photo-on-9-29-16-at-11-32-amI’m John Coleman, husband to Kathy, father to Elena and Micah, father-in-law to Matt, grandfather to Cole and Killian, pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Oniontown, Pennsylvania, and writer of whatever I please. Since I studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins thirty years ago, I’ve written just about every day. It used to be mostly poetry, which I published in literary journals (The Southern ReviewThe Literary ReviewCollege EnglishThe Southern Poetry Review, and so on). During those years, like a lot of poets, I was a college English professor. Shortly before Elena was born in 1988 I had a nervous breakdown, and my energy and writing turned to putting my life back together. I published Questions from Your Cosmic Dance (Hazelden) in 1997, the same year I began studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. In 2002, the year after I was ordained, The Unexpected Teachings of Jesus (Jossey-Bass) came out.

These days I write mostly for my other blog, A Napper’s Companion, and contribute occasional essays to Greenville, Pennsylvania’s daily, the Record Argus. I’ve also enjoyed freelancing off and on and have published work in Runner’s World, Living Lutheran, and other magazines.

Matters of Conscience is my outlet for sharing convictions and observations that I refuse to keep to myself, but that don’t really fit on A Napper’s Companion. Folks don’t visit that blog to read my political and social views.

When I’m not napping, reading, writing, or doing church work, I run to ward off obesity, cook (and, Kathy claims, bomb the kitchen), pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming that I’ve got such wonderful home and church families, and practice contemplative prayer. I’m grateful.

If anything you read on Matters of Conscience makes you want to talk to me, I’d love to hear from you–provided we keep the conversation civil. Be welcome to e-mail me at JohnColemanObl@gmail.com. If you prefer to write an old-fashioned letter, send it to me at 402 Parkway Drive, Erie, PA 16511.

Peace and best,



My grandsons Cole and Killian are the reasons for Matters of Conscience. When I think an issue might now or in the future threaten these little guys, I have my say on this blog. (Credit: Elena Thompson)