I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.
Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.
You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”
In a technical aspect, a church is the result and a reflection of the spirit, mindset, goals, priorities, and methods of those who build it. For the average church this is a simple fact with straightforward results. For the outlier churches it is more complicated. These outliers suffer from multiple personality disorder. They are torn between who they are–determined by their spiritual and cultural heritage–and who they want to be–based on their unique spiritual understanding and convictions. The result is a church within a church, or perhaps more accurately, a church amongst a church. Continue reading
There is a story about the IBM AI (Artificial Intelligence) machine, named Watson, challenging the top all-time Jeopardy winners, and beating them. Never mind that Watson only defeated the humans by ‘finessing’ the buzzer; and pay no attention to the fact that in the end Watson is the culmination of human design and knowledge–without them Watson would still be a puddle of petroleum buried under a pile of iron ore and silica. Consider the following instead. Continue reading
Free Speech is a fundamental right of democratic society. It is also an horribly abused right. Every imaginable depravity is cloaked with the defense of free speech. This abuse is tolerated for fear of the proverbial “slippery slope”. Although we approvingly chuckle at the famous quote by a supreme court justice: that he knew obscenity when he saw it; it does expose the problem with any encroachment on free speech. We might agree with that particular judge as to his view on obscenity, but what about the next one? And when they decide that condemning homosexuality is obscene, what then? And yet our society is awash in depravity and its effects are monumental and disastrous. Something must be done, but we fear that the medicine might become worse than the disease. Perhaps an answer lies in apprehending the full meaning of FREE speech. Continue reading
Public preaching is the purest and plainest definition of the word “preach” in the commandment “preach the gospel”. It is almost comical to watch those that wish to break loose of its shackles attempt to say that preaching means anything other than preaching. I see little problem with classifying door-knocking, or personal evangelism, or even friendship evangelism as preaching the gospel, but for heaven’s sake (literally) do not declassify preaching as preaching the gospel. Continue reading
I believe that it is wrong to leave a church without established elders. I believe that it is wrong to consider a newly ordained elder as established. And, I think it is wrong to ordain more than one elder at a time. Allow me to expound briefly on each of these individually. (Update: I wrote that a while back and have since seen it desirable to tweak these points a bit.) Continue reading
I read a quote in coffee table book: “Don’t you hate that… a plastic surgeon makes more money than a pediatrician.” This is classic coffee table book drivel. Sadly it is not limited to coffee table books; it is pervasive in our society that emphasizes nobility over objective logic. Continue reading
Many churches have bookstores. They believe that they are serving the congregation by providing books “at cost”. However, there are several serious problems with this business model.