Carl Eeman was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1954. A first generation American, his parents had been refugees from Estonia during a tumultuous history that resulted in their homeland’s annexation by the Soviet Union. They were admitted to the U.S. after World War II and worked hard to establish themselves in American life.
Carl grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and attended Upper Arlington High School and Ohio State University. With his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in hand, he was launched into adult life in the midst of an economic recession. He found his way to Breckinridge, Colorado, where he held various positions, including hotel desk clerk, bus station manager, and ski lift operator. Alas, springtime arrived and ski resort opportunities melted away; Carl returned to Columbus to begin the next stage of his career selling men’s shoes at the Lazarus department store.
Along the way, the Bible worked its way to the top of his reading list and the idea of entering ordained ministry worked its way to the front of his mind. Unable to convince himself to return to school for an MBA to accompany his economics degree, he decided to give theology a try. He graduated in 1983 from Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a Master of Divinity and added a Master of Theology a year later. Ordained in October 1984, Carl’s first parish was in Shippenville, Pennsylvania (85 miles northeast of Pittsburgh). Marriage followed in 1988, then two children, a move to southwestern Ohio and another move to the suburbs of Minneapolis where he and his wife were associate pastors of a large Lutheran congregation.
Carl took a leave of absence from the ministry in 2000 to complete his first book on generational issues and how they affect ministry. Generations of Faith was published by Alban Press in 2002. Life began to turn in another direction. Along with a divorce and need for more income, Carl left the clergy and began a new career, selling wine and spirits.
In the course of researching his book on generations, Carl discovered the DailyKos website. “While growing up, I was fed politics along with my Maypo, though in our house we saw all events through the prism of foreign policy toward the Soviet Union and what might be done to free the Baltic states. I considered myself a moderate Republican who occasionally voted for a good Democrat. At DailyKos,I found a home for political discussion and debate, especially in days when I felt the national Republican Party had utterly lost its mind and become unrecognizable to me.”
Carl registered on DailyKos and decided on his screen name: WineRev. Then came November 2008, with the election of our first African American president and a whisper-close outcome for the senate seat in Minnesota. Carl began a diary on DailyKos to keep readers abreast of the proceedings in Minnesota while adding some local color. The blog is now a book, Recounting Minnesota: Blogging the Al Franken Election Saga, published by Mélange Press.
Carl’s first book, Generations of Faith: A Congregational Atlas (Alban Institute, 2002) is an exploration of generational dynamics (as explored by Strauss & Howe) as reflectedin faith communities. Carl speaks to churches, not-for-profits and business organizations, helping people find ways toward better communication, fundraising, and governance. More on his generational work can be found here.
Carl continues to write, teaches at St. Mary’s College in St. Paul, and offers workshops and seminars around the country.