Introducing the Refiner's Club

Six months ago, Jason Janz made an appeal for financial help for SI, and quite a few of you rose to the occasion. He was able to recover his personal investment in SI before passing the site on to me. At the time, he estimated the cost of running the site to be around $750 a month.

The good news is that the cost is now around $550 a month. However, though we’ve managed to bring costs down, income is still slightly below the level of expenses. And if we’re going to grow SI, we’ll have to do more than break even. The Admin Team is in need of reliable teleconferencing services adaptable to our locations during the day. Conference and interview opportunities await funds for travel expenses. Bandwidth and server upgrades may also be necessary in the months ahead. And we’d love to start paying writers for their articles.

A couple of solutions to the financial situation are in the works. A site face-lift is in development and will allow us to offer more attractive advertising options, which should improve ad revenue. The new site will also feature non-rotating “affiliate” ads that will bring revenue to SI when folks make purchases via the links.

But in the long run, it appears likely that funding a thriving site will require the ongoing support of at least some of those who use the site. Accordingly, today we’re launching the Refiner’s Club.
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SI Member Profiles Are No Longer Public

keysAs of Friday morning, SharperIron member profiles are no longer visible to the public. Unless unforeseen problems arise from the change, they’ll stay that way. Many have expressed concern over public exposure of personal information, and the Admin Team became convinced some time ago that, if possible, we should aim for non-anonymity among members while retaining identity privacy from the Internet as a whole.

Some profiles may remain cached in Google and other search engines for a while, but these should gradually disappear, and new member profiles will not be indexed by the search engines. We hope the change will make SI members safer as well as make the SI Forums a more welcoming place for newcomers.

Why So Many Lawyers?

by Pastor Dan Miller

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections.
GavelRecent estimates indicate that our nation is home to seventy percent of the world’s lawyers. That figure may decline as other nations scramble to keep up with us, but perhaps not. In any event, we may conclude along purely statistical lines that lawyers play a sizable and even disproportionate role in our society.

This state of affairs is relatively new. Older citizens will recall a time when attorneys were few and their services rarely required. Today, lawyers are ubiquitous. They dot the social landscape and factor into our daily lives in ever increasing ways.

This burgeoning litigation industry has dramatically changed our society. Gone are the days when business deals were sealed with a handshake. The fear of being sued can render us skittish to perform what used to be second nature acts of decency and neighborliness. You have to fairly throw caution to the wind to help an injured motorist or to warn a potential employer of an applicant’s lack of character. Gone also are carefree smiles when a skateboarder turns a sharp pivot on your driveway apron.
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Book Review: Truman

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at

McCullough, David. Truman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. 1,117 pp., hardback.
TrumanRoman orator Cicero stated, “Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child” (De Oratore II; quoted in A New Dictionary of Quotations, selected and edited by H. L. Mencken. New York: Knopf, 1942; p. 536). Hence, the pressing and continuing need to study history in general and for me this book in particular. I was born while three months and three days remained in the presidency of Harry S. Truman (he served April 1945 to January 1953), but I naturally enough remember not a thing about it personally. In fact, I don’t have any recollections of Truman at all until I was eight or ten. My father was wont always to refer to him as “Horrible Harry.”
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Calvinism on the “N” Train

TrainAs I sat on the train this morning, I looked into the face of a Chinese man. He looked old, tired, and alone. I wondered, If Calvinism is true, is this man one of the ones God loved enough to send His Son to die, or is this man excluded from any possibility of grace? Does God care about this man, or is he one who is not the object of God’s love? What a troubling thought!

I continued to look at this lonely man across the aisle and thought about the apparent contradiction between Calvinism and encountering real people on the “N” train from Brooklyn to Queens. I asked myself, Is God most glorified by the expression of His great love for all or by the expression of His sovereign power in electing and predestining a few? Why is that grace must be irresistible for a chosen few? Is the love, goodness, and grace of God in the message of cross not persuasive and compelling enough in itself that God must save men against their willingness?
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