About the Author
Many readers ask me to say something about myself, who I am, my credentials, and why I write the meditations on this website. Hopefully the following will help. I welcome further inquiries and I’m happy to supply references to scholars, clergy, and friends who have guided me and worked closely with me over the past forty years.
To know God and his love for us more fully
One of the marvels of the internet is that it can link families, friends, and communities near and far away across the world. It’s a great resource for visually communicating wisdom, knowledge, and experience. When it is at the service of truth and beauty it can enrich and ennoble those who use it.
My aim and prayer is that this website will inspire and call those who use it to seek the truth of God’s Word in scripture with a passionate desire to know God and his love for us more fully. God loves an earnest seeker and rewards those who “search diligently” for wisdom and understanding.
One of my favorite verses from Scripture is Psalm 115:1: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Hopefully my brief biography will show how God has been gracious and merciful towards me.
I have known the Lord and tasted of his goodness as long as I can remember since my early youth. My father, who was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan (USA), came from a German Catholic heritage. My mother, who was born and raised in North Carolina, came from a Methodist tradition. She became Roman Catholic before she married my Dad. I was born (December, 1947) and raised in Saginaw, Michigan (USA). I have been a Roman Catholic all my life and actively involved in bible study, catechetics, pastoral and evangelistic work, lay renewal movements, and cooperative ecumenism with Christians from other traditions and denominations.
I thank my parents who raised me in the faith, along with four brothers and one sister, and taught me to love God with all my heart through their example and faithfulness. My dad loved to sing every Sunday at Mass in the church choir, and I tried to sing along with him as best as I could. My mother loved to tell me stories from the Bible and she inspired me to read biographies and stories of great men and women of God, many of whom were martyrs, missionaries, and heroes of the faith. I am also grateful to the parish priests and the Sisters of Charity who inspired me with their faith and love for God. They instilled in me a desire to serve God and to be a missionary someday, if that be God’s will.
I went to St. Paul Seminary in Saginaw, Michigan for six years (high school and two years of college) and completed my undergraduate degree in English and Fine Arts at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I also studied at George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. for a couple of summers.
The Lord fulfilled my desire to be a missionary when I joined a Catholic charismatic lay apostolate movement in 1969 at the Newman Center at The University of Michigan. This movement, which began in the late sixties (the “Hippie Era”), rapidly grew with the development of numerous intentional Christian communities worldwide, called “covenant communities”. From this movement also grew a lay missionary brotherhood of men from various Christian traditions living single for the Lord, called The Servants of the Word. I have been a member of The Servants of the Word since its beginning in 1970. I am deeply grateful for God’s call and grace to serve Him and his people today. I can joyfully say as the psalmist did in the Lord’s temple: “Whom have I in heaven but you, O Lord; and there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73). [Photo on right: In a barn shed at the Trappist Abbey of the Genessee, New York on Christmas Retreat 2002; this is spot where I decided in 1973 to make a life-long commitment to live single for the Lord with The Servants of the Word.]
In the 1980s I traveled extensively around the world to help with the development of Christian communities and with the training and formation of young people in Christian service and leadership. In the 1990s I worked with a group of families and singles to re-establish a covenant community in Ann Arbor, called Word of Life, as well as the development of an outreach program for training youth in service and leadership. In August of 2000, I moved with twelve community members to Detroit, Michigan to begin a new urban ministry called Detroit Community Outreach (DCO). DCO is an outgrowth of and partner with Youth Works Detroit (formerly known as Detroit Summer Outreach). DCO works with local clergy, families and singles to build community environments for the evangelization and training of young people for service and leadership. DCO also networks with existing urban ministries, such as Cornerstone Schools and Highland Park Community Outreach in Detroit. I attended St. Dominic’s parish in Detroit and led a weekly bible study group in the parish.
In 2001 I spent three months in Israel on sabbatical with Fr. Guido Gockel, Director for the Pontifical Mission for Palestine and Israel. This was an invaluable time for study and learning more about the land of the Bible and its people.
In September of 2003, I moved to London, Great Britain to join our Servants of the Word household there. Many of our members there are directly engaged in mission to young people. The activities our brothers are engaged in vary greatly: university campus evangelism, Bible studies, retreats, summer camps, international conferences, community projects, outings – in short, any event in which young people can be challenged, trained, and won over to a deeper life of discipleship. Some of our brothers also work with Christian communities throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, assisting in the training of community leaders and youth workers, and the development of community life, service, and outreach.
I am currently engaged in publications work for the Sword of the Spirit. I am editor for Living Bulwark, a monthly online magazine of the Sword of the Spirit. I am also engaged in some teaching and community building work for the Student Worker Outreach Training (SWOT) program in Kairos and the Sword of the Spirit communities in Europe. In past years, I did some writing for The Word Among Us, a monthly prayer and scripture publication.
How the “Daily Scripture Readings and Meditations” website began
How did I get started with the Daily Scripture Readings and Meditations web site? Over the years I have worked with many busy people – workers, students, mothers, fathers, families, religious and missionaries – who want to be nourished with God’s word. We can only give to others what we have already received ourselves. Just as we need daily food to nourish our bodies, so we need daily spiritual bread to nourish our souls.
A few years ago, I began to write a daily scripture meditation booklet for our community members. The goal was to provide a short and easily readable guide for daily scripture reading and meditation. The scriptural meditations come from the experience of prayerfully reflecting on God’s word each day along with the study of the early church fathers and other Christian teachers who have inspired and helped me grow in my love and understanding of God’s word. I have made it a habit to read and reflect on a gospel passage (usually the lectionary reading for the next day) each evening before I sleep, and then again to read and meditate on the passage the next morning. I find it very refreshing and restful to go to sleep with the word of the Lord on my mind. I also make it a habit to not eat breakfast, and I try not to think about my work for the day, until I finish my spiritual breakfast first – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (quote from Deuteronomy 8:3; also Matthew 4:4). Even when I read very familiar passages I have known for many years, I discover that God often has something new to show me or something I need to hear again. His word is inexhaustible.
Several scholars, writers, and clergy give me guidance and support in the writing of the meditations. Two close friends and scholars give me ongoing support and guidance: Dr. Mark Whitters, lecturer in ancient history and religion at Eastern Michigan University and a regional coordinator for the Society of Biblical Literature, and Fr. Dan Jones, a diocescan priest who is a professor in patristics at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. Fr. Frank McGrath (Pastoral Director for Clergy in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut), Fr. Guido Gockel, former Director for the Pontifical Mission for Palestine and Israel, Monsignor Lunsford, former chancellor for the Diocese of Lansing, and Fr. John Wiley, my current pastor at Holy Family Church in London and author of Preaching the Gospel, have also given me invaluable support and encouragement. A number of writers also give me ongoing-support and help, including Jeff Smith (President of The Word Among Us), Jeanne Kun, and Bob Bell.
May the Holy Spirit increase in all of us a deep hunger for the word of God, that we may be nourished and strengthened in it for our daily lives. When we read God’s word and listen attentively, it is the Lord himself who speaks to us personally and Who reveals to us his enduring love. Ambrose, the 4th century bishop who brought Augustine to faith, wrote: “Are you not occupied with Christ? Why do you not talk with him? By reading the scriptures, we listen to Christ.”
Your brother and servant in Christ,