January 16, 2000

Just an update of how things ended up and where I am now...

1. the video-tape business hasn't worked so far...very few sales...but the videos are being considered for endorsement by a national group of IT leaders, so that could be the beginning of some longer-term prospects...

2. I am doing freelance research and writing for a global technology management firm (without attribution). I work with my boss to select topics of critical importance to CIO's and then I research and write-up management analysis and recommendations. It pays at base level consulting rates, so I can take care of my obligations without having to work terrible hours. It doesn't involve ANY travel, so I don't have all the wear and tear of the previous 15 years. Once I get caught up on the $60k debt I accumulated last year, I could theoretically cut back my hours to half-time, and devote the balance of the time to Tank research and writing.

3. I had three people come through the Tank (independently) and recommend that I somehow set the Tank up to "take donations"--specifically credit card transactions. I am looking into applying for non-profit status (as a research organization, not a religious one) and finding a firm that could accept CC info without me having to get a merchant bank account. This process is going very slowly, since I am overwhelmed with earning a living (with the debt and two kids in college now), and since I don't know sorta how to go about this. I am also very concerned about getting swallowed alive by the bookkeeping/admin required to do receipts, reporting, etc. I am NOT trying to build some empire, but rather to displace work-hours over to tank-hours....the logic is very simple: for every dollar I would receive as a tax-deductible (for the donor, of course) gift, that would be one less dollar I would have to earn by working at my hourly wage. And the amount of time freed up by that dollar could be re-allocated to Tankwork. At the point of having adequate donations to support myself, I could start politely 'refusing' research-gifts (or somehow redistributing them?), since I don't have any other needs than these (i.e., the Tank is just me, my books, my computer, local libraries, and my time). Obviously, I would incur some extra time commitments to do the bookkeeping, receipting, and reporting, so that would need to be adjusted for somehow too...but anyway, you get the picture...I AM looking into this, on the basis of the recommendations of some of the readers.

As to why it ended up this way--I have my typical "no clue" situation...I can make guesses as to why it's working out this way, but nothing is clear at this point...I do have some continued hope that I can devote myself to Tank work, because the various doors to 'normal employment' (requiring multiple-year commitments) that I tried didn't open...I don't sense that the year was wasted biz-effort, for some reason, so I don't feel comfortable putting it into the "programmed failure, to learn other lessons" bin...so, we'll see what He does with that crop of my time...

On other matters:

1. I am making my first trip to Israel this fall, with my dear friend Lambert Dolphin. He has been over there well over 20 times, so I am going in tag-along mode...We will be co-leading the trip (that's me, hiding behind Lambert), which is open to the public...if you want to check it out, and maybe look at coming with us, see the details at Lambert's site [http://ldolphin.org/tour/]. (I personally know virtually NOTHING about the land of Palestine after about 400 AD, so I won't be much modern-day help, but I will be teaching some bible studies for the group.)

2. I am between teaching sessions at my church PBC (www.pbc.org)...last fall I covered Redemption in the Old Testament/Taanach, as a backdrop to the session beginning in March on Redemption (NT)--what actually did Christ do on the Cross? The background of much of the NT imagery was Roman 'slavery' which allowed me to research that in-depth (to finish a tank piece I started 2.5 years ago). The syllabi are posted on the Tank, and the audio of the lectures there too.

3. My intended 'schedule' of Tank articles (yeah, right...) for the near-term:

a. a couple of responses to some criticisms/questions I got on the alleged "annihilation of the Canaanites" (good ones that need a little more elaboration)

b. Then a MAJOR piece (100-200 pages?) on "did the NT authors make up the miracles of Jesus to 'sell him' better" (I have been researching this question for the past year, involving everything from Jewish midrash, Retold bibles, to Greek and Roman divine men, miracle-working rabbi's)

c. Then I can resume working on my big piece on "Why didn't God stop the process, if He knew it would turn out so bad?"...this piece contains a close look at the biblical texts/themes about post-mortem judgment and state (i.e., 'hell')...

d. Then I need to write a reply-to-a-reply from my "God is the only Evil" friend overseas (but I have to wait until I finish the 'hell' analysis from step C, before I do this step).

e. Then some more work on the Predation follow-up pieces.

f. Then I need to get back to the Canon series, Still series, and Fabulous series.

In between these larger pieces, I will typically be able to do several smaller ones, and the order is subject to change without notice and without reason...smile

4. the strangeness and narrowness of my life patterns STILL amaze me and still worry me (I worry that I should somehow be more 'normal' in my use of time, in relationships with people, in width of interests). [But every time the worry gets unbearable, I remember the various lives in Philosophers Who Believe and I can actually celebrate my "mutancy" without lapsing into some kind of Kafka-esque alienation a la Metamorphosis...]

5. Even the simplest of emails takes so long to reply to...simple questions never seem such to me, and even responding to simple "hello, plus X" emails may take weeks and weeks, due to uncertainty as to what 'implied questions' may be embedded in a simple comment or two...

6. Someone (a Christian leader) suggested to me last year that I should start having regional "tank-gatherings"...His suggestion was something like a conference, 2-3 day, with various tracks of sessions and outside speakers and such...I got fatigued thinking about it...BUT I have thought a little more about a one-day, hotel meeting room type of session...local in the Silicon Valley area (at first), where I could give updates and "state/directions of my research" presentations to people who were interested...Something like a Saturday session 8-6, with just me as the presenter and Q&A and handouts...costs would be simply for the meeting room, handouts, maybe a breakfast and lunch sandwich tray (requiring pre-reg, obviously)....if people were interested in this, perhaps I could have them in different places, say Silicon Valley, LA, Boston, NYC, Chicago, ?...I would obviously need help in cities other than my own, but I have enough frequent flier miles to do a couple of trips to see if this is of value...

Let's see, here is a first-cut agenda for such a Saturday meeting (maybe even the first one):

7:30- 8.00           Registration/breakfast bar
8:00- 8:30           Welcome, prayer, agenda, devotional meditation
8:30-10:00          Tutorial: Overview of the Intertestamental Literature
10:30-11.30        OT research topic: Implications of inter-textuality (OT in the OT)


12.30- 1:00        Resources recommendations: "Books I use the most"
1:00- 2:30          NT research topic: propaganda, genre, and the use of miracle stories in the gospels

2.30- 3.00           (break/cookies)

3.00- 4.00           Theological research topic: various biblical images of hell
4.00- 4.45           Philosophical research/discussion topic: epistemology and trust in others
4.45- 5.20           Q & A: on recent Tank articles, practical matters, method

5.35- 6.00           Optional prayer time, for those who would/could stay

   6.00pm                    Vacate the room

What we could try to do is like what they do at some med-schools: tape these presentations/discussions and have volunteers transcribe them for dissemination at the Tank site...

I suppose I would need to do the exact same content in each city the first year, and then change the content at the beginning of the next year and repeat the process...

I guess I need to get some indication of your interest in such a session (raise your hand--I can see you from here, smile)...first in Silicon Valley (San Jose or Palo Alto, probably), probably in late March/2000...what do you think?

It's 1 a.m...I better crash...



From: The Christian ThinkTank...[https://www.Christianthinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)