Monday, April 26, 2010

A Different Life

I'm 45 and starting over. After 30 years of preaching, almost 20 years as a pastor, I have walked away from the only career I have known into a wilderness of the unknown. Is it scary? Hell yes. Do I lie awake at night wondering how this will all unfold? Absolutely. Do I have doubts about my decision? No.

Why did I do it? Why did I leave a church I love, and a group of people I admire, to launch out in this new direction? Because in a moment of complete clarity I knew that my life as a minister was over. No voice from heaven shouted it; no sudden sign accompanied it; just a deep knowing that I could not deny. So, now what?

I have started a pastoral counseling practice (therapy with an openness to faith questions) in Raleigh, North Carolina. When I decided to take off the clerical garb and become a normal person, I realized the one part of my life as a minister that I could not give up was counseling. It was the part of the job that never got old for me. So, I'm still doing it, just under a different title.

I'm also doing consulting work with churches and individual clergy. After two decades in ministry I have enormous respect for the women and men who serve congregations, and I care deeply about the health of local parishes. So, it's a natural fit. I may not be able to give myself to the church 24/7 any longer, but I want to support those who are still doing that vital work.

My blog will chronicle this transition in my life and hopefully provide interesting "takes" on issues where religion and the culture intersect. I look at things differently than many people with my background and I hope that difference will make for good reading. Vista Lateral is not only the name of this place, it is a way for me to be in the world.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I repeat, Well, this should be interesting! So glad you took the plunge!

  3. Way to go Jack. I look forward to following your blog. You have always been one of the most interesting thinkers I have known and I know others feel the same. Now we won't have to go without.

  4. Transitions and intersections usually mean lots of activity, so I look forward to your experiences and reflections on these themes. I know I'll learn something good, too! Bravo!



About Me

former pastor who is now a pastoral counselor and consultant (; married with two teenagers; progressive in my politics and theology