Guest Speaker

These are elders, saints and prophets who have accepted an invitation to-date to participate in the Rolling the Stone Away gathering.

Obie Holmen

I am a writer.

In 2010, A Wretched Man, a novel of Paul the apostle, was released. In January 2014, Pilgrim Press, the oldest publishing house in America, published my latest book: Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism, which was a 2015 finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. A series of short stories based upon my Vietnam experience was originally released as Prowl, but new chapters have been added and re-released as Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier’s Story. Through it all, I have blogged here, and hundreds of archived articles are regularly accessed through web searches.

That’s my recent history. Here’s my background.

I have deep midwestern roots in Scandinavian Lutheranism. Raised in Upsala, Minnesota, in the heart of Lake Wobegon country, I participated in many activities in my small K-12 school. I truly had a golden childhood.

In the fall of ’66, I matriculated at Dartmouth College. In ’69-70 I served as an Army Ranger in Vietnam, receiving a pair of bronze stars for valor in combat. After discharge, I returned to Dartmouth and obtained my BA degree in ’72 with distinction as a history major, summa cum laude during my senior year.

Then, it was back to Minnesota and law school. I received a JD degree from the University of Minnesota in ’75, and entered the private practice of law in St. Cloud, Minnesota as a civil trial attorney for the next twenty four years, retiring in ’99 to pursue a business opportunity in Caribbean tourism. In the early 90’s, I spent a couple of years, part-time, as a graduate student with the Benedictines of St John’s School of Theology in nearby Collegeville, Minnesota. It was then that I first considered a novel about Paul, and the idea festered until I finally put pen to paper a few years ago, resulting in the publication of A Wretched Man in 2010.

My wife and I are lifelong Lutherans with involvement on the progressive side of ELCA political skirmishes. After volunteering for Goodsoil, an LGBT advocacy coalition at the historic 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, my blog, Spirit of a Liberal, became a leading voice in support of the gay-friendly policies adopted by the ELCA. Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism had its genesis in the ELCA actions of 2009 and the aftermath.

I have been married to Lynn for over forty years, and we have three adult children and two granddaughters.