Hi. I’m Jon.
I love reading “about” pages, because I want to know more about the writer who is giving me advice. I don’t like writing “about” pages because I’m afraid you won’t hear my advice if you know more about me.
We’ll start here. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to find the right words (or the best words, or the most accurate words) to help people understand other people. I’ve got three degrees in communication, I’ve taught speech, I’ve written millions of words. And I’m still working hard to get things right (or best or accurate).
Nancy and I got married in 1983, after deciding to get married a week or so before we had our first date. We lived in Texas for a couple years and have been in Indiana since then.
Andrew, Kathryn, and Hope were born in Fort Wayne. Kathryn is buried here. Andrew lives on another continent, Hope and Dan live a couple hours away, and Ben (their son, our grandson) lives there, too.
I spent the first half of my career in higher education, first teaching communication, then working in administration.
I spent the second half of my career in churches, as an executive pastor. Which means I helped with facilities and technology and giving counsel and solving problems and working in the background.
I’m spending the third half of my career as a writer, hospital chaplain, consultant, adjunct professor, and resource for younger leaders.
I started writing from odd perspectives in fourth grade, turning in at least one assignment as a poem written on a paper towel, and completing college papers in one draft on a typewriter. (My undergrad GPA was not very good.) I did, however, manage to write a PhD dissertation titled, “The Rhetoric of Evangelization: A Study of Pragmatic Constraints on Organizational Systems of Rhetoric” at the University of Texas at Austin.
Since then, I’ve written best in short reflective pieces. I started blogging in 2005 and have written at 300wordsaday.com since 2009. I’ve written a bunch of books: collections of prayers, readers and journals for Lent and Advent, a guide for leading funerals, a conversation with Nehemiah, and a book to help people know what to say when someone dies.
I also run.
For more about the work of a hospital chaplain, I wrote “The Sacred Work of a Hospital Chaplain.”
I’m a senior researcher with Arbor Research Group.
What I say here doesn’t necessarily reflect the official views of any of my employers.