“I wanted to punch your lights out!”

1988. My first pastorate in San Jacinto, California. The church statistics in the Annual Conference Journal said there were 166 members. It felt like a daunting step from seminary and my student pastorate into my first church. When I arrived I discovered the difference between stats and reality. The previous pastors had not done an…

The Meeting

I felt shy, self-conscious, and little, but could not resist the draw to meet her. I reached my right hand across the barrier, “Hi, my name is Brian Shimer, what’s yours?”   “Karen Cook” she said, shaking my hand. Later I learned her last name was spelled K.O.C.H    “Good to meet you. Are you seeing…

The New Caste System

I met friends on my walking team on June 6th and arrived first. Val arrived next, saw me standing outside in the cool and rain and waved me over. “Hey Brian,” she said, “Come sit in my car and we can talk while we wait!” I started toward her car and then she stepped out…

The Gate

(Continued from last week’s post titled “Walk by Faith.” This is from the opening chapter of my memoirs. I’m 19-years-old, selling books door-to-door.) Door-to-door, I walked on that summer of 1978 in Newton, IA. In my flip-top steno pad I tracked every house on every street with a box and house number. I tracked who…

Brokenness Isn’t An Ending

Everyone asks when they hear about the injury, “How did you do that?” I have a torn rotator cuff — the supraspinatus tendon and a labral tear. I’ve learned more about shoulder anatomy as a result. But I don’t have a single answer to the question. Several falls, the most recent in November while cross-country…

Walk by Faith

(This is the start to a book I am writing about my life. Hope you enjoy this dip into the past.) “I want you to leave early, on August 20th.”   At 19, I had heard the voice of Jesus since May 23rd the Summer of 1978. So, this time I had no doubt it was Jesus….

What If…

After graduation from seminary, the movers arrived taking all of our belongings and we packed what was remaining into our mustard-colored Dodge Colt wagon. Anna, just over 3, and Grace, 11 months, sat in their carseats in the back, Karen navigated and I drove. We traveled from Kentucky to San Jacinto, California that week in…