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...

Saturday, October 07, 2023

The Week in Review (October 7, 2023)

I have high hopes to get well into Acts today in my translation evaluation work, so I'll try to make quick work of this post.

Good work week. Contracts a'flying. New initiatives a'baking. Students a'cookin. Campus Edu is on a flywheel that, I predict next year at this time, will be spinnin' like crazy.

I'll cryptically say that I continue to watch events at Christian colleges with interest. Change is often an opportunity for improvement, but it can also reflect disintegration. Wondering if anyone is noticing and what their sense of the direction is.

I'm using every drop of extra time to work on this translation evaluation. I didn't advance hardly at all on my book-selling schemes.

US politics is more of the same, same old same old. Conservatives in the House take us to the brink on keeping the government open. The unhinged element in the "Republican" party ousts the Speaker of the House. Now we're in chaos. I don't know if the Democrats will end up liking this play or not. They participated in it no doubt hoping for something more moderate. Will they get it? "The grass is always greener..."

I waiver between disgust and despair.