Beginning a New Life. Again.
Art and theology have always been integral parts of who I am. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Oklahoma in Graphic Design and I worked for a few years right out of college as a graphic designer in Tulsa, OK, where I grew up. Being involved in the Christian church, specifically Presbyterian Church (USA), has also been the guiding force of how I have used my art over the years.
I started my training for "the ministry" at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, VA, attaining a Master of Arts degree in 1992, with the intention of being a youth minister or director of Christian education. I then decided to pursue further theological education at San Francisco Theological Seminary and graduated in 1994 with a Master of Divinity.
My first pastorate was forged in Gillette, WY as an Associate Pastor. I then moved to Black Mountain, NC to begin an "arts ministry" in the nurturing shadow of Montreat Conference Center. This is where I learned pottery from the woman I was dating; I remember her first words to me about taking on pottery as a hobby or a career: "Pottery will break your heart." She was right, but it also gets in your blood, and I think she knew that too.
I am quite confident in my introvertedness and never before in my life did I dream that I would be preaching every Sunday, but needing to put food on my table and pay the creditors, and wanting to explore the possibility of being a solo pastor, I accepted a part-time stated-supply pastorate for the yoked parish of Brittain and Union Mills Presbyterian Churches near Rutherfordton, NC. Living in the church manse with a spacious basement afforded me the opportunity to continue my pottery, but after three years it was clear that both pottery and pastoring each demanded my full time attention, and more. I chose pastoring.
St. Andrew Presbyterian in Billings, MT called me to be their full-time pastor in January of 2003. I spent nearly nine years with those wonderful folks but always had a nagging question that haunted me about how long I could continue with the demands and frustrations of the enigma called the Christian church. In the summer of 2011 it became clear that my personal struggles were burdening the congregation and I had burned out a long time before. It was time to return to my art, again. Several friends have asked me if I am leaving "the ministry" to which I have confidently replied that I expect I will not be a pastor again, but I will always be involved in ministry in some form or another. Now I am exploring new forms.
My theology has evolved into a very open, "historical-critical" interpretive theology that longs for more interfaith dialogue. Essentially, it asks how we can be more fully human, which means more loving and more peaceful. I invite you to explore with me what ministry and art mean. Or if I can just make a piece of art for you, please feel free to contact me.
Grace and peace,