Monday, January 22, 2024

The Week in Review (January 22, 2024)

1. I missed Saturday's post, mostly because I was rushing to finish a draft of a psychology course for my work. One of the fun aspects of my job is helping various subject matter experts create courses on various subjects. I think I am uniquely suited for this role because I have such eclectic interests. Currently, I'm facilitating the creation of a psychology, advanced writing, and biology course. 

I finished the draft this morning. Now of course the subject expert will make it into his own likeness. Whenever I finish a course like this one, I think, "I should create a pastor's guide to psychology," just like I created a Pastor's Brief Guide to Business last year. Maybe someday.

2. I am scrambling to write two books because of the initiative I started in the fall. One is Ten Secrets about Jesus. I ran some marketing headlines by Twitter and Facebook. "Which headline would make you want to click?" The responses were all over the place but it seems like "What they don't want you to know about Jesus" got the most with "Was Jesus a troublemaker?" probably second. Other candidates were "Jesus was a conservative... and a liberal." Do any of those pique your curiosity? 

Technically, I'm supposed to run a market test on Facebook but I'm bogged down with getting my Facebook "pixel" to work for good tracking.

The other book is Hanging on to Faith by a Thread. It is an old idea but with new impetus because of a phone conversation I had last week with someone struggling with faith. I did a poll on Facebook for what chapter items should be included in this one as well.

3. The past week was not without its unique challenges because of the weather. Sub-zero weather had us strategizing keeping the chickens alive. Then we are down to one car for various reasons, and its battery died because of the cold. Today it looks like we will be back up to two working cars by the end of the week. So far all the chickens have survived, but now it's supposed to rain all week. Sucks for them!

Sometimes life just sucks almost everything out of you. But somehow we make it, thank the Lord!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Two Weeks in Review (January 13, 2023)

1. As I write, strong gusts of wind blow across the vacant corn fields around me as the temperature plunges. We're expecting temperatures in the single digits positive and perhaps negative this week. We've brought a number of the chickens into the garage in preparation, although the big coop has a heater in it. Quite the party.

Somehow I missed last week's week in review. I think I was scrambling to finish Steve Deneff's micro-course on holiness. This weekend a misunderstanding has me giving a fair amount of time to a course called Writing to Convince. I do enjoy being part of these course creations. Once psychology and biology are finished, we will have the full panoply of gen ed courses on offer.

The way it works is that a college adopts our courses and takes on our faculty as adjuncts. We administer the dual-enrollment program for them with their complete involvement. They give us names and connect us to (potentially) feeder high schools. There are other streams of students, including college students, that feed into the same classes. Because we administer it, a good deal of the friction of the traditional academy is bypassed. 

So there is a growing army of associated high schools (currently around 25) and a growing number of colleges from which the student can opt to receive the credit. 

It is so hard to get anything done in the traditional academy system. It's no wonder so many colleges and universities are struggling. Friction. Friction. Friction. If someone has a great idea on a high level, sometimes they are ground to a halt in the hands of infrastructure people who have lost the plot or never knew it. Or maybe a middle-level director has the vision but can't get buy-in from someone on a higher level. Courses are created that are never used because of politics or systems that they don't fit neatly into. Lots of places in the traditional system for good ideas to fail or be ground to a pulp.

It's frankly maddening. We used to wonder if we should just buy a failing college ourselves. But the goal was always to create an Amazon of college courses, a network of the best of the best of the best. We are in a really good place.

2. On New Year's Eve, I decided to go ahead and self-publish a Spanish version of my ethics. No one buys my books anyway. The reason it is iffy is that I used AI to translate it and didn't pay someone to proofread it. But that's hardly worth it. It would cost well over $1000 to have it proofed and I wouldn't see that much money from it for the rest of my life. Something is better than nothing. If no one uses it, so be it. AI translations are getting better and better. They will prevail soon.

Over the last couple months, I've been generating an AI paraphrase of John. I wasn't satisfied with what AI initially came up with, so I did a lot of paraphrasing myself beyond its raw output. You can tell me if you like the result.

Other projects in the works, as always.

Wishing you all electricity and heat this next week.

Monday, January 01, 2024

New Years Resolutions (2024)

It's time again to write a bunch of stuff about this coming year. Since I typically write a bunch of stuff that I hardly finish, I'll try to stay reasonable here.

Personal

  • Run five times a week
  • Read a chapter of the Bible a day
  • Read 20 pages of something each week
Udemy

  • Put a New Testament Greek course up
YouTube

  • Hebrew of the Week on Wednesdays
  • Through the Bible on Sundays
Self-Publishing
  • The Antichrist
  • Explanatory Notes on Passion Week
  • Twenty-Five Years Teaching Philosophy

Real Publishing

  • Science and Scripture
Probably the biggest goal I have is to set up my self-published books on Shopify and to market them to an interested list. We'll see.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Year in Review (2023)

1. Another year has passed. I continue to be grateful to work for Campus Edu. We have done some tremendous things this year. We found a couple partners who believed in the vision and committed wholeheartedly to it. Oklahoma Baptist University partnered with us to connect high schools to them through our core general education courses (20 courses we built). This was huge. We really only needed one dedicated partner, and they caught the vision. Southwest Baptist and Kingswood University have since joined as well. 

Oklahoma Baptist is also launching Raley Collge with us, an idea about which we have been in conversation with other schools as well. In this approach, students live in the dorms with the other students but take almost all of their general education courses with us at a lower tuition rate. They get an AA degree at the end of two years.

The other key partner was Kingswood University. Together, we have launched Kingswood Learn, a gift of free micro-courses to the Wesleyan Church. These courses are great by well-known Wesleyans across the church, and churches/individuals can upload courses to the platform as well. I believe that this will quickly become a repository of the best of the Wesleyan Church and a go-to place for resources.

2. I did manage to publish some things this year. I had a three-pronged strategy: 1) self-publishing, 2) Udemy, and 3) YouTube. 

Udemy
I put a Hebrew course on Udemy which, all in all, has done pretty well (over 100 students). The Romans course I put up has not done as well.

YouTube
I added over 1000 subscribers on YouTube. My best post was Merry Christmas Algebra, which has almost had 1000 viewers this month. My work has been quite absorbing in the final part of the year and sapped nearly every last bit of my time. As a result, my posting fell off pretty dramatically these last couple months.

Publishing
I did manage to have one book published in the official way: Explanatory Notes on Hebrews. I don't have analytics to know how it is doing.

I am most happy with some of my self-publishing ventures this year. 

Wesleyan Theology
After several years of waiting, I finally edited my notes on Wesleyan theology and published them. I am very proud of these. I also used tools to translate them into Spanish, actually submitting the ethics book in Spanish today, just under the wire.

Explanatory Notes
In addition to the Hebrews volume above, I also published some Explanatory Notes on the Resurrection Narratives of the Gospels:
I experimented a little with AI this year. I was disappointed that my explorations did not get more interest than they did. I haven't given up.
Finally, my mother was quite keen for me to publish a book her father had written in 1960:
3. I remain grateful for the Lord's graciousness to me. God has been faithful. Angie has mostly recovered from her accident in 2022. These have been humbling days for me, but I hope they have brought clarity to who I am and what is important.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

The Week in Review (December 30, 2023)

1. This week of course has included Christmas. I apologize for being one of those sad souls who dread Christmas. The expense has often been overwhelming. I am not good at finding pleasing presents. There are sometimes tensions with broader family. The whole event is the most stressful part of the year for me. I always breathe a breath of relief on Christmas evening. I realize the true meaning of Christmas is lost in all that, but I'm being honest. I have to think I am not alone.

I'd almost like to have a separate day set aside mid-year to celebrate Jesus' birth.

2. On Thursday, I traveled to Cincinnati for FOLLOW, the youth convention my denomination has every four years. I'm still there as I type. This has been really fun. It comes home to me how many youth pastors and pastors I've taught over the years. These are my friends, and it's good to see them.

I'm here with the launch of Kingswood Learn, a free resource for the Wesleyan Church that Kingswood and Campus Edu have partnered to provide. Feel free to sign up and enroll in some micro-courses (5-10 hours each). I'm one of the instructional designers behind the lessons in many of these courses. Let me just point out a few:

3. I am pondering an increasing sense that the Wesleyan Church as a denomination is devolving toward a connection. I would say this trend is largely fueled by Boomer leaders associated with large churches. Many of them are afraid of what has happened in the UMC. They don't like the Trust Clause that says church property belongs to the denomination. They don't like paying the denominational "tithe" that funds schools and central administration. They also have a more Baptistic ecclesiology.

I'm trying to be objective. I think the idea that a connection of churches would retain a coherent Wesleyan identity, that we would still have Follow and The Gathering and common ordination standards and Global Partners and organized church planting and schools that retained a Wesleyan identity seems unlikely to me over the long term. Our schools would go their own way, whatever that is. Small churches would fizzle away without support. Large churches would do their own thing as they pretty much are now, largely Baptist by another name. There would be little funding for current denominational events or initiatives.

We'll see what happens. I think it might take a very intentional effort to reverse the current trajectory. It may already be too late. The Trust Clause would have to stay. The "tithe" would need to stay. District leadership would probably have to be balanced back away from large churches. There would need to be more submission to the denomination's general leadership, whose power is weaker than it has ever been since the denomination was founded in 1968.

What do you think?

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas (December 25, 2023)

Merry Christmas all!

I woke up with the words from Longfellow's 1863 poem on my mind. I posted three stanzas on Facebook:

I heard the bells on Christmas day,
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on Earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on Earth, " I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on Earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on Earth, good will to men

This is my wish for the new year. The world is crazy right now, but it could get crazier. Praying that cooler heads prevail in this new year. I keep asking myself what I could do in my world to build peace.

2. I missed my Saturday review. I feel like I've been busier these last couple weeks than at any time in my life. We are rollling out Kingswood Learn. Check it out!

I built the "innards" for several of these: church history with Bud Bence, the brief guides to the Old and New Testaments, theology of the body, JoAnne Lyon's "Saying 'Yes' to the Holy Spirit, Dave Smith's How to Study the Bible, and more. I may have put too much work into them, but I saw it as a service to the church. To me it was important.

3. Nice to have all my children home for Christmas. Angie did have a wee bout of COVID but is coming out of it in time for Christmas day. I have tested negative so far and feel fine. Praying the same for the rest of the family.

4. I'm off to FOLLOW the rest of the week, the every-other-year youth convention of the Wesleyan Church. Hope to see many former students.

Merry Christmas all!

Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Week in Review (December 15, 2023)

1. The first semester of Campus' dual enrollment program ended today. It all clicked rather quickly in late summer and we ended with over fifty high school students in it. That's pretty amazing for such short notice. We're now gearing up for a spring semester.

Here are some of the key points:

  • We had 10 options for fall. Now there will be close to twenty for spring.
  • You can now choose between three colleges to transcribe the credit: Oklahoma Baptist, Southwest Baptist, and Kingswood University.
  • OBU is launching Raley College in the spring where you live in the dorm but take online classes through Campus.
In short, things are really ramping up.

2. I spent the bulk of the week on a "concept" micro-course to show how some resources the CCCU has on "sexual and gender minorities" might be put together for professional development. This was quite a task because it required processing a constellation of materials they have and trying to simplify them. I'll be interested to know what they think.

3. I've been burning the candle at both ends for work with little time for my own project. Let me just mention that I have two Christmas books you might consider.

First, there was Gabriel's Diary: The Incarnation. This was the first novel I ever actually finished, back in 2017. It tells the story of the incarnation from Gabriel's perspective.

Then the second I did last year: Explanatory Notes on Jesus' Birth. This is my old style verse-by-verse commentary, covering the birth stories in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2, with the first part of John 1 thrown in.

4. Sophie's home. She finished up her quick trip around Europe with Copenhagen. Then she returned to Edinburgh to pack up her stuff. Now she's back in the states again. Now she is conspiring to figure out how to get back to Europe. 

Saturday, December 09, 2023

The Week in Review (December 9, 2023)

Oh, how the weeks fly.

1. My daughter Sophie has had a very enjoyable week traveling Europe before her soon return to America. From Amsterdam, she meant to go by train to Strasbourg and then to Munich. God or chaos theory intervened. A railway strike kept her from France, leaving her to look around the scintillating Karlsruhe (sarcasm). Then unexpected snow and frigid temperatures stopped her train journey at Ulm (it has a spectacular minster which I don't believe she was able to see in the end). Finally, after a night staying warm on a parked train with free coffee, she actually had to take a taxi from Ulm to Munich, thankfully at Deutschebahn's expense.

I have a strangely clear memory of most of these locations from my European days first in the 90s and then on my two sabbaticals in Germany in 2004 and 2011. The privileges of another life when I was a scholar. We spent late 2011/early 2012 in Munich, so Sophie revisited some of the old haunts from our time there, including the Gisele Gymnasium where Tom and she went to school.

Last Friday, Ken Blake in Munich unexpectedly found out he was in danger of a heart attack. God graciously drew attention to the situation before it became really serious. The long and the short of it is that Sophie was able to visit with the Blakes for several hours the afternoon he came home from the hospital. We attended their Wesleyan church when we were there on sabbatical.

She then spent a couple days in Vienna, another place we had visited in 2011. Then on to Copenhagen, a place still on my bucket list. I provided her with a few tales of Soren Kierkegaard and Niels Bohr. I'm so thankful she has been able to do this and that God has kept her safe.

2. I had the idea to make a video of a fun algebra ditty a former Greek student once showed me. It takes an equation and reworks it into the form of "merry x-mas." I put it online Wednesday and it already has over 600 hits. It will probably turn out to be the most successful YouTube video I've made.

I haven't had much time for my science and math goals, unfortunately. Just too busy.

3. The Kingswood Learn platform with free micro-courses for the church has been shared with a beta group but will launch officially at the end of the year. I will make sure that you know how to sign up when the time comes. I've finished my part of Bud Bence's "Brief Guide to Church History" and David Smith's "How to Read the Bible." This week I've slipped in Eric Hallett's "Missional Ministry Development." This resource is going to be huge. And your church can upload things too!

4. I am so very grateful to be doing what I'm doing. The young people I work with are so smart, so sharp, so talented. They dance circles around me in so many things. I am grateful to be part of what we're doing and, hopefully, I'm doing my part too. 

Saturday, December 02, 2023

The Week in Review (December 2, 2023)

So we enter the final month of 2023. This week blew by. I find myself looking back and wondering where it went. Such it would seem is most of life for many of us. We wake up one morning and we are old, and we can't quite figure out where our lives went. I am not 60, but I do find myself feeling old on several counts.

The main event of my week was a quick trip to Dallas to ACSI headquarters. My organization and ACSI have been working together for a couple years now. We are doing a lot of work currently with Christian high schools, so an ongoing relationship seems appropriate. 

I'm effectively the chief academic officer for Campus Edu, so there was a lot of "make sure everyone and every course gets across the finish line" work this week. Checking in on students, checking in on professors. A little teaching here and there. Not a lot of time for my own projects. We are on a deadline to get dozens of micro-courses launched for Kingswood University by the first of the year, so that is consuming a lot of time. I'm working on several higher ed courses for spring too. A lot to do.

My daughter Sophie is doing a quick once around Europe this week. She's been through Amsterdam and is now in Germany. Strikes and snow are messing with her nicely laid-out plan a bit. She's bringing back memories. On this score, she's reliving some of my life.

AI is coming. It's only here in a taste. I know new millionaires are in the making. I won't be one of them. I suppose AGI might make that money meaningless anyway. We'll see. I wouldn't mind AI taking over the world. Just as long as I could convince it of the right values. :-)

That's it for this week in review. This weekend? Hopefully a couple more chapters of AI translation. A bit of work on a biology course and a missional ministry microcourse. Probably should slip a run in there. Grading would be responsible. Blessings to you all.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Two Weeks in Review (November 25, 2023)

I missed last week's review because I was in Scotland for my daughter's master's graduation from the University of Edinburgh. I also missed SBL (Society of Biblical Literature), although I doubt I would have gone anyway this year.  

A lot of scholarly banter is the process of sorting through ideas, so I suppose much of the process of this sort of scholarship does not end up going anywhere. Probably most papers at SBL, IBR (Institute for Biblical Research), or ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) end up unhelpful to anyone but the presenter.

There are some works each year that stand out, and the book hall is always a highlight. This year, Nijay Gupta's Tell Her Story has sold so many copies that it has already gone through several printings. It is of course scholarship written for a more general audience. 

The divide between the academy and the grassroots church seems larger than ever. The academy has a tendency to be dismissive because it knows stuff, but the popular church has its own interests and is making itself heard. I have long mourned the seeming inability of the two to communicate with each other. They both need each other.

2. Scotland was enjoyable. Very proud of my daughter. Made me want to write a book summarizing my twelfth-grade humanities class. It was a mixture of history, art, philosophy, and literature. We went to several museums, including the Kelvingrove in Glasgow. We saw El Grecos, Picasso, van Gogh, Renoir, Raphael, etc. Plenty of history too. John Knox, Mary Queen of Scots, St. Giles. Good food as well -- Italian, Greek, Korean, Scottish breakfasts, etc.

I finished the church history micro-course the week prior to departure. I was told the material was very good, perhaps even publishable. Now finishing up a How to Study the Bible micro-course featuring some videos from David Smith.

Not much else to say. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Life goes on.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Week in Review (November 11, 2023)

1. Quite a significant week for Campus Edu and perhaps for higher education. Our partner, Oklahoma Baptist University, launched Raley College at OBU with us. The concept is fairly simple:

  • You live in the dorm and participate in campus life. You go to chapel. You eat in the cafeteria. You can't play intercollegiate sports, however, because you're in an associate degree program (AA in Interdisciplinary Studies).
  • You take one face-to-face class, but the other four are online classes partnered with Campus. They are, in effect, OBU classes with OBU professors in OBU's catalog. Campus Edu is like a really fancy textbook with a professor inside.
  • The tuition is $10,000, making this the least expensive tuition of any CCCU school. The goal is to serve as a junior college. Why go to a secular community college, sometimes with less equipped instructors?
  • Someone could of course commute. Room and board is $8400.

This is like a Priceline model. Sell the empty rooms in your dorms at a special rate. Why let them sit empty? Most students will still want the classroom experience if they can afford it. But this just might get some to come who can't. And they get a Christian perspective with courses designed for digital natives. Then you can try to upsell them into your bachelor's programs.

OBU has been a model partner. They are motivated, willing to take calculated risks, willing to change when it is reasonable. They have really helped us refine the model. Rarely have we found such a nimble partner. We have talked to other potential partners whose fear of cannibalizing students who might pay full price undermined the project. 

The key is that virtually no student actually pays full sticker price at any private college. By the time scholarships and such are added, the average tuition a student pays is usually about half of the sticker price. It's a game. And the amount a college wants to make on a student from tuition is perhaps half of that. In the end, colleges won't actually make much less on a student with this program. And if it gets or retains students who wouldn't otherwise have attended, it's gold.

2. The rest of my week was spent working on church history courses. On Wednesday, Bud Bence and I met on the campus of Anderson University where the Wesleyan Church was founded. We did some bantering about the merger. This will become a Wesleyan Church History and Discipline course toward ordination, largely with Kingswood, with some other surprises in store. Kingswood has also proved to be a model partner.

The rest of the week I was putting together the micro-course version of Bud Bence's full church history course. A Bud Bence legacy course already exists through Kingswood. As part of the Kingswood Learn project, we will be rolling out over fifty free micro-courses for the Wesleyan Church. One of them is a crash five Lesson course in church history, featuring some videos from Bud's broader class.

The church is going to love what Kingswood is providing as a service, for free. What an incredible discipleship tool for the church!

Saturday, November 04, 2023

The Week in Review (November 4, 2023)

1. The week started in Oklahoma with the Campus team. We were visiting a great university that I may post about on Linkedin in the near future. This is a scrappy college that is not only willing to think outside the box, but they know how to navigate the landmines. This one might make the papers.

We have only encountered a few colleges with this kind of growth mindset. Some just don't see it. Some can't get out of their own way. Some think they're God's gift to academia.  

2. Kingswood is another scrappy college that is seizing the moment. Almost all of the video for the upcoming free micro-courses is shot and now we are busy assembling the courses themselves. Really shaping up to be quite a contribution to the church. Look for the primary launch at the first of the year.

3. Work on spring courses is also in full swing. Here is an example of a high school landing page we have set up for Houghton Academy. We have almost twenty Christian high schools now taking these courses. Another university in Missouri has just signed up as another option to transcribe the credit, with more colleges on the way. Momentum!

4. That doesn't leave a lot of time for personal goals. Nevertheless, I continue working on AI translations of John and Revelation. I did some outlining for a book on Science and Scripture. Hopefully I'll live long enough to finish some of these projects.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Week in Review (October 28, 2023)

1. A good work week. I am working a lot with content, which suits my skills as a writer. I built the content for a micro-course called "Theology of the Body" featuring Jonathan Morgan. This is the Kingswood Learn project where Kingswood will soon be offering to the church over fifty free courses on topics relevant to Christian life and the church. We also set in motion a new dual enrollment course in Psychology and set up the process for others to move forward for spring.

I have long recognized that capitalism generally rewards those who mechanize content rather than those who create it. It is not the screenwriters that make the big bucks in Hollywood but the actors and especially the producers. Jeff Bezos isn't a billionaire because he writes books but because he sells them. This is just the way the world is. I am a content provider.

2. I have been moving forward with "Project One-Two Punch." This is to have a free e-book to get people to sign up for my book distribution list. Then I will offer a three-book bundle as a follow-up. If you've read these posts, you might remember that I've been debating which books to feature. I've played a little with the idea of an AI paraphrase of the Bible.

A night ago, I was having trouble sleeping and edited AI paraphrases of John 1 and Revelation 1. Then I added study notes to Revelation 1 in study Bible format (biblical text at top, study notes at bottom). I was actually pretty pleased with the combination of using ChatGPT to create a raw translation/paraphrase and then for me to use my knowledge and skills to edit it. Tonight I did John 2 and Revelation 2.

I don't know if anyone will buy it, but that's how I'm proceeding. The current plan is to give the "AI Living Paraphrase" of the Gospel of John away for free in exchange for signing up for my emails. Then the bundle will include Study Notes on an AI paraphrase of Revelation and two other books for $19.99 plus shipping. For the other two books, I'm currently thinking Gabriel's Diary: The Incarnation and Chats About God: A Novel Seeking Faith. We'll see.

3. I am fascinated by the reaction of so many younger Americans against Israel and for the Palestinians. Clearly, the situation is complicated. Hamas committed horrible atrocities and the guilty parties should be eliminated. At the same time, the response sometimes seems to hit the wrong target in a disproportionate way. I'm curious how these events will play themselves out in the next presidential election.

4. A new speaker of the House. I read an interesting interview about the speaker here. Another shooter in Maine. No will to change anything as usual.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Week in Review (October 21, 2023)

1. My work continues to go well. Very excited about current and emerging products and partnerships. For example, you will be able to take a cybersecurity class through Campus Edu in the Spring.

2. Today I had my first stint on a DBMD (District Board of Ministerial Development). I consider it a sacred task. Our job is both to mentor and assess candidates for ordination. I was very pleased with all the candidates we saw today.

The process reflected the organizational genius of Carla Working and Kalina Carlson. It was SO well run. It was by light years a more efficient and helpful process than when I went through over 30 years ago. One could also see continued signs of the "Alan Hirschification" of the denomination, particularly on the subject of baptism.

3. As last weekend came to an end, I finished evaluating a paraphrase (not The Passion translation). In a little shy of a month, I had plowed through the 260 chapters and 7,959 verses in the NT one by one noting significant paraphrases, paraphrase and interpretive additions, omissions, and general errors. Quite a task.

One thing led to another, and at the end of the week, I ended up experimenting a little with using AI to "translate" some chapters of the Bible with a relatively young reader in view. I liked the result. I know someone will publish an AI "translation" of the Bible. Why not me? We'll see.

4. The House still hasn't elected a speaker. The Republican Party seems like a complete mess. After January 6, it is befuddling to me that Donald Trump could be a candidate for President again.  

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict continues. As it turns out, the bombing of a hospital was probably an errant jihadist missile. It is a reminder of our knowledge predicament. Much of the time, you and I are not in a position to know what's really going on. We're just sitting somewhere on our phones or laptops being fed stuff. We should have a "hermeneutics of suspicion" toward the voices out there, especially the ones we like the most. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

The Week in Review (October 14, 2023)

I write my weekly entry with a lovely night pitter-patter of rain on the roof in the background.

1. The big world news this week is the attack of Hamas on Israel. My first thought was what in the world were they thinking. Israel generally smashes them after this sort of thing. They seem to have no chance of success. One difference this time is hostages. Hamas has hostages, which makes this a somewhat different situation. Nevertheless, the smashing has begun. 

Having said that, what has happened consistently in the past with major conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians is that Israel ends up with more land. Israel telling the Palestinians to vacate the northern Gaza Strip has the possible markings of another land expansion. Lots of thoughts about these things, but my thoughts will have no impact on the situation. 

Lots of people talking prophecy. God of course can fulfill the words of Scripture however he wants. In context, however, I doubt there is any passage in the Bible that had the current conflict in mind. My grandfather would have a different approach if you want to read his book.

2. Lots of great things happening with Campus Edu. I expect a string of partnership announcements and ventures over the next weeks. With regard to the micro-courses for Kingswood Learn, I was privileged to work on J. L. Miller's micro-course on "Healthy Spiritual Practices" this week. I think you're going to love what he has to say!

3. I've been filling every extra moment with my translation evaluation work. Even now I hope to work quite a bit in the night. Did you know the New Testament has 260 chapters and almost 8000 verses? I will have read through the whole New Testament with an eye to the Greek hopefully in two or three more days. For the record, I'm not liking the particular translation I'm working through much at all (it's not the Passion). 

I keep wishing I could be working on my own Explanatory Notes as I go verse by verse through the NT. I hope I can before I die. What I wouldn't mind some help pondering is whether the verse-by-verse format is actually desirable. I've wondered if people might enjoy more a selective commentary--verses where there is something striking. I was getting at something like that with my "Ten Surprising Things about Romans" idea. Your thoughts always welcome.

Well, back to Acts...