I don’t know where I belong. I was born somewhere on the dividing line between Generation X and Millennials. To be honest, I have no idea which generation I belong to. Neither of them describe me. I am the middle child; number 6 of 11. I was born and raised in Shanksville, PA, exactly 1 mile from where United 93 was laid to rest on 9/11. In 2001 I was running from God, much like Jonah did when he fled for Tarshish. God was calling me to preach and, having just graduated college with a Bible degree, I vowed I would never preach. A recruiter from a respected seminary pressed me hard to enroll in the M.Div program and I declined. In September 2001, less than four months after graduating college, I had just completed truck driving school and climbed into the cab of my new home on wheels. It was my way of protesting the idea of seminary while getting to travel the country. I stopped overnight in my semi truck in Shanksville with my very first load on September 8th, just three days before the fateful terror attacks would lead a group of heroes to storm the cockpit of United 93, bringing it to rest near my backyard.
Exactly one year after I began driving truck, and 135,000 miles later, I transitioned from the seat of my truck to a classroom seat at seminary. School was never my cup of tea and, ironically, writing was the thing I dreaded the most. I’ve always feared writing and was never good at it. Nobody told me that seminary consists of writing, writing, and more writing.
In 2007 my new bride and I relocated back north just 10 miles from my hometown of Shanksville for a “temporary” transition until we found permanent jobs somewhere. Since our stay was supposed to be temporary, I crawled back into the cab of a semi truck for another year, running from the very calling God had been whispering in my ear all along. In 2009 I began preaching at my childhood congregation, where I remain to this day.
In July of 2011, just two years into my new role as minister, a victim disclosed to me that she had been sexually abused by my father, the former preacher at my congregation. Within seconds, my life began to unravel. My childhood hero was now a villain who had dozens of victims–all of whom were humiliated and violated in the worst possible way. My mother and I reported my father to the police and he is currently serving a 30-60 year prison sentence for sex crimes against children. I had to learn how to lead a church through the carnage of abuse when my own family was living in the aftermath of my father’s sins. It’s one thing to walk a church through this valley. It’s quite another when the abuser was your own father. There were no resources for this kind of church problem, and still it’s one of the most common and tragic things that’s stealing away the souls of our youth.
In 2015 when we thought things couldn’t get worse, I got the call that my oldest brother died suddenly at the young age of 42. My wife and I were putting our 9 day old baby to bed when the call came. Two days later, I packed up my family and made the 12 hour drive to lay my brother to rest.
Grief and tragedy are no strangers to my family. Then again, they are no strangers to most of us. I’ve worked tirelessly to understand the mind and specific techniques of pedophiles so that we can better protect our children from them. This site is dedicated to my musings on abuse, God, and the journey of healing for survivors. Blessings