Rev. Jim Middleton
With the coming of a new year I begin a new chapter in my life. As 2017 came to a close I decided I would no longer continue my preaching ministry. For 72 years I had the high privilege of preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. I thank God for those years. I will have much more to say about those years in this spot over the coming weeks and months.

Today I begin a new venture which I hope will turn into a significant adventure. I begin a regular column containing my thoughts on a variety of subjects. You may wonder why I have chosen to do this. How do I have the nerve to think anyone might be interested in my views on events taking place in our world today? To do this must mean I suffer from an advanced form of “eye” strain. I suppose there is one thing to be said for egotists: at least they don’t talk about other people! Yes, there is a certain honesty about egotists. When an attorney described Frank Lloyd Wright as America’s greatest architect, Wright explained to his wife that he could not deny the assertion because after all, he was under oath!

The actor, John Barrymore was equally frank. He once said: “One of my chief regrets during my years in the theater is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me!”

In this initial column I must admit that I feel I have some degree of importance. I will write with no apologies and really with very little humility. I know I am important to myself and I like to feel that my views might be important to at least a few other people. If that is true then there is some justification for putting down on paper my feelings about happenings in our world.

Let me admit at the very start of this adventure that I have not always been willing to reveal myself. Indeed, through much of my life, perhaps through most of it, I have been very careful to wear masks. In this column I intend to try and remove the masks. Like the former Duke of Wellington who upon commissioning his portrait said to the artist: “I want this picture of myself to truly reveal myself, warts and all.”

There is one positive thing to be said for daring to put your views on paper: it puts you in closer touch than ever before with the most basic property of all: your own life! I invite you to join with me in a quest: a quest to try and make some degree of sense out of so much in our world that just seems to be nonsense. More along this line in my next column.