About Me

Eve's Apple “I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceived me.” Well, that’s how it all started for me. Hardly a promising start, wouldn’t you say? Like most people, I have assumed from time to time that by my own wisdom and good works, I could somehow beat the rap that was surely coming down the pike. Of course, there is no possible way to save yourself from yourself. We need a rescuer. You just can’t save yourself and that’s all right. You were never equipped to save yourself, that’s why there’s Jesus.

This is where the story begins! I was the first-born of two love birds, Bob and Doris Hallquist of Baltimore, Md. I guess you could say, my official coming-out party was held on January 24, 1955 in Annapolis, Md., under the shadow of Neptune’s trident. That would be the United States Naval Academy for you landlubbers. Shortly thereafter, I ended up in Glen Burnie, Md. where I lived ’till I was eight. That’s where I learned all the cool kid stuff like becoming a “blood brother,” building forts, and protecting my sister against the evil St. Bernard (not the Pope) living in the neighborhood. I also learned the fine art of street fighting. Oh, did I tell you I was a preacher’s kid?

My father, for the most part, was pretty cool. He was strong, could do anything, and had a really great singing and preaching voice. As a kid, I admired him a lot, but sadly, at the same time, feared him even more. Like most boys who look up to their fathers and want to be like them, I was no different. The problem was that the fear of my father overshadowed any sense I had that he loved me. It seemed to me that there was nothing I could do right, and what I was doing was something I would probably be punished for. I thought I was a horrible thing. As a young boy, that feeling took root in my spirit and affected every thought and thing I did for years to come. I still wrestle with that demon from time-to-time.

In stark contrast to my father, my mom was what everyone would probably want in a mother. She is, after all, St. Doris of Whittier. Her manner was one of confidence, steadiness, sweetness, and compassion. At least that’s what she showed. Every day without fail, she took great care of me and my siblings, making every effort to grow us up healthy in body and soul. She amazed me time after time by her incredible resourcefulness and her capacity to brighten up the worst of moments, and we had a few. She would often remind us that “all things work together for good…” and God loved us and cared for us. Those words were enough to calm a raging storm. To this day they continue to echo through my spirit. I’m quite sure, that without them, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

You may have gotten the impression that the contrast I give of my parents also mirror how I feel about them. You probably assume that I’m bitter towards my father and, in contrast, feel all warm and fuzzy about my mom. The reality is that today I have a great relationship with both my parents. I actually feel warm and fuzzy about them both. Although we still disagree about aspects of politics and theology, and God knows what else, those issues don’t distract me from exercising four very important truths that maintains a loving relationship. The first lesson is, if you choose to hold on to wrongs done to you, both real or perceived, you not only become a slave to the person who hurt you, but you will NEVER, EVER be healed and NEVER, EVER experience real freedom in your life. That kind of freedom only comes when we practice grace, which is unmerited, unearned favor. When you give it, you get it, and you are free. You absolutely have to forgive. Otherwise bitterness will overtake you. Matthew 18:21-35

The second thing I learned is that all of mankind is “shaped in iniquity and in sin,” not just me and a few other bad seeds. We all have some life story that reveals our brokenness and a cry for help. For me, this lesson hit home after my dad shared what his relationship was like with his father. Now mind you, I thought the world of my grandfather and thought he was just an incredible, straight-up guy. He was an immigrant from Sweden, who worked and provided for a family of seven during the Depression. He was part of the “Greatest Generation.” My view of him was pretty glossy. When my dad told his story about growing up in my grandfather’s house, I realized that I was seeing my Dad’s life through a glass, darkly. I was slapped at that moment with the reality that my relationship with my dad, with all it’s fears, bitterness, shame, and brokenness, was clearly rooted in his own feelings and experience with my grandfather. When I heard the hurt in my dad’s voice, I realized he had been struggling with same kind of fears and anger I had been struggling with most of my life. This experience taught me that we need to identify with the burdens and fears of those around us, and those around the world. Some people are so emotionally and spiritually crippled they can’t get out of their own way. They are stuck in despair. These fellow travelers need understanding, compassion, and healing. Our lives should reflect that kind of understanding in concrete terms. Have mercy.

The third lesson, is that you have to know yourself. You have to take a chance on admitting that you’re afraid, ashamed, and sometimes weak. You have to admit that you may be like one of the ten spies who came back to Moses with a report motivated by fear, and not by faith. Fess up and tell yourself about yourself. By knowing yourself, you can take the first step in having a life of freedom. You need a starting point and there is no better place to begin than to go to the core of you. For me, that has meant that I have to identify and confess weakness, fears, disappointments, hate, insincerity, and the general power of sin in my life. I needed to acknowledge God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness, and then, determine daily to move on in a new identity. Psalm 51

The last lesson, but by no means the least, is a progression from the previous lesson. That lesson is that you have to truly forgive yourself and get on a new path of wholeness. God has the only book of judgment that counts. He knows who we are, what we are, and why we are. Even in our brokenness, He has given us a measure of faith to move into abundant, healthy living and provides us with enough faith to accept that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has destroyed the power of fear, hopelessness, shame, and self-hate. When we look to God’s power to forgive, we can accept that we do not need the approval of men to make us whole when we have the approval of God already. What more could you ask for?

My name is Steve Hallquist, and I and my father are forgiven.
Some more biography: Born 24 Jan. 1955 in Annapolis, Maryland. My father was an Assemblies of God minister where, before I left for college he pastored in Glen Burnie, Maryland, Newton, North Carolina, Delphos, Ohio, and Conneaut, Ohio. In June of 1973 I graduated from Conneaut High School and then moved to Arlington, Virginia for the summer. That summer I lived with my aunt and uncle, Retha and Claude Qualls. They were pastoring the First Assembly of God in Arlington.

That summer had a significant impact on the way I now see the world and the Church’s place in it, especially in the area of politics and public ethics. During those three months I witnessed a number of momentous things. The most significant was the three Watergate hearings I attended in nearby Washington, DC. It was not only a critical time in the nation’s history, but for me Watergate was an issue that tacked my attention to a moral dilemma I saw in the Christian community, and specifically in my family.

As luck or the gene pool would have it, I am distantly related to the late President Richard Nixon on my mother’s father’s side of the family. My family were all staunch Republicans and, as far as I know, you probably couldn’t find any Democrats on either side of my family. Being true-blue (actually red) Republican, the family quickly lined up in support of the president. Then it got interesting. As the questions about Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate affair began to implicate his complicity in the affair, I began to hear fellow Christians, some in my family, begin making excuses for Nixon’s behavior. “He’s not the first one to do something like this” was the one I heard most often. Then there was the line of reasoning that “the Kennedy’s were even worse. Remember Chappaquiddick?” All these grounds for justification seemed to be an oblique way of saying, “let’s move on.” I was amazed at how easily many ministers and Christians (of my ilk) could denounce the culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and be totally blind to their concession toward injustice and an undeniable breach of law. I’m still amazed that there are those, even today, that feel there was some kind of conspiracy to get rid of Nixon, and that he was framed by the Watergate break in. Of course they forget that Nixon was caught red-handed obstructing justice which would have led to his impeachment. He resigned instead.

That period of time sensitized me to the blind spots many Christians have in the world of politics. For many Christians, they completely opt out of any political question or policy until it effects them directly. I believe that those Christians end up often shirking their duty to actively work for justice and mercy. For others who are engaged politically, it is unfortunate to see that party loyalty often trumps the clear message of the Gospel. I am still amazed at how often I can be attending a church service where we worship and listen to a sermon that encourages us to live as Christ lived. Then, within minutes after the benediction, I overhear people talking in ad hominem terms toward a politician, or some political pundit, or someone from an opposing party. What’s sad, is they don’t know even know they are going against the Gospel, and sadder still, many pastors participate and encourage them to act this way. I’ve said it many times before that for many evangelical Christians who believe in the Rapture, I hope they don’t have an addiction to Hannity, Limbaugh, and Savage. Those radio personalities are mongers of division, strife, and animosity. They need their listeners to be riled up. It sells! God wants us, instead, to “be still, and know Him.” Listening to Rush Limbaugh steals valuable prayer time.

I start this blog to share some of my thoughts and ideas regarding the condition of the church and the need to be proactive in the loving the world like Jesus taught us. I’ll talk about ethics in government, business, education, and public policy. As well I’ll sharing some thoughts about current events and culture. Welcome to Some Things Considered – Steve

Steve Hallquist

8 Responses

  1. Fun. I’ll read the “Me” later, I promise. As to categories – go to your “Dashboard,” and then to “Manage.” Hit the “Categories” tab, and you’ll see “add new” right at the top.

    As to links, go to “Blogrolls” and in the first little paragraph you’ll see “add links.” That’s where you’ll have some fun adding your favorite sites, etc.

    Blessings!

    Lowell

  2. Stephen – your mom truely is a Saint and to me I believe Saint Robert is a great man and friend

    Ejoyed your journey to where you are now.

    Many blessings

    Dave

  3. Stumbled on your blog because I wanted one with the same name. Glad you did it first. Greatly ecouraged and challenged already… from your bio! I’ll be back.
    God bless,
    Michelle

  4. Hey Steve,

    Found your blog off of the “Xian Bipartisan Rejection” group. Good words about receiving forgiveness/acting in forgiveness–thank you!

    Grace and peace,
    Jason

  5. Hey Steve,
    Doubt you’ll remember me, but I worked for you at Ameraycan back in ’99. Gerry Hall ‘got me the gig’. I’m the big, bald, goofy Canadian kid. My time at the studio (all 6 months of it) really were a great period in my life. I still tell folks that I worked in LA and name off some of the artists and get a “no way!” response.
    I left LA and moved back to Canada, but not east, I moved west and call Vancouver home. I’m all married up with 2 lovely kids. I’ve gotten out of the audio racket, and moved horizontally, to video. I’m a post-production editor at a national TV station.

    Just wanted to touch base…I googled and found this page.

    hope all is well,
    Marc

  6. A LATE HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Nancy Yockey Bonar (Subsister)

  7. Dear Stephen,
    Please send me an e-mail address I can use to send you things outside of facebook.
    I would like your opinion of some things I am writing.

  8. Hey, just to let you know I enjoy your writings. See you back on Got Dolphins?

    nancy

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