Merle M. Idom, Jr. (Matt to most folks) has served as an ordained United Methodist pastor since 1980 in congregations ranging from rural communities in the Piney Woods of East Texas to urban and suburban congregations in and around Houston. He currently serves as the Superintendent of Lakeview Methodist Conference Center in Anderson County, Texas.

Matt's popular regional essays and columns have been published throughout his ministry in local newspapers. His creative works also include award winning television advertisements for his denomination, lectures, teaching, and preaching opportunities throughout the nation as well as Russia, England, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. In 1996, Piney Wood Press published a collection of his stories under the title of "Bird Dogs, Angels, and the Will of God."

A devoted father, Matt's passions include camping ministry for teens, archeology, and the quest for the perfect bowl of gumbo. Matt's idea of a good time is feeling the first run of a heavy fish on light tackle or propping wet boots next to a hot fire on a cold night while scratching the head of a tuckered birddog.