Heraclitus is credited with observing that the only constant is change. He was almost right. The only constant is God. Perfect and immutable, He is the one fixed reality behind (and in) a universe where all is in continual motion, down to the smallest bits we can detect. “I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (ESV, Mal. 3:6).

In creation, the only constant is change.

Change in my life

About a month ago, I turned in my resignation at Grace Baptist Church, and for the time being, I am taking a break from pastoral ministry altogether.

People are often unsure what to think when they encounter a man who was a pastor but is no longer in ministry of that kind at all. I always used to wonder what happened. Did he have a really bad experience? Did he just run out of money (Acts 18:3 comes to mind, and maybe John 21:3)? Was he disciplined? Was there some scandal?

I don’t think there’s any wickedness in that kind of curiosity. And depending on what sort of view of “the call” someone has been taught, he can be forgiven for seeing “former pastor” as an inherently negative thing.

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Welcome to SharperIron 3.2

newAs you can see, the latest site redesign is online now. We hope you’ll enjoy it. A few things to check out.

  • New menu system
  • New editor for comments: now you can format your comments with a far more functional toolbar (or html code, if you like). Several common ctrl+ key combinations work in the editor as well.
  • Forum structure: we’ve simplified the Forum structure a good bit. It should be easier to see where to put the sort of conversation you want to have.
  • Tagging: this function is “in the rough,” but you can now tag your Forum opening posts.

It isn’t really completely “done,” but should be stable and functional—and we’ll work the bugs out over the next few days.

A good place to post questions or problems would be either the comments section below or in the forum thread: Known Issues in 3.2

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The SharperIron Forum Revamp - Some Why and What

In just a couple of weeks (hopefully), SharperIron will go offline for a day or so to install a set of facelifts and functionality improvements. This time around, a pretty major forum overhaul is also in the plan.

What does “major” mean? To some extent, that’s up to you. We’d like to hear your ideas. It’s true that big ideas will take more than two weeks to work into the redesign. But we’d like to hear big ones as well as small ones—and we can always incorporate something bigger later.

To give those ideas some direction and boundaries, let’s consider a couple of basic questions.

Why have a forum?

SI began as a forum with a blog, then became more of a blog with a forum, then a news and article site with a forum. Quite a few news and article sites (most) follow the content-plus-comments model and offer no forum at all. Nearly all blogs fit the content-plus-comments model. So why have a forum?

1. Less centrality

A blog flows entirely from the top down. Its writers determine what will post and when, then discussion occurs based on the agenda determined by the writers. Forums, on the other hand, encourage users to start their own conversations, resulting in a wider range of content, completely unscheduled content, and less dependence on the perspective of one or two individuals.

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A SharperIron App for Chrome

Google Chrome is now the world’s most widely used internet browser. And for those of us who have been using it for some time, this news comes as no surprise. It’s fast and efficient. And with the increasing popularity of the Chrome Web Store, apps are being developed to make common internet tasks more accessible.

But as with any good thing, it has its limitations. There is no easy way, for example, to add any old website to the “New Tab” page (the page that hosts all your web apps). So what do you if, for example, you want to have quicker, easier access to SharperIron? There is a fairly easy solution…make your own Chrome Web App! Here’s how:

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Hosted by Fundamentalists

waiterThis June is a month of changes for SharperIron. Several design changes are planned by month’s end. A restructuring of the Forums is in the works. Today we’re officially making a change that we’ve been describing for a while as “the identity tweak.” (See “Seven Years and Counting” and the ensuing discussion.) The key phrase in this adjustment is “hosted by fundamentalists.”

For some years—probably since ‘05—SharperIron has characterized itself as “a fundamentalist place” existing “for fundamentalists.” Though the language predates my involvement at SI, the intent was that those who register and participate in discussions should be people who consider themselves to be, in some sense, fundamentalists. Since we didn’t precisely define what a fundamentalist is, or put much effort into policing members’ fundamentalist status, we’ve always had some participants who were not fundamentalists in the estimation of some other members. As everyone knows, opinions expressed here have not always been “fundamentalistically correct” either.

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