Last week I wrote that Easter Sunday will be our last day in this church where we have served since September of 1990. In mid-May I will become the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans (BAGNO). Having pastored since 1962, I expect the transition to be difficult at first, but am excited at the opportunity to spend more time with the local ministers and to get to know all our 125 (or so) churches and missions.
The question has already arisen: What will happen to ‘The Matter of Fax’ article we’ve been producing each Tuesday since late 1996 (and which our church office staff has been e-mailing to some 3,000 recipients)? Thanks to my sons Neil and Marty, we do have an answer.
A few years ago, Marty–ace of all things Internet–reserved www.joemckeever.com, figuring that sooner or later his old man would be needing it. That time is here. A new mailinglist has been created so you can continue to receive the Matter of Fax, but you will need to subscribe to the new list. Just send a blank email message to and then reply to the confirmation email it will send you. You can also subscribe to the list and view the latest Matter of Fax at www.joemckeever.com.
You would be interested to know how this article came about. Blame it on Don Davidson, the terrific pastor of the Mount Hermon Baptist Church just outside Danville, Virginia (and presently serving as president of Virginia Baptists). Don and his wife, Audrey showed up in our worship services one Sunday morning. He had been appointed as a new trustee of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and was in town for a meeting. We went to lunch that day, and have been close friends ever since.
Don Davidson puts out a one-page fax (no e-mail) he calls FAX OF LIFE. It goes into offices all over his part of Virginia, where people post it on bulletin boards. I was so impressed by the idea and by Don’s perceptive writing, that we emulated the plan. Before long, we discovered that faxing two pages long-distance costs real money, whereas a single monthly rate covers hundreds of e-mails sent all over the world. So, what began for us as A MATTER OF FAX evolved into an e-mail ministry. Eventually, we built our mailing list up to 3,000 e-mails and about 50 faxes. (And yes, we toyed with changing the name. But “A Matter of E-mail” just didn’t sound right!)
Jim Lancaster, associate pastor of our church and resident computer-czar, has posted hundreds of previous MATTER OF FAXES on our church website. Since many of them make great illustrations and sermon starters, we encourage Bible teachers and ministers to dip into the trove and use it freely. The site is www.fbckenner.org. You will also find hundreds of my religious cartoons there, available free of charge by simply downloading. Again, thanks to Jim, the cartoons are arranged by subject.
The plan calls for joemckeever.com to be a web log, also known as a “blog.” My son, Marty has had one of his own for years. www.vigilancematters.com gives him a forum for speaking out on current issues of the day. He also provides a link to other blogs he has found interesting. A recent Newsweek article told how blogs are the coming thing, that thousands of people have set up their own accounts to announce their views on anything and everything. Bloggers, as they are called, link up with each other in a kind of e-community family.
The advantage of setting up our own web log is that I can go to the site and write the article straight (bypassing secretarial assistance and the computer headaches we frequently encounter). There is no disadvantage, I’m happy to say. You may ‘bookmark’ our website and visit it as often as you please whenever you want, or give us your e-mail address and the article will arrive at your computer as it has done for years. www.joemckeever.com.
There is a wonderful line in Proverbs that fits here. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (27:17) That’s what happens when we share with each other our journey, our struggles, our faith, and the answers we have found. Life is too short to live it alone. The struggle is too hard to endure by yourself. The journey is too brief for each generation to start all over with the questions. And so, those who have found the way turn around and share with the ones coming behind. And those of us still searching share what we have learned.
I learned something at the funeral home the other day. For years, I have stood in the chapel of our local mortuary conducting services and pointed out the ‘exit’ signs above the doors. “For us, it certainly looks like an exit,” I would say. “But from the other side, it’s an entrance. Our loved one has exited us, but up in Heaven, they are welcoming him home.” But the other day, I noticed something different.
Some of the doors in the funeral home chapel are marked with usual “exit” signs. But two other doors have bold red signs that read “Not an exit.” Behind the door one might find a storage closet or even a hallway that goes nowhere. The doors look pretty much the same. However, some lead out and some lead to dead ends.
Those who have found “the living way” should share the information. (“A new and living way” is a reference to Hebrews 10:20) Likewise, the dead-end ways should be publicized also.
Iron sharpens iron. It’s a great plan to strengthen our mettle. (Groan)