John R. Coats | Biography
My life has been an interesting ride so far. I was raised a Southern Baptist, but it was in a Roman Catholic church that a strange thing happened, a single moment that changed everything (see essay Who Am I? Notes on Ecstatic Moments). After graduating university, I attended the Episcopal seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. Graduating in 1973, I was ordained, and served parishes in Texas and California. In 1981, I was invited to join the staff of a startup training organization, then called The Life Training, now More To Life.
For fourteen years I traveled extensively in the United States, Great Britain, and South Africa, both speaking and leading intensive two-day workshops using a psychotherapeutic model designed to aid the participants in overcoming destructive mindsets.
By 1995, with my daughter well into adolescence, it was time to stay closer to home, so I decided to try my hand at corporate consulting. It was a year or so later that the writing bug began sinking its fangs, refusing to let go, and finally becoming what the poet Rilke called my “necessity.” I tried detective fiction, then spy fiction, then literary fiction, and finally settled on nonfiction—memoir and personal essay. Having taken most every writing course I could find in Houston (a few more than once; one of them three times), I applied to Bennington Writing Seminars and was accepted. It was during my last semester that I began writing Original Sinners.