John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for October 5, 2021

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE PAST
WHILE BACKING INTO THE FUTURE

I just don't feel like writing! Maybe I am just too preoccupied with stuff! Three of the last four blogs have been posted either after midnight or several hours into the next day. It's not that I have gotten lazy. I just don't think about it, or, as in the case of Tuesday night (the 5th), I just didn't feel like writing. Yesterday's blog for the 4th was actually written when I got to my office at church on the 5th. I just didn't feel like blogging.

There was been a lot of petty stuff to come along and turn away my attention. Petty stuff like me! What I mean is, I am just sitting and vegetating, spending too much time thinking about what could have been instead of working with what I have already now. I suffer terribly from the disease known as "Looking forward to the past while backing into the future" syndrome.

"What is that?" you ask.

Well, I'm glad you did ask!

Ever since I was in second grade, and especially by the time I entered the fourth, I had always wanted to play music, either as a musician (like a pianist, guitarist or, after sixth grade, a drummer) or as a disc jockey.

Yeah, a DJ! Playing records all day long, opening the mike and saying "It's John Corson here with the mounds of sounds and the stacks of wax, here are the Rolling Stones!" I lived across the street from one of the most well known DJ's in Hampton Roads and even played with his three oldest kids while growing up. Norman Bernard Beasley, aka Dick Lamb, was a good friend for an adult. I was at the end of my fourth grade year when he and his family moved into the neighborhood. By that time, I had already visited and toured the radio station (WGH) three or four times, gotten all the DJ's autographs, visited them in the studio and watched as they played the records. I was particularly enthralled by these carts that had a singular spinning wheel with recording tape turning through it where  upon they played the commercials. They were simply called carts.

Later, they would manufacture carts that could hold more than 2 minutes worth of sounds and music would be recorded onto them so as to eventually eliminate record players in the studio. In other words, all the songs would be "carted" and played back in the same payers that the commercials were. That was about the time I started in radio myself. I did play music from the records, but the evolving methods of playing DJ were always coming down the pike. Especially when CDs became popular and radio stations installed CD players in the studio.

Then, in the 90's came digital hard drives big enough to hold the entire playlist of a station, as well as voice tracks which would eventually turn live announcing into a thing of the past. DJs left and right were being replaced by Scott Studio, Audio Vault, DSR2006 or Media Touch automation software. Morning and Afternoon Drive announcers were all that was needed. I thought, if I could be the automation systems programmer and producer that I would be untouchable. Indeed, such a position is deemed very important. That is what I did between 1996 and 2004 at the Public Radio station in Hampton Roads.

On September 14, 2004, I was terminated. Not because they didn't need an automation systems programmer, but because of politics. Without writing 10,000 words on the subject, suffice it to say that having a bumper sticker sitting on my office desk that said "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" in the far-left public radio world is not conducive for continued employment.  Even back in 2004 before Barack Obama, being politically correct was necessary to keep your job in that world.

As you know, I didn't go to college to improve my radio announcing prowess, nor to getting into the business management of such an industry. I went to prepare for and to enter the world of the preaching ministry. Later and while in graduate school my interests turned to a more specialized ministry: That of teaching prospective preachers how to interpret the Bible. I wanted to be a professor of New Testament languages and literature. That never really materialized, even though I did teach a couple of college courses back in the early 80's.

So, preaching it was. I did leave the ministry once and went back into radio. Then I was preaching and doing radio simultaneously. That was during the eight year period I was at public radio WHRO. But after being fired for being the last conservative thinking person employed there (or at least the last one "out of the closet"), I have stayed pretty steadily with the local church.

And you know the rest, especially through these blogs. The ministries I have had, both in the past and since my return in 1996, have been small ventures. The first four churches I served were small ones with attendances under 100 and, with the exception of the third one, they grew exponentially during the first year to eighteen months and then slipped back to where the attendances were when I started with them.

My first church, in Mt. Auburn, Ill was not actually the first ministry I had. I served a struggling new start up which met in a banquet hall upstairs over at a motel in upper Atlanta, Georgia. It was a "student ministry" with about 24 people and I made a go of it for about six months. Then they found out that I wanted to go to graduate school and that necessitated me relocating to Illinois. They were do distraught that the lead deacon, single-handedly decided in behalf of the church to just close up shop and fold the church. What a weight to carry throughout one's life, huh? I still carry that one around with me.

In Mt. Auburn, I followed several ministries wherein, try as they may, the previous pastors saw decline on a slow but sure scale. In 1961, that church averaged nearly 200 every Sunday in a community, small farming town of 350. There were two other churches there as well, so we were doing great. When a small group of elders (half of the board of elders) decided it was time for the preacher to move on, several people left and the attendance dropped to 120 or less overnight. It slowly dropped to about 55 when I arrived in October of 1977. It shot up to the upper 80s and then went back to the 70s in 1979 and the low 60s when I left in July of 1980.

When I came to Severna Park Christian Church in Maryland in that summer of 1980, they were a small struggling little church that was eleven years old and couldn't get off the ground all of those years. Yet, they were determined and since I was relocating in order to pursue a doctorate degree in Philadelphia, I was voted on and accepted the offer from that church to be their minister. I have spoken about this church several times in these blogs, but I don't think I mentioned that there were just as many people attending this church when I came there as there were when I had that student ministry in Atlanta, i.e. 25 people. Within just a couple of months, we had taken the basement of the parsonage (which was nothing more than cinder block walls and concrete floor) and turned it into a small sanctuary on one side and four classrooms on the other with a bathroom, carpeting all around and movable partitions so we could expand the space when needed and as a result our attendances went up 60 to 80 percent.

It was still growing when I foolishly resigned to take a bigger, more stable church in upper East Tennessee. So from 43 people to about 90 and more than double the salary, I packed up my family and our belongings to move to a beautiful area of the country with its lovely mountains and friendly folks, but only to be brought down by my folly and a few people's rage in what would become my biggest downfall. One from which I never fully recovered. In fact, I dare say, my two years at First Christian Church of Bluff City, Tennessee has actually made me into the most despondent person that I am today.

After six months of looking for another church, I landed at my fourth pastorate at South Norfolk Church of Christ in Chesapeake, VA. I started out with about 65 faithful folks in attendance and six men who comprised the board of elders and deacons and all of them were just wonderful men. One of the most successful things I was able to accomplish there was to grow a Sunday night children and youth ministry from zero to 40 kids in the first year. The second year wasn't as exciting and we dropped a bit to about 32 and then some of our youth workers started to loose interest. By the beginning of the third year, there were only a couple of young adults willing to give up their Sunday evenings to come to church and we stopped having the children's program. The overall church attendance went from about 65 to 90 and then back down to 60 by the end of my ministry there.

After that, it was on to a church that would eventually close up. I was there twice. The first time there were about 30 people with 7 or 8 kids each Sunday. I was there for only 20 months, but came back three years and two pastors later, to just 18 people and left with only 15 in June of 1993. The church closed after the city came in and made them an offer for their land and urban renewal began as the city built million dollar condos in the area.

I had a series of interim ministries that lasted eighteen months, a year and one was for three years which actually resulted in my being hired as a part-time Pastor. That was a very unorganized, but determined group of folks, averaging about 25 to 28 folks each week. I left there in 2005 for another pastorate that would come almost as close to disparaging me as First Christian in Bluff City. That church, too, had a small growth spurt upon my arrival and we shot from 65 to almost 100 attenders in the first year to year and a half, but then a couple of grumblers started to be heard and their complaints did not fall on deaf ears. Their complaints were mostly that I didn't meet up to the level of some folks expectation. They didn't necessarily want a preacher who could prepare and deliver a sermon with clarity and force, they wanted a "Hand Holder." Oh, boy! here we go with the hand holding thing again!

When I left the church after fours years there we were back down into the upper 50s and as they were getting ready to search for my replacement they handed out a questionnaire to the church family which contained about 22 different things pastors could or should do as part of their job description, like preaching, teaching Sunday School, administration, visitation, meetings, representing the church at various Baptist organization, etc. I was asked to put it together since I had a couple of books that were mostly made up of guidelines for pastors and so as I did it and knowing that they mostly wanted a "hand-holder" I deliberately divided that "Visitation" part of the job into five sub-sections and scattered them around the questionnaire. The church members were asked to rank in order of importance what they thought were the five biggest areas of concentration the pastor should perform and what they perceived as the priorities of the church.

There were such areas like prayer and praying, sermon preparation, working with youth, organizing and leading the Vacation Bible School program, teaching in the VBS, working with the Baptist Association, representing the church in area activities like the town festival and picnic, etc. Well, among those areas I took the visitation part and divided into Hospital and sick visitation, visiting prospects, visiting the elderly, visiting regular attending members, and cold turkey calling, or "door-to-door" visitation.

When the survey was completed and thirty six or seven were turned in, the deacons ranked the 24 different areas and wouldn't you know that visitation ranked one, two, three and five? At number four was "working with the church leaders to build the ministry" (a very general description) was ranked number four. Cold turkey calling was deemed more important (coming in at number 3) than visiting prospects which came in at number 6! Want to know where preparing sermon's came in? Last! Only one person ranked that in his top five. Praying came in at number 12!

I was disillusioned and didn't want to preach anymore, at least not as a full-time pastor, on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even while out of the country on vacation! I had had it. But, I couldn't go back into radio. With nearly 150 professional, experienced or trained broadcast voices in the area not employed and thanks to automation and the fact that the surveys were showing that more and more people only wanted to hear female voices, there was no way I could return to radio. I was replaced by two women at the public radio station when I left. We have two local television stations in the area wherein three-fourths of the anchors are black females. One TV station in Richmond is ALL-FEMALE, including the sports director who frequents the locker rooms of athletes in their jock straps to do interviews.

My brother-in-law, upon his retirement from Langley Air Force Base as a civilian contractor could not just sit idly by and collect two retirement checks (the other was following 20 years in the Air Force). He wanted to get out of the house and do something. Two years and one hundred and eighty resumes and applications later he landed a part-time job stocking whiskey, spirits and alcohol on the shelves of a local ABC store. We used to sit down at the local Starbucks and mope about the inability to find a job that wasn't a start up and didn't look down on us for being over 55 years of age. Many times I heard Jerry say, "I saw this advert about such and such company needing a such and such person to do such and such. So, I am going home and shave my legs and send in this application."

"Shave my legs." A phrase that means "Men need not apply." That was in 2004 and 2005. It later came to mean "White men" need not apply and now "white people need not apply."

This is no longer a man's world! It's a woman's world. It's a Leftist's world! It's a "Special Interest's" world! It's a WOKE world! And Jerry (my brother-in-law), if you are reading these words, you no longer have to shave your legs. Just go to the hospital and have your testicles removed and your penis turned inside out and you can get a job without even blinking. Can't have any better job prospects that to be both a woman and transgendered! Good luck Geraldine!

What a rant for today (it's really Wednesday). I am going to stop now, eat some lunch and start on today's blog. I'm so turned around!

Blog for October 4 Blog for October 6

Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.