I have something to say!
I’ve decided to start blogging more. Why? Because I have something to say. Something I think is worth reading. And as much as anyone else, I’ve earned the right to say it. The military ingrained in me the mentality of, "Shut up and color!" and (unfortunately, I think) I haven't done a good job getting outside of that mentality.
I'm not saying that, now that I’m unleashed, I’ll go ahead and be as nasty as I want to be online. There are plenty of American Christians who have already staked out that ground. And I intend to take some of them to task on this blog.
Who am I?
Here’s a little about me. My military background has always made me hesitant about putting too much information online. But, I think I'm far enough removed from all that now.
Maybe this will give you an idea about whether I am qualified to speak—about anything. I was born and raised in a small town in western Michigan. I thought the military was the only way I would have many opportunities. I know now that one makes his own opportunity—but I remain thankful for the many afforded me by the military. I’ve been blessed with much experience and education—more than most people will ever avail themselves of. And, to be honest, I have busted my tail for every opportunity I’ve ever had.
Some highlights: I ran nuclear reactors on submarines and even helped build and test a brand-new submarine. I drove big destroyers, and I think I could probably still park a 565-foot warship on a dime. I supervised weapons systems and power plants. I taught math. I captained a Navy ship. I planned and managed some big environmental projects for the government. I briefed high-level guys like General Jim Mattis and ghost-wrote a few letters for General David Petraeus. By the end of my government service, I felt I could find my way around the Pentagon alone without retracing my steps too many times. I’ve traveled to or worked in 22 countries (Bahrain, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom). I’ve sailed within sight of, or flown over, numerous others and spent time on the floating sovereign territory (warships) of a few more.
I served as pastor of a small, struggling church. I certainly made plenty of mistakes navigating the minefield of church revitalization. But, I believe I had a big part in returning it to health. I’ve volunteered with at-risk children, with addicts, and with others on the down and out. I like to do car repairs and electrician work. I paint in the style of Bob Ross—not a superb artist in my mind, but at least as good as most who try it. I know how to do bookkeeping. I can build websites and do graphic design. I can read music. I’m not the best drywall guy in the world, but I can do good work. Same with floor tile and basic plumbing. Please don’t ask me to lay carpet for you—I hire that out.
My experience shows that you can learn much if you have a bit of curiosity—and don’t waste much time on television, social media, or video games (although YouTube is an excellent place to learn how to replace the radiator in an old Chevy Monte Carlo).
I worked full-time while I earned more degrees than anyone I’ve ever met. I started with an associate’s degree in nuclear technology. Then I received a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in economics and political science. My master of science is in space systems studies, and my master of arts is in national security studies.
In the ministry realm, I earned a Master of Divinity (credit-hours wise, akin to two and a half Masters of Arts). After that, I completed a Master of Theology (30 semester hours on top of the Master of Divinity). I have a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Christian ministry leadership. Those are all earned, regionally accredited degrees (and the M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. are ATS-accredited). These are not honorary or through unaccredited, fundamentalist Bible colleges. I have certifications in church consulting and church revitalization. And did I mention that I worked full-time while I earned every one of them? I did, didn’t I? Not full-time, but mostly overtime.
I’m also a distance education poster child. I know a few hold-outs still can’t fathom how anyone could learn anything online and think online education must be a degree mill. First, almost every university and college today offers online classes. Second, accreditors don’t sign off on diploma mills. And no, your physician isn’t going to learn everything they need to know in an online classroom (but you might be surprised what they did learn online, especially during the pandemic).
And I’ve raised three well-educated children who are now adults either making their way in the world successfully
Why are your tooting your own horn?
I hope you don’t think I’m an arrogant jerk (hey, at least I’m not demanding you call me “Doctor”). But no one else will toot your horn if you don’t, right? I haven’t laid out my credentials here to impress you, the reader, but to convince myself that I’ve earned the right to speak. I’m not the best or brightest at anything. In fact, my career got me close to many people so much better and brighter than me, that I dismiss the idea that I've had quite the life in my own right. My life has been interesting, on the whole, and very exciting at times. I've gained some hard-learned lessons that might be worth sharing. And yes, I am keenly aware that I still have much to learn.
I suspect that I’m at least as qualified as most commentators and “influencers” who spout off in the blogosphere. Humbly, I submit I’m more qualified to speak in many cases. At least, I’d like to think I’ll back up my ideas with credible sources and sound analysis.
I hope to talk in future posts about politics and religion and all the stuff I couldn’t talk about online working for a church or the government. You know, all the stuff that will get you in trouble at the Thanksgiving table.
Ultimately, you'll judge whether what I've got to say is worth your time.
See you again soon.
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All comments are moderated. I welcome respectful disagreement with my posts. Such discussions can cause me to consider perspectives I hadn't examined before. However, I also reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason. Why? Simple enough, this is MY blog, with MY thoughts, and I want to have a civil conversation that is, at all times, God-honoring in nature.