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What Is Past Is Prologue.

“Now that you are retired, what are you going to do?”

That is a question that I have heard quite a bit the last year or so. The fact is that I have only retired from working at the Christian Restoration Association having served as Executive Director for 26 years. I am still on the board there, just not getting a paycheck.

Nor have I retired from the ministry. As opportunity allows, I will still be preaching and hope my calendar fills as Covid is conquered.

Shakespeare has Antonio say in The Tempest, “What’s past is prologue!” The idea is that history sets the context for the present. With that in mind I look back.

In High School, our church did not have a “youth minister.” We had a Christian Education director, Doren Christiansen, who gave direction to our youth program. He had “sponsors” that he worked through to see that our youth group was active and growing. They worked with the youth. The relationship between morning Bible School and evening “youth group” was a model that was followed that said that morning was “impression time” and the evening was “expression time.” We learned from adults in the morning Bible School hour (my dad was the teacher for all my years). In the evening the adults worked with us to plan and present our time together. We learned much by “expressing” our Christianity. We had various committees that we served on that gave valuable experience.

One of the things we had was a monthly newspaper that we all worked on. I had forgotten about this until cleaning out my office and I came across some old copies of that paper. It was called “The Timothean.” Apparently, I was the editor and wrote a monthly column.

At the close of my sophomore year of college, I started preaching at the Felicity Church of Christ every week. We grew enough that first year that they asked me to be their first full-time preacher in 75 years of history. One of the things I did was to start a weekly church paper. All churches that I knew about had a weekly paper at that time. The church bought a mimeograph machine and “The Trumpet” began making weekly appearances. The weekly editorial became one of my joys.

When we moved to Oceanside, CA., they already had a weekly paper called “Tidings.” They had gone past the mimeograph machine and used an old offset press. One of the deacons, D.A. Holcomb, was the printer. The press was in the garage of the parsonage. A weekly column continued.

When we moved to Downey, CA, their weekly paper, “The Visitor,” was done with moveable type at a printshop and 3 blocks from the church building. The method of printing was different, but it required a weekly column from me. No argument about that work. It was cheaper after a while to go to the offset press.

When I moved to Madeira, OH, they too had a church paper that in time we upgraded to an offset press. For 16 ½ years the weekly column was part of my work that I enjoyed very much.

Then to the CRA and the publication of The Restoration Herald. Once a month for 26 years I wrote the editor’s column of that publication.

If I figure correctly that means that I have written over 884 editorials over the past 50+ years.

If Shakespeare is correct, and the past is prologue then what will I do now that I am retired? Writing a regular column comes to mind for some reason. It used to be in church papers, but since computers and the internet have appeared on the scene, the blog has made an appearance. Many have blogs (a truncation of “weblog.”) The internet says that a blog “is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts).”

I’ve been doing that with paper and ink for so long that it is kind of a habit. My plan is to have a blog (editorial column) that will appear regularly called “Mason’s Message.” “Mason’s Message” (I like the alliteration) was the name of my column for years until I got to the “Herald.” The RH was a broader audience than a congregation where I was the minister and I felt it deserved a broader name and not be so personal. But this blog is my own and thus it shall wear my name and I will take all the “slings and arrows” that come from disagreements with what I write.

I hope to publish every month. I have been making notes for future columns. Some, “Dear Reader,” you may approve, and others not so much. I will be glad to hear from you either way.

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