When I was 4 or 5, I learned that if I would watch the national news every night with my dad, he would scratch my back while we watched. At the time I couldn’t keep track of whether my family lived in Kansas or in the United States, but it wasn’t long before I figured out the answer (Both! Who knew?), not to mention I also knew about Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Margaret Thatcher, and pretty much all the other major events and players of the 1980s. By the time I was 6, I tried to read Newsweek Magazine every week, and my interest in and knowledge of the broader world grew from there.
I start with this in an ‘About Me’ section because I’m a product of my childhood. This is true beyond my fascination with global events and politics, however. It also matters that the dad who was scratching my back all those nights was (and is) an evangelical pastor, and as much as I learned about the world watching telly, I learned far more about people and the church while watching from the comparatively rare vantage point of a pastor’s kid (PK). It’s also relevant that when I was older, I went to an evangelical liberal arts college, and later completed an MDiv at an evangelical seminary. At every point along the way, I attended evangelical churches, too, so it’s safe to say that I grew up thinking about the church and the world to an extent that was – it’s OK, I’ll say it for you – unnatural for a pre-pubescent boy.
The product of growing up this way, incidentally, was that everything I learned was filtered through my understanding of the church and the world, since those (along with John Elway and 1980s, tight-shorted NBA basketball) were what I thought the most about. The result? When I hear a song from my past, I don’t just remember what was happening in my life at that point; I remember what was happening in global events and in my local church (and the broader church, inasmuch as I understood it) at that moment in history. In other words, for me all of life can be interpreted in one grand changing landscape in which culture, current events, and the American church are interwoven.
I won’t claim to be prophetic in my understandings of these things; that would be both nonsensical and presumptuous. I also refuse to pretend that my way of seeing things is the only way to do so. Somewhere out there is a Catholic or a Muslim or a devoted atheist who sees all things as being related to their viewpoints too. That’s fine, but it has nothing to do with my thought process. I’m just telling you the way I see things, and all I ask is that you consider what I have to say and – whether you find me right or wrong – engage me and those who read me. We’ll all be better citizens of the world and The Kingdom for it.
And oh yeah – since my “about me” section is mostly about the blog rather than me thus far: I’m married. I live in Chicagoland, but not in the city. I’m a rabid fan of the NBA and of Everton Football Club. I work part-time and write part-time, enjoy cooking, and love traveling. My wife and I are committed to supporting missionaries in ever increasing measure – in more ways than the merely financial, but definitely with our money too – and we despise narcissistic Christian leaders and black licorice.