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Teaching to Think

This blog is called A Teacher’s Blog. This makes it necessary to tell you what I mean when I use the word teacher. Most people see a teacher as a person that defines doctrine and gets you to believe it, be it math or theology.

I do not want to persuade you of anything. I want to get you to think and search on your own. Like Martin Buber, “I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue.”

Do you want to make me successful? Start thinking and build your own opinion. Do you want to make me happy? Start a dialogue with me.

I am a Gallup certified Strengths Coach. Whether I am a skilled writer you can find out yourself on this blog. In addition, I am a teacher in a local church involved in church leadership.

You don’t know where to start? This is one place to have some topically organised hints.

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About Me

I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue. Martin Buber

Welcome to A Teacher’s Blog, a home for all Christians that are hungry and thirsty for more—and those who want to get there. I am Ralph Rickenbach.

I do not believe in producing when there is no revelation, but when I produce, the articles tend to be meaty and a bit longer than average—just to warn you. But I hope you profit as much as I do.

I like the idea of dialoging with others. I strive to discover knowledge or wisdom I can share with the world. But I can struggle when it comes to directly expressing my judgments. I am more comfortable exchanging ideas by way of brainstorming aloud than I am in delivering harmonious monologues. I can also become impatient with those who are slow to understand my ideas. I often expect others to learn as quickly and independently as I do. For these reasons, I am ill-suited for teaching (with the exception of highly motivated individuals and small groups) and better off sharing my insights less directly, such as through writing.
But I am working on it.

Let me tell you a bit more about myself:

Early years—the Jesus people

I grew up as a Swiss heathen, until—7 years old—I was introduced to Christianity. My mom took us to a Jesus people church in Winterthur. We found ourselves sitting on pillows on the ground—in orange and brown—in a room without doors, as they were replaced by strings with sea shells, wine pegs, and beer caps. You guessed it—it was the seventies. Church consisted of singing to the guitar, having a short input, and discussion. This last part was my world—I loved participating in discussions with grown ups. It was more about positive feedback and pads on my back then being wise beyond my age:

And after three days they came across him in the Temple, seated among the wise men, giving ear to their words and putting questions to them. And all to whose ears it came were full of wonder at his knowledge and the answers which he gave. Luke 2:46-47

That was Jesus—and I tried hard to be like him. I did not know of the wise counsel Yoda gave his Padawan Luke—no, not the same Luke:

Do. Or not Do. There is no Try.

After a while we did not go to church any longer, and it took another 5 years to my next encounter with faith.

The next steps

This time we joined an evangelical denominational church. I just turned 12 and soon 13—the age of bar mitzvah. But instead of accepting my own responsibilities in life, I joined church because of another reason closely related to this age: girls.

Especially one.

Thus I went to church services, youth, read my bible, and hoped to catch her attention. Which never happened.

With 14, I was put in a Catholic boarding home.

Well, it sounds harsher than it was. Thanks to the boarding home I was able to finish my schooling—I was at the verge of quitting and dropping out before. Latin and French were such a pain.

In the midst of my high school, I left for a year in the USA. My first family: Quakers. My second: Lutheran. My third: Jews.

Finally saved, but

Finally, with 22, I gave my life to Jesus for good. I joined a charismatic church, married, had my three children there, active in leadership, worship team, the church newspaper, teaching youth and adult Sunday school. A computer programmer for a living.

And here I was. Close to forty, a multi-denominational breed, I had personally lived through church history in odd order. And then my life was turned upside down. I lost my job through bankruptcy. What followed was an uprooting decade plus, living through 4 bankruptcies, loosing an additional few jobs, being unemployed a few times.

Finally rooted

But finally rooted in a church.

God had talked to me earlier. He wanted me in full-time ministry. But nobody else wanted me there. So I took up a career as computer programmer.

And God had to shake me out of it when the time was right.

What followed was a long journey of maturing and growth. A journey into faith. Being placed in a team and a church family. It was a journey of forgiving myself.

And this is were I stand today: Just before the suddenlies. A son and father in Christ.

I am looking forward to what the future holds.

I hope my writing helps you in your walk with Christ.

If you want to support my work regularly, I do have a patreon page.


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I am a StrengthsFinder coach, helping people to find excellence in their work and life through knowing their individual talents and strengths, go-to strategies and blind spots. This helps them to know themselves better, find greater fulfilment and involvement in what they do, and leverage team work with much more success.

My own experience and unusual mix of strengths usually adds a fresh view point and helps to get things unstuck. Let me tell you a bit about this:

My top strengths are:

Ideation – I cannot stop coming up with ideas. I will not force them on you, nor will I implement them for you. Instead of giving you a fish, I will teach you to fish. I will connect the seemingly unrelated.

Learning – Give me something new, and I will research it for you with fervor. You can expect an in depth analysis of your problem.

Deliberation – I spot risks and implement things with caution. This is important, as most of the things I propose are “outside of the box”.

Intellect – I love to exchange concepts with you as an intelligent person. This makes sure that the ideas and results I come up with do not stay in my brain or remain black box implementations for you. You will know in depth the why, how, and what. By the way: our brain is a gift of God and is to be used.

Futuristic – Not that I am a prophet, but I can imagine the place you want to be and go after it.

Let me put it in a formula:

As I see the future, I generate a ton of ideas about how to get there, think through them thoroughly and learn what is necessary to deliberately and carefully do it without leaving you behind so you can bring it about.

Do you have an idea, a problem or a challenge?

Throw it at me! Drop me a line.

My German coaching company can be found here.

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Start here

My covenant with Levi was to give life and peace. I kept my covenant with him, and he honored me. He stood in reverent awe before me. He taught the truth and did not lie. He walked with me in peace and uprightness. He kept many out of the ditch, kept them on the road. It’s the job of priests to teach the truth. People are supposed to look to them for guidance. The priest is the messenger of God. Mal 2:5-7

There are so many places you can go on this page—let me take you on a tour with me. Or even better, let’s start on a journey together to grow in our faith and understanding of God’s plan for our lives.

One way is to just browse my blog. The other one: let me help you with some themes.

Now on with our voyage.


I believe that God created us as a whole. All our parts. Even our thinker. He talked about changing our mind, not shutting it down. What do I mean by that? And can you see the evolution and growth I did undergo over time as well?

Newer writing

Some of my newer writing is concerned with changes that are waiting, necessary, and much needed to happen in the church worldwide. Reading those articles, please remember that, with Martin Buber, I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue. Let me know what you think.

And some more you can find here.

Shadows and their Fulfillment

One of the topics I love to write about are the shadows of the old testament. What are they? Usually a shadow is something that can be observed externally that foreshadows—thus the name—an internal truth of the new testament. Some examples?

Spiritual Fathers and the Fivefold Ministry

Another topic I love. Church structure and growth process to more authority, to become true manifested sons of God.

More personal: About my Family

If you want to know a little more about me and my family:

On my Writing

Last for this page, as I do not want to turn this into a full-fledged table of contents, some pieces about my writing:

And of course you can hook up with me on social media. Buttons to do so are on the bottom of each page.

Guest Posts

This is a personal page. I readily accept guest posts from people I have a personal relationship with. Why do I limit guest posting to people I know? You find an answer here:

I hope you enjoy the journey.



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