Alum Publishes 'All Things Flow' Poetry Book

September 30, 2010

Growing up in Northwestern Oklahoma with tractors and wheat fields gave Johnson a lot to think about at a young age. He said he felt obligated to be imaginative with any and everything that he did.

"Paying attention to life is what inspires me to write -- feelings, yearnings, dreams, and many others," Johnson said.

"I am intrigued by the insights of process, philosophy and theology to which I was introduced as a student at OBU. This way of understanding life draws on the ancient philosophical ideas of Heraclitus, who said something like 'All Things Flow,' and the modern philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead."

Johnson journals about the matters of the soul, and eventually his words turn into a poem.

"The lead poem, 'A Canoe,' was triggered by a couple of things," he said. "I have a fascination with rivers as a metaphor for getting off the beaten path, or the beaten highway with its lines, speed limits, and predictable uniformity. Also, for a long time I had wanted a canoe."

Johnson said his poems capture something of the flow of life -- wisdom and experience as it happens around him. He has been offered opportunities for readings to touch individuals' hearts with his words.

"I cherish the idea that some of my thoughts and creativity connected me with strangers who now are friends of that moment we shared, even if I never see them again," he said.

Johnson, who earned a Ph.D. in early Christian writings, has served as a minister since 1987. He currently serves as senior minister of Epworth United Methodist Church in Chickasha, Okla. He is married to Jennie Elizabeth Gyles Johnson, a 1979 OBU alum. They have two children: Micah, who has graduated from culinary school and is a chef, and Kate, who is a graduate student pursuing a master of fine arts degree in sculpting/mixed media at the University of Tulsa.

He served as a pastor at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Shawnee for six years. He served other Oklahoma churches in Tulsa, Lone Wolf, Duncan, as well as in Gober, Texas. He taught religion courses as an adjunct instructor at Tulsa Community College, Phillips Theological Seminary and Oklahoma City University.

To read and learn more about Johnson's poetry, visit his website by clicking here.