About Charles

There’s often this awkward moment when I meet someone new and they find out  I’m a pastor. I try to hide it for as long as possible, but inevitably it comes up. I see it on their face, how they start replaying the conversation, monitoring whether or not they’ve said something wrong or whether they’ve dropped an inadvertent f-bomb.

And it makes me sad they feel they have to perform for me or monitor how they talk to me.

Yes, I’m a pastor of a small church in Peoria, Illinois. But if I could wave a magic wand, I would wipe away everything that we’ve made pastors to be and replace it with a big dose of “normal guy, who also happens to care about wrestling with questions about true meaning, beauty, and love.”

I grew up Baptist and started my career as a youth pastor in a Baptist church, but I left that camp a long time ago. Today, I continue in the ministry because I believe that everything is spiritual, that wonder is crowded into all the spaces of our lives if we only look, and that the only life worth living is one in which we go deep and try to seek out answers to the big questions (questions like:  what is the meaning of our existence and the trajectory of the universe and how does it matter on a Tuesday sitting at one’s desk at work. (Yep, that’s one breathless run-on sentence!)

In the meantime, I love to laugh (loudly), cook, drink good beer (or Pabst, if I’m honest), run long distances, hang out with my family (4 boys!) and friends (the best ever) and read novels (YA fiction, John Irving, Stephen King). I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for more than 18 years, and 7 years ago I started a church with some friends.

More than anything, I love to sit with people and have meaningful conversations.  Sitting on the deck, watching the sunset, and drinking a manhattan is my favorite. I love to travel and meet new people, and if you would like to have me come talk to your church or group, I’d love to make it work out. Shoot me an message and we’ll go from there.