About Mark

Like most people, I am trying to figure out how to become better: a better man, husband, and dad. This blog is mostly about the things that shape my life. Some of those things are good things and some, well, not so good. Writing helps me to put those things into perspective. Maybe, just maybe, my ramblings may help someone else, too. I hope so.

Of course, like most people, I am the sum of parts pieced together by time, place, vocation, and people. For instance, I am somewhere beyond the mid-point of my life. When I was younger I thought by this point in my life I’d have more things figured out and I’d be better at dealing with the ebb and flow of life. Maybe, in some ways, I am. I suppose it depends on the day and what the ebb and flow have brought downstream. As to place, well, my family and I have spent the bulk of our shared lives in the south – with a short stint in StL (which is definetly not the south – though it shares in the racial and poitical turmoil that the south has long known). Now, we get to live in the mountains of upper East TN – nestled along the Appalachain Trail.

Vocation, ah, now that’s where things get interesting. I’ve been a minister for 25 years. For a lot of that, I’ve been ordained as a presbyterian pastor. At times (like during worship services) I wear a collar – because it reminds me to whom I belong and my first, and highest calling. That’s important because the ebb and flow has often brought painful experiences downstream – often couched in phrases tinged with Christian euphemisms and by people who claim to know and serve Jesus. So, the collar often reminds me that I am a Christian minister because I am more drawn to Jesus than to religion or the church. But I do not always wear a collar. On those days people call me Dr. Hutton because I have been allowed the chance to teach composition and religions at a university.

Far more than time, place, or vocation, it is people who have given the greatest shape to me and to the things that I write. If a person were to take the time to read over much of this blog, they will find a lot of posts on family, friends, and even a few on people that I do not care for at all. That is fitting and right. Those are the people who have spoken into the deepest places of my life. I love my family  and my few close friends – but love is never simple, nor perfect and sometimes I am difficult to like let alone love. These are the people that Norman Maclean refers to at the end of A River Runs Through It. I’ll this bit about myself with his words, “The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories



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