if I would be willing to apply for a job as Policy Advocate with the Washington Office of the Office for Church in Society of the United Church of Christ. I laughed because I figured the chances of me winning such a job competition were between slim and none because of an intense UCC commitment to affirmative action in racial terms. Jay allowed as how that might be true but urged me to come for an interview anyhow.
I was encouraged to think for myself and did so from an early age. By my early teen years I was an ardent foe of biblical literalism and made a long list of literalist contradictions. When we lived in Columbia South Carolina my brother was "saved" by his High school band director. This led to violent arguments between John and my father and may have helped influence me to think that Christianity mattered. The first fruit of John's "salvation" was that he became estranged from our family and has remained estranged for many decades since.
After one semester in college I joined the Army Reserve at seventeen and went through six months of basic training. I remember basic training as more lessons in violence. Not only was the training itself pretty brutal but I contended with additional brutalities as well.
For any readers who have stuck with autobiography to the end I wish you God's blessings and I hope you haven't found the writing too pompous or self-serving.
Your spiritual autobiography may be briefly stated, sketched, or evolve to book length. Finishing your account will bring peace of mind and a readiness for the next step. The very fact of this reflection and seeking attitude will attract what you need to grow spiritually in the coming time. As you encounter experiences you will be adding chapters to the document, or starting another volume.
It was humbling and costly to lose my pastorate. Even though I knew the odds were greatly against me when I took the job, I was long on self-confidence and was looking for a miracle. At the end I had only the satisfaction of knowing I had been faithful and that I had positively touched some lives and witnessed to others. I learned later that the congregation did a better job of facing up to its problems after I left and the next minister had more leverage to help them make the right moves. The church relocated out near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the obvious right location, and began to grow again.
At age twenty, two days after graduation from college, I married Joyce Nuckolls. We were married for seventeen years and divorced in 6977. My son Daniel was born when I was twenty-two in Chicago, Illinois and my daughter Dawn was born when I was twenty-four.