I was born in 1962 to Russel Burl Mabry and Karen Lynn Kleckner at La Mirada, California. My parents, my sister Tiffany and I moved around the midwest most of my childhood. From La Habra, CA, to Granite City, IL; Brownstone Township, MI, to Woodridge, IL. Finally, in my senior year, we moved to Benecia, CA, which feels like the closest thing to a home town that I have. I spent my childhood writing stories, doing scouting with my Dad (our assistant scoutmaster) and feeling stupid trying to do sports (mostly hockey; I was god-awful at it, too). During the 1970s we were moderate Southern Baptists (there were such things back then). When I was in high school we got involved in an extremely fundamentalist church (the details of which you can read about elsewhere on this site), which significantly wounded me spiritually. I languished on the edge of the Baptist church until in my early twenties when I discovered sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, intellectual independence, and also experienced an epiphany which changed my life (and more or less made me a universalist).
I attended California Baptist College and completed a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Cal Bapist was a wonderful environment to be a religious rebel, and I found lots of other like-minded free-thinkers in the Socratic Club. I stayed to get my teaching credential, but was so emotionally shaken by student teaching that I never set foot in a High School classroom again. While at CBC, I was floundering in the Baptist church and experienced a spiritual rebirth in the Episcopal Church, partly due to the influence of C.S. Lewis and the novels of Charles Williams. From there I moved to Old Catholicism, and was drawn by my interest in all matters of faith to do a Masters Degree in Spirituality at the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirtuality (now called the Sophia Center at Holy Names College), and later a doctorate in World Religions at the California Institute of Integral Studies. While I worked on my doctorate, I worked at Creation Spirituality magazine, where I served as managing editor, and later editor.
In 1993 I was called to be co-pastor at Grace North Church. I worked for many years as managing editor of the Pacific Church News (the diocesan magazine of the Episcopal Diocese of California) and as editor for Presence (the Journal of Spiritual Directors International). For the past few years, I have also been fortunate to teach interfaith theology, world religions, and spiritual direction at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry. In 2004 I founded the Apocryphile Press, a small publishing house specializing in theology and reprints.
In 2010 I became senior pastor at Grace North Church, and in 2012 was installed as a pastor in the United Church of Christ. Well, this pretty much brings us up to date. I spend my time visiting parishioners, writing, preaching, reading theology, fiction, and comic books, and singing in two progressive rock bands, Metaphor and Mind Furniture. I still keep my eyes open for epiphanies, and read voraciously from theologians and mystics of every tradition.