Ansel Oliver and Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN
When Kent Hansen gets a case of the Monday blues, he doesn't mope around the office; he blogs about finding God in "ordinary" and oftentimes faith-testing situations.
Hansen says he "stumbled into" online ministry. The Southern Californian attorney whose blog, Monday Grace, now reaches 4,000 readers, began writing the weekly devotionals on practical faith in 1998 when his sister was in the last stages of pancreatic cancer.
"I said, 'God, I'll write if you give me something to write about,'" Hansen remembers.
Aside from completing academic or legal assignments, he hadn't written anything for 20 years, after his fiancée died in an auto accident during his junior year of college.
Since beginning Monday Grace, Hansen, who recently did a series on worry, says he has tried to "write about life, but be positive." He previously covered prayer, forgiveness and other "things people wrestle with."
Many would say his devotionals come at the ideal time.
"The people I work with sit at the computer Monday morning and say, 'Ugh ... another week.' They're facing tough stuff and I want to say something positive about God to them," Hansen says.
Out of his blogs came two books: Grace at 30,000 Feet and Other Unexpected Places (Review & Herald Publishing, 2002) and Cleansing Fire, Healing Streams: Experiencing God's Love Through Prayer (Pacific Press, 2007).
As a boy growing up in Santa Cruz, California, Hansen was interested in history and government and knew he wanted to study law. He also demonstrated an early interest in writing -- he composed short stories, edited his academy newspaper and minored in Journalism at Seventh-day Adventist-owned La Sierra University.
In 1979, Hansen graduated with a law degree from Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. Since 2000, he has worked as general counsel for Loma Linda University, where he supervises four other university lawyers. He also serves as La Sierra's legal advisor.
While Hansen doesn't hear from everyone who reads his blog, many do contact him -- asking for prayer or sharing their experiences. "Over time it establishes a community," he says.
That community extends to some "fairly remote places," he has learned. "I've heard from [readers in] Mozambique and Zimbabwe. One woman who came across [the blog] is a Ukrainian exchange student in Beijing, China."
Hansen sees a blog as a place people who might not show up in church Saturday morning or attend an evangelistic meeting can find God. "It's very hard to get people in the doors of your church. This reaches them at their desks," he says. "That's where most of them spend their time."
Several people have even decided to become Christians because of his ministry, he says.
Broadening his reader base, several church conferences and the C.S. Lewis Foundation now run an RSS feed of his devotionals on their sites.
While Hansen's ministry might be a bit "unusual," it's also "practical and insightful," says Lowell Cooper, a reader and Loma Linda University board chair. "He's very gifted in expressing spiritual truths. He's got readers across the spectrum," Cooper says.
To read Hansen's weekly devotionals or subscribe to the e-mail version, visit mondaygrace.com.