My name isn’t really Richie Dee Stephens. My name is Jeff. I’ve named this blog as a tribute to my two grandfathers and father. My grandfather on my father’s side is named Richard. My grandfather on my mother’s side was named Stephen. My dad’s name is Dennis, so I shortened it to Dee. That’s how I came up with Richie Dee Stephens.
I was born in Kansas City, MO and lived my earliest years in Upstate New York, and Ohio before settling in New England in the third grade. I now reside on the eastern shore of Maryland. I’m a husband, father, brother, son, educator, business person, and welder who enjoys the outside, reading biographies, and watching sports. Mostly, I think about my faith, embraces his doubts about my faith, and let them bring me closer to truth.
I try to own who I am. My father and grandpa “Stephens” were ministers in an Christian-Evangelical denomination. My grandpa “Richie” was a faithful attender of the same denomination. Grandpa Stephens was a leader in the church, president of 3 of the denomination’s colleges and founding president of a 4th. I was raised in the church, loved it, had dreams about being a leader in it, and have strong relationships with people there that helped raise me. It would be fair to say I grew up in a place of privilege in my church. I don’t know if that’s bad or not. I was never hurt by my church don’t have bad feelings towards it or anyone there.
As much as I am grateful for my upbringing, life experiences have caused me to examine, rethink, rehash, and relearn all of what I was taught growing up. I’ve come to a place where I need to express and share with others my new understandings which sometimes lead to frustration. I don’t believe church is the best place to do this, at least not without working through my emotions first. This blog and my podcast are two of the places where I do that. You are welcomed to join me.