Featured

A Quick Poll: Tank or Pond

I grew up in East Texas where we call small bodies of water a pond, which I believe is common for most of the English speaking world. However, in West Texas they tend to call them tanks, as they are used primarily for watering livestock. Some people will get passionate about the differences between the two words, but my experience is people tend to use them synonymously.

Here is my situation: Where I live now, in Central Texas, I hear both tank and pond used. It all depends on the origin of the speaker. I am working on a novel set in Central Texas, and I need to use either the word pond or tank. Tank gives the setting some ambiance, but not all readers might understand the usage. I can see pros and cons for both words.

Help me decide! VOTE NOW! Remember to click the vote button to record your choice.

 

Featured

The Church Is Unique And What It Doesn’t Do Proves It

There is nothing quite like the church. It is a unique institution with all of its quirky grace and troublesome love mixed with beautiful ashes and horrible freedom. Imagining what it would be like if the church were just another business or organization helps us process some of the greatness of the Body of Christ.

Because if it were a business, this might be something you’d see:


Platinum Level

Platinum members enjoy full, unfettered access to all fifty-two Sunday worship services, forty eight small groups, all midweek activities, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise, Easter, and VBS. Also included is individualized, one-on-one access to all of our pastoral staff, unlimited hospital visits, as well as regular emails, weekly updates, and bonus on-line and social media content. Each year of Platinum membership earns one funeral AND one wedding.

Individual Price — $18,000
Family Plan — $25,000


Gold Level

Gold members have access to most of what our church provides. Fifty-two worship services, forty small groups, Fall/Spring midweek activities, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and VBS. Gold member includes three meetings with pastoral staff with unlimited access to the youth minister, and up to five hospital visits. Gold level includes a weekly email. With each year of membership members earn one funeral OR one wedding.

Individual Price — $15,000
Family Plan — $18,000


Silver Plan

Platinum members get thirty Sunday worship services, twenty-two small groups, Christmas, Easter, and VBS. Also included is one pastoral staff interaction, three meetings with the youth minister along with an informative weekly email. Platinum members get one hospital visit and may choose one funeral or one wedding for each year of membership with a maximum of three total.

Individual Price — $8,000
Family Plan — $10,000


Bronze Plan

The very popular Bronze Plan includes fifteen Sunday worship services, Christmas and Easter. This plan also provides a monthly email. Bronze members get a fifty percent discount on either a funeral or wedding.

Individual Price $5,000
Family Plan $6,000


Basic Plan

The Basic Member plan, often called the Chr-Easter (Christmas and Easter) includes ten worship services and your pick of either Easter or Christmas Eve.

Individual Price – $2,500
Family Plan – $3,200

 

All prices yearly, monthly installments due on the 15th of each month. Ten percent (10%) discount for membership fees paid in advance by January 10. 

Featured

Fourth of July Movie

Here is the setup. It is Independence Day, but raining outside. You decide to watch a movie until the rain stops. You want to watch a classic Fourth of July movie, and these are the movies you have to choose from.

 

Remember to click the VOTE button to register your choice.

 

Thanks for playing! Happy Fourth of July.

 

 

Featured

What Would Free College Be Worth?–Meditations on Bernie Sanders’ Plan

Yesterday (24 June 2019) Senator Bernie Sanders upped the discussion among those candidates hopeful of winning the Democratic nomination. If I understand his plan, there are two parts to it.ap_738914881801-smaller_slide-c38afbf1af02da96e2f3e6688d883493538cf8cd-s800-c85

Part One: Offer free tuition at public universities and trade schools to everyone.

Part Two: Cancel all existing student loan debt.

ABC news reported it this way on their website:

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced his most sweeping plan yet to tackle the increasing cost of a higher education, introducing a bill Monday that would make public colleges and trade schools tuition free and cancel outstanding student loan debt for everyone full article here

I completely understand why some people want these changes. It starts with the pernicious problem of history majors from Princeton with $150,000 in student loan debt only qualified to teach history for $45,000 a year. I feel for these situations, I really do. I was able to attend the college of my choice because of financial aid, but still had to borrow some money to finish. A four-year university is expensive and the most expensive schools and degrees do not always offer promising jobs in the future, especially if all you have is an undergraduate degree.

Yet there are problems with the Sanders’ plan. If you make something free, the value plummets. By excusing debt, those who have already paid their loans back and those who chose to go to local schools, work through, and leave debt free are punished.

I have five big concerns that make me opposed to Sanders’ (and Warren’s) plan. I want you to know, though, I could be talked otherwise, as these are where I start from not where I may finish. A solid argument could persuade me. I just haven’t heard the solid argument yet.

Objection 1: If tuition at public institutions, like my alma mater, the University of Texas, is free then it will only be a matter of time before a university education at a public school is downgraded to essentially be a biggie sized high school diploma.

Objection 2: When public institutions are so constrained, the dividing line between public and private will only increase (a distinction that is currently neglible) with no public school able to get into the top tier. This will further divide the haves and the have nots.

Objection 3: Many private schools are religious institutions. By excusing debt accumulated, say, at BYU or Notre Dame, the government is funding religious education. As a Baptist, I have a hard time accepting this.

Objection 4: Canceling that much debt at one time, with no obligation or payment of any kind from those who amassed the debt, creates two immediate problems. The first problem is artificially tilting the free market economy.  The second problem is the expectation of a whole generation of mostly young people that they can have someone else pay their debt. It undermines responsibility, which is something college is supposed to teach.

Objection 5: Going forward, what do we do? If you cancel the debt now, in five years there will be students with loans needing to be paid back. Is this a perpetual promise, because that would get expensive fast. Free tuition doesn’t cover the most expensive part of college–room and board, thus guaranteeing there will always be college loans and college loan debt problems.

I am cynical of Sanders’ plan, because the Democratic candidates are falling all over themselves to give away more and more free stuff in an effort to get elected. I have a counter proposal. It is three parts. Part one, increase both need based and merit based federal aid while putting tougher limits on how much money can be borrowed. Part two, instead of free college, spend money on healthcare and create a universal care system. That would take a big spending burden off the entire public. Part three, expand and make for easier application the methods of having individual student loans forgiven. Some methods already exist, but these could be increased to include things like volunteering at your child’s school or a local food bank, jury duty, or donating blood or plasma.