Editor's note: Keith is, strictly speaking, not a blogger. He has no blog of his own. However, he has been a frequent commentor throughout the Methoblogosphere for years, and a friend to many Methobloggers.
I am a mechanical engineer in the nuclear power industry. Specifically, I am responsible for the power generation equipment (steam turbines and electric generators) for three nuclear power plants at the largest public owned utility in the United States.
I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee about 1.5 miles south of Graceland. My home church was/is Longstreet United Methodist Church on Airways. I attended Christian Brother’s College and earned a B.S.M.E. I attended graduate school at Mississippi State University and earned my Master of Science in ME. I specialized in thermal and fluid sciences. I am a registered Professional Engineer. I am married and I have a stepson, and two dogs. Lady is a Cocker Spaniel and Angus is a Yorkshire terrier that thinks he is a Lab or a Great Dane. After we got married, we moved to Lilburn, GA, (outside of Atlanta) in 1997 and lived there until the spring of 2006. I used to work for General Electric as a field engineer, a field service manager, and a shop department manager from the time I finished school until last year when I changed jobs. I now live in north Alabama.
Why do you blog?
Well, I don’t. I sincerely wished that I had the time and patience to Blog, but I would want to write a Blog like Shane Raynor’s WesleyBlog was written. Or even L&H. The problem is that I just don’t have time. Writing a Blog of that caliber requires extensive amounts of time and research that I simply just don’t have. I am lucky to just be able to read and comment on the 5 or 6 Blogs that I read daily and half the time I am a day or two late on those. However, I love reading and commenting on most of the Blogs that I keep up with.
What has been your best blogging experience?
I was working an outage in Chattanooga, TN for 4 weeks last December and I discovered that Wayne Cooke’s Church was literally straight up Lookout Mountain from my hotel in downtown. I decided to go see where he preached, and I drove up past Rock City and in less than 10 minutes I was in his church talking to him. I had been reading him for about a year. I was able to take a Sunday morning off during the outage and go to his church and listen to him.
What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
I guess as a reader, I’d have to say that you need to post often. I have stumbled across blogs that I have read and I really liked what the author had to say, but then 2 or 3 weeks go by before they get updated. 180 degrees opposite of that are folks who post too much. They put up an excellent piece or ask a serious question that should develop a large volume of comments and discussion. However, before the comments really get going, they have already posted half a dozen more posts and the good piece is down in the pile and not seen.
If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
I read Locust and Honey, BroGreg.com (Greg Hazelrig); and Post-Methodist (Jason Woolever). They post almost daily so I try to read them every morning like some folks read the paper. I also read Elizabeth Quick routinely.
Who are your spiritual heroes?
Bishop Francis Asbury - I have read his entire journal and I am amazed at the life and journeys of one of our greatest Bishops. (Plus, he visited my 6*great grandfather’s house and held the Virginia Annual Conference there on 2/26/1805);
Martin Luther - the great reformer of the Christian Faith.
St. Joseph - the step-father of Christ.
Noah. Noah had to have more faith than any man who ever lived to spend 100 year building a boat when it had never rained. He was obviously a great man of faith, a great builder, and he must have been an awesome engineer and craftsman.
Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was a great Christian, but he studied the world around him and every scientific discovery pointed at the handiwork of God’s Creation. To Newton, science proved God’s handiwork and existence, it didn’t disprove it. I agree with him.
Finally, Todd Beamer, the passenger on United Flight 93 who in the face of all he and those passengers had to deal with, took the time and had the thought to stop and pray the Lord’s Prayer before the other passengers and himself attached the hijackers on that ill fated flight. I have often prayed that I would have that type of faith if I were in a moment of similar great distress.
What are you reading at the moment?
My wife got me the seven volume set of Rev. John Wesley’s works two years ago for Christmas. I have started and stopped reading them several times. I am currently in the Sermon’s section. I also try to read something from the Bible everyday, but I will admit that I am not very diligent at it.
What is your favorite hymn and why?
- Faith of Our Fathers - since I was a young boy, I have always loved that tune. As a young adult when I truly began to learn Church history and the trials and tribulations of great historical Christians like Paul, like Luther, like Wesley, like Asbury, it took on even more significance and had already become one of my favorite hymns. I was baptized on Father’s Day in 1991. It just so happened that as I came forward for Christian baptism, the choir sang and the organ played the first two stanzas of “Faith of Our Fathers”. I then was asked the questions to profess my faith, and as I knelt and received Christian Baptism, with my own father standing behind me, the Choir sang the final stanza. My own Christian Baptism is the first thing I think of anytime I hear that hymn playing.
Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've changed your mind?
I used to wish for everyone in the Federal Government to all get along and agree on everything. I used to wish for a single party, to control the Legislative and Executive Branches. Boy what a mistake that was and I have seen it dominated at one time or another by both parties. I now see that divided government is very good for us as a nation. It is good for one party to control the Legislative and a different party to control the Executive. Something has to really need to happen for both to agree, pass a bill, and sign it into law. Otherwise, you are going to have a degree of gridlock, and in our Federal System, I now believe that gridlock is good. My taxes don’t go up, regulations don’t increase, spending doesn’t skyrocket, for the most part, when nothing happens in Washington, life is good back home. The engine of the American economy is left to run itself. I have come to believe that the less Washington actually does do, the better off the average American is at home.
What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
Relativism, both Moral and Religious. Christ is the 2nd person of a Triune God who is both Ultimate Truth and Ultimate Reality. Relativism is therefore, anti-Christian. I believe in absolute truth. I believe in absolute reality. There is right and there is wrong. There is good and there is evil. God does love all mankind, but that doesn’t mean that he endorses what all men do and think.
If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
I am in favor of a weaker Federal Government and I believe that the States have rights and responsibilities that have been either stripped by the Federal Government from them or they have abdicated them to it. I believe the rights of the Federal Government are expressly enumerated in the US Constitution. Everything else belongs to the States and the local governments.
If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I think the way we treat licensed local pastors versus full elders is completely wrong and is, in my opinion, not in the model of Christ. If a man or woman is good enough to lead a small, country church in worship, then they are good enough to have the same rights as privileges as a full elder. You can’t be half a pastor if you do the job right. Our entire church was built by persons with little or no education, but a willingness to serve the Lord as Circuit Riders, but now that the church is built, we don’t even allow a local pastor to administer a wedding or Holy Communion outside of the four walls of his or her own church. It is hypocritical. There are NO SECOND CLASS Christians, we shouldn’t have second class pastors.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Strive to imitate Christ in all your thoughts, actions, and deeds. Read and study the Holy Bible, the whole Bible, not just the Gospels. Be diligent in prayer, but also listen to God when the Spirit speaks to you. Ask God lots of questions, He will answer you, but you have to listen and be prepared for answers you don’t want to hear.
What, if anything, do you worry about?
Worry??? I am a Christian. I have eternal security and salvation. I’m going to live forever. In light of that, what could I possibly have to worry about? If you look at Jesus’ life, everyday was a great adventure. Jesus knew who he was and what his mission was. It seems to me that he enjoyed meeting the folks, seeing the sights, helping those in need, walking in his Creation. We are taught as Christians to imitate Christ. What did Christ worry about??? Jesus didn’t know every single thing that was going to happen to him. However, Jesus knew how it was going to turn out in the end. Guess what? So do you and I.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
No, every decision I have made (good or not so good) has lead me to exactly where I am now. If I changed anything at all, I might find myself without my wife, or my son, or our dogs, Lady and Angus. If I hadn’t have been an engineer, then I would have definitely liked to have been a pastor, but I wasn’t called by God to do that job, so I wouldn’t be much of a success at it, would I?
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
I have never visited there, so I don’t really know, but since I was a young boy, I have always dreamed of going to the Yukon Territory or to Alaska. Had I lived 100 years ago, I could see myself as a Mountie or trekking thru the wilderness with a rifle and a fly line.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Until I moved last summer, I kept honeybees. When I moved, I gave the bees to a guy in the neighborhood that wanted them since I figured it was easier to get new ones than to move a hive 250 miles. So, I plan to get more bees soon. My wife is an avid gardener, and I spend a lot of time working with her to work the soil and move stuff around. I love doing projects around the house, especially carpentry and electrical work.
What is your most treasured possession?
I have a canon shell that my grandfather brought back from France in WWI. It is about 2 feet tall and about 6 inches in diameter. It is solid brass from and is engraved with two women in 1918 swimwear and an American Doughboy and an Eagle. It has a dummy shell carved of cedar on top that makes the total height about 34”. It is beautiful handiwork by someone. I have seen similar ones on eBay as lamps, but this one has been in the family since he brought it back. Also, my Bible is filled with notes, comments, dates, and references to sermons and events in my life. I’d hate to lose that.
What talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could play the piano. I have no real musical talent at all, but I’ve always wished I could play the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.
If you could have any three guests, past or present to dinner, who would they be?
Probably not at the same time, but my list today is:
- Rev. Howell Taylor, my 6*Great Grandfather, and pastor in the M.E. Church. He is the one that knew Bishop Asbury and he moved our family from NC/VA to western Tennessee in the early 1800s.
- John Bunyan, a simple man of great Christian Faith and author of one of the best books written aside from the Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
- Sergent Alvin C. York, a great Tennessean, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and a great man of faith.