photo-on-9-29-16-at-11-43-amI’m John Coleman, husband to Kathy, father to Elena and Micah, father-in-law to Matt, grandfather to Cole and Killian, pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Oniontown, Pennsylvania, and writer of whatever I please. Since I studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins thirty years ago, I’ve written just about every day. It used to be mostly poetry, which I published in literary journals (e.g. The Southern ReviewThe Literary ReviewCollege EnglishThe Southern Poetry Review, and so on). During those years, like a lot of poets, I was a college English professor. Shortly before Elena was born in 1988 I had a nervous breakdown, and my energy and writing turned to putting my life back together. I published Questions from Your Cosmic Dance (Hazelden) in 1997, the same year I began studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. In 2002, the year after I was ordained, The Unexpected Teachings of Jesus (Jossey-Bass) came out.

These days I write mostly for this blog and contribute occasional essays to Greenville, Pennsylvania’s daily, the Record Argus.

When I’m not napping, reading, writing, or doing church work, I run to ward off obesity, cook (and, Kathy claims, bomb the kitchen), pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming that I’ve got such wonderful home and church families, and practice contemplative prayer. I’m grateful.

If anything you read on A Napper’s Companion makes you want to talk to me, I’d love to hear from you. Be welcome to e-mail me at JohnColemanObl@gmail.com. If you prefer to write an old-fashioned letter, send it to me at 402 Parkway Drive, Erie, PA 16511.

Peace and best,



31 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi John, very interesting reading about you. Somehow, we recognize bits of ourselves in other people. It is also reassuring to know that we are not alone. My partner is a sailing enthusiast and also a wine maker and likes to write. I, of course, love words. Thank you for your like and follow .

    • Dear Mr Coleman, It was a tremendous pleasure to meet you in Starbucks of Erie. I loved learning more about your bio and appreciate your pursuits of spirituality and the tremendous passion in your writing and teaching.

      I look forward to binge reading your articles, and really, really loved that cupcake.

  2. Hi John, I enjoy reading your blog. In a weird, weird way, we have quite a bit in common. Except for the napping part. I have a three year old. No naps in this house. (oh, how I miss the glorious days of naps). Thanks for reading and sharing. I’m most interested in your ‘recovery’ from a rebellious kid. Nice to know there may be hope!

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog, liking what you saw there and following my blog.

    I had to come and see who the Napper is. I absolutely love your introduction, and as I browsed through your posts I decided to follow you.

    By the way, I am a napper, too. Actually my best ideas have sometimes come to me in that semi-conscious state where I am just about to fall asleep. Which then means that I have to get up, and have that nap a little later.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts,

    • Thanks a million for following, Maarit. You’ve lived such an interesting life. It’ll be great to keep up with your thoughts and adventures. Peace, John

  4. Hi John……I thought I’d take a peek around your world here since you kindly stopped by my cat’s blog this morning – he himself is a world-class napper and I follow humbly in his pawsteps. At my age I find naps not only rejuvenating but often inspiring. Daily blogging takes a lot of that (naps AND inspiration!). Nice to meet you – love your latest blog with thoughts on the passing of a human being from this world to the next.


    • Thanks, Pam. Such a joy this blogging stuff, running into kindred souls from just about everywhere. Nice to meet you, too. Good luck and peace, John

  5. Hi John! I’m so glad to have discovered your blog. Thanks for reading mine. Blogging is an amazing world – how else would I ever have “met” you? I’m studying writing at Hopkins and am a contemplative when I remember that I want to be sane.

    Your books sound great, both the published and the upcoming. I’ll check them out. I think we should write one together! After I finish thesis. 🙂

    I don’t follow too many blogs; too much clutter in my head. But how can I resist a well-written one from a contemplative pastor who is a writer…and naps?
    p.s. – Yesterday I took a two-hour nap.

    • Hey, Melanie,

      Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, studying writing at the Hop and sanity can be contrary neighbors. I’ll send good thoughts your way. I myself am considering a whopper of a nap today. I’ll be following your blog with interest and rooting for your survival in the thesis process. Raise a flag if you ever get an idea for collaboration. Peace, John

  6. Hi, John. You and I were only an hour or two.away from each other for a couple of years. I served Prince of Peace in Loveland while you were in seminary. I’m now retired, living in NC, and doing a little supplying here and there.
    Your letter to your late mother is lovely. Just yesterday my pastor and I were contemplating the complicated and challenging gift of families and the ways in which tensions ramp up during holidays. Mostly, we reflected on our own experiences of brokenness and grace within our own families. So the arrival of your blog this morning was especially timely. I’ll be passing it along to several friends.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Deborah. That letter has affected folks far more than I thought it would. I guess lots of people miss their moms. And thanks for passing the post along to friends. Peace, John

    • Thanky. I’m working on writing my acceptance speech. “It all started in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno.” Name that show?

  7. Hey there you visited my site yesterday and left a nice comment but the pingback links to a deleted site. It’s the one called johncolemanobl
    I thought it might be spam but wanted to check so I searched and found you again. Thought you’d like to know. I’ve noticed it before but this time I investigated.

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  11. Hi John, I loved reading this and getting to know you a little bit more. From napping (that’s how we first connected on W.P. !), to writing, to falling apart and coming back together again and to your love for family and pinching yourself to make sure that the love you feel isn’t a dream! You have a nice way to describe it all – you are definitely creative and I can understand your need to nap in order to refuel! Enjoy the breaks in between the writing and walk slow (like a penguin) on that ice! Take care, Julie

    • Hey, Julie. Yep, you’re right, it takes a lot of naps to refuel this big barge. And I’m moving about a slowly as a barge, too. No repeat performance. I really appreciate your reading and look forward to reading more faithfully myself in the days ahead. A couple of time-intensive life situations have slowed me down, and I can’t wait to jump back into blog world. Peace, John

  12. Hi Pastor John, I had hard time tracking you down and have had a great time reading all the blogs and reviews. I just couldn’t believe you left Abiding Hope. It looks like a nice country setting church. I get a lot of inspirations while napping. I need to get a more recent book that you wrote. I want you to know I have had around 10 surgeries since leaving Erie, but still owe a lot to our good God for pulling me through. Give my best to Kathy and family, love the picture of your little one. I am now a resident at Brookdale Senior Living and enjoying my retirement. My address is: Brookdale Senior Living, 1100 Grandon Way, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Rm. 626. I am now a member of St. Timothy Lutheran Church (NALC) right on the Carlisle Pike and also about ten minutes away from my daughter and son-in-law. John I just love the church I’m going to. I’d love to hear from you, you were always so wonderful to me.
    Bless you with Christ’s love,
    Audrey Hettrick

  13. Every now and then I read my father’s obituary but I always google him to find it. Imagine my surprise to see his name in your blog! It made my day! Time does pass but so glad to see some memories live on.

    • Hi, Kevin. Sorry to be so late in replying. I must say that your dad’s passing made me sad. He wasn’t all that old. In any case, he was a top-notch guy–and a Browns fan to boot, if I remember correctly. Best to you and yours, John Coleman

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