“I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books...”
Since I’m writing this myself, I refuse do it in the pretentious 3rd person, and I won’t be a smidgen offended if you skim for highlights.
My name Is Don Shorey and I was born in 1964 into a family with so many remarkable stories – of experiences before my arrival – that I needed to hear them countless times, before I could clearly remember them myself.
I entered the world as Bill and Laura Shorey’s 4th boy and 6th child – born 6 years after number 5 – so I had the rare, doubled-pleasure of bustling about in a large family and then being an only child.
My Dad fought – unscathed, unafraid, and unrepentant – in a World War and arrived home to be suddenly, happily, and irresistibly captivated by the grace of God. Just over 3 years later he settled with his wife and newborn daughter in a fragile Japanese shack, at the beginning of nearly 20 years of announcing the good news of Jesus Christ among 100 million Japanese people – all of whom (back then) could walk upright under his outstretched arm. Among these polite, reserved folks, Dad and Mom relentlessly repeated the story of Jesus, while appearing – among the locals – to be blond-haired, blue-eyed Norse gods, gradually filling a small home with pale, happy redheads. Instant, dedicated, all-investing ministry happened much more back then; and it bore decades of eternal fruit in precious human lives across this planet.
Mom and Dad are now splendidly thriving in the immediate presence of the God they love, after 56 years of savoring their Lord and relishing their family in a 24/7 Christ-entranced life.
I first learned to think and believe, with my father (mostly after midnight) around the wood stove. I hated that wood stove and the 15 cord of wood transplanted from our woods to our basement every year to heat the rambling 42 room house/ministry-center that housed my youthful adventures and wanderings. Thinking back on that wood stove, with the benefit of nostalgia...I still hate it.
I first learned to wonder and to imagine, while wandering 40 woodland acres that were slashed through with stonewalls built 200 years ago, when all the trees of New Hampshire were sheared to grow rugged farms and build tall ships in Portmouth. When I wasn’t in the woods or mowing prairie-sized lawns, I was, like C.S. Lewis, “a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books...”
The Lord’s sweetest earthly gift to me is my wife, Lisa. The life we share among our children and their families (more below) is a place of deep richness, refreshment and refuge.
Yes, I am a six-time grandpa. This is good.
The adventure of nearly 3 decades of pastoral ministry has been rich and revealing. So many textured and irreplaceable memories. So much still to discover and to learn. Even as we plow into a new season life with a creative vocational focus, we deeply value the joys and lessons and griefs and relationships of the places we have been, and we wonder how similar things may yet weave themselves back through the coming decades. Despite our many years now in West Chester, Pennsylvania, our life and ministry have deep, tangled roots in the rocky soil of New England and we uphold generations of faithful fandom – loyal to all New England teams (in the sports that matter).
From birth I was nourished with extraordinary food and the eternal story of God’s kingly glory, saving grace, and hilarious generosity. For 5 decades I have marinated in these truths. I have tested them and explored them and doubted them and tasted them and dissected the lives of people I want to be like – and the mammoth, irrepressible, Christian doctrines of God’s glory and grace and gladness in Jesus Christ have set my vision. Everything is all about Divine Affection, Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection: “Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be ’til I die.”
And because of the glorious Ascension of our Savior to a throne above all thrones, I am a generational, missional, historical (and even eschatological) optimist. If it doesn’t always seem like it, that’s because – like most people – I’m barely a theist when I wake up in the morning, until the Lord says hello, my mind begins to think, and I remember why it is good to be here (even though it would be better to be There).
If you linger near Enjoying Grace Story Co. you will read stories that tell you why I am so eager to pour much more of life into art and beauty and story and so many creational things. You will catch snapshots of a dad and mom and brothers and sisters and dear friends who nurtured a splendid blend of artistry, innovation, wonder, beauty, and good-thinking into my life and aspirations.
So now you know me. Not really, because I left out all the laughter around the table, the love story, the softball games, the conversations until dawn, the nails pounded into lumber, the magic of delivery rooms, and the songs sung in the sanctuary (and the car and the tub and the living-room and the haunted, college library). And all the amazing food. And lots of the other best stuff too.
For what it is worth, I gathered a B.A. in Biblical Literature & Languages at Northeastern Bible College in Essex Fells, NJ (now The Kings College in the Empire State Building), spending as much time as possible absorbing Dr. Chip McDaniel and Dr. Michael Bauman. My Masters studies were in Old Testament Theology & Hebrew at Columbia Biblical Seminary in Columbia, SC. All of this was woven through years of finding my happiest vocation within the walls of my own house and seeking to announce with passion the goodness of Christ and the pleasure of all that life can be, when we live on our King’s planet.