I was born in Houston, Texas in July of 1963. My mom and dad were very good parents. I had a pretty typical upbringing, whatever that means. I am the youngest of three with an older brother and sister.
We went to a large, evangelical, conservative Southern Baptist church as a family. I was very involved in the youth groups growing up. I consider this both a blessing and a curse but I don’t have anything but fond memories of the experience. However, I do think what I learned in the church skewed my view of the world and gave me a very limited and narrow perspective on most subjects. This is something that’s changed as I’ve gotten older and while I’m very thankful for my roots, I'm also very happy my perspectives have broadened.
One of the things that impacted my life a great deal was when my father died as a result of a heart attack when I was about 12 years old. I will always remember him as a dad who was very demonstrative in his love for me and my family, telling me often how proud he was of me and encouraging me to pursue and focus on the things I really wanted. I’m not sure I have fully followed his advice, but I think about these things often. My mom raised me from that point on alone and she will always be my hero for how she sacrificed for me.
Around the age of 15 or 16, I seemed destined to enter church ministry and did so immediately following high school. After some stints at small Baptist churches in Texas, I came out to California in 1989 to work at Saddleback Church. Eventually I became the High School pastor and worked with Rick Warren for three years before being unceremoniously replaced by Doug Fields. At the time I was disappointed but I look back on it now as a good turning point in my life. Saddleback style of ministry did enough damage in three years and I’m thankful I only drank that kool-aid for a brief period of my life before seeing it for what it really was – a very ego-driven (not purpose-driven) form of ministry.
I moved from bad to worse when I was shipped to a church in Colorado for a year. It was so bad I’ve blocked it from my memory for the most part. I knew after this experience in Colorado that I no longer wanted to work in the church, but I just didn’t know how to get out since it was pretty much all I knew how to do.
In 1993 I returned to work at a church in Orange County and worked with Tim Timmons who I credit for restoring what little faith I had in pastors and churches. I’m thankful for the six years I worked there because as down as I am on the church as a whole, it could have been a lot worse without Tim’s style of leadership and ministry. That job ran it’s course after about six years and I left in 1999.
Church work had finally lost its appeal and I was looking for a drastic change. Through a network of friends and relationships I was able to get into business and start a career for myself in the technology field. I worked for someone else for four years and then ran my own business for two more years before settling in where I am at my current company since January of 2006.
I no longer have any affiliations with the church. Further, if you want to know me you need to know that I no longer adhere to the belief system I grew up with or held as a pastor. If you want to know why, I’m sure it will come out as I write here or elsewhere but most of it boils down to what is true for me. Christianity no longer fits in that category. I can’t fake a belief that doesn’t exist.
Most importantly and above all, I have two sons and they are the core of my life. Also, I am in the midst of a relationship (since June 2009) with someone, now my wife, who has helped me become the man I should have been many years ago.
I am Steve.
Originally written Jan 2011. Edited Mar 2017.