In a sense you could say that Tom Mann has lived a heavy, deep, and real life. Tom learned about pain at an early age. The first time his father went to jail, Tom was four years old and his family of three older sisters, his mother who suffered with Multiple Sclerosis and was bedridden, and his father would be separated. It would not be the last.
Tom lived in 12 different homes growing up – some family, some foster homes, and some strangers his father met at a bar who took pity on the homeless father and son and took them in. Certainly there was neglect – no food, no heat, no electricity, evictions, and loss of what meager possessions they had. But there also was abuse – not a lot, but enough to skew a young boy’s sense of relationship. Tom’s youth was a picture of dichotomy. When his father was out of jail writing hot checks, he lived opulently – houses on the golf course, hotels, dinners out, even six weeks at the Playboy club in Chicago! When the checks started bouncing, it was welfare and poverty.
As you can imagine, a life of such extremes punctuated by neglect and abuse did its damage. But God was always there for Tom and blessed him even when Tom was struggling with the effects of his experiences.
Those experiences caught up with Tom when he was 23 years old and in the Army. Having failed at college, relationships, work, and basically anything he touched, Tom finally broke and reached out to God in a way he never had. Not that Tom wasn’t a Christian – he always had been, but not what one would call a “disciple” of Jesus, rather more of a believer who would do his own thing – you know, a “nominal Christian” like many professing the faith. The day he broke and cried out to God in his Army barracks was a day that changed his life. By allowing Jesus to really lead him, Tom began to accomplish what seemingly would be unimaginable.
Tom could not read by the time he got to 4th grade, because he had moved around so much. In 1990, Tom earned his Journalism Degree and became a successful newspaper reporter and editor. Tom also earned a Russian degree, a language he learned in the Army before hurting his knees and being medically discharged. Tom later completed a Master’s Degree in Strategic Intelligence and went to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency as an Intelligence Officer. But Tom is a man of many interests that reflect his work career, which includes political consultant, private investigator, business owner, senior executive, adjunct professor, martial arts instructor, and more.
Through it all, Tom has been a deep thinker. Tom believes there is meaning in this life that God has given us, but as fallen people there is tremendous pain as well. God has gifted Tom in a unique way, using his own personal pain and healing to help others who need a good dose of heavy, deep, and real conversation and guidance. To that end, Tom has written the book Do You Want to Be Healed? Allowing God to Heal Brokenness in Your Life (Xulon Press 2013), and began this blog as a way of starting heavy, deep, and real conversations with others who need more than hollow advice and clichés as they deal with the pain in their lives.
No, Tom’s not a pastor or a counselor even though he did attend seminary for a time and is continuing his religious studies the the Evangelical Church Alliance’s Bible Extension Institute – which is kind of like saying he stayed at a Holiday Inn last night! But, God has given Tom a ministry to share his experiences and thoughts with you in the hopes that God can use all of it in your life as well.
Beyond his writing and speaking, Tom is active in a number of boards and associations, including:
- Co-Chair Veterans Administration MyVA Cascadia Advisory Board Oregon
- Chair – Corban University Leadership and Political Engagement Advisory Board
- Chair (Moderator) – Calvary Baptist Church Council
- Member – Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO)
- Member – National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA)
- Life Member – Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
- Adjunct Professor – Corban University Political Science Department