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John R. Coats
John R. Coats, author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters. I hold master's degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary and Bennington College Writing Seminars. A former Episcopal priest, I was a principal speaker and seminar leader for the More To Life training program in the United States, Great Britain, and South Africa, and an independent management consultant. I'm married and live in Houston.

My heritage is Southern Baptist, but it was in a Roman Catholic church that, in the fall of 1958, a few months after my twelfth birthday, I had what was either an "ecstatic" experience or "probably an allergic reaction to the incense." It was a split second in my six and a half decades, yet the man I've become, and all that I've done in my professional life--parish priest, speaker and trainer for an international foundation, management consultant, writer--can be traced back to that moment. These fifty-plus years later, I still don't understand what happened, but what followed from it has been quite a ride so far.

For more information please visit and connect with him on Facebook.

Entries by John R. Coats

Sixes and Sevens: The Book of Revelation and the Language of Numbers

(263) Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 8:15 PM

My wife and I had been toying for months with the romantic idea of selling our house, most of our stuff and living aboard a houseboat when we found the boat. Designed and built by an engineer who'd emphasized functionality over looks, she was not pretty, but she was spacious...

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Interpreting the Bible: Your Place at the Table

(35) Comments | Posted December 6, 2010 | 12:25 PM

I have this haunting dream-like memory: The time is early summer, 1973. I'm in a meeting in the office of my new boss, the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Tyler, Tex. In attendance are several of the church's lay leaders who've gathered in order to discuss several of the...

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What's Real About the Rapture?

(1047) Comments | Posted September 16, 2010 | 9:34 AM

My maternal grandparents lived in a small northeast-Texas town with a communal zeitgeist more aboriginal than modern. Everyone believed. "Is there really a God?" would have been as silly a question as "Is there really air?" While separation of church and state was non-negotiable -- no one would tell them...

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Does a Calling Have to Be Religious?

(105) Comments | Posted August 18, 2010 | 9:53 PM

When I was a teenager and my parents' friends asked questions such as,"Well, young man, what will you do with your life?" I had no idea that the correct answer would prove to be, "Well, right now I have this really weird, sort of sensual, even erotic, though non-sexual, urge...

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Were Sodom and Gomorrah Really Torched for Homosexuality?

(86) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 3:57 PM

Were Sodom and Gomorrah really torched for Homosexuality?


For a more detailed answer, I'll begin with an overview of the fable: Two messengers, or angels (Hebrew ma 'alak, Greek angelos), arrive at the gates of Sodom. There, Lot, Abraham's nephew, greets them and invites them to his home...

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Jacob, Bank Fraud, and the Thieves of Wall Street

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2010 | 10:15 AM

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. -Koheleth, Ecclesiastes (About 300 BCE)

Maybe not under his sun. Under ours, new arrives with ferocious velocity -- tomorrow's breakthroughs are yesterday's news. It is exhilarating, sexy, and dizzying,...

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Adam and Eve and the Gender Divide

(702) Comments | Posted June 28, 2010 | 10:49 PM

Men were never the superior gender. We may have seemed superior, but that was before, when size and strength mattered. Now, writes Hanna Rosin in "The End of Men," her recent piece in The Atlantic, the emerging economy is indifferent to all that, valuing instead the more female...

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Five Human Lessons from Genesis That Still Apply Today

(193) Comments | Posted June 21, 2010 | 4:39 PM

I can't read Genesis without recognizing bits and pieces of my own life and the lives of people I know. No surprise, really, given how the biblical characters are nothing like the cardboard saints I learned about in Sunday school. Their lives, like mine, like yours, like all great drama,...

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