Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Can there be a Christian culture? Part 1: historical issues

          For a number of years now (at least as far back as the Reagan years in the 1980s, but we might find it as far back as the 50s when some folks were ranting against rock and roll because it offended their Christian sensibilities), many in the evangelical Christian church have argued that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, or at the very least that it was founded on "Christian principles" -- whatever those might be, and they are rarely specified. This position usually relies on frequent references to quotes from the "founders" (that is, those men -- womens' roles were behind the scenes and it is nearly impossible to gauge their impacts on the mindsets of their men; Abigail Adams is a noted exception -- who talked a lot and even wrote some of their thoughts) about reliance on God or an entity of higher-than-human authority, generally presumed to be the God of the Bible, during the time they were forming a national identity separate from Great Britain. Since the dominant "faith tradition" (i.e., religion) in England (as distinguished from the rest of the growing British empire) was Christianity in various forms, including both Roman and English Catholocism as well as several protestant sects, and since the founders were mostly (maybe all?) of English descent, it seems fair to assume that the founders were, as a group though not all individually, exposed to and practitioners of Christianity in some form.
          Consequently, it also seems fair to assume that their references to God -- or to the higher-than-human entity -- probably referred to the God of the Bible. Notable exceptions would be Franklin and Jefferson, who were admitted theistic humanists but not admitted Christians; and there may have been other like-minded men among the founders -- I don't know and it isn't pertinent to my train of thought here anyway. (It does seem fair to say that the idea, sprouted in the 60s and early 70s, that most of the founders were theists but not Christians was and continues to be overstated. It is interesting and perhaps significant, however, to point out that two of the three framers of the Declaration of Independence, the document that provides the foundation for a separate national identity, were theistic humanists but not avowed Christians.) Reading quotes of the founders that show they believed in the God of the Bible, relied upon Him as they planned their independence movement, during the war for independence, and after the war as they worked to create the nation they planned and fought for, and ascribed their success in that endeavor to His help and guidance provides compelling evidence that Christianity (in unspecified form or forms) was foundational to the independence movement and the national origins of the United States. 
          Opponents of the notion of an explicitly Christian United States, among them Christians and non-Christians, fall back repeatedly on the "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Probably a reaction to the establishment of the Church of England and the subsequent persecution of practitioners of other forms of Christianity in England, this portion of the First Amendment is argued by opponents of a Christian United States to represent, even establish, the notion that the United States is an explicitly secular nation, a nation founded on the existence of human rights and liberties. If one wants to see those rights and liberties as gifts from God (whom Jefferson called the "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom), that, too, is among one's human rights and liberties but is not demanded by the Constitution. This is among the foundations of the concept of the separation of Church and State, a concept often mistakenly ascribed to the Constitution although it is not specifically found there.
          As an anthropologist, admittedly among the fringe element known as archaeologists, and an erst-while historian, I have watched this on-going debate with considerable interest. Why? Well, among other things, I am an evangelical Christian. I remember being thrilled when some Christians discovered that Columbus, based on his writings, viewed his adventures as Christian endeavors in which the Kingdom of God was expanded across the globe; in fact, some folks have found within his writings that idea that, although a practicing Roman Catholic, Columbus was actually an evangelist of almost protestant proportions. Frankly, I now suspect that this argument runs afoul of  theological history and of the historical theology of the Roman Church, but I'll leave that for someone else to decide.
          I also remember being thrilled when Christians began discovering and compiling the frequent references made by the founders of the United States to their belief in and reliance on the God of the Bible. At last we could take a stand for the significance of Christianity in the founding of the nation. At last we could stand proudly among the big-name Christians who have made this nation. At last the Church could take its rightful place among the founding institutions of the nation.
          Over the years, however, I began to question the position taken by many in the evangelical Church that references to God by the founders, even the faiths of the founders, can actually be taken to mean that the founders wanted to create a Christian nation, or, barring that, that they assumed that was what they were doing anyway. I must ask the question, did the foundational nature of Christianity in the origins of the United States, which I do not deny, actually extend beyond the individual lives of the founders to become a basic or foundational part of national identity? That is, does admitting that the founders, excepting the theistic humanists, believed in and relied upon the God of the Bible during the planning and creation of the United States also require us to admit that they saw their new nation as a Christian nation?
          On the contrary, the emphasis in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on human rights and liberties, even if "endowed by their Creator," and particularly the very first statement of the very first amendment to the Constitution, suggest to me that they did not. Rather, it suggests to me that they recognized their own adherence to tenets of Christianity (in unspecified form or forms) as individuals but did not assume that all citizens of the new United States would similarly subscribe. If we keep in mind, and we must, that there were theistic humanists among the founders and that at least two of them -- Franklin and Jefferson -- were among the framers of the two founding documents, we must admit that the admitted Christians among the group had to know that not everyone effected by creating the new nation was or would become Christian. In fact, one could probably argue that Franklin and Jefferson openly rejected Christianity while retaining their theism, and that the Christian founders had to know that, yet did not exclude the theists from the nation-forming process. Indeed, one could also speculate that, had there been Hindus, Muslims, or Taoists among the founders, they could also have been included in the process, providing, of course, they were of English or at least northern European descent. That does NOT mean the process was entirely democratic. It is a difficult to see, in hind sight, Roman Catholics, particularly of southern European background, animists, pagans, and people with greater amounts of melanin in their skin as active participants in the process. And we should keep in mind that the founders were members of socially elite subgroups of their respective communities and colonies; not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry was allowed to have his say, and no Jane, Mary, or Fannie was allowed in the door.
          In any event, there actually seems to be no historical reason, to me at least, for people to continue arguing that the United States was ever a Christian nation. That conclusion has profound implications for the modern movement(s) seeking to restore the United States to a historical identity that it clearly does not have today. If the nation was never, historically, a Christian nation, how can it return to being a Christian nation? Christians, of all people, should know that one cannot return to being something one never was.
          One can, though, become something one never was, at least sometimes. Embedded here is the concept of culture, and this will take us to part 2 of the question, can there be a Christian culture?

Friday, January 22, 2010

You might be a Taoseno if . . . (continued, again)

You might be a Taoseno if . . .

You look at the cover of last summer's "Summer of Love" guide, published by the Taos News, and can identify one or more people riding on the bus. ( And you know from which commune the bus came.
I'm just sayin'.

You might be a Taoseno if . . . (continued)

You might be a Taoseno if . . .

  1. Shoveling snow off your flat-roofed, mud house is just part of winter. (That's me today, by the way, keeping the canales running. It's nearly a foot deep up there.)
  2. You remember when the viejitos (grab that Spanish-English dictionary again; except for Shelby) talked and napped in the plaza, while their wives shopped.
  3. You know that the viejitos now talk and nap at Walmart, `cause no one but tourists shops on the plaza anymore. Sigh.
  4. It's hard to make a quick shopping trip to Walmart because you have to stop to talk to so many people, whether you're related to them or not. That includes people who work at Walmart and people who are just shopping.
  5. You know when you're in Taos and when you're in El Prado.
  6. You know when you're in Arroyo Seco and when you're in Des Montes.
  7. You remember when everybody spoke like Larry Torres' column in the paper. (; click on the column on the left)
  8. You believe people when they tell you they hear "the hum." (
  9. You hear "the hum."
  10. You remember when Blueberry Hill was . . . Blueberry Hill. (Think Fats Domino. By the way, did you know that "Blueberry Hill" was written in 1940, 16 years before Fats recorded it, and was first recorded by Gene Autry? Our Blueberry Hill was christened in honor of Fats' 1956 version, for reasons we should not explore here -- google the lyrics and figure it out.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Did the devil pact include earthquakes?

My electronic relationship with Pat Robertson, founder and emeritus leader of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the 700 Club, has had its ups and downs over the years. Quite a while back, Pat, Terry, Lee, and other staff members were regular visitors at our house, via cable transmission from Virginia. We were in periods of theological flux that also involved changing denominational and congregational relationships, and being introduced to a person whose denominational background was the same as ours but who had experienced enhanced depth in his personal relationship with God through the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life was remarkably inspiring to us.
From time to time, we would stop watching the 700 Club for extended periods. This isn't the situation in which to discuss the reasons. But while we might have disagreed, from time to time, with some statements Pat made, on subjects theological and otherwise (one could argue that nearly every public statement Pat makes is theological in one way or another), we have never doubted that Pat's heart is to know God better, speak God's truth more clearly, and bring God's love to a hurting world, wrapped in food, clothes, medical care, and any other possible material form. Since his God is our God, we get it. We haven't watched the 700 Club in a long time, but we still get it.
Since we have "known" (in a long-distance, impersonal, electronic sense) Pat for years, it was not too surprising to hear that Pat had something to say about the Haitian earthquake. It was not surprising, either, to hear that his remarks became controversial pretty much as soon as they left his mouth. I wonder, sometimes, if there are people out there with nothing better to do with their time than monitor Christians with public ministries, waiting to catch them in a real or possible faux pas. Perhaps they're paid to do so. In either case, I wonder if they realize that they are spending a lot of time being exposed to the gospel, and that they are responsible for what they learn. Anyway . . .
So, what did Pat say? He said: "Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French . . . and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."
As a theological putterer with a historical bent, I hunted for some information on the historicity of the story. It seems not to have any verifiable historical basis. I found the following statement from Jean Gelin, a native Haitian, a Christian pastor, and an agronomist with a PhD in plant sciences, posted back in October 2005 on the website

"Have you ever heard how some preachers or theologians try to explain the unspeakable misery that is crippling most of Haiti’s population of 8 million? Everywhere you go, from your television screen to the Internet, what you are most likely to find is a reference to a spiritual pact that the fathers of the nation supposedly made with the devil to help them win their freedom from France. As a result of that satanic alliance, as they put it, God has placed a curse on the country some time around its birth, and that divine burden has made it virtually impossible for the vast majority of Haitians to live in peace and prosperity in their land. Surprising, right?
The satanic pact allegedly took place at Bois-Caïman near Cap-Haïtien on August 14, 1791 during a meeting organized by several slave leaders, under [Dutty] Boukman’s leadership, before launching what would become Haiti’s Independence War. This brutal period lasted 13 years until the last survivors of the French expeditionary forces, dispatched to Saint-Domingue with the sole purpose to re-establish slavery, were allowed by Dessalines to leave the island and return to Napoleon. Those who made it safely to France wrote and reported about the utmost bravery and supreme courage of Haiti’s indigenous army.
Obviously, the idea that Haiti was dedicated to Satan prior to its independence is a very serious and profound statement with potentially grave consequences for its people in terms of how they are perceived by others or how the whole nation is understood outside its borders. One would agree that such a strong affirmation should be based on solid historical and scriptural ground. But, although the satanic pact idea is by far the most popular explanation for Haiti’s birth as a free nation, especially among Christian missionaries and some Haitian Church leaders, it is nothing more than a fantasist opinion that ultimately dissipates upon close examination.
I was born and raised in Haiti, and I am a graduate of the State University in Port-au-Prince. I am also a believer in the Lord Jesus-Christ in accordance with the Bible. In all of my studies of Haitian history, however, I have yet to find a good evidence of even the idea of Satan’s assistance in the Independence War, let alone a satanic pact.
For quite some time now, several articles on the Internet have mentioned the existence of an iron pig statue in Port-au-Prince as a monument to commemorate Haiti’s so-called pact with the devil through Vodou. The statue would be in remembrance of a pig that was killed during the gathering by the African slaves. In an effort to know more about that rumor, I contacted several authors about the exact location of the pig statue that’s incidentally nowhere to be found in the country. Their answer was complete silence, a simple apology, or just the removal of the reference from their texts." 

He goes on to say:

"It’s hard to know where the idea of a divine curse on Haiti following the purported satanic pact actually originated, whether from foreign missionaries or from local church leaders. In his book Ripe Now - A Haitian congregation responds to the Great Commission, Haitian pastor Frantz Lacombe identified a ‘dependence mentality’ in the leadership of the Haitian church, which resulted from the way the Christian faith was brought to the country, historically and through various denominations. Apparently, this unfortunate manner of thinking, which tends to emulate the worldview and culture of North American and European Christian missionaries, has permeated the general philosophy of the Haitian church on many levels, including church planting, church management, music and even missionary activities.
In that context, I would not be surprised if the satanic pact idea (followed by the divine curse message) was put together first by foreign missionaries and later on picked up by local leaders. On the other hand, it is equally possible that some Haitian church leaders developed the idea on their own using a theological framework borrowed from those same missionaries who subsequently propagated the message around the world. Either way, because of this message, Haiti has been portrayed as the country born out of Satan’s benevolence and goodwill toward mankind. Shouldn’t such a fantastic idea be tested for its historic validity and theological soundness?"

(The interested reader should know that I removed references to footnotes from the quotes, and should go to the website to see the footnotes. I did not do a lot of extra looking, so I can't vouch for the historical accuracy of Pastor Gelin's statements, although I noticed several similar notions.)
My first thoughts are two-fold:
1. Pat's statements seem to reflect a common but false notion about the history of Haiti. In a situation in which he felt compelled to say something about the tragedy in Haiti, he should have checked the facts if he was going to discuss that tragedy in light of overarching spiritual conditions. As it is, his statement was irrelevant, which makes any spiritual connections that he thinks he can observe at best meaningless and at worst so false as to be dangerously misleading. That makes them and him irresponsible.
2. The possibility that this situation is related to the history of the introduction of Christianity to Haiti is tragic. If Pastor Gelin's thoughts are at all accurate -- and I cannot evaluate them -- they reflect the Church's frequent insistence that the gospel be brought to people embedded in the culture of those who bring it. That is, evangelists have often -- and I suspect often still do -- attempted to conflate the gospel and their own culture, as if both are needed for salvation. (I am working on my thoughts on whether there can be such as thing as a Christian culture, and the issue of how the apparently false notion of a Haitian deal with Satan came to be is related to that.) That is simply demeaning to native people. Period. So, Pat's remarks take on another aspect: they seem to reflect opinions about Haitian history and culture that degrade the Haitian people relative to European and Euroamerican cultures and missionaries.
Knowing that CBN's Operation Blessing is raising money for ministry in Haiti, and that Operation Blessing has a long history of such ministry in situations where people, of whatever background and culture, are suffering, I am not concerned that it is the position of CBN or Pat Robertson that Haitians had it coming when the earthquake decimated their country.
That said, however, a lesson evangelical Christians should take from the controversy is that we cannot afford to express compassion within the hubris of cultural superiority. Doing so means that our compassion is not real, nor will it be helpful in alleviating human suffering. To the extent that there is an overarching culture characterizing the United States, and I, for one, am not sure there is, it is certainly not superior to others around the world just because we say it is. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not, explicitly or implicitly, endorse our culture and anyone else's. The gospel does, though, explicitly endorse compassion and action to care about and for anyone whose life is traumatized by natural and other events and circumstances.
If you cannot go to Haiti to help, give money to the Red Cross or even to CBN's Operation Blessing. Give generously. Whatever you give will go much farther in Haiti than you might expect.
Pray for the Haitian people. Their lives were, by and large, not easy before the earthquake. Not only have many people -- people who did not deserve this tragedy -- been killed, injured, and made homeless by the earthquake, but many, many more will suffer the same fates. The government was not prepared for anything like this and will probably be very ineffective in caring for its people. And the social unrest that pervaded Haiti before the earthquake is likely to be greatly exacerbated in coming days, weeks, and months, particularly now that the United Nations peacekeeping efforts have been shut down by the earthquake. 
Pray that, in the midst of the current and on-going tragedy and the efforts just beginning to bring help to Haiti, Christians will have many opportunities to assure Haitians that God's love for Haitians is boundless, that God grieves for the suffereing, and that His love has compelled Christians to give their lives for Haitians, following the example of Jesus who gave His life for all of us.
And it might be a good idea to pray that all Christians, maybe especially our leaders, will follow my Granny's wisdom: "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You might be a Taoseno if . . .

Okay, I'm no Jeff Foxworthy -- although we are tocayos (Shelby knows; the rest of you should look it up in a Spanish-English dictionary; you can find one on-line) -- but even a lifer, admittedly jaded by generational exposure, has to confess that northern New Mexico is NOT like back in the United States. Seriously. (Oops . . .)
One day I was driving to work, an hour-and-a-half of commute that my truck knows well enough to do by itself so I can do other things (I used to text, but my new phone is really inconvenient for texting while driving, so now I write down stuff I'm thinking about), and I began both looking around me and thinking about what makes this area unique (or, as my post-modern son writes it, "yoo-neek"). After only a short time, I had several pages of notes (and two near-misses with other cars, one poor dog that was scared half to death, and a blister on my left knee from driving with it for so long; don't tell my wife).
This could go on for a while, so let's do it a few at a time.
By the way, I cannot insert a tilde over the n, so Taoseno looks different than it is pronounced. Say it, "Touse-enyo." Now say it again. And again. One more time. That last one was better than your first one, but you need to keep working on it until it flows from your lips like warm honey on a sopaipilla. Oh, for gosh sakes, look it up. Anyway . . .
You might be a Taoseno if:

1. You might never get the chance to have one, but you know that a real house is made of mud.

2. Three or more of your best friends have the same last name but are not really related.

3. Three or more of your best friends have the same last name and they are related.

4. You are related to three or more of your best friends, regardless of your last name.

5. You used to hunt rabbits where you now live.

6. You forget your street address, but you can tell anyone how to get to your house . . . based on a large cottonwood and a big dog in the neighbor's yard.

7. You know the locations of at least two hippie communes.

8. You may have never seen it, but you know about the purple orb.

9. You still call it the Moly Mine.

10. You know the differences between chili from Michael's, Orlando's, and the Plaza Grill. And why they matter.

11. You could sell your house and land and buy a small county back in the United States.

12. You remember when the Swap Shop was in English in the mornings, Spanish in the afternoons, and Tiwa in the evenings.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Language on a downhill slide

I just learned, from a professional editor at my office, that it is now common practice to use the word "data" as a singular noun, rather than as the plural noun that it really is. I will try to maintain my purity in this situation, but apparently my editors will begin making changes in my professional writing.
I feel violated.

Words to delete from a serious vocabulary

Yeah, I know that language is dynamic. It has to be, because culture is dynamic and language is cultural symbolism. Think about it -- what we call words are really just combinations of sounds that come out of our mouths (and sometimes noses . . . and why does that often seem to happen when our mouths are full of some liquid?). There is no real difference between them and the sounds any other critter makes, EXCEPT we endow some of them with meaning. And meaning is always cultural. So, the sounds to which we ascribe meaning are symbolic -- their significance, that which differentiates them from sound without meaning, lies in their utility to represent -- symbolize -- cultural concepts.
Culture is always either dynamic or dead. Even if culture is dying, it's changing, so it's dynamic. Consequently, as one system of cultural symbolism, language is also dynamic. I suspect, although it's been years since my last linguistics class so I might be wrong, that we can gauge the rate of cultural change by the rate of language change. It's easy to ascribe the current state of American English to technology -- the availability and use of e-mail, instant messaging, phone texting, twitter (gag), and so on. Personally, I really dislike the now-accepted and constant use of abbreviations and numbers-for-words and so forth in on-the-fly messages that are supposed to pass for communication. Okay, sometimes I use them, but I feel ashamed when I do, so then I feel better. See how easy I am?
Anyway, the point is that these recent but now pervasive (and undesirable, in my opinion) changes in language are really the result of the rapidity of change in our overarching American culture (I might have to return to questions of "American culture" another time). A lot of that, of course, is related to the rapidity of technological change, which in many ways requires us to adapt how we accept and utilize innovations within the framework of culture. That is, adoption of technological innovation takes place within one's cultural milieu; if it can't be made relevant -- not just useful, but relevant -- to the potential user, it won't make it in. Why are rural, agricultural people often less than interested in small hybrid cars; why do suburban families hang onto their minivans rather than rushing to get Priuses? They're not relevant when you have to move hay bales to the cows, or you have to pick up yours and your neighbor's kids at school.
Okay, so I recognize that cultural dynamics are reflected in, among other things, language dynamics. For that reason, I also recognize that language change is inevitable. The structure of American English -- the grammar -- that I was taught in elementary school is being altered all around me. While my mother the English teacher would be appalled at how little I actually remember about diagramming sentences, I nonetheless appreciate a well-constructed sentence and a well-turned phrase. At the same time, I can appreciate and even find interesting some of the changes in grammar and meaning that are rampant. Ginger told me that "google" is the word of the decade for the 2000s. There's a word that didn't exist a few years ago and is now a standard addition in nearly everyone's vocabulary, both as a noun and a verb.
HOWEVER, dadgum it, there are some words and phrases that are simply too moronic to be allowed in ANYONE'S vocabulary, and I will not concede their use on the basis of cultural and linguistic change. I think a law should be passed to ban them and their usage, except in literary situations in which an author needs them to point out a character's banality. Before I list those at the top of my list, I should confess that I actually use a couple of them, having fallen prey, in moments of weakness in character and intellect, to the riptide of popular verbage. Mea culpa, and I will, if required, spend my time in stupid-word jail. Okay, here's the top of my list (I expect to add to it as time goes on):
  1. "like" There are, like, way too many times that, like, this little word with real comparative utility, like, gets thrown into sentences in, like, ways that make the speaker sound, like, really dumb. It's been made fun of for years on Saturday Night Live and yet people keep, like, using it.
  2. "amazing" If everything is amazing then nothing is amazing. Kindly limit the use of superlatives (look it up) to situations that are, in fact, amazing.
  3. "ohmygod" and it's relative "ohmygosh," which seems to be favored by people not wanting to break the third commandment. Firstly, these are three words, not one. Secondly, reacting to everything one encounters as though it requires personal communication with the Almighty -- or to whomever Gosh might be -- might actually be a violation of the third commandment. By the way, I sometimes use the second version, although I have no clue as to the identity or potential deity of Gosh.
  4. "him and I's" and "her and I's" If I should develop an aneurysm and it should burst, you may blame it on this one. "I" CANNOT be made into a possessive. "She and I" might own that car, but if she sells her part to me, it is mine, NOT I's. My sweetheart can vouch for the fact that, even though I know they can't hear me, I LOUDLY correct every person on TV who uses one of those phrases. "Her and I's date tonight was amazing." AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH . . . . . .
  5. "I mean" at the beginning of a sentence. As in someone asks a question and the responder begins his/her response by saying, "I mean . . . ," even though the question was not about someone's or something's meaning. This is a new form of "ummmm," a filler sound with no meaning that takes up time when one doesn't know what to say. I'm a big ummm-er, unfortunately.
  6. "Seriously" Seriously, folks, the rampant use of this word might have spread from Gray's Anatomy, or perhaps it got included in their scripts because it was already rampant. I also, unwittingly, found a place for this one in my vocabulary. Getting rid of it is about as hard for me as stopping nail biting. Seriously.
Okay, that'll do for now. I'm trying to decide about "dude." Like "like," "dude" came to the rest of us from valley girls and beach bums. I use it, like most folks, as an exclamatory. Dude! I remember when my high school friends and I decided that there should be gender equality, so we started calling people "dudes" and "dudettes." I also remember that most of them didn't like it and we stopped because of threats of physical violence . . . from both dudes and dudettes. It's hard on one's fragile, high-school, male ego to get beat down by a dudette.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is this a good idea?

It is either the height of hubris or the depth of depravity to presume that ANYONE gives a hoot about what I have to say. However, I am a terrible journaler (is that a word?) and there are things I think about, so this thing, if it continues, serves a selfish purpose in that it allows me to "think out loud." I am what learning geeks call an auditory learner. For me, that means that I think best when I can hear myself think. If forced to think quietly -- in my head, as it were -- I am much more likely to let my thoughts wander off while I chase mental rabbits, rarely getting back to the point. This is the primary reason that, as anyone who knows me even a little knows, I talk to myself. Incessantly. And I answer myself (I am a fascinating conversationalist).
Now, having "said" all this (not out loud), I have to follow up by saying that, even when I talk to myself, I wander off chasing rabbits. Hmmm . . . Sometime back, I realized that I can think pretty well -- more focused -- if I write it down. Mostly, so far, that has helped me with professional stuff. But it seems possible that if it works in the professional arena, it might work with other stuff. So . . .
If it turns out that, in fact, I have nothing of any significance to say to anyone besides myself, however, then I'm out of here. Fast. My family, especially my children, know that I have to be dragged into new electronic pursuits. Heck, even as I write this on my new MacBook, I'm still trying to retire a PC from 1999 and another one from 2003. I might be one of the last five people in the world with a computer running on Windows 98. So, the idea of me having a blog seems pretty far-fetched, particularly to me. At this point, I have pretty darned little invested in this. Maybe that'll change.
Do not hope, in any case, that I will make regular or frequent posts. They'll come along as I think about stuff.