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Messages - Richard Johnson

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31
Your Turn / Re: A Blessed Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord to All!
« on: December 25, 2020, 01:15:43 PM »
I realized this year that I miss most of all preaching at Christmas. I got to preach (on line) this morning; if you care to visit the service, here it is:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=essGiOczH1A. Merry Christmas, everyone!

32
Your Turn / Re: Important announcement
« on: December 23, 2020, 09:57:42 PM »
Would you be willing to noindex all the webforums to keep real names off Google?

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/block-indexing

We'll look into this, thanks.

33
Your Turn / Important announcement
« on: December 23, 2020, 07:36:20 PM »
I'm cross-posting this for those of you who only read "Your Turn."

Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.

34
Forum Blogs / Important announcement
« on: December 23, 2020, 07:34:29 PM »
Your moderators have been in conversation with the ALPB board about the nature and future of this Forum. We, and they, are concerned about the toxicity of much of the recent conversation. We have discussed various options for improving the quality of interactions. There may be more changes in the future, but for now the following changes will be made effective January 1:
(1) We will no longer permit anonymous posters. You may include your real name (first and last names, please) as your user name, or, if you prefer, you may include your real name as a signature. If the moderators suspect that the name you provide is a pseudonym, we will be contacting you directly to assure that you are who you say you are. If you are currently posting anonymously, please see that you correct that prior to January 1.
(2) We will ask that you restrict your posts to matters related in some way to the purpose and ministry of the church or the challenges of the Christian life. There are plenty of other places to discuss the world of politics. We will allow some latitude here; there are obviously areas where politics and faith intersect, and that intersection is not always entirely clear. But we will not allow political sniping.
(3) As a matter of fact, we will not allow sniping at all. We will be moderating more aggressively. Any post that makes personal attacks on others will be removed, or at least heavily edited; any post that is removed will also lead to the removal of all responses to that post. Persistent violations of this rule will lead to removal from the conversation. Robust discussion is good. Personal attacks are not.
That’s how things are going to go in the new year. With your help, we hope to get this train back on track.

And while I've said the effective date is January 1, in fact some of these things will be happening sooner. We need to practice a little before we go full bore into it.

35
Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 21, 2020, 01:20:15 PM »
Whether I am right or wrong, it should be obvious that National Review is not an objective observer of Trump and his administration. 

Is there such a thing? Or do we all identify objectivity as what agrees with us?

36
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 20, 2020, 06:58:14 PM »
He also said that when he was discussing the appointment with the county officials, he said, "Well, I think it's a good fit for me, and I'm wiling to do it. Are there any downsides I should know about?" The response: "Well, the death threats." Totally serious.
Yipes.
Dave Benke
The yikes here is that everyone automatically assumes that when there are reports of death threats that the threats come from the subject’s opponents.

Since these ‘death threats’ are rarely investigated to the extent that charges are filed, it is entirely possible that death threats are fabricated with the intent of deliberately discrediting the opponents of the alleged victim’s opponents.

AJ

That doesn't really make any sense, but whatever.

37
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 17, 2020, 08:48:11 PM »
As usual, our Zoom men's group had conversation about the vaccine today. One of our number, a physician, has been asked to become the county's public health officer. He talked about the steep grade ahead in trying to get people to agree to be vaccinated. He revealed that our county has the lowest immunization rate of any in California.

He also said that when he was discussing the appointment with the county officials, he said, "Well, I think it's a good fit for me, and I'm wiling to do it. Are there any downsides I should know about?" The response: "Well, the death threats." Totally serious.

38
Forum Blogs / Parishioner's care for clergy
« on: December 16, 2020, 10:02:06 PM »
Pastors know how very generous and kind parishioners can be. It is something I miss in retirement. But there are still moments. Today we had a call from the church secretary. Alyce, a 90-something lady who was normally a regular at our 7:30 a.m. service, had backed a loaf of persimmon bread for each of the clergy, including us retired folks (that would be five or six of us). She isn't leaving home (though she was there almost every week when we were back to in-person services in June through November), so she asked Debbie if she could come pick up the loaves and see that the clergy got them. It came with a Christmas card and a personal hand-written note. You gotta love her.

39
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 16, 2020, 09:56:05 PM »
I think we sometimes don't fully understand (at least I don't) the way the economic damage of the pandemic ripples through the workplace in unexpected ways. We had some printing to do, and rather than doing self-serve at Staples, decided to stop in at an independent print shop whose young owner is married to a former colleague of my wife. We asked how things have been going. Slow, he said. So much of his business is involved with printing playbills and programs for local theaters, publicity for now cancelled events, menus for now closed restaurants, etc. He had to lay off his only employee--his brother. Tough times. We were glad we took our business to him today.

40
Your Turn / Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« on: December 16, 2020, 09:49:08 PM »
I think the voice dictation problem was this:  "if you blocks from where are used to live"

41
Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 16, 2020, 02:00:47 PM »

The LCMS is a totally different universe. Seems like anybody other than a lowly pastor is Dr -----.

Then there was my parishioner, who called me "Dr. Johnson" long before I even contemplated going to graduate school. I think it's because he had a pastor once upon a time who was "Dr."

42
Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 16, 2020, 01:59:29 PM »
Everyone who supports Jill Biden's demand to be addressed as "Doctor" based on her education degree is hereby requested to address me as Dr. Peter Speckhard in this forum. Everyone else is invited to continue calling me Peter.

btw, my dad has a doctorate in education. He never went by Dr. Speckhard. It is confusing to strangers, who think immediately of medical doctors, and pompous among colleagues and acquaintances.

I don't personally think a doctor of ministry qualifies one to be known as "doctor"; would it be OK if I just called you Master Peter?  8) 

Perhaps you don't recall the kerfuffle at Yale and Harvard where "Master of the College" was deemed to trigger recollections of historical slavery and persecution, and even the "Master of XYZ" degree and "Masters Program" were deemed to be racist.  Maybe another term?  "Hey, You"?

Maybe I'll just stick with "Pete."

43
Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 16, 2020, 11:06:41 AM »
Everyone who supports Jill Biden's demand to be addressed as "Doctor" based on her education degree is hereby requested to address me as Dr. Peter Speckhard in this forum. Everyone else is invited to continue calling me Peter.


Certainly wouldn't doubt you, Master Peter, but can you point me to where she "demanded" to be addressed as doctor? All I've read is back and forth op ed columns about whether or not she should be so addressed.
I've never met her, so I can only go by what people say. The words I've come across include "insists" or "requests" or "demands" or something similar. THe The relevant point is that she goes out of her way to initiate being referred to as Dr. Jill Biden. I knew of a grade school principal with a D.Ed. who went by "Dr." in a university town and got a tremendous amount of eye-rolling at his pretentiousness.

I think a good exercise with anything is to ask how a media (late night comedy included) would treat a Republican who did the same thing. Think about Democrats the way Stephen Colbert thinks about Republicans.

Well, there is her Twitter account - https://twitter.com/DrBiden

And historical record of her preferred terminology:
In 2007, at 55, Jill Biden did earn a doctorate -- in education, from the University of Delaware. Since then, in campaign news releases and now in White House announcements, she is “Dr. Jill Biden.” This strikes some people as perfectly appropriate and others as slightly pompous, a quality often ascribed to her voluble husband.

Pomposity? Yes, I'd agree. But including an earned academic title in your self-description isn't quite the same as the claim that she "demands to be called Dr."

Incidentally, in my parish's printed stuff they list me as "Rev. Dr." Never asked them to, haven't bothered to protest because, frankly, I don't really care. (There is another priest "on staff" with a PhD is psychology, and another who is a "canon," so we all get the double titles. Episcopalians are kind of into titles, you know.)

44
Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 15, 2020, 10:51:20 PM »
Everyone who supports Jill Biden's demand to be addressed as "Doctor" based on her education degree is hereby requested to address me as Dr. Peter Speckhard in this forum. Everyone else is invited to continue calling me Peter.


Certainly wouldn't doubt you, Master Peter, but can you point me to where she "demanded" to be addressed as doctor? All I've read is back and forth op ed columns about whether or not she should be so addressed.


45
Your Turn / Re: Not about the election...
« on: December 15, 2020, 10:03:43 PM »
Hogwash. It is the very ignorant who think only of medical doctors when someone says “doctor.”
College professors, seminary professors, and a few others working in science, education, technology and some other industries who have earned a doctorate often use that title.
I continue to think that those who have truly earned a regular doctorate in a recognized field have the right to the title. I remain uncertain about whether those with a “D. D.“ degree from one of our seminaries have the right to the title. In the academic world, this particular “professional“ degree does not seem to have much status. The additional study is probably useful, but to assume the title as in “the rev. Dr.“ seems excessive.
In my not so humble opinion, the highest title for a member of the clergy working at that vocation is “Pastor.”
And as for those honorary degrees conferred upon celebrity clergy or big donors, nope. You don’t get to use the title, unless it was given to you after decades of Noble service. In the old days of the LCA, almost anyone elected synod president or bishop could expect to receive an honorary doctorate from the local Lutheran college the first year of his office. Poo.

I think we've been around this track before. When I received my PhD., I specifically asked my parishioners not to call me doctor. But in the context of a seminary classroom, I asked them (at least if they asked) to call me Dr. (or Prof.). It's all about context.

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