space shuttle

Because Google algorithms demand it, I am going to suppress my humility and list here some credentials consistent with the EAT Factor (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness). Forgive me, I don’t intend to sound vain, and you read here why I decided to add this information at this time.

Biographical Notes

Robert C. Stroud is a retired Lutheran pastor who served 24 years as an Air Force chaplain. He is blessed to have been happily married to his wife, a special education teacher, for more than forty years. He is the proud father of six (including three who wedded our birth kids) and grandfather of eleven.

He holds undergrad degrees in Journalism and History and a Master of Divinity degree in pastoral ministry. He received a post-M.Div. Master of Theology (Th.M.) in Patristics (early church history) from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. His Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis included research into blogging by clergy.

Stroud has published numerous articles, a few of which are available via Academia. He has also participated in a number of formal writing programs, including the Decision Magazine School of Christian Writing.

During his ministry as a chaplain he received the Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Included among his twenty personal decorations are Joint, Army, Navy and Air Force medals.

While on the staff of the USAF Chaplain School, he served as speechwriter for two different USAF Chiefs of Chaplains.

The Rev. Dr. Stroud continues to serve as an interim pastor, and through writing in a variety of venues.

The photo above, with the space shuttle landing over Chaplain Stroud’s shoulder was taken when he was the senior chaplain at Edwards AFB, California.

The Reason for the Name

The title for this blog is derived from the name of one of the greatest writing communities ever to exist. Chief among the members of the Inklings who met weekly in Oxford were C.S. Lewis (of Narnia fame) and J.R.R. Tolkien (creator of Middle Earth).

The adjective is taken from Lewis’ most significant nonfiction work, Mere Christianity. In the finest spirit of the saints who went before him, he pushes aside the religious forest which obscures the heart of Christianity . . . and lifts up Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his life upon a tree to purchase our redemption.

Accordingly, many of the posts in Mere Inkling will be about writing and Christianity. History and humor are also keen interests of the writer of this column, so they will most certainly be encountered with regularity as well.

99 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey, Rob,
    I’m impressed. Great looking website–very masculine. And since I’m part of the writers group you praised, I say thank you for the lofty comments about us. Yes, we are a great group, much blessed by one another. I understand the New Testament has over 50 “one another” comments. Makes one think that our Lord and the founders of the beginning church knew something about “one another” principle. We neglect it to our peril.
    Marge McRae

    1. Thank you for visiting my site and liking my post. I am most grateful that it brought me to yours. It has been an interesting journey writing about Christianity, God, Works of Mercy. Sometimes I think I couldn’t have a least popular subject matter which is really sad for God and humanity. So I am glad to come across a kindred traveler on this adventure. My best – Lara

      1. Thank you. I actually don’t get into the blogging awards, but in gratitude, and out of respect for your nomination, allow me to briefly answer your questions:

        1. How do you think the world would be different if everyone practiced corporal and spiritual works of mercy- ie. feed the hungry, comfort the sick, forgive offenses etc. ?

        It would be the way God desires, a foretaste of heaven.

        2. When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

        I used to play soldiers and cowboys, but I don’t really recall what I dreamed about becoming.

        3. What is your favorite biblical scripture?
        Definitely in my top 5 is Acts 19:15 which reminds us it’s not about knowing religious language, it’s about knowing the Son of God.

        4. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

        The Holy Land, Rome and back to visit the Emerald Isles where we lived for three years.

        5. What are the top three attributes that you think a Christian should have?

        Piety, Compassion and Courage.

        6. Why do you blog?

        It encourages me to read and reflect . . . and I enjoy the interaction with others.

        7. How do you stand as a witness for God?

        As a pastor, I hope I do so with integrity.

        8. What is the nicest thing that someone has done for you?

        My wife married me back in 1976 and continues to love me despite my flaws.

        9. What was your favorite television show growing up and what is it now?

        I loved “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” “Star Trek” and “Mission Impossible.” Today I really enjoy “Burn Notice” and “Parks & Recreation.”

        10. If you could be king/queen for the day what is one thing you would require everyone to do?

        Honor life.

        11. What do you love most about God?

        His love for me and those I love.

      2. Rob- I think I knew that about you from one of your posts, but since I do enjoy your blog I did it anyway :). Thanks for answering the questions. When you answered courage for being a Christian I thought how true that it is from the time Jesus lived until now. Thanks for answering!

  2. Dear Rob – First, thank you for your service! Second, thank you for the kind note you left at my blog “Civil War Medicine”…I didn’t get a chance to see the Cathedral that day but I have been there before. I do wish I could contribute to the next issue of the Journal but I am stretched pretty thin right now with other writing commitments and it would probably be late next spring before I could. I am honored by the invitation.

    I have been browsing Mere Inkling this morning…it is inspiring!

    Have you read “Looking for the King” by David Downing?

    All My Best,

    Jim Schmidt

    1. Jim,

      I’m delighted you enjoyed the posts. Thank you also for your willingness to write for Curtana: Sword of Mercy. I’m eager to see your article, whenever you’re able to write it. And yes, next spring will be fine.

      I just looked at Downing’s book and I’ve added it to my reading list. It looks like precisely the kind of entertaining and edifying balance that echoes Lewis’ own work. Like Downing, I “met” C.S. Lewis as a college student. I found my way to the Wardrobe by first reading the Space Trilogy.

      Blessings to you and your loved ones,

    2. Rob, now a follower and tweeted about your site. So glad to find it! My husband is an Anglican Bishop and we both love CS Lewis. You may enjoy reading my blog about the Ancient Roots of Christianity in India. http://writingstraight.com/2012/02/27/indias-ancient-roots-of-christianity/ Hope it’s ok to post here, but I’m an author and my husband is from India and over the years, we visited a lot of ancient sites of Christianity. I didn’t know St. Thomas was buried there and was glad to visit his tomb. Happy to find this site and look forward to seeing your blogs come in my email.

  3. galya2uk

    Hi Rob, thank you for commenting on my blog. I’m glad it resulted in my finding yours – I was excited to see it exists. Looking forward to catching up with your posts. I love everything I’ve read from C.S. Lewis (ashamed to admit I haven’t read the other famous Inkling’s books – the creator of Middle Earth, but I’m a big fan of the movies.)

  4. We have the SAME BLOG FORMAT, complete with C.S. Lewis based quotes… That’s terrifying. But thanks for liking my post, newfound kindred spirit! :)

  5. Thanks for the like on my post!
    You have an interesting blog. I myself am a Muslim, but grew up in a Protestant school system (England, before you ask), so I find discussions about religion to be worthwhile and interesting.

  6. what a wonderful blog — and THE INKLINGs – i am a Groupie of the whole gang (but especially Tolkien!) i also like your humor posts (!!) (aren’t the comics the most important part of the Newspaper?? altho the news can be kinda important, too! : )

  7. Hey Rob! Thanks for the recent visit to my blog and the “Like” on one of my posts. I have enjoyed checking out your blog and as a fan of Lewis and Tolkien I really like the name and premise ot it. If you’ve not heard of The Rabbit Room I think you’d enjoy it. It is a creative community begun by author/singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson after a visit to C.S. Lewis’ home and is named for the back room of the pub that they met in. You can check it out at http://www.rabbitroom.com/ Thanks again and God bless!

  8. dmwilliams83

    Rob, I am so glad that you found my blog because it has allowed me to discover yours! I will definitely be reading with interest.
    Your fellow Inklingophile,

  9. I just found this blog after you “liked” one of my posts and i’m so glad I did, i’m a huge C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien fan. I’m go glad I started reading, your writing is so inspiring.

  10. I encountered your website after you liked my “Anthematic Borat Boo-boo” piece. I like the style, the content that you consistently provide, your weltanschauung and your literary disposition. I find myself quoting CS Lewis quite a lot too. I will happily be reading you in the future.

  11. Hi Rob! What a thrill to meet others in the community of C.S. Lewis admirers. Your website is a feast for the eyes and for the spirit, and I look forward to reading more of your past and future posts. I’m so glad you stopped by! Ramona

  12. I love your blog title and explanation for it. Why the lion photo? In honor of a favorite C.S. Lewis character? Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  13. pastorjeffcma

    Thanks for the like over on my blog and since you are writing about my favorite people, I am looking forward to reading. I love the photos you share on this page.

  14. Hi there. Many thanks for visiting my blog and liking my ‘Does God Suffer?’ book review. That book could definitely be of interest to you as a CS Lewis fan! Best wishes, Steven

  15. Thank you for visiting my blog, Rob. It’s clear we share lots of common interests, and I have been enjoying reading your posts. Lewis’ Narnia series hold a very prominent place in my living room. When I first read them, many years ago in my early adut years, I couldn’t put them down! I heard somewhere that Dorothy Sayer, who wrote the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series before going on to write theological works, was also a member of The Inklings. Is that true? I know her father was a pastor.

  16. Thanks for visiting my blog, Rob. I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting yours and reading your posts. It seems we share some common interests and I will definitely be visiting yours again. I first read Lewis’ Narnia series many years ago, as a young adult. I couldn’t put down those books! They now hold a prominent place in my living room. I heard that Dorothy Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series who went on to write theological books after that, was a member of the Inklings. Is that true? I know her father was a pastor. Anglican, I believe.

    1. Glad you enjoyed your visit. Actually, Sayers wasn’t a member of the Inklings. She was, however, a friend and correspondent of Lewis and Charles Williams. Coincidentally, on my C.S. Lewis Chronicles website (which has not been updated for years) I contemplated including her as an “honorary member” of the Inklings. I did take liberty with a couple other individuals if you’d care to see here.

  17. Rob — I enjoy C.S. Lewis and appreciate the way you fold his writing into your blog. Would you mind if I include links to some of your postings in my own wee blog, with full credit and attribution to you? Incidentally, I was a naval officer for six years back in the Vietnam days and always enjoyed my association with the chaplans who ministered to us. It is a wonderful service provided to our military men and women and I hope our country continues that tradition.

    1. Ron,

      Feel free to repost whatever you’d like, with attribution. Thanks for your service in the 60s/70s. Did you do a tour in Nam? I have a good friend who was a Navy corpsman… very eager to be attached to Marines on land. However, he was assigned to a hospital ship off the coast and soon changed his mind about serving with the infantry. I was reclassified 1A (due to draft drawings) but graduated from high school the first year they didn’t draft anyone. (Probably would have gone the ROTC route, which would have changed my seminary timing a bit.)

      If you have any special reflections about your interaction with chaplains, you might consider writing up something for an online chaplaincy journal I edit called Curtana: http://www.justwar101.com/journal

  18. Sarah Abbey

    Thanks for liking one of my blog posts! Like many here, I’m glad you did because we have a common love for Lewis’ writing (I’m deinitely an Inkling wannabe and I’m working to own every book of Lewis’ in print… I’m close!). When I was a little girl I used to ask God to let me get into Narnia through my closet. I assumed that if he could do anything, this wouldn’t be that challenging for him!

  19. Rob, thanks for liking one of my posts and making it possible for me to slip through the wardrobe (“blogworld” just has no glamour at all ) into the wonderful world of mereinkling. So glad to find you and other Lewis lovers. Tramped around Oxford with my brother last Spring trying to soak up all we could of Lewis. Look forward to finding more here! Blessings, Pam Grist

  20. Hi. I love your blog. You combine so many of my loves and share great wisdom that has kept me thinking. I would like to pass the Sunshine Award to you. Reading your blog makes me smile. I posted a link to see more about it. You’re supposed to save the picture, write up your post, and you can post the badge on your blog if you’d like to let all your readers know you won it. You post serious content, so maybe this is more silly, but I’d like to still let you know, and perhaps you will enjoy this. Thanks.



  21. Thank you for commenting on my blog about C.S. Lewis. I shared your blog with my community and have enjoyed snooping around myself. I’ve written about Lewis again this week on my blog if you care to visit again. Keep on with the excellent writing and reflections!

  22. I’m so glad you found my blog – I really enjoy what I’ve seen of yours. I love the Inklings concept – and the blogging world opens a new form of it that I suppose Tolkien and Lewis never even imagined…though, to be sure, their imaginations were such that maybe they did afterall…

    1. Thanks. I strive for both. I noted on your own blog that we have lots in common! Blessings to you and your husband as you serve God and the cause of peace (as members of the military family).

      1. Bob Evenhouse

        We did. It is called Derby Station. Then, over the last few years members began to have children and the ability to shell out money for food and beer and coffee each week became less and less of a reality. We’d hang out there for several hours reading manuscripts, writing, play darts, and talk books/writing. It was grand.

        Now we meet at a coffee shop where a cup of Joe is a dollar.

      2. Oh how life changes as we grow older. Just wait until you become a grandparent. It’s a glorious phase of life (if you can persuade your children to live close enough for you to be actively involved with their respective families).

  23. I think the Inklings would have approved of this project:


    Apologies if you have already seen this. I plugged this in my latest post, but was curious if you wanted to join us!

    1. I highly commend reading the Church Fathers. I’ve read through many of the Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene volumes you’re using. But, as Lewis emphasized, the classics are well worth revisiting. While I can’t make a “commitment” like this at the present moment, I wish you the very best–I hope many people accept your challenge. We both know they won’t regret it.

  24. Pingback: I Probably Trip on My Way to Receive My First Blogging Award, or, Podiums are Dangerous « I'm Really a Robot

  25. Pingback: Whatever is Lovely – Blog Award | sevennotesofgrace

  26. Thanks for the “like” over at Squinting through Fog. I love what you’re doing here, and appreciate the heads up about The Silver Chair, even if it might be a bit of a wait. Looking forward to picking up a copy of Lewis’ book on imagination when it comes out…

  27. Just a heads up. I’ve launched out on my own to try to increase the amount in the family coffers (and save for missions trips, etc.), so my website had to move off WP dot com and they won’t send you email updates any more. If you want to keep up by email please stop by and sign up.
    Don’t worry, you still show up in my inbox, I’m just crazy busy right now!

  28. Hey Rob, as you know I have spent time on your blog. I liked what I saw and I like what I see. Naturally, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award and would appreciate your acceptance.

    If you’d rather not, do not give it a second thought. It is not terribly serious, but it is a good way for you to link to people you read. Thus providing me with more people to read.


    The rules are reasonably simple. You write 11 facts about yourself. Nominate 11 more people and answer my 11 questions.

    But I’m nearly certain that it’s all a moot point as you do not accept awards… Which is more than fair. I’ve dodged more than my share of these things. But if nothing else give me 11 blogs you would nominate, so I can go follow them too.

    1. Thank you for the nomination, and for respecting the fact that I defer from participating in the myriad of awards that abound in the blogosphere. Out of respect for your consideration, however, I did answer your 11 questions back on you page!

    1. Afraid not, although when I was in the USAF, we had the joy of living for two years at RAF Greenham Common in Newbury, and a year at RAF Alconbury near Huntingdon. My wife and I were just talking yesterday about Samuel Johnson’s famous saying, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

  29. Thank you for visiting my site and liking one of my posts. My blog is pretty new and every little encouragement means a lot. :) I can’t wait to discover more of your site.

    1. A little encouragement is always a good thing. Particularly when one begins making themselves vulnerable on the internet. Best of luck with your ongoing writing!

  30. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog. Glad I found your blog. I have BA and MA in religious studies but that was decades ago and I really never “studied” in the full sense of the concept. I have committed to hand writing the New Testament. Try to do a page or so each day. Have finished Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans and I Corinthians. I think I have really learned what study means.

    1. Wow, that’s quite a discipline. Actually essentially as a scribe, you’ll be immersed in the Word for a good long time. A bit different, I suspect, than your BA and MA studies!

  31. I love C.S. Lewis and especially your description of him- “In the finest spirit of the saints who went before him, he pushes aside the religious forest which obscures the heart of Christianity…”
    I found you through Riverbed blog and am looking forward to reading more of yours. Thank you for your “likes” on my blog robstroud! God Bless you and your wife and those fabulous 8 grandchildren.

    1. Elizabeth, glad to have another fan of C.S. Lewis find Mere Inkling.

      I enjoyed your blog. It is wonderfully encouraging to see people fighting their particular challenges. As the son of an alcoholic, I know just how much all of those who love you celebrate over each day you are victorious.

      Best part about being a Christian is knowing that we’re forgiven and even when we stumble, the Father’s arms are open wide and there’s no wagging finger.

  32. Thank you for visiting our blog and liking one of our posts. Mom says she enjoys sharing our “tails” of adventure. She also said to tell you that she really likes C.S. Lewis. Great job on your blog.
    Stereo purrs……..Hemingway and Steinbeck

  33. Pingback: Touting Your Credentials (& Humility) « Mere Inkling

  34. Dear Reverend Stroud,

    I hope that you have been reasonably well and upbeat in the first quarter of 2021.

    Having read some of your posts and judging by the number of posts that you have published as well as the number of comments and replies that you have composed, it is very obvious that you have been very prolific over the first quarter of 2021.

    In the spirit of Easter, I would like to wish you, albeit belatedly, “Joyeuses Pâques!”

    I hope that you have had a lovely Easter weekend! Did you manage to do something special or unusual? Perhaps you have taken the chance to do something very worthwhile or read some unusual articles. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to consume some Easter cakes or memorable meals.

    Speaking of what I have got myself occupied in, I have stayed up till very late in the last few days to complete some new graphics and eye-catching animations plus more pertinent information for my special Easter post entitled “Easter in Modern Multimedia Perspective“, which you can easily find at the Home Page of my blog, as it is currently the Featured Post. You can also access the post directly at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/easter-in-modern-multimedia-perspective/

    You are very welcome to peruse the extended and updated post at your earliest convenience. I would be delighted if you could kindly submit your feedback to my said post, as I am very keen and curious to know what you think or make of it, given your experience and wisdom.

    I would like to inform you that these animations will only be visible when you visit my blog and view its contents in situ. Hence, it is prudent to refrain from viewing my blog in the WordPress Reader, which tends to ignore or strip away some styling and formatting components, and also fails to display animations, all of which are aplenty in my posts and pages, which will look very different and even improper or amiss in the WordPress Reader.

    In particular, scroll down to the end of my said post entitled “Easter in Modern Multimedia Perspective” to watch the complex animations under the heading “Related Articles 📰 with Animations”. Please enjoy!

    May you find April very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and blogging about whatever topics that take your intellectual fancy, seduce your gustatory pleasure or tickle your spiritual delight!

    Yours sincerely,

    1. I am pleased your Easter was as blessed as ours. After church we had our kids, their spouses, and our ten young grandchildren here. We also had the parents of our daughter-in-law with us. It was wonderful. Kept our focus on the true reason for the celebration… even though we did hide eggs for the kids.

      I’m looking forward to checking out your new animations, and will go there now. You don’t need to caution me about the wp reader… I’m a “purist,” and visit original pages whenever possible.

      Thanks also for the great blessing at the end of your note!

  35. Rob your website is quite impressive. I find the title of your blog interesting as it is derived from “The Inklings” group which was composed of C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and Dorothy Sayers. What a good play on words! Blessings and Peace!

    1. I’m glad you enjoy Mere Inkling, Claudia. Your own blog is quite inspiring as well.

      The inspiration for the title of this writing ministry is actually trifold: (1) Inklings inspired, (2) Mere Christianity oriented, and (3) a reminder to remain humble since I only comprehend a mere inkling of the wonders of God’s hand.

      1. Thanks. Awesome inspiration for your ministry title. My website title is relatively simply derived from rhema – The spoken word. Thank you so much for stopping by—Blessings and Peace!

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