I grew up in Southern California when it was mostly orange orchards. I was born the same year Disneyland opened. I remember that Tomorrowland promised flying cars. Still waiting. I went to Lutheran Church Missouri Synod schools and, because I enjoyed school, I decided to become a teacher (probably a bad decision for my future students). I did a double major (math and history) at Concordia Lutheran Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois. Still in love with the Chicago area (or was it the Cubs), I stayed on and got a master's degree in history from Loyola University. That was followed by a teaching position at Lutheran High School South in South St. Louis County, starting in 1980, where I ended up teaching mostly math (no, Loyola did not give me my money back).
So how did I get involved in the UCC? Well, I married my wife, Sandee, in 1988 and as we were both disenchanted with the discrimination against women in the LCMS, as well as their belief in hell for those who didn't buy into their doctrine, we left the LCMS (although I continued to teach for a few years at the high school, where I got some heat for bucking their theology) and joined a UCC church. In 1997 I quit teaching and went to Eden Seminary from where I graduated in 2001 and took a position as pastor at Marine United Church of Christ in, believe it or not, Marine. I love it here and I guess they like me well enough to have kept me for 20 plus years. Or they just haven't had the energy to form a new search committee. It is the only church I have ever served.
I read with a passion, both fiction and non-fiction. My openness to reading books which challenge progressive political thought, as well as my contrarian nature, have gotten me into trouble more than once with the UCC (at both the national and conference levels). The autonomous nature of the UCC has been a good thing for me. Neither John Dorhauer nor Traci Blackmon can't fire me if they wanted to (which I'm sure they do). Both were involved in an ad hominem attack on me which appeared on the front page of the Pension Board website for about a month. Has anyone else had that kind of fun? If you are interested in the story, I would be happy to share it with you.
My other hobby is hiking. I hiked to the top of Pike's Peak in 2016 and to the top of Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the lower 48) in 2019. I have also hiked a great deal in the Swiss Alps. My mother was from Switzerland, so I guess I come by this naturally. My dad was half bald, so I guess I come by that naturally, also (thought I should explain the picture in advance).
I have a friendship with Brenda Crisp that goes back many years. And a love for the Kindercottage that goes back equally many years. So, I was happy to throw my name into the hat when the call went out for people to serve on the board. Seeing that I was selected, I have to wonder if mine was the only name in the hat.
My wife and I have two grown daughters. I often say that I learned the meaning of unconditional love by having children. Lauren lives in Minneapolis and Ashlyn lives in Iowa City. Neither is married, although both have partners. So maybe...