I suppose you could say that I started my faith journey on that Easter Sunday when I was baptized in the Presbyterian church in Nampa, Idaho. A few years later my family began attending a little Methodist Church on the south side of Nampa. There, many of the formative events of my journey took place singing around the piano in the basement to start Sunday School each week, playing the Centurion in the Christmas pageant, attending and then later teaching Vacation Bible School, singing in the church choir, playing Dan Rathernot in the youth version of The Parable of the Prodigal Son, or playing football with a group of 5th & 6th graders and a greased watermelon in the icy waters of the Boise River at Camp Sawtooth. One event that had a profound effect on me was being liturgist (while in high school) the day after two of our members were killed in a horrific accident. I think that experience started me thinking about a call to ministry.
Through these interactions and experiences I learned about a God that loved me unconditionally. I experienced the support of a community that carried my family when my father died when I was 13. It was through their nurture and support that I came to the understanding that God is not the cause of bad things that happen in our lives, but a source of strength and support in the midst of difficulties. I learned to stop looking for God in the bad things that happen in life and discover God in the people who lift up and provide support when bad things happen.
After college I taught school for a few years but the church and ministry kept calling to me and my journey with Jesus took me to seminary at Duke University where through my studies and the community formed there I found deeper meaning in what it means to walk with Christ.
While there have been goals, mile markers – if you will, on the journey, there never has been a destination where I can say – “well here I am. I made it. I’ve learned all there is to learn. I’ve done all there is to do. I’ve reached the end.” Over the years I have come to a deeper understanding that following Jesus is not about reaching a destination, but rather it is a way of living fully in the presence of God each day with all the challenges and joys and surprises that brings.