Jan 192018

Last Saturday afternoon, as I was relaxing with my family, I got a call from one of the medical companies with whom I have a business relationship. I didn’t care for the timing of it, but it’s the first of the year, and the topic of the call was reasonable. I hung up after confirming twice that my understanding was accurate and that everything was handled satisfactorily.

Yesterday I got a voicemail from this same company, asking me to call them back. When I did this morning, the machine with which I spoke did not understand my multiple attempts to communicate and, rather than give me an opportunity to talk to a person, simply hung up on me.

(One day I shall write the definitive criticism of those godforsaken phonebots.)

So I called the customer service number, and I learned—guess what?—that, contrary to my twice-confirmed understanding on Saturday, everything was not handled satisfactorily.

The details are even more boring than this narrative so far, so I won’t share them. And the company doesn’t matter either. Both the nature of the details and the companies are all the same in this regard.

And you know what? I realize there is no malice here. No one sets out to do me harm, stress me out, or anything else. It just happens. It’s institutional. For many reasons—some good, some not; some accidental, some by design—the power, the intelligence, and the conscience required to handle these problems never converge in a single person.

I want to think about this stuff for one hour once a year and then have it fade into the background completely. (Gee, that’s my recollection of how it was 20 years ago.) I don’t want to have a “relationship” with you. I don’t want to think of you as a partner, or have your stupid app on my phone, or have to talk to another person on the phone who calls me William every single damned time s/he says anything.

I think a well-designed and highly secure (such that any information whatsoever could be exchanged) web site, staffed and supported by people with Asperger’s and a minimum IQ of 110, would suit me perfectly. Can we have that?

 Posted by at 11:00 am
Jan 122018

Somewhere on the series of tubes this week I encountered the term “micro-cheating” and thought “hmmm, that sounds like I could get a post out of it.”

And here it is. But it’s not the post I thought I was going to write.

I thought it would be about closeness in general. I was prepared to rebut a position that any closeness with a member of the opposite sex who is not my wife was inappropriate and “micro-cheating.”

But, no. That would be an intelligent response to a sincere, but inadvertently wrong-headed, article. The actual piece itself is silly and essentially useless, containing gems like:

“…listing a ‘friend’ under a code name in your phone…”


“If your partner is hiding any aspect of their relationship with someone else — say, if they close Gmail the minute you walk into the room — that could be a sign that something’s amiss.”

Is this really a hair we need split for us now? If I think my “friend” needs an alias, or if my inclination is to hide email from my wife, do I really need to read in an article that I just might be doing something wrong?

“The top signs are secrecy and deception.”

Wow! A revelatory insight, indeed.

We need to cease the apparently-comforting-to-some fiction that morality is some hopelessly complex continuum, responsive to endless dissection and interpretation. There are some things that truly are morally ambiguous, but they aren’t dilemmas we generally encounter day to day. You know the difference between right and wrong. Do you actually need some nitwit with a fancy title coining a Newspeak term for something before you know you shouldn’t do it?

 Posted by at 11:24 am
Jan 072018

“So far as the law is concerned it knows neither native nor alien, Jew nor Gentile, black nor white. This case is no different from any other. We have only to do our duty without fear or favor.” – Judge James Edwin Horton Nathan and I went to see Judge Horton after church today. I […]

 Posted by at 2:40 pm
Dec 172017

David and Allie Houle visited our church this morning to share about their upcoming work as missionaries. They’re going to spend five years in Thailand, helping to plant Christian churches and fight human trafficking. I’m blown away. Two young professionals who would choose that life for those causes? Wow. They are instantly my heroes. They’ll […]

 Posted by at 9:05 pm