Charles Strohmer is the author of seven books, one co-authored with John R. Peck. He has been commissioned to write for numerous magazines, journals, newspapers, and Webzines, and for the BBC on American government and Christian religion. He has spoken at venues in North America, Britain, and Europe and participated in radio and television interviews in the U.S. and U.K.
He has worked as a freelance editor for a variety of publishers on dozens of book projects, one of which won a Gold Medallion Award and another was a runner-up. In 1998, he founded Openings, a quarterly “little magazine,” which is currently on sabbatical. He has contributed book chapters to the Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World and A Guide to New Religious Movements. His book The Gospel and the New Spirituality is required reading at Covenant Theological Seminary. Known for making complex issues accessible to general audiences, he is currently writing a book about wisdom-based Christian – Muslim and U.S. – Middle East relations.
Charles grew up in the American Midwest, where he pursued careers in the automotive field, radio broadcasting, and traveling as a stage manager for a heavy metal band. He also tried his hand at writing, and in 1986 signed a contact for his first book, What Your Horoscope Doesn’t Tell You, a critical analysis of astrology that went through several print runs and was translated into several languages. Also in 1986, he moved to Britain, where his wife, Linda, co-founded a Christian preschool.
“When I returned to the States in 1989, I continued to write,” he recalls. “When up-and-coming writers today ask me about those years, they’re stunned when I explain that I wrote the early drafts of my first few books in spiral notebooks. To save time, I developed my own shorthand, some of which I still use today at the computer. Once I was fairly happy with the material, I used a typewriter for later drafts sent to publishers. Time seemed to stop for me when I wrote. Still does. But I loved that early creative process, even its literal “cut and paste” method – now you know where those two icons on your toolbar that come from!”
During the 1990s, Charles traveled widely teaching on “worldview,” and he increasingly focused on developing the relevance of ideas, principles, and norms of the historic wisdom tradition with individuals and groups to advance wisdom-based approaches to contemporary life and work. In particular, this work took him into areas where human diversity is normative, cooperation essential, and human flourishing is desired, such as within education, the business world, family and social life, environmental stewardship, government responsibility, and especially the arts, communication, and intercultural initiatives. In 1996, he teamed up on a major book project with British philosopher, theologian, and wisdom thinker John Peck, a co-founder of the Greenbelt Festival and of College House (Cambridge). The two had previously collaborated on various projects that promoted a wisdom-based way of reasoning for contemporary life and work. In 2001, their book, Uncommon Sense: God’s Wisdom for Our Complex and Changing World, was published in Britain by SPCK.
Then came 9/11. “Shortly after the Twin Towers collapsed, I began research into a wisdom-based approach to intercultural and international relations. I had seen this ‘lost’ narrative in the biblical wisdom literature, but I never had cause to explore and develop it due to fulfilling other projects. But the morning of September 11, 2001, I was on a plane returning to America after a book and speaking tour in England for Uncommon Sense. We were diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we became guests of Canada for four days – and well-looked-after [read the story here]. Back home, I began an informal research project to explore the intercultural and international dimensions of the wisdom literature to see what relevance they might have for post-9/11 issues, events, relationships, and policies. I rather naively thought that this research might take a year or so of my time. Was I wrong! But I wanted to get it right, and I felt compelled to keep going. That led to the more formal Wisdom Project, which today explores how the agency of wisdom is vital for for building more cooperatively peaceable Christian – Muslim and U.S. – Mideast relations.”
By 2003, specialists in international relations and foreign policy were becoming interested and Charles began traveling to Washington DC and elsewhere to conduct research, give talks on various aspects of the research, outline ideas for the new book, and publish articles on those topics. He is currently a visiting research fellow of the Center for Public Justice (an independent, nonpartisan think tank in Washington DC).
“The tough problem of U.S. – Middle East relations, as everyone knows, is negotiating the rough intersection of the secular and the religious,” Strohmer notes. “From responses to my research on wisdom and international relations by many religious and secular actors in the field, I have become convinced that a wisdom-based way of reasoning is uniquely suited to help us all negotiate that rough intersection more cooperatively and peaceably. This is central to all aspects of The Wisdom Project, which includes the new book I’m writing.”
Charles has written articles for Capital Commentary, Third Way (U.K.), Christianity Today, The Christian Century, Prism, The Christian Research Journal, Muslim Public Affairs Journal, Christian Reflection (Baylor), Turkish Daily News, Sojourners, Patheos, and others. His books have been published with Tyndale House, Word Books (U.K.), C.P.A.S. (U.K.), Thomas Nelson, Emerald House, S.P.C.K. (U.K.), and Wipf & Stock. He has edited books for Eerdmans, InterVarsity Press, Crossway, Thomas Nelson, Harvest House, and others. He has spoken at a wide variety of churches and on college campuses in the U.S. and U.K., and many other venues.
Although currently working on the new book, Charles makes time to write articles and to travel speaking. He and his wife, an award-winning first grade teacher in the public school system, now make their home near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.