From faith as we know it – to a simpler faith.
I grew up in the very blue collar town of Union, New Jersey during the 60’s. It was typical, that most of the dad’s on my street growing up, would get into delivery trucks of some sort to start their day. Most would be associated with an organized union of some sort. My dad was in the painters union. Local 242 out of Union county. It was a scene right out of the 60’s comedy, “All in the Family.” Not a surprise that my parents were given the nicknames of Archie and Edith. Their real names were Louie and Marie. I had one brother who was 4 years older than me named Michael.
The blue collar theme came into play early in my life with the introduction of working on weekends to make a little extra cash. It was on the weekends that I got introduced to house painting with my father, brother and my dear Uncle Rick. This all started at the ripe age of 12 years old. Even at that age you can learn to fold drop cloths, apply masking tape and clean up dirty brushes.
My early Christian experience came by the way of Roman Catholic moorings. My mom and I practiced our faith well, but Louie and Michael got disenchanted early and never really pursued it. They had faith, but could not embrace all the complexities of that particular system. This was a theme that baffled me. I remember being conflicted by it even as a young man, 8 years old, struggling with a household that was fractured spiritually.
Dreams of the Gridiron
I had a very successful high school football career and went to Wagner College in Staten Island, New York to play division III college football for two years. I then transferred out to San Diego State University to try my hand as a walk on player for a division I team and earn my degree.
My football experience was less than stellar at SDSU, but the experience had the needed effect of forcing me to grow up and deal with adversity and earn life skills that have been invaluable to this day. The most eye opening Christian experience that I encountered was when I transitioned from my Catholicism in New Jersey to an evangelical college group at SDSU.
I write about this experience in A Simpler Faith. It really has shaped my attitude and direction in ministry for the past 30 years or so.
My Day Job
I have spent 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, which began for me in Mission Viejo, CA. A job promotion brought me and Lynette, my wife, out to Littleton, Colorado (near Denver) about 25 years ago, where we raise our two kids, Braun and Bryn.
I have been involved in Men’s Ministry the whole time I have been in Colorado. I have been heavily involved in helping men, who like my father and my brother, have been disengaged from a faith community.
I have always been for the average “Joe Palooka” who struggles with the complexities of organized religion.
Writing “A Simpler Faith” was my attempt to bridge that gap that exists between too many believers and their familial religious experience. I have found through hundreds of one-on-one connections that many believers are wanting a simpler approach to Christianity. That has been my passionate pursuit for these last several years.
Grounded with Ryan Dobson