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My dad took me to my first Royals game when I was eight years old. It was 1976. Big John Mayberry hit a home run for us, we beat the Oakland A’s, 7-6, and I was hooked.
For the next several years, growing up in a small town in Kansas, I listened to Kansas City Royals games on the radio every night and dreamed of becoming a Major League Baseball play-by-play announcer. Little did I know, that first Royals game 43 years ago would bring me to Royalty — at the feet of the cross of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Parents - College - Winfield - Kansas - Dad
My parents met at a small college in Winfield, Kansas, where my dad taught and my mom, fresh off the train from Michigan and wearing a sweater in 100-degree August heat, was a student. There was no scandal. From what I’ve gathered, it was pretty much love at first sight, and they were quickly married. St. John’s College was a part of the higher education system of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). The name is somewhat misleading because there are LCMS churches in all 50 states. The denomination got its name from the German immigrants in the 1830s who settled south of St. Louis.
My dad later became a school administrator in Independence, Kansas, my hometown since age 4, where my mom and sister still live. My three siblings and I all remained Lutheran into adulthood. In fact, my oldest brother is a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor. I was the only one, it turns out, who strayed from “Missouri.” We went to church every Sunday of the year. That was non-negotiable. Independence is sort of a Norman Rockwell kind of town in the Midwest: A quaint downtown, a great fall festival and smart, thoughtful people. Missouri Synod Lutherans — conservative, well-mannered, dedicated...
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