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.cropped-mark-painting-from-slate.jpg

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 definitely not the south – though it shares in the racial and political turmoil that the south has long known). Now, we get to live in the mountains of upper East TN – nestled along the Appalachian 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 have often brought cropped-ma-hutton.jpgpainful 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 religion at a university.

Recently, I added a new role and I hope that role leads to another one. I threw my hat in the ring and I am running for County Commissioner in Sullivan County (District 2). I am doing do for a number of reasons but all of those reasons are linked to my understanding that God loves justice (Isaiah 61:8) and thus God’s people should work for, pray for, and do all they can to ensure it. Last year some things happened in my district and in my county that seemed to lean toward the unjust. I wrote about it – and some friends of mine encouraged me to run for office. Hopefully, I’ll win a seat that table on August 2nd, 2018.


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 much of this blog, they will find a lot of posts on family, cropped-hutton-family-cooper-sr-night-ths.jpgfriends, 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; sometimes I am far more difficult to like let alone love. The people that love and like me – even when I am not so lovable or likable  – they are the ones that really give shape to my life. They are the people that Norman Maclean refers to at the end of A River Runs Through It when he writes, “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.”

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