"Behold, I am sending you forth as sheep among wolves.
Be therefore wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
(Matthew 10:16)

Early efforts to find direction
America in the 1960s ... and learning what works and what doesn't work
The university professor teaching world politics and cultures
Personal spiritual crisis
Rebuilding life emotionally and spiritually
A call from God to become a Presbyterian pastor
New Geneva
Once again the teacher
And now  a Christian historical-political author


Setting out for the Presbyterian ministry

I tend to see life in terms of a "spiritual journey" – which for me started in the 1950s in junior high and high school.  I was very active in my (Presbyterian) church youth organization, Westminster Fellowship, not only for the wonderful friendships it provided but because it truly spoke to my sense of who I was.  I was very active in sports and academically very serious.  But my Christian faith was to me always the most important of my many activities.  Thus in 1959 I went off to Hanover College with the intention of eventually becoming a Presbyterian minister.

Change of direction

It is hard to explain fully the impact that my very first Bible course had on me.  The professor delighted in a faith-debunking approach to "biblical criticism" that left us all gasping (he also committed suicide the next semester).  My Christian faith began to crumble under the shock – though I held on to the social aspects of it in order not to become totally unanchored.

Then the next summer (1960) I spent 3 months touring Europe with my family – and found my interest shifting to the exploration of the vast world which lay beyond my mid-west American cosmos.  I had grown up in the American Midwest (Illinois) and – as with all young people – just naturally supposed that the world that was familiar to me was the world – more or less – of everyone else.  I had categories such as richer and poorer, Protestant, Catholic and Jew, Whites and non-Whites, and American and non-American.  But I always felt that basically beneath these physical or material differences we humans were all pretty much alike.  But that trip with my parents through Europe not only opened up an intriguing new world of vast cultural complexity, it also shifted dramatically my whole sense of direction in life.

That fall I entered the University of Illinois to study foreign languages, history and culture, and prepare myself for a return to Europe to study more closely this new world I had just discovered.

Thus in 1961 and 1962 I spent my junior year at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.  Here I developed close friendships with people whose native language was not English, whose politics did not belong on the American Democrat–Republican scale, and who approached the whole idea of the nature and purpose of life from positions that had been totally unknown to me in my earlier years.

I returned my senior year to Illinois to take a B.A. degree in political science.  Despite my collapsed Christian faith, oddly enough I remained active in the campus ministry at Illinois (McKinley Foundation) even being appointed to the Champaign/Urbana Ministerial Council as a student representative.  I confessed openly the collapse of my faith – but was assured by younger clergy not to worry about it, as this was a problem they all faced.  To them Christianity was redefining itself anyway more in terms of social action – with Jesus as role model.  But this never worked very well for me.  I knew that one needn't be a Christian to appreciate Jesus as one we would be wise to model ourselves after.  Ultimately, I concluded that if the church could make no more of him than that, I could see no reason to stay involved with it.

Thus in 1963, as I headed off to graduate school – Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. – I bid good-bye to the church and headed into a very secular world.


Being part of the Kennedy idealism of the early 1960s

This brought me to Washington, D.C. during the height of the Kennedy years.  At that time America was excited about the possibility of bringing the world to an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity (such as we supposedly were experiencing in the United States).  This was the age of the Peace Corps, when young Americans were positive that the world anxiously awaited the possibility of becoming like us.

In fact I signed on to work at the Peace Corps headquarters in 1964-1965 – though personally I was beginning to have my doubts that this was going to work out the way the more Idealistic among us supposed it was going to happen.  The 1960s was a decade in which we Americans were positive that effecting material changes in people's lives around the world (and also a home among our non-Whites and poor) would produce such a new harmony that human history would never again be tormented by the corruptions of poverty, disease, illiteracy and war.  Africa, Asia and Latin America – and the American South – became the laboratories, even chosen fields of battle, as we began to put our ideas into action.

American Idealism encounters major cultural difficulties

By the mid-1960s we were engaged in a great struggle which included a bloody civil rights campaign in the American South, a general war on poverty in rural America, a major life-death struggle between us and Communism for the loyalty of the "Emerging Nations" of the Third World – and Vietnam in particular.

Sadly, though we thought our intentions to be the most honorable, we had no idea of what we were doing.  Trying to impose Yankee Protestant cultural norms on the rest of the world was an undoubtedly noble idea – but one destined to failure, or at least one destined to cause as much turmoil and confusion as it was peace and prosperity.  We had no clue about the difficulties of overlaying our political, economic and social institutions on cultural foundations quite different from our own.  Like me in my youth, we Americans (who had very little first-hand knowledge of the world beyond our shores) supposed that beneath all the outward physical differences of the world's different peoples, we were all basically alike.  We thought that everyone judged good and bad as we did, that everyone understood how you got things done the way we did, that everyone was looking for life in family, community and larger society as Americans tended to approach these matters.

Learning from the South African situation

It was at this time (1965) that I took up the challenge of a professor at Georgetown to write my Master's thesis on the way the Black revolution that was sweeping Africa was going to play out in South Africa.  The whole venture turned out to be something quite other than what I had supposed when I first took up the study.  I was amazed at what I found in South Africa.  Despite the political illogic of it all (at least by the American standards of political logic), there was clearly going to be no such repeat of Black revolution in South Africa – at least not for the foreseeable future (the next 20 years or so).  What was going on in that country had little to do with the widely-held assumption that oppressed people will inevitably rise up against their oppressors once the pain becomes great enough.  There was plenty of pain in South Africa.  But South Africa was definitely not going to follow the rest of the continent into Black Revolution.  What I had slowly come to understand (through a lot of "out of the box" study) was that the Liberal interpretation of the dynamics of politics – an interpretation that by that time was held as an unquestioned article of Truth in virtually every American college and university – was nothing more than an ideology based on cultural wishful thinking (like the Peace Corps idea) ... than it was on true political science.

Becoming the cynical observer of a convulsive cultural scene in the
       later 1960s

By 1966 I had become a cynic – and had retreated into the position of being a detached observer of all the ideological rhetoric that was beginning to flow around us in America like a great whirlwind.  By the late 1960s I stood by watching sadly (but with an I-told-you-so attitude) as America fell into shambles.  By 1968 a deep bitterness cut through the entire American culture, dividing the nation into deeply hostile sub-groups.

Living, traveling and researching in Europe and Asia the next two years

At this point I left the country to pursue (in a VW!) the Asian trail of conquest of Alexander the Great, to continue onward to India and Nepal, and then return again across the Middle East to Brussels, Belgium, there to work for IBM and to write my Georgetown doctoral dissertation.  My goal in Belgium was to not only investigate the French-Flemish cultural war going on there, but also to see if, from this more removed position in Europe, I could not find some better answers to the sickness that was afflicting my nation, my culture.


Taking up the subject as a young professor at the University of South
       Alabama (Mobile)

In 1970 I returned to the States, finished up my Ph.D. work at Georgetown and in 1971 took a position in the political science department at the University of South Alabama.  I soon put together an International Studies Program at the University and set out to teach young Americans what I had learned in my years of life and study outside our culture.

Approaching world culture and politics from a "Realist" perspective

I taught world cultures and politics from a so-called "Realist" perspective – that is, from the notion that you can expect a society or nation to behave pretty much on the basis of what its own particular cultural logic informs its people as being in their best interest.  Thus in attempting to deal with the larger world, you must first understand your own culture and logic, because realistically this is your starting and finishing point. 

But do not expect other peoples to operate out of the same logic or set of goals and standards.  If you are to work successfully with others you must come to understand their particular perspective on things, their sense of national self-interest and their own logic about how that interest is best advanced.  In understanding them from their own perspective you can then judge as to where you have interests in common – and can thus work together in promoting your mutual interests – and where your interests clash – in which you should be aware that serious conflict awaits you in dealing with them.

From the Realist perspective there is no point in moralizing about what others are doing – because you are merely imposing your self-interest and moral logic on a people who are operating from a logical and moral position of their own.  All that such Idealistic moralizing is likely to do is to blind-side you about the "realities" of the global environment you are attempting to deal with – and put you in conflict with others where conflict is not necessary.

Advising banks and industries on "political risk"

I had found from my graduate research and from the material that I presented in my various international politics and economics courses that I had very good predictive powers about how particular situations around the world were likely to unfold.  I decided to put this talent to work as a political risk analyst, advising a number of banks and businesses concerning the "risk" (mostly economic) of lending or investing in certain countries – given the particular cultural, political and economic climates that existed there.

I later put all this material together as a university course – and was delighted to see that my students were also, under proper instruction, also able to pick up the "Realist" logic that I worked from.


Being the detached observer ultimately had its price

However – always being an "detached observer" of culture made me one who was strong on knowledge but much weaker on actual empathy for the world around me.  I was very professional – and ambitious professionally.  That was my life.  I enjoyed teaching (I love the world of ideas) and I enjoyed my students, forming friendships with many of them.

I was married – to an equally professional woman, and – from our own culture's perspective – we made an excellent couple.  Martha and I traveled and shared a lot over the years.  We had no children – which was just fine as far as I was concerned.  We entertained a lot in our splendid Southern home and on our 30' sailboat.  Both being teachers, we had summers to explore the world – and in general lived a very prosperous life materially.

But this situation changed dramatically in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I felt myself growing stale intellectually and professionally toward the end of the 1970s.  The rapid trajectory of growth I had experienced in my 20s and 30s had leveled off as I approached my 40s.  New things seemed to be no more than a repeat of old things, merely in new clothing.

Worse, considerable investment in the world of housing redevelopment caught us in a financial trap when interest rates skyrocketed from 6% to 20% in mere months at the end of 1979.  Buyers for our properties disappeared – leaving us month after month to face huge interest payments.  A year went by, then another, with no sign of relief in sight.  We were fast descending toward bankruptcy.  For me it was a spiritual descent as well as a financial one.  I began to withdraw emotionally from what was left of my familiar world.


Material catastrophe was finally and miraculously avoided when in late 1982 someone offered to buy our home – and we jumped at the opportunity.  This would allow us to buy our way out of debt – although it would leave us with nothing.  Logically this should have solved most of our problems.  But for me it had a very unexpected effect.  I was free, free of debt, but also free of the responsibility of maintaining a certain level of material respectability.

So – spiritual catastrophe still awaited me.  This freedom was so intoxicating that I decided that I wanted to be totally free – of all further commitments, all further responsibilities.  In early 1983 I made the decision to quit both my marriage and my job.

The divorce came quickly, easily and cleanly – within a month of the initial decision.  Martha left for Texas the day after the divorce was finalized – and immediately met the man she would marry the following year.

With respect to the job, when I told the Dean that I would be quitting my teaching position at the end of the school year, I was advised by him to take a year's leave of absence next year rather than just quit my tenured university position.  I took his advice and rather than just quit I took a year-long "sabbatical."  However at the time, I was quite certain that I would not be returning to my faculty position at the end of that year.


An emotional and spiritual turn-around

It took me that full year of leave from the university to even begin to think about putting my life back together again.  And even then, emotional or spiritual movement or progress happened more out of serendipity than actual design on my part.  I had ceased being the planner and organizer of life.  I had simply decided to start following events rather than lead them.

Things began to reshape themselves when, out of sheer desperation, I prayed (for the first time in over 20 years) that if God was indeed real, I needed to know it – and I needed to know it soon.  And amazingly, God showed up – and life took on a whole new quality!  It's hard to explain in "rational" terms exactly what happened.  But somehow life began to speak back to me.  Whereas before life was simply something objective that I observed as an "expert," life now began to interact with me – most amazingly.  I found that existence around me was wondrously alive, interactive with me, beckoning me to step more deeply into it purely on the basis of faith that something or someone directing it was to be fully trusted.  The more I ventured forward in the "risk" of faith, the more things seemed to come alive to me.

A new look at modern science.  This was not the material world of Isaac Newton that I had earlier been shaped to expect of life.  This world was not "fixed" in any material sense – but was fluid and expansive to the degree that I was ready to relate to it.  Such "relative-ness" gave me second thoughts on how to read the newer interpretations of life: the "cosmologies" inherent in Einstein's Relativity Theories and the Quantum physicists.  These latter thinkers portrayed Reality in terms much more akin to what I was thinking or "feeling" about the subject.

A new look at Jesus the Christ.  But what really came to put focus – incredible focus – on life was simply a return to the story of old:  the accounts in Scripture of God, and in particular his very special son, Jesus the Christ.  I was awed in what I now read there.  What Jesus was saying was not just about good Sunday-School behavior rules ("be good and people will be good to you") – but something much more.  It was as if God was talking about himself and about us ourselves through Jesus – describing the deepest issues which the human mind and spirit would be able to grasp on these subjects (which most people around Jesus were unable to grasp in his own time!).  In or through Jesus I realized that finally I was indeed having a conversation with the very Author of life itself about the why of life, the one issue I could never previously quite get a hold of.

Becoming the Spiritual Pilgrim

I can't say that at this point I finally became "the Spiritual Pilgrim."  I had always been the spiritual pilgrim.  But certainly at this point I became very self-aware that this was central to my life.

But being a very changed, even "renewed," person, I actually found myself eager to return to the university in the fall of 1984.  In resuming my teaching duties, I found myself once again truly enjoying the experience – for the first time in years.

But at the same time, I was drawn even more to the mysterious world of God – which everything within me wanted to explore, at least as much of it as God allowed me.

I became involved in jail and street ministry, finding in it a never-ceasing joy, one that did not come as a result of some new achievement, one that did not go away because the achievement failed to continue to offer its thrills such as had always been the case for me before.   Just showing up to visit and pray with people, people who in my professional life I would have avoided at all costs, was such constant source of joy.  Soon I was inviting others to join me.  In just a few months I had a regular jail and street ministry going on in Mobile, an effortless achievement on my part, a true blessing from God.

The call to full-time service to God

Over the summer of 1985 I could feel a deep spiritual wrestling going on inside of me.  I could feel myself being pulled to another one of those life-changing moments of decision.  I was awakened in the night with a vision of myself in a whole new role in life.  I recognized immediately the message:  I was to devote myself to teaching others what it is that God had shown me about life.  I bowed before the call, realizing that I was to finish out the 1985-1986 school year at the university – and then devote myself full-time to service to God.  I did not know if that meant developing my ministry in Mobile – or heading off to seminary to prepare myself for a larger world, or – whatever.

Through a set of developments over the next year, it became clear that seminary was where God wanted me to head next.  Thus in June of 1986 I found myself heading off to New Jersey, to begin three years of seminary study.

The Princeton experience:  true engagement in cultural revolution

I got a lot more than I had bargained for at Princeton.  Though I expected this to be pretty much a 3-year intellectual experience, once again circumstances worked out so that I found myself almost right off the bat engaged in inner city ministry in nearby Trenton.  Within a year's time I once again had built up a street ministry with homeless Black men, not so much to reform them (which I doubted I could do anyway) as to bring them the gospel message of God's love for them – and to stand as a steady affirmation of this foundational truth.  I was there four and a half years – leaving at the end of that period only because I was unable to get the local Presbytery to fund this ministry as a worthy on-going outreach mission.

I was always deeply saddened by what I saw had happened to so many of the Black American males.  The mechanics of the welfare system worked against them finding a place of honor in society.  They were useful only as stud males for women whose welfare checks depended on the men creating children – but not being present in the home to father those children.  How easy it seemed that the once very strong Black family had succumbed to the shifts in American culture.  I wondered if the same could happen to the White American male.

The reason I had concern for the latter question was because I was at Princeton at the very height of the male-bashing feminist movement, one that had even invaded Christianity.  It was made very clear at Princeton that the American male was a potentially dangerous beast, who in the past had enslaved women everywhere.  Sensing that the male's traditional position was one of on-going cultural indoctrination, the feminists' answer to the "male question" was to conduct new cultural revolution such as would lift women to new power and status.  At Princeton that female position was not one of equality, but of dominance.

It was hard going through the Princeton years, being guilty by the circumstance of birth of the crime of being male.  This was a cultural revolution I could not merely step back from and analyze – as was my traditional approach to a cultural issue.  Of course it now had been a while since I had been the detached observer of cultural dynamics.  Working with Black males in their cultural diaspora had been anything but disengaging.  And now I began to appreciate the fact that God had led me to Princeton to experience involvement – and ultimately full commitment – in the struggles of my very own White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male culture!  It took me a while to understand.  But eventually I caught on.  I had a cultural task to perform, not just merely to observe and study.

Rebuilding my own family

In the meantime, God had put a woman in my life.  Amazingly, Kathleen and I both knew from our first moments together that God had big plans for both of us as husband and wife, and those plans included children – something we both wanted very much.  We wed in 1988 and the next year Rachel was born, two years later, Paul, two years after that, Elizabeth, and four years after that, John.  My age would be an issue – but not an insurmountable hurdle.  God would take care of us.  We both understood that.


I was called in late 1990 to pastor and teach in Northern New Jersey

In the early 1990s I had two crucial calls on my life:  service as the head of my own family and service as pastor of a small Presbyterian congregation in Northern New Jersey.  Being ever the teacher, I was moved most significantly by a desire to pass on what years of study had shown me were missing from our own American culture:  a profound appreciation of the role of God in shaping our nation and civilization.

Keenly aware of how far our American culture had drifted into secularism (I myself had lived in that mode for over 20 years), I wanted my children to be raised with a higher sense of things in life, of the role of God in shaping them and their world.  This was exactly what I wanted my congregation to be aware of as well – particularly as I felt that my highest responsibility to them and to God was to prepare them to be vibrant, living witnesses to God in a godless age.

But this task was not any easy one because there existed very little material that would back up what I was attempting to teach.  So I began by laying out the material myself.

With respect to teaching my congregations, my approach was to get them to understand how they were the most recent chapter of a story involving a long line of witnesses that had gone before them in presenting the higher truth of God in Jesus Christ.  Like themselves today, these forerunners had to conduct this task in the midst of a world caught up in the offerings and difficulties of the material world around them.  It was my hope that by learning more about how others before them met this challenge we could perhaps discover deeper direction for ourselves for the same task.

Indeed, in the retelling of this old, old story, these modern-day saints began to see themselves in a new light:  they began to understand how they too were part of God's story; in their own time today, they too were key instruments of his divine design here on earth.  It was as much up to them in this day and age as it was to the heroes of scripture in their days to live out God's divine assignment.  They were to be spiritual leaders, helping to lead others to the light of divine guidance.

Man's special place in Creation

I appreciate very much Man's power, the good works he is able to do – if his heart is right.  But even back in my secular days I realized that Man's moral logic was highly problematic.  Man seemed as often an angel of death and destruction as an angel of life and goodness.  In all my years of political, social or cultural analysis some key component had always seemed missing in computing the moral design of life.  Man himself was not a sufficient explanation with regards to the positive and negative directions life has taken on this planet over the centuries.  In discovering – or rediscovering – God in my later years, I came finally to understand what this key component was.

First of all, apart from God's guidance from his position in Creation, human life – or life of any kind – is an impossibility.  Einstein's theory of relativity and the theories of quantum physics helped get me started down the right track to understand the dynamic of life in a new, post-Newtonian or post-mechanistic way.

Life is built on relationship – and all relationship begins with God.  Through God's will, his design, his word (his Logos), all creation has its being as it responds to him.  God is the initiator and sustainer of all that is and ever will be.

Second of all, we humans, like everything else in creation, exist in response to his work.  But quite unlike anything else in creation, we have been given intellectual or spiritual powers not unlike God's.  Within the full scope of a huge creation, we humans on this tiny planet are endowed with the incredible ability not to merely exist, but to affirm (or reject) the divine dynamic.  We are more than the rocks and ice, the heat and light, even the trees and animals of God's creation.  We are a privileged specie created by God to join with him in giving life to all creation by our interaction with it.  We are like some kind of an audience privileged with the power to appreciate, enjoy, celebrate God's great creation.

To make this power fully valid, we have also the power to reject this option.  Our spiritual freedom makes the decision to join with God in working with and celebrating Creation fully our own, dignifying us as a very special part of Creation.  But our freedom means also the ability to reject this whole idea.  But in doing so we diminish ourselves as living beings, becoming merely part of the mechanical portion of existence.

How do we choose?  Usually poorly.  Human pride or arrogance (Christianity's long-standing concept of "original sin") is the hurdle that we have to overcome.  Just as God is the positive pole in creation, there is some kind of Adversary who constitutes the negative pole – at least with respect to human choice.  We commonly call this negative force Satan, the Devil, the Tempter, the Deceiver, the Adversary, the Serpent, etc.  His job is to enter our thoughts and logic to draw us into making the choice that leads us from God, from life.  His existence in creation is what gives full meaning to our human freedom:  the full freedom to reject as well as to affirm life.

God's Covenant with America

Once I began to understand this dynamic I began to wonder how it ever was that we humans made the right choice.  Pride and arrogance seem so fundamental to human life.  What chance did we on our own have of ever making the right decision?

What I began to understand in reviewing the long story of God and his relationship with Man is that God alone keeps things on track – normally by setting aside for himself a special people who, in covenant with him, he works with more directly in keeping the light of divine understanding alive, so that through them the rest of the world might always have that light serving as a beacon directing them to God and his divine enterprise.

God made such a covenant with Abraham and his descendants, a covenant carried forward through Moses, David and the Jewish prophets of old.  That covenant was fine-tuned in Jesus and continued forward in time through his followers in the church.

God's very grace has kept that covenant alive, helping certain people stay on track with God as a service to all of mankind.

The covenant still exists today – perhaps in more than one form or in the hands of more than one people.  But certainly, that covenant was extended to the founding fathers of America, in particular the Puritan founders of New England who very self-consciously observed just such a covenant relationship with God.  In the early 1600s they founded their new settlement on the principle of being a covenant community in service to God, pledging themselves (and their descendants) to be a "city on a hill," a "light to the nations."  They intended that in America a covenant people would live to bring the rest of the world to God.

Clearly, by the sign of the multitude of miracles that accompanied the birth and growth of this new covenant nation, God has faithfully continued to respect this covenant (though we have ourselves not always been so faithful in the keeping of the covenant).  Time after time, in respect of this covenant, God has brought spiritual renewal among us – usually in preparation for some great work (often a war) he was calling the nation to undertake.

And so we come to our present day and time.  How are we doing with respect to the covenant? 

Not well.

But – that's how I see my call.  To help awaken America to this fundamental reality.  To put Americans of today back into "the story."
Putting the story on the Web

Back in 1993 I decided to begin putting this story on the web.  The primary focus has been "Western history" or the story of God and the people of Christian Europe and America, since from even the beginning of Western Civilization.  I added a huge biographical section in the later 1990s – and I have been adding material ever since then.


The valiant, but futile, attempt to build a learning center around the
       idea of
revitalizing Covenant leadership in America

Calvin'sGeneva,Switzerland, of themid-1500sJohn CalvinFor about a year and a half, during 2000-2002, I worked with 4 other Presbyterian pastors and a Presbyterian elder in trying to put together a Christian learning center in eastern Pennsylvania – a place where this "story" could be taught to Presbyterian leaders as part of a reawakening of the evangelical call on the Presbyterian denomination.  We called it "New Geneva" in recognition of the role that Geneva of old (John Calvin's Geneva, Switzerland, of the mid-1500s) played in awakening the same spirit within Christian urban Europe during the Protestant Reformation.

Unfortunately, just days before our "New Geneva" group was due to have its first organizational meeting with potential supporters, a very large and wealthy (but struggling nonetheless) Presbyterian church perceived itself as threatened by our venture – and used its influence within the Presbytery to have the venture shut down.  This left us all very frustrated, as we had committed a lot of ourselves to this venture. 

But we also realized that if New Geneva was what God wanted
– not just what our little group wanted – then there would have been nothing that could have blocked its creation.  Obviously, God was not behind our grand plans.  Thus we simply submitted quietly to the circumstances facing us.

Gradually we went our separate ways ... mostly with new pastoral calls.


The call to teach Christian high school students at The King's Academy
Mohrsville, Pennsylvania

The door that opened for me – just as I was completing a 2-year interim pastorate in Pottsville, Pennsylvania – was as a history/social studies (and soon also a French) teacher at a recently established, non-denominational Christian K-12 school not too far away:  The King's Academy.  The salary was half what I made as a Presbyterian pastor ... an included no health insurance or pension payments.  But I knew deeply that this was the door God wanted me to go through.  I would have to trust him to make this new calling work financially for me and my family.

Actually my four children joined me there as students.  And eventually they all graduated from that same school.  Also ... here I had a free hand in continuing to develop the historical studies I had been putting together over the years.  Furthermore, I was able to offer our seniors an advanced course in social/political/economic analysis called Social Dynamics. 

The New Geneva commitment of helping to prepare future Christian
       world leaders lives on at The King's Academy

I served 18 years at The King's Academy ... in dedication to the task of awakening of a sense of call among young Christians (or Christians in the making) to eventually retake the role of leaders in our society and civilization – empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the agent of change on earth under the direction of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I was attempting to prepare them to assume the responsibilities as God's Chosen to help lead the world back into life-fulfilling relationship with God Almighty himself.  It was my hope to show them that we were to do this (in a typically Calvinist fashion) by the way we gave witness to God's judgments and empowerments in our daily lives.  We were to be prepared to step out, take on the risks of leadership, assume full power and responsibility as citizens of this earth – with both the cunning wisdom of serpents in how we dealt with the world's social realities – and the innocence of doves in how we matched the powers of that same world with the powers we received in faith from God.

We were to be visionaries able to see above the heads of the material world – to the worlds beyond to which God was drawing us.  We were to be motivators of others to venture forward with us – through faith in God's word and hand among us – toward the world God has awaiting us.  We were to be teachers and governors helping to hold our world together firmly in a Godly social order, so that God's work might be fulfilled among us as we ventured forward together.

And with almost 40 percent of our high school students being "international" (from all different points around the world) it was quite easy to make this global perspective that I taught at The King's Academy quite real ... and more immediately understandable – and not just by my American students but by all my students, whatever their cultural backgrounds.  The covenant with God through Christ (as the Holy Spirit leads us) was for all of us, as it were ... citizens of the entire world.


The decision to go full-time into writing

Then in June of 2019, just as I was looking over the contract for the 2019-2020 school year, the understanding came to me strongly that I was not to sign that contract ... but prepare for a whole new world.  I was to put my considerable amount of written material (found in the pages of this Spiritual Pilgrim website) into book form.  It was time to publish! 

Wow ... because here I was almost at age 78 contemplating the startup of a new career.  This was not about retirement.  This was about taking on a new challenge ... a huge challenge at any age!

Looking to see where things go from here

So – I began to submit my material to Westbow Press – a publishing house that stands somewhere between self-publishing and corporate publishing ... operating as a subdivision of Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, two well-known Christian publishing houses. 

And yes, they had very strict publishing rules, ones that frustrated me greatly:  never to use the words "bloody" (too descriptive ... or just too British as an adjective for virtually everything!) even when discussing battles, nor "hell" (I was not allowed to quote General Sherman's comment "War is hell" when he looked out on all the destruction his march through Georgia produced) ... and not to use details that are too graphic in their darkness (such as would be used in describing events involved in ethnic cleansing, for instance). 

But I got over things, found that I could learn to adjust to their sensitivities.  And eventually three volumes of American history came forth:  America – The Covenant Nation ... A Christian Perspective, the first volume appearing in February of 2020 and the next two volumes in May of that year.

I then realized that a less-detailed American history would work better for some people, so in 2021 I authored a shorter single-volume American history
(550 pages instead of 1100) ... also updated to include the beginning of the Biden presidency).

I also realized that I could redo the 1100-page three-voume version in the form of two volumes ... and offer the new series at a much lower price.


At the same time, to top off the 2021 writing experience, I put my own personal story to print ... the same material that you will find here on the web pages that follow.

And in February of 2024 I was finally able to have published a work that I had been busy putting together since completing my American history series:  a two-volume history of Western Society ... emphasizing the cultural-intellectual apects of that wonderful history!

So stay posted!  You can keep up with all this writing by going to my other website:  https://thecovenantnation.com

In the meantime, enjoy the story of my own spiritual pilgrimage ... presented to you right here!

The Hodges Family – Thanksgiving 2023

So ... let's begin the actual journey:  Getting Started (July 1941 to August 1971)