Revision History -- The Christian ThinkTank (2020)
[Previous years' logs: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996(most of it), and 1995(most of it).]
Big news here (at least for me)...
For those of you who have been praying for me to have more time to work on the Tank, and for my day job to be less consumptive of my daily "neural processing inventory" (smile), your prayers have been answered -- I lost my job 11 days after the last update--LOL ... Oct 17, my then-employer some reorganization (like most firms in that industry sector), and my position itself was eliminated. The projects I was working on at the time were important enough to keep me on through the end of the year, to try to transition parts of my job to various resources. So, my last day of paid-employment was New Years Eve...I have had to spend the last month on personal transition issues (e.g insurance coverage for my dependents, tax things, returning company property and forms, and waiting on my last paycheck -- which arrived Friday).
The firm is a great place to work, and our group was filled with great co-workers, and I had figured that I would have to work another 18 months--to pay off about 125K in accumulated debt (e.g. mostly bank loans, cars).
The termination process was exemplary and the final arrangements were perfectly fair and supportive--no complaints from me, but rather appreciation and respect. The last 2.5 months, though, were FRANTIC^^3 (smile), trying to shield my wonderful ex-boss from the 'collateral damage from my unexpected termination'... lol.
But the earlier-than-planned exit, meant that 5/6ths of my last paychecks had to go to this debt. Expenses have been higher than normal due in part to heavy support I have been providing over the past year or two or three to a couple of folks around the world with some very urgent needs, but I have had to wind those down, and the final two will end next month. [Plus I had 3 surgeries this spring-summer (with a lot of out-of-pocket home health care).
With a lower expense base (but with higher private health insurance costs to offset this), I am good for several months. Later in the year, i will have to start earlier-than-planned withdrawals from my 'modest' retirement IRA (with Fidelity). If I watch my spend (not sure yet what this does to topic-specific book purchase patterns) and if the 'markets cooperate--i.e, OPERATE under sovereignty--smile"), I will not have to start looking to go back to work. That is, i would be able to 'retire from THAT, to return to THIS' ... if the Lord allows, faciliates, empowers, and 'en-pulses' it!
I have seen a providential hand in all this, since there are benefits I have for my dependents that i would NOT be entitled to if I had simply RETIRED. And the timing of this matches closely an intensity increase in domestic / family needs locally. I remain 'caustiously ecstatic' about this--but i have to become a better steward going forward -- for good or ill (a more prudent mix of "oikonomos" and "hilarion", for those of you familiar with the Greek in Luke 12.42 and 2 Cor 9.7).
So, some prayers seem to be answered (smile)--so now please pray that I can take advantage of this time, as a good steward, and try to make some contributions... I pray about not squandering this great window of respite... The call to serve is still the same--it is just that NOW i only have a heavenly 'boss' and not an 'earthly' intermediate one to to take direction from.
Also, i should mention this (I KNOW this will come up from this disclosure): over the years, many of you have expressed an interest in supporting the Tank financially, and I have only 'allowed' that 1-3 times that i can remember.
My policy on this has largely been shaped by an early comment from an appreciative reader (inside the niche/fringe area that the Tank mostly serves) that "I am really glad that you dont get PAID to think this way.". [Actually, its the opposite--lol--it has cost a FORTUNE in books over the 25 years for this.] ...
I can appreciate their point--not that this in ANY WAY denigrates those that ARE in 'paid ministry positions' centered on these issues! [I personally see this--tbh--as an indication that I personally am 'not ready for Prime time' (like they are, before the Lord). I have seen myself after the analogy of the comedians on "2nd City TV' back in the day ('not ready for prime time') that followed SNL (the prime-time group).. I can work with that understanding, and it only really has bothered deeply me a few times ... it has cratered me pretty badly (i.e., recovery takes several days to rise up from bitterness and shame of failing to do what I understood my calling to be about) a couple of times-- mostly at the 2 or 3 evangelical academic conferences I have been able to attend over the decades-- Pretty difficult to crawl out from under the shame of the oppressive self-incrimination of adokimos (1 Cor 9:27)..."You would have been here, if only you were X...". Doesnt stop me from serving where I can and when I can, of course... I am SURPREMELY thankful for this niche of service... And I have grown so much from being stretched by this--in learning and faith... [hmm... dark grey font is apropriate for that morbid reflection, dont you think, glenn? -- smile]
I hasten to add that -- apart from the ThinkTank work -- I have been the surprised receipient of several large gifts and bundles of many smaller gifts that made a HUGE DIFFERENCE at the time in my situation... and--true to His design in those cases of need/sharing, He has facilitated/guided me to "paying that forward" many times over.
But--back to the subject... I think i am going to allow some of those going forward. Since I wont be critically dependent on them (i.e. not 'paid to think that way'), but they could be HUGELY instrumental in helping this ministry (and probably, knowning first hand how 'easy' and 'trouble-free' the life of discipleship is -- LOL -- of critical import at some pop-up crisis sure to occur...sigh/smile), this MIGHT be something I could get peace about.
I am not a 501(c)3, so that wouldnt work for tax reasons (although I think I was connected with one for a while back 15 or 20 years ago -- I will have to check.). So this would likely simply PAYPAL gifts (like I do for some of my domestic ad-hoc giving). [But the Thinktank addresses are not setup for that--its a private email address I would have to give out upon request.] Not committed to doing this yet, but if you are pretty convinced that The Lord wants you to investigate this--and wants ME to open up to this--let me know and I will pray about sending you the relevant email address.]
There are other items I probably need to put in an update to the Prayer requests, but that will have to wait a few days (is after midnite here already). Otherwise:
The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christianthinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)