FAQs 2: my work, speaking, writing

I speak at retreats, churches, and workshops, and conferences.  

  • I retell and reframe and unpack bible stories, and people see that the stories are awake, and that the stories are about them and their lives. Every person is Moses. Every person is Mary Magdalene.
  • I reframe and unpack and analyze religious history, doctrine, and beliefs, and people see the stories behind how theologies and practices came to be assumed as true.
  • I lead experiences of spirituality, through worship / story / meditative / body-soul-mind gatherings. We can use ancient practices, new tricks, art, nature, labyrinth, repurposed ritual, whatever works.
  • I talk about what’s happening in 21st-century Christianity in North America. I help established church leaders with their new dreams, and help experimenters and innovators with tools they are inventing.

Here’s where I’ve worked:

  • 1985-1986 English and Creative Writing teacher, 4th-6th grades, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Waco, Texas. I was clueless, did my best.
  • 1986-1989 – English Instructor, Trinity Valley Community College, Athens, Texas. Taught in 4 prisons, 4 campuses … Huge learning experience for me. Good place to start.
  • 1989-1995 – English Instructor, Tyler Junior College, Tyler, Texas. Loved it. But graded 10,000 papers in 10 years of teaching English. Worked way too hard. Burned out. That’s on me.
  • 1995-2001 – Associate Pastor of Christian Education and Discipleship, Pollard United Methodist Church, Tyler, Texas. Turns out my sense of following Jesus and working for a religious corporation are not the same thing. Beautiful people; not beautiful sausage-making. Became ordained UMC pastor. Overall: lovely and strange experience. Good place to start over.
  • 2001-2004 – Associate Pastor of Christian Education and Discipleship, Riverbend Church, Austin, Texas. Stranger experience. Turns out my sense of following Jesus and working for a megachurch are not the same thing. After 3 years of not fitting in, I said No and got fired.
  • 2001-present – Adjunct Faculty, Doctor of Ministry Program, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Fun. Love teaching and learning about what’s happening on the Frontier.
  • 2004-present – Pastor, Journey Imperfect Faith Community, Austin, Texas. Continually surprising. United Methodist Church took back my ordination, as Journey’s not an officially-sanctioned UMC ministry. JIFC ordained me. So much learning, growing, so much to learn and become.

I wrote and illustrated two children’s books, one of which got into the process with a publisher, but neither were ever published:

  • I love drawing, and stories, and adore children’s books (they were part of what got me through a violent and turbulent childhood). In my 30s I wrote and illustrated a children’s book called An Adventure Behind Jake’s Back Yard, and was in talks with an editor at a major publishing house for a year, she moved to another publishing house, we found each other again, we worked on it again, she got fired. I stopped to have babies and be a college teacher and work too many hours and burn out.
  • Meanwhile I wrote and illustrated another book, Hop O’ My Thumb, a retelling of an obscure Grimm’s Fairy Tale. Healing and therapeutic – about a small boy in danger saving his family. I haven’t tried to get it published yet.

I was a Methodist minister, then a minister in a megachurch, now I’m a minister in a postmodern church. WTF?

  • There are blog posts about all of those experiences in here. I’ll try to tag them to make it easier to find each story. But overall: my sense of spirituality and God and community continue to evolve.

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