In the last few months, the ministry I perform here -- which was derived from what were originally tools of Tekton Apologetics Ministries, and then became my own personal pursuits (tektonics.org, TektonTV, and the Tekton Ticker) -- completed a set of milestones. I completed a full review of all material on tektonics.org and moved material there from the Tekton Ticker. I also reached a milestone of 1000 videos on TektonTV. Finally, Nick Peters and I released an updated version of Defining Inerrancy.
All of this was done without the service of a 501c3, and for a time I had a notion of building a new speaking and teaching ministry. However, though this held promise earlier, the pandemic and its aftereffects has made such a ministry impractical. Travel is more onerous, and personal appearances to speak and teach are as well. I also have certain health vulnerabilities that make it wise for me to avoid large gatherings when a disease like COVID-19 is running amok (even though I am vaccinated and boosted). I considered the option of electronic/distance teaching using tools like Zoom, and that may yet materialize, but it will require some time for experimentation and development.
The sum of this message is, it appears that I have accomplshed all I can, apart from opening a new line of investigation I do not have the interest to pursue. Outside of the above, I also became the Christian Research Journal's second leading freelance writer, and my articles have been cited in books and journals both popular and academic, ranging from million copy best sellers to arcane scholarly periodicals and commentaries.
I have therefore made the decision to go "off the grid," as the phrase goes.
So what will happen to the Tekton media tools, and all my other pursuits online?
I have left TheologyWeb and will not be returning there, though the section set aside for Tekton readers remains open by invitation.
The Ticker blog will hereafter have nothing more added to it. I have already added a final entry noting this. (The Forge was closed out some time ago, but I added a note there as well.)
TektonTV will remain operational, but it will only have added to it videos that are either recordings of any speaking or podcast engagement I do in the future or that are part of a special fiction-based series I have planned. In either event, you can expect no more than one video upload per month.
Finally, this website will now be considered a "closed canon," and no new material will be added. (The "Whats' New" page has also gone away.)
This includes my personal webcomic Annals of Hearthstone, though I will finish the last story that has been anticipated in the Crucible of Time series and email it to anyone who requests it when it is finished.
Obviously, there will not be any further need for financial support for my ministry activities. I long ago diassociated with any 501c3, and that will continue to be the status.
One thing that will occupy me in the coming time (and also embodies another reason I have made this decision) is to take a closer look at how apologetics and teaching ministries can be changed to cope with a new epistemic reality -- that of an age in which minsinformation is so rapidly spread.
A story related here sort of exemplifies the problem:
That anyone was fooled by this prankster amazed me for more than one reason. People with even a small amount of education would know that Gastonia, North Carolina was not home to mountains like those pictured; even a slightly more educated person would recognize the moutains as having Swiss Alpine characteristics. Even a senisble (if not educated) person would look for Gastonia on a map and see it was not part of North Carolina's Appalachian mountain region. But no, there were people who were actually so lacking in knowledge and sense (and inquisitiveness) that they set out for a drive to Gastonia on the basis of these prank photos alone.
To be blunt, when people are this insensate (or to put it plainly, stupid) -- how can one teach and expect people to learn? The only ones who do or can are a small remnant -- which is who I have found myself ministering to more and more as time has gone on.
I have also been greatly disturbed by the growth of belief in conspiracy theories, both inside and outside the church, and the continued glorification of ignorance and preference for entertainment. As I have noted, you are welcome to share a stage with a pastor if you can sing, dance, ot entertain -- but not if you teach.
This is not a trend that is new or that I have not noted or warned of before. I saw this coming decades ago, when I first wrote the article at this location.
I also wrote for the Christian Research Journal in 2017, in a review of the book The Death of Expertise (link):
Without the recognition of some kind of authority, apologetics becomes ineffectual. If we have a conversation partner who dismisses Paul Copan’s PhD as a mere piece of paper, it will be no more effective to rely on Copan’s excellent defenses of the biblical text than it would be to come to the conversation holding a brick that happens to be the same size as one of Copan’s books. The death of expertise represents an epistemic disaster.
In line with these disturbing trends, I have also found that many of the resources I formerly relied on for information and research have gone dry. The seminary library I once used now is hostile to vistors and will no longer allow non-students to check out books. (Telling them that I had written articles for the Christian Research Journal, and even showing them one of my articles from the edition on the shelf, didn't persuade them that it might be worthwhile to grant an exception.) My local public library decided to save money by cutting interlibrary loan services (though they have plenty of money to provide a "video production studio" so that people can make their own movies). The sort of depth research I formerly was able to do is no longer possible.
Under circumstances like these, apologetics ministry cannot be performed in the usual way and may not be able to be performed at all. I will therefore be taking this exit from the grid as an opportunity to do extended self-study to determine how and where apologetics ministry can be performed and what techniques, if any, will be most effective in this new paradigm.
Again, I will not be working with or for any sort of 501c3 or other organization, though like Richard Carrier has done, and as I have even done in the past, I will accept gratuities or payment in return for doing research projects.
That's all for now! I will update this space when (or if) anything changes.