Author Archives: Bill

02.16.2024 – Confessions of a Hot Head

The temperature was 24 degrees when I set out on my early morning walk. I am tired of cold mornings. I am ready for spring to arrive. In fact, though, I have the cold weather walk thing down pretty well – a good base layer, light mid-layer, fleece gloves, and a quality wool cap. The first half mile to mile of my walk can be a little brisk, but then metabolism kicks in and I stay warm enough.

The key to staying warm but not too warm is the wool cap. Depending on the temperature, it comes off sometime in the first or second mile.  At 24 degrees, I did not take it off until the mile and a half mark. I am a hot head, and if I keep the cap on too long, I’m bound to overheat. Yes, I am a hot head, and the only way to stay cool is to let that cold air do its work.

From time to time, I meet a fellow walker or a runner wearing a cap much heavier than mine along with a hood and maybe some earmuffs. I figure he or she must be a cool head compared to my being a hot head. Good for them. Continue reading

02.09.2024 – Prime Harlotry

I’d been thinking about ordering a gizmo for a while, and finally did just a few weeks ago.  As with many things in  our consumer-driven world, the number of options at Amazon were almost overwhelming.  There were gizmos themselves and then all sorts of variations on the gizmo.  In the end, I bought a pretty simple gizmo based on a desirable  price and a decent rating – actually, a really good rating, 4.9 out of five. One of the rave reviews called it a game-changer in the gizmo market. Wow!

So far, I am very happy with my $10 gizmo. It deserves its 4.9 stars.  Or does it?

About a week after the gizmo arrived, I received a postcard from the gizmo maker.  They thanked me for purchasing their gizmo and wondered if I would be so kind as to provide a five-star rating.  In fact, they said, if I would provide a five-star rating and rave review for their $10 gizmo – along with my email address – they would send me a $20 PayPal credit.  But I had to promise not to say anything about their little bribe. Continue reading

02.02.2024 – Confessions of a No-Account Pastor

She says her name is Bonnie. I am not sure she is a “she” and I have my doubts that her name is Bonnie.  AI?  Some dumb robot?  Who knows?  In any event she messaged me to help her “solve some doubts.”  Odd syntax but given that the 29-year-old Bonnie was raised in Hong Kong and received her university degree there before moving to Los Angeles (or so her user profile says), I probably should overlook her use of English.

So, Bonnie has some doubts, and she wants me to help (re)solve them.  Music to a pastor’s ears.  Bonnie recognizes my life experience and theological wisdom and turns to me for help.  Never mind that I’ve never met Bonnie and have my own doubts as to whether she actually exists.  Oh, to be needed!

Listening and offering sound biblical counsel are ways the Reformed pastor offers care to the flock he is called to shepherd.  Bonnie had come to the right place to (re)solve her doubts.  I was ready and able.  But I didn’t help Bonnie. I blocked her account from my social media feed.  I don’t know who or what Bonnie is, and there are plenty of good pastors in Los Angeles.  She should find one of them to help her with her doubts. Continue reading

01.26.2024 – My X-RatedWeekend

I think you call that click bait.  X-rated as in the social media platform formally known as Twitter.  And it actually wasn’t Twitter, but it was an experience in Twitterized conversation, and it was not pleasant. Twitter (X) is often described as a sewer, its posts a toxic sludge. Decontamination may be required after five minutes of browsing the platform.  What to do about Twitterized conversations?

I am a part of two different private social media groups that were very active over the weekend. One is a professional group – yes, pastors from our denomination, and the other is a local community group.  At about the same time last week comments were posted on each site touching on issues that are sensitive or controversial among members of the respective groups.

You know that old line about disagreeing without being disagreeable?  Unfortunately, some commenters in both groups were simply unable to disagree in an agreeable way, so much so that the administrators on the professional site excommunicated one of the members from the group. A well-deserved cancellation in my opinion.

On both sites names were called, assumptions made, conclusions drawn, and motives questioned. Character assassination is not too strong a description of some of the comments offered. Continue reading

01.19.2024 – The Truth and the Treachery of Either/Or

Among the many words whose overuse tires me (inflection point, iconic, deconstruction, intersectional, trauma) is the word binary. Used as an adjective, binary means “compounded or consisting of or marked by two things or parts.” As used in our culture, it tends to have to do with mutually opposed ideas, concepts, or realities. A light switch with its on/off reality (a light can’t be sorta on or sorta off) is binary. But in our culture, to describe something as binary has come to take on a  moral tone. It turns out that being binary may be good or it may be bad depending on the context and the speaker’s perspective. For some, to assert a binary nature to sex and gender is a very evil thing to do. For others, progressive and populist, to understand that this year’s presidential election is binary in nature, pitting ultimate good against absolute evil, is a very good thing to do.

What we used to call either/or is now called binary, and we apply the term indiscriminately and with inappropriate moral meaning. In fact, the state of being binary is one of those “just is” realities, in and of itself devoid of moral weight.

To be sure, the Bible has its share of either/or, binary, propositions. “Either serve the gods across the river, or serve the Lord,” Joshua told the people. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” he said. (Joshua 24:15) “It’s either mammon or God,” Jesus said.  (Matthew 6:24) Discipleship is not always a fluid thing. We either follow him or we don’t.  In the end, you can’t be a sorta Christian. Continue reading