I am retired Air Force avionics technician and logistics planner, currently working as a business analyst. I’m reasonably well educated, but I have no formal education in theology. After all, isn’t theology something for pastors and professors? I never expected to write any book, especially a book about theology.
I grew up as a fundamentalist and dispensationalist. In my mid-twenties I felt something was wrong, was briefly intrigued by Eastern Orthodoxy, and eventually became Lutheran, where I stayed for most of my adult life.
I wrote various job-related documents in the military, and wrote more papers as part of my education. The big change began once I retired to take a job helping run the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. Among my duties was theological research so that I might write draft articles and correspondence for the Seminary President. I found myself digging through the stacks at the library, researching a variety of subjects, including doctrine and church history. Some of what I wrote wound up as articles in the denominational magazine, “The Evangel”. It was while working for the seminary that I began to explore the writings of the Ante-Nicene church (the church prior to the first ecumenical council).
Shortly after being exposed to the early church fathers, I was confronted by differences in church doctrine and practice between the early Church and the 21st century Church. In particular, I discovered the early church’s veneration of the Virgin Mary, evidence that I found threatening. While ordinarily I would have automatically rejected this information as being too Catholic, I had already begun to text my doctrinal understanding against that of the early Church. And so I began several years of research on the place of the Virgin Mary within the church (what is known as Mariology, or knowledge about Mary).
During the time I spent researching and writing “Why Mary Matters”, I found myself increasingly interested in the Orthodox church, and eventually I converted. Yet I do not regret having grown up a fundamentalist, for that was where I first learned to love God. And I do not regret the time I spent as a Lutheran, for that was where I developed a sacramental view of the Church. I tell you this because my writing is not intended to be an apologetic for the Eastern Orthodox faith. I have no idea where the Holy Spirit wants you. Indeed, He may want you to stay right where you are.
I’d be happy to entertain discussions, but not to have arguments; I’d be happy to respond to suggestions and critiques, but plan to ignore invective. I hope you have as much fun reading this material as I did writing it, and I look forward to hearing from you.