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Taking God out of My Pocket: A Journey from Methodism to Orthodoxy to Rome


St. Paul — perhaps the greatest convert of all — was nonetheless suspicious of converts. In his First Letter to Timothy 3:6, concerning one who aspires to the office of bishop, St. Paul says: “He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit.” So it may be a good thing that I am not a recent convert. I have had time to cool down, to reflect, and to mitigate, if not eliminate, the “puffiness” and “conceit” to which St. Paul refers. The main part of my conversion story happened, or at least began, about 15 years ago in 2000.

For the first 55 years of my life I was an active Methodist — beginning in Methodist Youth Fellowship in my local church in Daytona Beach and continuing in Wesley Foundation at University of South Florida in Tampa where I received my first degree in English Education. After teaching junior high English for a year in Tampa, I went to seminary at Southern Methodist University in Dallas where I received a Master’s of Theology. I had met my wife, Patricia, while we were students at USF, and we got married between my first and second years of seminary at SMU. She was originally Presbyterian, but converted to Methodism since she was marrying a future Methodist minister. I then served as pastor for United Methodist parishes in the Florida Conference for several years, eventually leaving the ordained ministry to return to English teaching until retiring in 2004. Though I had left the ordained ministry, I continued active membership in the United Methodist Church, which I continued to love.

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