I am Charles Henry Johnsen, III, and I was born during the Second World War in St. Charles, Illinois. I live with my wife of forty years, Janice, in Colorado.
Science, especially biology, drew my first attention. In Immanuel Lutheran parochial school, where I spent part of fifth grade, reading about evolution in the eighth grade biology text book was forbidden. When I was caught doing just that the teacher stood me up in front of the whole school (there were twelve of us in eight grades) as a lesson in not believing the Bible. Then I refused to say the words
under God,which had been added to the Pledge of Allegiance about that time, so the teacher used a ruler to give my knuckle a scar which I bear to this day. Even as I was confirmed in eighth grade as a Missouri Synod Lutheran, I thought of myself as an atheist and a scientist. My dream was to study solid state physics, a new field in those years, and make a career in the semiconductor industry.
Most of my income has come from semiconductor or electronic engineering. I started several businesses in the computer field. One was a personal computer repair business years before the IBM PC. I designed a microprocessor and formed a stockholder company called Minimum Instruction Set Computer, Inc., to sell it. I have a long resume in other fields: field service engineer for air pollution monitoring devices on power plant smoke stacks, and then manager in two companies for the same services, medical board examination writing and editing, principle author and editor of the Chicago Life Skills Test, black top road crew, art museum guard, retail, florist, greenhouse, haz mat, safety, semiconductor product and process engineer, industrial engineer, production line worker, and factory maintenance worker (plumbing,electrical,mechanical).
Now the other shoe.
I was ordained a priest, a Lutheran minister, after twelve years in the schools of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the conservative synod. I entered this all male, all ministerial student, system in 1958 at fourteen and graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1970, at twenty-five. While a student I served parishes in the inner cities of St. Louis, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Then St. Paul's in Skokie, Illinois, which is not an innercity parish, where I was the vicar for a year. Two parishes in Evansville, Indiana, called me as pastor, one as assistant. A parish in Illinois used me as a vacancy pastor. After I left the parish ministry I did occasional services and the ordinary service, the Mass, as often as I was invited. I am an old fashioned Law and Gospel preacher and only a tiny bit less high church than the Pope. But since my confirmation as an Episcopalian in 2004 I am not allowed to function publicly as a priest because Anglicans do not accept the ordinations of the Missouri Synod. An ordination under Apostolic Succession would remedy that. Most recently I have become a part of Emmaus Anglican Church of the Anglican Church of North America. Fr. Theron and the parish discernment committee have recommended that I be so ordained. Perhaps priesthood will be returned to me. I miss it terribly.
Science and faith are mental tectonic plates that come into contact in my mind, which is faulted from the public crust to the hidden mantle. I did not deny the materialism. I did not deny the faith. I ignored the fault.
I have always rejected popular doctrines such as the Immortal Soul and Creationism. Since I did it publicly, as a pastor teaching a Bible class, believers were offended. At the same time, my atheist friends in science could not take me seriously because I maintained a relationship with the Person who dominates the Bible. To tell you the truth I enjoy science, I enjoy religion, and I enjoy the particle/wave contradiction they create in my thinking. I am like the Californian who builds his house on the fault line, hot tub on one plate and wet bar on the other plate, and then gives parties to show off his recklessness.
Then, from about 1987 until 1993, I under went a series of mental earthquakes that settled the fault lines in my thinking back into a relaxed state. These
aha experiences, alternating with blue days, left me with a God who did not require any supernatural or extraordinary claims to be alive. The One who spoke to Abraham, Moshe, David; the One who called Himself the Son of Man; who has lived for at least four thousand years, conscious and aware and speaking, did so all within a completely material and physical world. The religious experience that remains to me is satisfying and personal and sustains the ethical, ritual, and intellectual life of traditional Christianity.
Since then I have been writing and thinking but, except for a few friends, I have not published this skeptical faith. Now that must change. I have been called to let the world know how He lives among us. And at this moment the wonderful new medium of the web appears.
Time for the third shoe.
I am probably the only person you will know that has been to John Birch Society meetings in the early sixties and helped out with the Poor People's March on Washington in 1968. I read both National Review and Ramparts. During the Viet Nam War I protested—not the war, but the draft.
I learned from these experiences and misexperiences. A young person tries on all sorts of shirts to find out what fits. But three threads connect my jerks and jolts of public philosophy: libertarian economics, constitutional politics, and responsible international relationships. Obviously these are three broad and widely disputed categories but you get the idea. And I will also be fleshing these bones out on this web site. I only bring it up here so that you are warned, just as I warned Christians and scientists, to neither reject me as an ally nor take me as an opponent. Libertarians will not like my military nationalism, Constitutionalists will wonder why I want to amend it so much, and other nationalists will wonder why I call almost all elected officials Fascists. Well, there is an inner consistency, not only between the three threads of politics, but also between the three threads of Bible, Freedom, and Science.
Right now I am engaged in writing about these ideas part time. The only way to turn this from a hobby into my profession, according to St. Paul, Adam Smith, and my long suffering wife, is by finding a way to produce income by writing and publishing virtual atomics, constitutional libertarianism, and biblical theology on the web. If you can, help the Bible Freedom Science Network.
For even more boring stuff about me, read
A Wayward Son, which then links to
A Backward Son, which then links to
A Radical Son. So, unless you are an old friend, a disappointed teacher or professor, or a family member, just click on the Root Table of Contents.