Hi. I’m a United Church of Christ pastor, currently serving a small church—Groton Community Church (UCC)—in Central New York; in addition, I an an adjunct lecturer at SUNY-Cortland, a four-year state college near my home. This year I will be teaching courses on world politics, democracy, U.S. foreign policy and multiculturalism. For relaxation, I am an old- fashioned camera collector and nature photographer (in addition to using DSLRs, I take pictures with large format cameras—the boxy old-fashioned ones with the bellows); and I am a sometime amateur actor.
I have been engaged in ordained ministry since 1979—as a pastor of small to medium-sized congregations and as a Navy Chaplain.
I have several passions . . . many of them in ministry, and some outside of ministry. I am keenly interested in what’s happening to the church today–and in what’s happening to the pastors who serve in our churches. I am also interested in the society we live in—in American culture and politics and economics, and in how the socio-economic-political milieu we live in informs and interacts with the life of the church.
Outside of ministry, I am working on a book on the Bretton Woods financial and monetary conference of 1944, and how the United States wrested the “baton” of world leadership out of the hands of Great Britain during the twentieth century, and especially after World War II.
My students, as well as my research in world politics and in multiculturalism persuade me that the United States–and the U.S. population–are changing in some very fundamental ways–and so is the church. As much as pastors and church leaders like to say that the church is the “leaven” or the “salt” that improves secular American culture and society (and this was true enough during the era of the Social Gospel and the Progressivist reforms in the United States of approximately 1875 through 1914), today, social change and change in the church work the other way around: Political and social change in America influence the church to change. Examples of this phenomenon include the struggle for desegregation and racial justice, and much more recently, the Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling which made gay marriage the law of the land. The church has not led; it has followed the lead of American culture as well as the U.S. government in making such changes.
We live in a time of tremendous cultural and technological change, and the church is changing, just as American society and politics are changing. But there’s something in human nature that doesn’t like change and seeks homeostasis. Congregations resist change; we pastors also resist change; but change is what we are all facing.
I have written three books. I am telling you this because I want you to buy them. They are available for purchase on Amazon.com:
- What Happened to the Soviet Union? How and Why American Sovietologists Were Caught by Surprise (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002).
- Living Stewardship: Youth, A Faith Practices Book (Circle Books, 2010).
- World Politics and the American Quest for Super-Villains, Demons, and Bad Guys to Destroy (San Diego: Cognella, 2014).
Both my politics and my theology are unabashedly liberal. But I really don’t think that any of this matters—because the topics I will be considering in these pages are entirely relevant to congregants, church leaders, and pastors of all political and theological persuasions. I will, of course, attempt to be respectful toward all theological and political positions that I deal with in these pages, and my approach to all people I interact with will be, I hope, entirely compassionate.