Allow Me to Introduce Myself . . .

March 30, 2017

Welcome to “A Penny for My Thoughts”.


I’ve resisted starting a blog for a long time. It has always struck me than a more than a little arrogant to believe that, with all there is to do, people would take time to read my blog, or that I would have something interesting, novel or edifying to share with folks once or twice a week.


But then a fellow member of a writing group of which I am a part strongly suggested that I have one. For one thing, she said, I usually had good insights into issues, and that I expressed those insights relatively coherently and articulately. (As I write, I am blushing with embarrassment at my shameless relating of her compliments.)  She said that I struck her as someone engaged in issues before us as private individuals and as a society, and that I ought to reflect on those issues and share my reflections with others.


So, I conceded. Flattery always works, doesn’t it?


Most of you who have looked up this blog know me already. Those who found it on a search engine or by word of mouth, allow me to introduce myself.


I am a sexagenarian rapidly approaching the status of septuagenarian, much too fast, it seems to me. In June 2015, I retired after over 40 years as a Lutheran pastor in Canada and the United States.


I have been married since Richard M. Nixon occupied the Oval Office and two years before he relinquished the office in disgrace. My wife Diane is a Pennsylvanian by birth (Lancaster). I, on the other hand, am living in my third country: born in Finland; raised in Canada; and a resident of the United States since 1981.  I imagine that my multinational identity will play a part in more than one future blog post.


We are proud parents of two adult sons: Luke, almost 39, who lives with us in Wyncote, PA; and Jesse, 35, who stayed put in Gainesville, FL when we relocated to the Philadelphia area in 2002 for the sake of a new ministry challenge for me.


I am a Canadian citizen, but cheer for the Finnish ice hockey teams in international tournaments, even if Canada is the opponent.


Since retirement, my self-identity has transfigured from thinking of myself primarily as a clergyman, to thinking as a novelist. Instead of looking out at the world and finding sermon material, now I find ideas for future novels. I’d always wanted to write one since I studied English literature at the University of Toronto. So, I did. In October of last year, my immigration novel Beginning Again a Zero was published at Lulu Press (


I’m engrossed in writing a second one now. It will be more complex and expansive the first – and therefore trickier to write, but hopefully not trickier to read.


I am sure I will have more to say about both books in future blog posts.


In the meantime, live this day to the fullest.  A penny for your thoughts, dear reader, in the “Reply” box below.

9 thoughts on “Allow Me to Introduce Myself . . .

  1. Jack, What a boon for us who have missed your wisdom down here in GNV! Look forward to at least a dollar’s worth of value for each of your penny thoughts! Blessings on this new leg of your journey.


  2. You are THE most talented writer, thinker, sermon writer and best brother a sister could ever wish for or have the privilege of having! I will look forward to your pennies from heaven Bro! Lots of love in this new literary adventure. Sis


    • Thanks, for the love and encouragement, Sis. I’m overjoyed to accept the “best brother” epithet . . . but don’t get too carried away with the “THE most talented writer” stuff. I appreciate it, but I think F. Scott Fitzgerald or William Skakespeare might disagree. Love, Bro


      • While I like the ” old man and the sea” and the fact you like cats like Tassu and Hessu of course “great Gatsby” who wouldn’t love Leonardo in that! you are still the best in my books.

        Liked by 1 person

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