“Guess who’s back…back again…”

“Good grief, Dave, the first post in 2 months, and you lead with a 20-year-old Eminem reference?”

Shaking the rust off, dude.

“What about all those promises to post reviews of books you read this year, remember that? Regular content, you said. I assume you *have* been reading books. So where are the reviews?”

Yeah, about that…

“You have talked frequently about spending less time on social media and more time ‘creating.’ You even wrote a Medium post about that. And that was it–just talk. Are you still on Twitter and Facebook?”

I deleted the apps off my phone.

“What about the browser? Are you logged in to them on your phone’s browser?”

“Look, man, I don’t mean to come at you so hard, right out of the gate. But you keep telling me that you want to write consistently. You have interesting ideas to explore. You wanted to do a whole series of posts about The Federalist Papers, remember? You wrote 4 or 5 posts before stopping. That was 16 months ago. And it was an interesting idea. You should follow up on that at some point.”

Yeah, I keep thinking about that.

“There are book reviews to write, sermon manuscripts to share, maybe even some short stories or poetry. Remember? You used to write poetry, too.”

That’s true. My wife really enjoys when I write poetry.

“See? All I’m saying is, it may be time to start delivering on the promises and good intentions you’ve been carrying around for all these years. How old are you now, 38?”

I’m 37. Birthday’s in October.

“Okay, then, 37. How about this? We start now with some regular content. Start flexing the ol’ creative muscles. And then we start working on the manuscript to your NaNoWriMo novel, Good Shepherd, and get that baby done before 40 comes around.”

That’s…not a bad idea. I still really like that story.

“You’re right, it’s not a bad idea–it’s a great idea. That story should be told. But we gotta baby-step this one. It starts with writing consistently.”

Okay, I’ll do it. Starting today, I’m gonna–

“STOP. Stop making promises. No more resolutions. Just do it. Don’t tell me about it. Just do it.”

Okay. Today, then.

“Today.”

Done.

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#FridayFive: More Medium Meanderings!

Happy Friday, friends and readers! I’m back (finally!) with another 5 Medium posts I’ve read recently that I thought you might find interesting!

“It’s Time To Stop Feeling Guilty About Everything”–Stephen Altrogge gives us a great reminder about the difference between godly guilt (conviction) and fleshy/worldly “guilt.” It’s helpful for me to be reminded that some of my “guilty feelings” are not from God, but are self-imposed and dumb.

“One Year Without A Smartphone”–I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about the pros and cons of pulling back from technology/social-media, and I found this post by Noah Lekas to be pretty thought-provoking, particularly the idea that intentional “boredom” is a boost to creative thinking. I’m not getting rid of my smartphone anytime soon (especially since I’m still paying it off, which galls me, but that’s another issue), but articles like this help me to regard this tech a bit more suspiciously.

“This is the ONLY Thing You Need To Do To Become a Multi-Millionaire”: Okay, I’ve read more than a few Medium posts, and many of the productivity/rise-and-grind/go-get-em posts seem like they follow a template, or at least fall into a series of cliches and tropes. Well, Luke Trayser nails the tone and ridiculousness of such posts with this great satirical piece. Worth a look…unless you don’t want to be MEGA-SUCCESSFUL!!!

“How 2,000+ random coffee dates changed our company culture”: I found this piece thought-provoking, particularly with how it may be transferred to a church context. Obviously, you would make adjustments for the sake of wisdom and propriety, but in larger churches, it might be an intriguing way to introduce people and families who don’t know each other.

“Forget Atticus: Why We Should Stop Teaching ‘To Kill A Mockingbird'”: Normally, I would put such articles into the “this is why we can’t have nice things” pile, but this one caught my attention. At the risk of sounding dismissive, the author’s issue with TKAM is not that the troubling language and content is offensive, but that the book’s protagonist isn’t “woke” enough. Again, I have a tendency to shake my head at “revisionist interpretations” of classic (or at least much-beloved) literature, but I was interested by the author’s argument: Atticus Finch, forever heralded as a beacon of progressive color-blindness, still holds the experience of black people at arm’s length. By teaching children to emulate Finch, this author posits, children learn to be paternalistic, classist, less opposed to racist language and thought as much as mildly disgusted by and dismissive of it. FWIW, I don’t agree with the author’s overall premise, but I think his reasoning is worth considering as we take another look at this literary figure.

Bonus Video: Cal Newport is a smart guy. Here’s a TED talk from him, arguing why you and I should stop using social media:

Feeding Habits.

I noticed a couple of things recently about my online reading habits that I thought might be helpful:

One:

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a tendency to bookmark a lot of blog posts and news articles but can never keep up with them. Almost immediately, I develop an ever-growing backlog of posts, and the thought of catching up on all this material that I was (at least at one point) interesting in reviewing becomes too daunting to consider.

I went through my Feedly bookmarks list, which at that point was over 500 links strong, and started deleting stories that I wasn’t interested in reading anymore. As I did so, I noticed that much of what I was deleting were news stories and hot takes about “current events” that, up to a year later, now don’t seem very pressing or even informative. So many breathless responses to political events or online squabbles, so many “five results of the latest decision by X” that didn’t pan out the way the author thought (or at all).

I was reminded of a truth that everyone knows but that hides in plain sight: much of what we consider “urgent” and “newsworthy” won’t matter in six months, or a year, or ten years, or eternity. They are blips and shadows, made of nothing and gone.

The more I think on this, the fewer times I hit “bookmark.” I find myself now, scanning what might amuse or inform, and saving what I want to ponder that may actually matter.

I’ll get around to it all someday, I’m sure.

Two:

Speaking of feeds, I was looking at my Medium bookmarks again. (Remember when I said I wanted to do a weekly round-up of things that were interesting? Yeah, I’m gonna try to get back to that this week.)

You can tell a lot about the state of your heart/mind by what stories draw your interest. I would encourage you (even dare you) to try it, just to see what it is that draws your attention these days.

(And there is also the question of curation: we can limit or expand what stories we search and see on such sites. Mainly, I’m pulling from the few topics I’ve marked as interests for the site’s algorithm [that’s a whole ‘nother discussion] as well as sites I follow. I think the idea still fits, though.)

In the interest of authenticity, here’s a sampling of what my Medium bookmarks reveal about my heart interests:

  • I haven’t given up on the idea of writing novels, even if I’m not following through by actually, ya know, writing.
  • I’m interested in procrastinating less / producing more; having a killer morning/evening/lunchtime/workday routine; sleeping more; sleeping less; drinking lots of coffee; leveling up my life in a host of potentially contradictory ways.
  • I’m feeling politically orphaned, and want to read other people who agree that being conservative doesn’t necessarily mean riding the GOP bandwagon all the way down the line. I’m also interested in hearing about the experiences of people I disagree with politically, but only as much as it doesn’t annoy me greatly.
  • I want to quit social media. Badly. But I can’t seem to do it.
  • Yeah, I really want to be more productive, it seems. So many #LIFEHACKy things.
  • I’m curious about self-publishing my books, and have been collecting all sorts of tips and tricks.
  • I like thinking about storytelling in film and books, and how those things speak to cultural and spiritual discussions.
  • Posts about fitness and fatness, about food and exercise, about healthy self-image.
  • No surprise, an up-tick in articles about fatherhood at the end of last summer.
  • “Social media is terrible! Let’s read 300 articles about it.”
  • Posts about Christianity and about marriage are coming up more frequently in recent months.
  • Morning routines! Habit-building! Do more! Make more! Ship more! Ugh.
  • …And after you finish working out at 5 a.m. like all the #LIFEHACK #WINNING people are, isn’t it time to start working on that book, Dave?

There ya go. I…I’m gonna go take some time to ponder my life. I’ll catch ya later.

The4thDave Reads: …the Pentateuch?

Whew. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

As I noted in my last post (last…uh…year), my reading goals for 2018 are two-fold: reading only physical books that I owned as of 12/31/17, and to write up a review or reflection for every book I finish in 2018. Good plan, right? It *should* produce steady blog content, and it helps step up the fight against tsundoku–not that it would prevent me from collecting more books, but that it would force me to prioritize the books I already own.

Things haven’t gone quite as expected. By this time last year, I had already read 5 or 6 books. But this year, for whatever reason, I’ve really been struggling to read finish books. Oh, I have 5 books that I’m currently “reading” but none of them consistently. I’m like a literary hummingbird–I’ll get 50 or 100 pages into a book, lose interest, and jump to something else. I’m struggling to stick with anything heavier than light fiction, so it’s becoming work to press on through much of anything.

As it happens, the only book I’ve actually completed cover-to-cover so far this year is the Pentateuch–specifically, the first volume of the ESV Reader’s Bible 6-volume set. (A very generous Christmas gift from Mrs. 4thDave.) Since it was a complete cover-to-cover read (I finished it in mid-January), I’m counting it. SO here I am, with some thoughts–not a review, just some reaction.

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For those who may not know, I’m a Christian. (If you didn’t know that, it means you’re new here–welcome!) This means I believe the Bible is infallible, meaning it makes no mistakes; that it’s inerrant, entirely without error; that it is authoritative, because it is God-breathed and carries the weight of His commands; and that it is completely sufficient for everything it intends to direct and describe (meaning it won’t tell me how to fix a car, but it will tell me how to live with integrity before God and others).

Any honest reader (let alone student) of Scripture will admit that some parts of the Bible are a bit more challenging to read and understand. There’s a reason that few churches are advertising sermon series through the book of Deuteronomy — which is a shame, because there’s great stuff in Deuteronomy. Because of this, I wonder how many church-going Christians have ever really read through the sections of the Bible that are more difficult to wrestle through, like the Old Testament Law or the less-Christmasy passages in the Prophets. I have to admit that my familiarity with some of these passages and books is passing at best. There are definitely sections of the Old Testament that I’ve never actually read before.

My hope is to change this in the next few months by sitting for up to 30 minutes a day and just reading–not studying, not analyzing, just drinking it in. I try to pray as I begin that the Holy Spirit would “open my eyes to behold wonderous things in His law” (Psalm 119:18). And then I just read, seeking to learn and understand.

Some sections are easy, some sections are challenging or even a bit offensive, but I always approach the text with the firmly-held conviction that all of it is true, trustworthy, reliable, and authoritative. And that has made all the difference in how I read even the hard parts of the Old Testament.

My reading this year has reminded me of many things, but two of the most clearly demonstrated themes in my reading thusfar are: 1) God is always faithful to His word, even if man is faithless to his; and 2) all of God’s purposes come to be, despite the conniving and scheming of men. These truths have been a comfort to me already this year.

If you haven’t read through the five books of Moses in a while, I would encourage you to do so. Just set some time aside, take up the Bible, and read. Read with an open and submissive heart, trusting that the loving and sovereign God of the Bible will teach you through His Spirit. And be encouraged that the God who controls all things will never break His promises to His people.

Good gravy, two and a half MONTHS?!?

I’ve let you down, bloggy blog. I’ve been neglectful.

Let me esplain — no, there is too much, let me sum up:

  • I’m a daddy to an almost-five-month-old, and that’s still an amazing thing. She’s an absolute delight. I’ve got 3 pictures of her staring back at me around my desk, and even in those 3 pictures, she has already changed more in appearance than I care to consider. It’s still a bit surreal to me, having a daughter. Part of that is because I don’t get to see her for long stretches every day (unlike my beloved wife, who can’t get away from her for more than a couple hours at a time). But it’s also because she’s starting to develop her own personality, and it’s now catching up to me that in the next few years, this fifteen-pound, wriggling, squealing, squeezable little person is going to push out teeth, crawl, walk, run, start speaking words and then sentences, learn to dress herself and feed herself, and eventually learn to read and count and create. She’s a person made in the image of God, a person with a soul, a person whom my wife and I are tasked with shepherding and caring and disciplining. It’s…daunting. Exciting. But intimidating.
  • Marriage is excellent, 3 1/2 years in. I think we’re out of the “honeymoon” phase, but that is in no way meant to indicate anything negative. I think we’re really settling in and getting to know each other and serve each other better. I’m also seeing how intention is paramount when it comes to being a husband. It’s easy to coast and give half-effort. But that isn’t loving my wife well. I’ve got to try harder, be better than I am naturally. That can be a challenge, on days when I want to be lazy and selfish. It is a choice to walk out the role I’ve been given: “die” first, in all the little ways I need to in order to love and care for my family. Die to my own agenda, die to my own selfish desires. Be like Jesus.
  • Work is good. Busy. I feel like I’m contributing. That’s pretty cool.
  • Church is good. I’ve been getting opportunities to preach, both at my home church and elsewhere as there is need. That’s been a challenge and a blessing. And I’m back to being part of the Sunday School teaching rotation, though I’m sharing the load with more people, which is both good and bad.
  • Creatively, not much is happening. There is still a book or three I’d like to write, and those ideas keep bubbling up to the surface, but I’m in a season where other things need to take precedence. And I’m part of an upcoming web series that is still “upcoming,” since post-production has hit some delays with staffing and resources, but we’re hoping for a release by the summer. I’ll let you know about that when I have more info. But that’s just it. Basically, all my creative energies are being diverted into just taking care of what’s in front of me. Hoping for more in the future, but other things must take precedence.

That’s pretty much it for an update.  I’ll have a post up tomorrow with my end-of-year reading list (you didn’t think I’d forget about that, did you?) and maybe another short post about my 2018 reading plans.  (Holy cow, 2018, kids.)

Until then, I remain your obedient servant, T4D.

 

Hey friend…ya got $2?

For the last six months or so, I’ve been working with a great team of creative folks to put together a new web series called “Presto Fairy Tales: The Web Series! (The Musical!)”

Think Shelley Duvall’s Fairy Tale Theater…but weirder, and a little more punk rock, and a little more DIY. The writing is hilarious, the actors are great, and the show has so much heart.  The first season of the series will include 5 great stories that you probably have never heard before!

PLUS! There will be original music, including several songs with lyrics written by yours truly.

ALSO! I’m the villain on one of the stories! So you get to see me playing a BAD GUY. Cool, yes?

Here’s the deal, gang: We need funding. We have a shoestring budget, but shooting locations, props, sets, costumes, music recording, and all that costs more than a shoestring.

We need your help. Even if it’s just a few bucks, we can definitely use it.

Here’s the link to our GoFundMe page. Check it out, get the details, watch the video, and then go…fund us… Please? Pretty please?

Thanks!

 

 

“Some hoard to remember, some hoard to forget…”

We’re in “de-cluttering” mode in the 4thDaveHousehold. The upcoming new addition, plus an impending move, is motivating us to reduce our Stuff footprint. This usually happens right before a big move. Staying in one place creates a strange magnetism that draws Stuff from the surrounding environment and sticks it to us, in attics and closets and garages.

I struggle with clutter. That doesn’t mean I’m a hoarder–I know how to throw away garbage (or recycle plastics and paper–something new I’ve learned in almost 3 years of marriage). I’m not saving old paper cups or coffee filters. But I do collect mementos and I struggle to let them go.

I’ve grown stronger in resisting Stuff over time–I threw out a LOT of Stuff when I got married, boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs and souvenirs, all at once (the Band-aid Rip Method).  But it’s still challenging.

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Last month, I read a book by Eve Schaub called “Year of No Clutter.” It’s not a guide for how to de-clutter as much as it is a memoir and confessional of a Stuff-addict. In one chapter, she confesses that the motivation for much of her keeping falls into two categories: nostalgia and potential.

She talks about how objects connect to memories for her, and because she finds herself forgetting stories from the past, she tends to hang on to random items that mean something to her. That’s the nostalgia piece. Even if it is just a scrap of paper with writing on it, she keeps it, because it reminds her of an event or place or person.

She also talked about how potential usefulness kept her from throwing away items, “just in case…” Even items that she could easily re-acquire would be kept for possible future use.

I relate so much to these two ideas.

Like Schaub, my memory is awful, and for years, I saved the fragments of experiences in physical form so I could go back to them later. That’s not true: it was more that I was afraid that the memories of those events or people or places would be lost forever. Losing memories felt like losing pieces of myself.

And like Schaub, I sometimes have a hard time letting go of things that might be useful to me later: for example, I held on to the tape-adapter I used to connect my iPod to my old truck, even when I got a newer truck and didn’t need it anymore. Later, when that truck was replaced by an old van and I actually “needed” the tape adapter again, I realized it was tossed during the great pre-wedding purge. What a terrible loss! (Turns out, I just asked around, and someone had another that they gave me. Crazy, huh?)

What motivates this?

Part of my tendency to hang on to Stuff may simply be habit. During the decade-plus between college and marriage, I have to admit that I spent a LOT of time looking backward, thinking how much better the old days were. In the first decade post-college, the memory of my college experience was utterly drenched in nostalgia. And all those single years, when I battled feeling frustrated and lonely, I looked backward at a time of my life that I really began to miss.

These days, I realize that I’m looking forward a lot more. My life right now is exciting and challenging and full of love. There’s more anticipation. More potential. I really have no idea what life will look like in 5 years, and that’s exciting (and really scary, but still exciting!).

What about the “potential usefulness” question? Schaub fights against this fear of losing something useful by trying to have more confidence in herself. As a Christian, I can do something better than that: I can have confidence that God is sovereign, that God is good, that God will provide everything I need, that He is trustworthy, that He declares the end from the beginning. Rather than try to hold on to Stuff as a hedge against the future, I can learn to let go of some things and trust that I have what I need, because my Father is good to me.

And to be clear, I’m not saying I don’t plan or save for the future; on the contrary, I am trying to be wise and prepared for whatever comes. But those of us who follow Jesus are warned not to put our faith in the “uncertainty of riches,” because even our best savings plan is not enough to protect us from every calamity.

I’ve still got room to grow, when it comes to my relationship with Stuff. Lately, God has been working on me through I Timothy 6–“Godliness with contentment is great gain… If we have food and clothing, we will be content.” Honestly, I couldn’t say that was the case, even now. My prayer is that this will grow truer and truer in my life.

If nothing else, that would make moving a lot simpler.

*Pops head back in the door*

“Anybody here?”

Just wanted to pop back in and say:

  • I’m still alive.
  • Life is good, but it feels very hectic and heavy at the moment. Lots of good things going on, but also lots of busyness, and that is crowding out good-but-not-vital things like blogging.
  • That said, I miss writing to y’all. My hope is to find a few moments to jot some thoughts down about what’s been going on, in the near future. No promises, though. You know how it is. But someday in the coming few weeks, I’ll try to give ya an honest-to-goodness TIWIARN post.
  • In the meantime, some things you can pray for me:
    • Strength to make good choices for my health and not give into bad habits and old patterns.
    • Protection and blessing for my wife and unborn baby.
    • Spiritual growth, particularly in the area of joy, patience, and a controlled temper.
    • That I would keep my priorities straight, so that I can focus on what’s important and not be tossed about by every wind of “URGENT” item that enters my field of vision.

I think that’s about it.

In advance of the weekend, here’s a link to an old post about Good Friday.  Hope it blesses you.

He is risen, gang. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

The Insufficiency of Implicit Dignity.

[This is a long one, but I hope it’s useful to you. Thanks for reading. –d.]

On Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching the morning sermon at my church. It was “Sanctity of Life Sunday,” but rather than speaking just on abortion (per usual for that day), I sought to expand our focus. So we looked at what the Bible says about the dignity and value of human life as a whole, asking the question, “Why is human life sacred? What sets us apart from the rest of creation?”

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I won’t reprint my full manuscript here, but I’ll give you a summarized version:

Mankind was created especially by God. The language of Genesis 1 and 2 speak to a particular attention and direct interaction by God with the man and woman He made. He gave them the place of honor and responsibility over all creation (“a little lower than the angels,” as David would write in Psalm 8). They would represent Him throughout the earth and rule over it. But our first parents rebelled against their King, committing cosmic treason by breaking His commands and sinning against Him, as they sought to be His equals.

However, despite the entrance of sin and death into the world, God still affirmed the value of human life in Genesis 9, and the distinction of value between man and animals, because even as fallen creatures we are made in the image and likeness of God.  Human beings have dignity and value, not because of our abilities or capacities, but because of what God has done in choosing to have a special relationship with us.

I spoke about how there isn’t a clear teaching in Scripture about what constitutes being made “in the image of God,” but working off the idea of being created to glorify God all over the earth, I talked about how human beings have the singular ability of echoing (ever so faintly) some of the communicable characteristics of God. We can demonstrate love, mercy, justice, faithfulness, and other attributes of God, but in a diminished and creaturely way. However, the entrance of sin into the world corrupts even our best intentions and actions, so that we as a sinful creatures are only able to demonstrate these attributes, on our best day, in broken and distorted ways. We do not love God and each other as we ought, and our poor attempts at “righteousness” or “goodness” are mixed with self-interest.

Because God is just and holy, He must rightly punish sin and destroy evil, and thus we would be doomed. But God (who is rich in mercy) sent His son, Jesus the Christ, whom the Scriptures repeatedly call “the image of God” (Col. 1:15) and “the radiance of His Glory, the exact imprint of His nature” (Heb. 1:3). In short, Jesus the God-man is the perfect template of what mankind was supposed to be but could not be, because of sin.

Jesus lived a human life of perfect righteousness, died in the place of sinners, taking our guilt and the just penalty of divine wrath upon Himself, and then was raised again, giving us the guarantee of our own resurrection for all who turn from their sins and trust in His saving work as our sacrificial substitute. Those who trust in Jesus are “made new” and then begin to be remade, reshaped, into the image of Jesus (sanctification). Several passages in the New Testament affirm that we who have been born again are being remolded to look like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 4:17-24; Col. 3:9-10), and when we are finally resurrected, we will be finally and fully restored (II Cor. 3:18).

Thus, my appeal to believers in Jesus (in light of these truths) is to recognize that all human life has dignity and deserves respect, regardless of that person’s actions or circumstances, because God has made them in His image. We are thus commanded to see all people through the eyes of the Spirit and not through the eyes of the flesh–and we are compelled to make our appeals to all to be reconciled to God (II Cor. 5:14-21).

In the sermon, I mentioned several classes of people who deserve dignity and respect but are sometimes passed over in our culture: the unborn, the orphan, unwed mothers in crisis, the sick and dying, the disabled, the poor. Since I feared the sermon was running long, I mentioned also a mixed-bag category of “people who are different than us”–including people who look different, speak a different language, were born in a different country, or even worship a different god. All these, I argued, have dignity and should be shown love and respect because all these are made in the image of God and need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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I finished the sermon and actually felt pretty okay about it. After the service ended, I was approached by a few of the brothers, including an African-American brother in our church family who’s a friend of mine. He hugged me and thanked me for the sermon, but then he said, “You know, at the end, I was expecting you to talk about race a little more. But that’s okay.”

For a moment, I was struck.  It seems so obvious.  On a day when I’m affirming the value of all human life–on MLK weekend, of all things–I missed a chance to make an explicit reference to one of the most divisive issues in our culture.

It’s not that I didn’t think of it at all. It was implicit in my comments throughout the sermon. I said more than once, “all people, no matter who they are, have dignity as being made in God’s image.”  But I missed the chance to say it more clearly.

All I could do was apologize. I told him it was there in the subtext, but I confessed that I could have and should have taken an extra moment to underline it.  My friend graciously shrugged and shook my hand again, “I’m not offended, man. I know what you meant.”

Even so, the more I considered it, the more I was a bit bothered by it. What should have been underlined in my outline became a footnote.  If you had asked me directly, I would have affirmed unequivocally that all people of all races are made in the image of God and are deserving of respect and dignity. But I’m not forced to think about race that often. I don’t have to rub up against that issue every day. It can slip into the background for me. Maybe that’s a privilege I’ve been afforded.

“But Dave, your job as the preacher was to herald the Gospel, not push a social message.”  Yes and amen, and I pray I did that clearly. But: there is nothing unbiblical or inappropriate about speaking prophetically from Scripture to a specific issue facing our community, especially when it is practically set up on a tee for me to take a swing at it. We were talking about human dignity and value and the way we as Christians should affirm the value of all human life. I don’t need to promote or support any specific political interest group in order to say what the Bible says–that all people are made in God’s image, that God is no respecter of persons, and that we as the Church are called to proclaim reconciliation to ALL people, including those who are of a different race, background, or class than we are.

And maybe I shouldn’t have to single out race and ethnicity as one of those issues, but we live in a country that seems to be growing more divided around race.

Here’s what I’m getting at: I don’t think it was enough simply to imply that people of other races have equal dignity with mine. This is worth speaking directly to, even at the risk of possibly over-emphasizing it. The Gospel is the answer to racism, and the Church needs to repeat that over and over until the world gets tired of hearing us saying it!

I’m frustrated that I missed the easy opportunity to do just that. By God’s grace, I hope my listeners heard what I didn’t say explicitly but should have. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the Word to our hearts. And I pray that my church family hears His voice today.

Wait a minute–I have a blog, don’t I?

[No posts for more than 3 weeks? Wowsa.]

A few words to update you on what’s been going on with me:

At the moment, I’m at the tail end of a pernicious head cold. So I’m a little foggy-headed today, but I wanted to post something new.

Honestly, things are pretty good. December was a good month for me. Some exciting things are happening in my offline life that I can’t quite talk about yet. Work is keeping me busy. A few weeks ago, I took a roadtrip with my wife up to my old college town to pick up my sister at the end of her first college semester. We enjoyed Christmas in-town with the family. It was a good end to a challenging year.

As for the radio silence: I honestly just haven’t had much to say, or at least much that was worth saying. I hit a point when I just didn’t care enough to write regular posts. Part of that blogging drought may be that I also haven’t been reading regularly this month (so as you will see soon, I only added one more “reading challenge” title to my final count).

The end of the year is always a time of introspection and reflection, and a reassessment of where I am and where I want to go. Maybe that’s a cliched approach, but there it is. The point is, I’m taking some time this week to take stock of my priorities and agenda, so that I’m spending my life on things that I care about most. (No, that doesn’t mean we’re breaking up–but I do want to consider how much time I’m ready to invest into this project.)

Here’s the deal, gang: My blogging mojo is in a bit of a trough, and I don’t just want to blather for the sake of posting new content. If you’re taking the time to read what I write, then what I write should be worth your time. I have had a few ideas in the past couple of weeks, but I wasn’t sure if I had enough new to say to justify 700 or so words about it.

What does that mean, moving forward into 2017? It means that when I have something new that’s worth saying, I’ll say it. I may adapt some of my Sunday School materials into short posts here, if I think it would be profitable. If I gather enough items for a Friday Five, I’ll post that here on Fridays.

The next Federalist post will go up on the “4thDavePapers” blog next Tuesday, and I hope to throw some new content up there once or twice a week, because the read-and-respond approach will keep me thinking and producing material.

But I’m not going to post just for posting’s sake, out of some sense of obligation to vomit up internet content. I’m not going to offer up half-baked hot takes on current events because everyone else is doing it. There’s enough of that going around.

The best way for you to keep up with my blogging in 2017 is to subscribe. You can subscribe by email at the bottom of the page, or follow my blog through WordPress, so that you get notifications when I have new content available. And I’ll do my best to make sure that any new content is worth your while.

Thanks for subscribing, thanks for reading, thanks for sticking around. My hope is that my 2017 writing, however inconsistent, will become more and more beneficial to you.

Happy New Year, friends!
–d.