If you’ve seen my weekly video, The Merry Mystic, or if you’ve read my books, or if you’ve listened to my CDs, you already know the kind of work I do. What you might not know is that I love sharing my work at live events. If you’re looking for an event speaker or entertainer, you’ve come to the right page!
Below, you’ll find an outline of some of my most popular formats and presentations. You’ll also find my bio, along with some pictures and video clips.
What I Do as an Event Speaker or Entertainer
My in-person work as an event speaker and entertainer takes different forms. That’s because I tailor my work to meet the needs of event organizers and audiences.
Do you need something thought-provoking?
I give presentations on a variety of topics relating to progressive Christianity. I want these to be lively and fun, so I often lighten them with a bit of live music. For example, I have a presentation entitled, “My Seven Strategies: Using Music to Reach Progressive Christians.” In that presentation, I don’t just talk about the strategies—I demonstrate them! (You can preview a sample of the slides here.) Of course, there are also topics with no musical content. For example, one of my popular presentations connects the worlds of science and faith: “Limits: Christian Wisdom Meets Computer Science.”
Do you need entertainment?
I give live solo performances of my original music. These usually include a mix of styles. I’ll include some comical, irreverent songs (like The Buddha Kicked My Butt), and then also include some serious, spirit-centered music (like Fear Not, Said the Angel). I craft set lists to match the occasion and the audience. I can play one or two sets, up to forty-five minutes each. Depending on the event, I might also teach and lead some group singing.
Do you need something more spiritual and contemplative?
I lead half-day and full-day retreat-style programs, such as “Sound and Silence: A Workshop on Contemplative Spirituality.” For occasions like these, I try not to schedule with too much detail. Instead, I lay the groundwork for spontaneity. I carefully prepare a variety of spiritual exercises, like my “Stilling Chant.” Then, with enough options prepared, I’m able to respond to people’s needs and go with the flow. The trick is to let spiritual exercises take as long as they need to take—while still breaking promptly for lunch!
I have been speaking and performing publicly for more than 25 years. As an event speaker and entertainer, I’ve given variety of keynote speeches and concerts, and I’ve led half-day and full-day retreats.
I have an M.Div. degree, and I am an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. Currently, I serve as the pastor of the Clare Congregational United Church of Christ in Clare, Michigan.
I also have M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science, and I was a professor for 12 years. I won NSF grants, published journal articles and conference papers, and published two textbooks, which are still in print. My students voted me a variety of “best teacher” awards.
I have produced two CDs of original music: Smackdown and As a Deer Longs. I produce a weekly video confection, “The Merry Mystic,” which has subscribers around the world. The Merry Mystic offers original music, ideas, spiritual practices, and other kinds of food for the spiritual journey. It emphasizes the three qualities of Merry Mystics everywhere: an irreverent sense of humor, an interest in spiritual experience, and a cheerful questioning of authority.
My book The Inn of God’s Forgiveness and Other Hymns for the Progressive Church is a collection of essays on progressive Christianity, each culminating in a new hymn. A sequel, not yet named, is in the works. I have published 16 original hymns. My new hymns are available for free on this web site. They carry a Creative Commons license that allows them to be copied freely for non-commercial use.
I have been happily married to my wife Kelly for 31 years. We have two children. I have been a student of a traditional martial art for almost 25 years. I hold a title degree, Renshi, and a sixth degree black belt.
Hiring Me For Your Event
When you hire me for an event, here’s what you can expect. Before the event, I will consult with you about your needs, and I will place an announcement of your event on my blog. At the event, of course, I’ll share my best and most dynamic work. I’ll also give everyone access to a custom resource page where they can find things like slides, lyrics, and references, and where they’ll be able to leave feedback. After the event, I’ll follow up with you to make sure you’re satisfied.
Interested in hiring me for an event? This button will take you to a query page where you can ask me about it: