Hi, I'm Michael...
Me... I'm just an average Joe.
I recently moved to SE Portland, OR after living in Vancouver WA for two years and Cleveland, OH for a year. There I completed my residency in chaplaincy after several years in Chicago. I've lived in Palos Heights, IL, Terre Haute, IN, Falmouth and Campton, KY, and Morristown, TN. Until now, the Midwest has been all I've known. Now that's all changed.
I'm starting a new job in a new city. It would seem Life has granted me a bit of a reset, one that is much needed.
What can I say, I like living simply... for the most part.
I finished seminary in Evanston, IL in the spring of 2014, something I've put off for a long time, but yearned for even longer. Running from God is easy... running back to God is anything but.
I've done parish ministry, non-profit service, and hospital chaplaincy. After some time with the lattermost, I'm going back to the middle.
I've served at Rush University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, and Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.
Despite having my eyesight drastically altered by graduate school, I still love to read — anything from Harry Potter, Divergent, and the Hunger Games to various books on theology, ethics, psychology, or social justice to authors like David Sedaris, Jenny Lawson, Donald Miller, and the like. Then there are my standards. The Giver. The Ender quartet. Anything by Henri Nouwen.
I'm soft. Emotional. Compassionate. Creative. Sensual. Life is about being vulnerable and getting your hands dirty. It's about making mistakes and learning to love with abandon.
I love music, chocolate, jersey knit bedsheets, sterling silver, cheap flip-flops, mom and pop Thai restaurants. I want to go skydiving, or at least throw myself down a professional wind tunnel.
I love chick flicks - Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes, Stepmom, You've Got Mail, Beaches, Terms of Endearment. If it will make me laugh and cry at the same time, I will most likely love it. Don't get me wrong, I also love plenty of action, fantasy, or science fiction. I love to have my head in the clouds just as much as I love having my feet on the ground.
I love all sorts of music, but my biggest soft spots are for Christian (old & new), Broadway, and choral. Rodgers & Hammerstein are my very good friends.
I play acoustic guitar. I enjoy taking photos. I love getting wet (unless I'm in my good clothes or heavy cotton polos). I try and stay healthy, but my relationship with whip cream is real, and it's deep - leave me alone...
I like to challenge people to think outside of their own comfort zone.
To not accept tradition as fact, but learn about their beliefs for themselves. I think religion can have it's beautiful moments, but it can also be misused against those who fail to, or choose not to conform. Before God was condemning, judgmental, wrathful, and vengeful, she was loving, intimate, relational - characteristics that span across the length of the Old Testament into the New, culminating with the Incarnation. But even more so, God tends to reveal God in ways we don't always understand or fathom - so I try to be open to new surprises.
I see a therapist. nearly Every week. Same day. Same time. I cry. I yell. I curse. I scream. I bitch and moan. I laugh and giggle and free associate. It makes me a better person.
All in all, I feel like I'm a pretty accurate representation of a human. I have my walls, and my guards, but the people in my life break away at those on a fairly regular basis. I'm ok being around a lot of people, but I also cherish my alone time, or time with those I love most dearly.
In the last two to three years, my frequency of writing has declined... a lot. I feel like my words are starting to come back to me, but if you have any suggestions on what you'd like me to write about, I'm always open to suggestions — seriously.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about me, feel free to contact me.
photo credit: Julia Tweedie (via Flickr)