Hi there! I am James Tower: A husband, father, dreamer, visionary thinker, poet, mystic, metal-worker, and scholar. A former atheist trying to find my way as a Quaker minister. A former drop-out trying to find my way through an M. Div program at George Fox. A former addict who, over twelve years ago had a life changing encounter with Jesus that has altered the course of my life forever.
I am a creative person called to pastoral ministry, spiritual direction and discipleship. I love “conversations of consequence” with people who are willing to wrestle through the deeper truths and messiness of life. I have found God in my brokenness, and He has shown me how to use that personal knowledge to work toward healing and reconciliation with others. I love the outdoors, camping and recreation, an eclectic blend of music and arts, and creativity in general. I love being a father and spending time with my wonderful wife and family. I love good coffee, cowboy boots, tinkering and working with my hands, reading and writing. I am passionate about expressing my faith in Jesus, and allowing God to transform every area of my life and every decision I make. Together with my wife Liz and daughters Sophie and Greta, we are on a journey to figure out where, when, and how to live out the call God has placed in our hearts.
Practicing Resurrection Together is a reference to the Wendell Berry poem Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front. I see it as a metaphor for the upside-down economy of love Christ lived out as an example to us. I added the together part, because this journey is no longer a solo mission for me. I have a family now and we are on this journey together. It is a journey of rebirth and new life. It is a journey of discovery, a path taken in faith not knowing fully what lies ahead. I plan to write about the spiritual truths God reveals to me on my multifaceted existential journey through fatherhood, academia, and answering the call to serving as a pastor among Friends.
Recently a non-canonical scrap of papyrus from the fourth century has been the subject of media attention. It is referred to as the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. I am sure the Dan Brown fans are going crazy with conspiracy theories over it. While it is largely much ado about nothing and now considered a forgery, I admit a part of me wishes that Jesus really had gotten married and had a family for a while before He set His face toward Jerusalem. Since He didn’t, and since I have not grown up in the church with wonderful examples of how to “take up your cross” and follow Jesus as a husband and father, I am actively relying on God’s grace as I live out my attempt. Like the “mad farmer” in the poem, I am, through God’s grace, finding new ways to sow the seeds of the Gospel on this path I am called to
walk, new ways to die to myself, and new ways to practice resurrection and break the cycles of my roots. For those of you who want to share this with me, both beside me and far off, the goal of this blog is to make a gateway.
My gorgeous wife Liz and I have been married for nine years. Our fiendishly clever daughter Sophie is six, and our newest Greta is not quite three. We love spending time together as a family on our porch, going for walks or hikes, and playing cheesy board games with friends We currently live in the small town of Oskaloosa, Iowa. I serve as pastor of College Avenue Friends Church, near William Penn University. My goals here are to provide insight into my mystical experiences with fatherhood, seminary, preparing and serving in ministry, and to contribute to Quaker spirituality in general. My hobbies include woodworking, inventing, reading and writing, learning dead languages, paleography and codicology, and textual criticism. I am the kind of guy who reads a Hebrew and Greek Bible, and has spiritual classics like A Testament of Devotion or Contemplative Prayer on my nightstand next a copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I also enjoy strong cups of coffee, bluegrass, jazz, and chess. You can find my recovery profile on drugrehab.org to hear a little more about my recovery story and some of the insights I have had over the years, or check out the “My Story” page of this blog for more information.
The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of any organization I am affiliated with (or my wife). I make no claims as to the accuracy or relevancy of the content and will not be held responsible for injury or damage resulting from this blog’s use.