I have to say, I am really enjoying using MindNode during my sermon prep. Being able to switch between mindmap mode and outline mode as well as being able to easily move things around is helpful for figuring out how to rightly order my thoughts.

One of the things I didn’t expect when I got into full time ministry was just how much of the work with people would actually take place in WhatsApp.

So, invited by the great sweetness of his beneficence and goodness, let us study to love and serve him with all our heart. John Calvin

I did not expect Calvin to spend as much time as he did writing about angels in the Institutes but I’m really glad that he did.

This musical reworking of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is absolutely gorgeous. 🎶

I had fully intended to write my sermon by hand but found it particularly tough going. I ended up caving and typing it up in Ulysses.

I suppose this view will do for a break before handwriting my sermon script. The research/study phase for this series has been laborious because it’s systematic and doctrinal rather than expository but spending weeks on it has been really helpful.

Resting place of Highland Mary.

What was my main day off activity today? Having my kids get me set up on Pokémon Violet. I may have fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole. 🎮

Over the summer I’m preaching four topical/doctrinal sermons instead of my normal expository work. To help with getting my head around “The Bible says this about…” I’m finally giving MindNode a go. It’s quite fun so far and I really appreciate the fact that it works really well as an outlining tool, which is the primary way I actually think through things.

memento mori

A clue to how the morning is going is that I almost started my pour over without any coffee in the v60…

There is a filter but it isn’t responsible for the curl in the clouds.

Working from home, for me, is less than ideal (especially when everyone is at home). But when Scottish weather decides to be very Scottish, I’m faced with either getting blown away and/or soaked if I try to work elsewhere.

Jared Henderson on AI artwork

One of the things I wrestle with as a person with a somewhat creative vocation 1 is the simple fact that people seem enamoured with AI-generated “artwork”. I am fairly certain that I’m with Tolstoy regarding a definition of art. However, I can see someone making the argument that there is still human intent and emotion there in something generated by a machine because the source ideas are human. I would add that there has to be direct human involvement in the actual mechanism of bringing the artwork into existence.

Jared Henderson shared a really helpful viewpoint on his Substack about how we should feel about AI-generated artwork. 

This is how we should approach art. Even if the machines can do a damn good job, we should keep doing it ourselves. Because it matters for us that we keep doing it.

He argues that the very fact that human-created art is human-created is enough of a reason to keep doing it. I couldn’t agree more.

  1. I have a source text in the Bible but I have to be creative in how I work at teaching it. ↩︎

A new devotional habit 🚶

One of the habits I’m trying to get into (for a variety of reasons) is getting up early and going for a walk while listening to a Psalm or something on repeat with a minute or two between for meditation and prayer. I went for my walk this morning and it was wonderful, though I failed to get up as early as I wanted to.

nostalgic about how the internet/music used to be

When I was younger, the internet served one single purpose. The Eisley forum. Yes, there was Myspace but that was quickly eclipsed by the forum. It used to be that the way into a band’s fandom was to be a member of the discussion forum on their website.

The members of the band were members there. There was talk about the band but also talk about general stuff.

There were people I had met in real life, while watching Eisley play at the Metro or the Vic or Park West or Schubas. I became friends with those people, some of whom were in their own bands. I went to see them play.

We would play at open mic nights or at the late-great Borders Books & Music.

But we had a community built around this thing. There will necessarily be some sense of remembering what it was like to be a teenager built into this feeling. I had a car and a job. And even when we didn’t have shows to go to, we still had the forum.

I can find some of that sense of community in a couple of Discord communities. One is focused on philosophy and reading, one is about being a deliberately Christian creative person. But it isn’t quite the same. It makes me feel old.

Then again, I am actually old because I remember back when you either had a Blogspot, Livejournal, or Xanga site.

I don’t do this enough 📝

When I sit down and start to work on words, I always have an endpoint in mind. The bulk of my writing ends up being delivered audibly in the pulpit on the Lord’s Day. This is right as it is my actual job.

Beyond that, I am writing things out for meetings and for teaching. There is some end in mind for everything.

Which means I don’t really write for fun. This has meant that even journaling is something that only happens when I have something that needs processing in my mind for work. It was not always this way.

I don’t really write to document my life anymore. I don’t write to look back on how things were before. I have my 5-year diary, but that is only a sentence or two, only a way to keep a chunk of years together in the briefest form possible.

A youtube channel called Check the Box & Learn and learn recently made its way into my feed. It’s a bit of an odd example of a youtube channel. Why? Because it exists in the productivity space but it’s a hobby project. Jill, the person behind the channel, recently shared a video detailing her process and it was really refreshing to see someone using what they have to make a thing that is both useful and fun.

It’s now the halfway point of 2024. The kids are on summer hols. I still have work, Tracy still has work. But it does also seem like a good time to try and make a deliberate practice of writing for fun again. I don’t know how much of it will be done in public. Am I writing for fun or blogging for fun? Why not both?

Finished reading: Christians Get Depressed Too by David P. Murray 📚

This was a reread as prep for preaching on mental health in a few weeks. Murray has some really helpful stuff, especially on the need to care for carers and the importance of being Christians who can keep confidence.

Took advantage of the dry afternoon and went for a big walk around town. This is the view from Lyle Hill in Greenock.