“Can a chicken cry?”

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Last night, I watched Matt Walsh’s documentary “What is a Woman?” on Twitter (which you can still watch for free until 7:30pm EST today, if you haven’t seen it yet). It is a shocking, frustrating, somewhat depressing piece of filmmaking. But I was particularly struck by a couple of things as I watched it:

  • The unspeakable depravity and wickedness of Alfred Kinsey and John Money. I had some idea, but I never really knew, you know?
  • The incredible mental gymnastics required to deny the ontological reality and fixedness of biological sex.

The second point in particular was driven home by one particular conversation, where Walsh asked an academic if we can safely determine that a chicken that lays eggs is female. The professor’s response sounded like something out of Portlandia.

This happened repeatedly throughout the documentary, as Walsh would ask questions to try to point out the logical fallacies inherent in the interviewee’s statements. The person he’s speaking to would either stare blankly, make a circular argument, or become angry. (At one point, a university professor gets angry because he says that Walsh’s use of the phrase “getting to the truth” sounds deeply “-phobic.”)

A critic of Walsh and the documentary might claim that the piece is selectively edited, or that Walsh is guilty of “nut-picking” by featuring only the most embarrassing clips of those he featured. Perhaps. But I don’t think that diminishes the fact that a question like “What actually is a woman?” is so simple a child could answer it but seems to stump multiple-degreed, professional adults. Why? Perhaps because their entire worldview seems to hang on not being able to acknowledge the answer.

As the Apostle Paul writes, “they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…

As a Christian, it’s also important to remember that these kinds of documentaries and discussions/debates are helpful to an extent, but they’re not enough on their own. The ultimate hope for those who are lost in the endless maze of post-modern sexual confusion isn’t reason or Socratic debate–it’s the Light that pierces into the darkness, giving sight to the spiritually blind. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can turn a person’s upside-down worldview right-side up again.

Now, as for the question of whether chickens can cry? I’m afraid I have to remain firmly agnostic.


This Space for Rent. Sort of.

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I recognize it’s odd that the first post in weeks (and only the fourth post of calendar year 2023) is about blog advertisements.

You may notice there are now adverts on this blog. You may even find this off-putting. I understand that. But with your indulgence, I’ll explain:

A few years ago, I dreamed of becoming a full-time blogger/writer. I was getting a little bit of income from some posts promoting products that I actually used/liked, and I thought perhaps I could parlay my writing into something more financially stable.

The problem was, I didn’t put any effort behind those idle dreams. Eventually, the Monk Manual money dried up, and I wasn’t getting approval from other businesses I reached out to with an offer to promote their products, so I lost interest and shifted focus to other things.

Before last fall, my content production had been…let’s say sporadic at best. So I wrote a TON from September through (most of) December. Maybe that was helpful/encouraging to you, or maybe it was annoying. (He wrote another post about coffee? What a waste of time!)

So far, in 2023, I’ve produced extremely little in terms of writing, both on and off this platform. My off-work time is shrinking. I have a literal stack of books next to me that I’d love to take the time to write reviews/reflections on, and for some reason I’m just not doing it. Makes me question if I ever could have made it as a full-time writer.

Right. Advertisements. Sorry.

Our household, like countless others around the country, is feeling the pinch for the current super-great, never-stronger economy (thanks, current administration!). Niceties need to get cut, belts tightened. So the $100 pricetag on a mostly-ignored website platform is on the chopping block. As I started looking at downgrading, I noticed that one of the ignored special features I was paying for all this time was monetization through advertisements.

Well, okay, WordPress, I’ll bite.

For the next almost-two-months, I’m turning ads on, because I’m curious what might happen. Please note that I can’t select the companies or the ad contents, so if you see something offensive, let me know and I’ll try to deal with it. (Or just shut the whole thing down if I can’t.) If I can collect a few ducats from advertising, hey, cool.

Of course, no one visits a dead website, so as part of this experiment, I’m also going to start posting consistently again. Daily micro-posts? Maybe. Book reviews, pieces of Bible study writing, sermon manuscripts a few times a week? Sure thing.

Let’s see what June/July do in terms of this here website’s numbers. Maybe something crazy happens and I can actually keep the (premium hosting) lights on. Who knows.

See you tomorrow. (No, really, I probably will.)


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Airing out the house.

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

Hey friends.

I’ve been radio silent on here for a few months, other than a couple of quick posts. I doubt anyone’s still reading, but hopefully some of you are signed up for email notifications so that you’ll see this.

Bottom line up front: all told, I’m doing well, but want to be doing better. There’s nothing awful or tragic going on in my life–don’t worry about that. It’s just a long, grinding season where I’m really having to lean in on other areas to just try to keep up with my responsibilities, but I don’t feel like I’m doing any of it particularly well. There’s always a list of things I should be doing right now instead of what I’m actually doing, so I never feel right about sitting down to write a book review or a post about current events–as if I don’t really have the time or mental capacity to commit to it. Yet I’ll scroll Twitter or watch silly online videos for an hour. That’s part of the problem, too.

Nevertheless, I wanted to post SOMETHING just to get back into the swing. To open up the windows and blow the stink off, as my grandfather used to say. It’s too stuffy in here. I need to air out the house.

I won’t insult you with promises of future content. I have a few things I’d like to talk about, and some books to review, but these days, I don’t feel like my writing is worth much of anything, so I don’t want to inflict something lousy upon your feed or inbox. If I have something halfway decent to say, and I feel like I can say it well, I’ll send it over.

Consider this a “coming up for air,” a small flutter of activity in the old house, windows opening, floors being swept, rugs being shaken out. An act of faith that there may yet one day be more to come.

Goodnight, God bless, see ya later.

Toad and Frog Teach Dave a Lesson

Image from Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel – used without permission, arrrr!

My girls love stories at bedtime, so this week, I borrowed a digital collection of Frog and Toad stories from the library to read to them. One of these stories in particular felt personally applicable. I felt seen, as they say.

In a story called “Tomorrow,” Toad (shown in pajamas) has decided that today is going to be for Taking Life Easy, and all of his necessary tasks will be done Tomorrow. When his friend Frog asks about the dirty dishes, clothes on the floor, and general disarray of his house, Toad insists that it will all be done Tomorrow.

Suddenly, Toad is distressed (as pictured). Why? Because he’s worried, thinking about all his many tasks that await tomorrow. Frog replies that, yes, “tomorrow will be a very hard day for you.”

What if, Toad asks, I go ahead and wash my dishes now? And perhaps pick up my clothes? And so on, and so on, until all the tasks are done. Finally, he collapses back into bed, weary but now unworried, and decides that Tomorrow he will take life easy.


For the record: I’m writing this post from a very messy home office, on the last day of a week of vacation spent at home doing many, MANY projects, with many still yet undone. But I do so while still at ease.

I have too often been Toad, wanting to take life easy, postponing necessary tasks to Tomorrow. My never-ending work queue or home project list has stood stacked against me for weeks on end, things being added as quickly as things are taken off, so that any break of longer than a day or two is tinged with low-grade worry about what is yet undone. This all rings very true. That picture of Toad above? That has too often been me (except I don’t have such snazzy jammies).

What’s important to realize is that during the course of this story, nothing materially changes. Whether it’s today or tomorrow, Toad completes his necessary tasks and he still gets time to rest. But there is one change that makes all the difference; leave it to a simple children’s story to hit you with such an obvious truth! The difference Toad experiences between the moment pictured above and the end of the story is now that his tasks are completed, his rest is untroubled by the worry of what’s undone.

Before taking this past week off of work, I spent a week or so working extra hours at night and on the weekends with one clear goal: empty the inboxes. If I could log off at the end of it all with all emails responded and all tasks moved out of my hands, I could shut down my computer and enjoy a week of not just no work, but no worry.

I gotta tell you, friends: it was worth it. No matter how many dozens of emails and tasks are waiting for me when I log on in about 17 hours, at this moment, I’m not anxious. I have barely thought about my emails for days. Feels good, bro.

Hopefully this feeling persists for the rest of the day. And hopefully, as I jump back onto the task-list treadmill in the morning, I will work harder and smarter to stay on top of things, so that my tomorrow’s don’t worry me quite as much.

“I just blogged to say I love you…”

“…I just blogged to say how much I care.”

Hi friends.

Just stepping in to say hello. Things are busy at the moment, but I am doing okay. Keeping my head above water, with the occasional salty slosh and gasping breath. Not the best state of affairs, but not the worst.

My hope for this year was to cross-post my Sunday School notes on Mondays, but I think I’ll hold off on that. They need some refinement and I just don’t have time to do that. Someday, sure. Maybe I’ll write them, revise them, and post them next year as a weekly feature to support folks who may be doing a chronological Bible reading plan.

In the meantime, there’s just too much on my plate for me to produce any other good writing lately. (At this very moment, I have two toddlers jabbering at me, and my wife is calling me to come out for dinner.)

But I wanted to stop in and say hi. Hope your January is going well. I hope to come back in a week or so with something worth reading.


In case you don’t get the musical reference in the title:

My 2022 Reading List

It’s sad, gang. (Funny, I basically began with the same comment last year, but it’s even more true this year.)

Every year, I post an end-of-year list of the books I’ve completed reading over the previous 12 months. Most of them are books I started reading in the same time frame, though occasionally there are volumes I’ll pick back up after a hiatus.

This year’s list is positively anemic–the lowest yearly total I’ve posted since I started counting maybe 15 or 20 years ago. You could point to various reasons why, but really it just comes down to the fact that my free time is getting shorter and my priorities are shifting. As such, my leisure reading has been fragmented and infrequent. There are over a dozen books I’ve begun this year but never finished because I ran out of time, got bored, or just moved on. However, those don’t count at year’s end, so here’s the actual finish list. Commentary to follow:



>>Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro


>>Invincible Vol.4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – Robert Kirkman

>>The Gospel  – Ray Ortlund

>>The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie


>>Invincible Vol. 9, 10, 11, 12 – Robert Kirkman

>>Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie


>>Strange New World – Carl Trueman


>>Sermons of the Great Ejection – Various


>>The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie


>>The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

>>The Daring Mission of William Tyndale – Steve Lawson


>>Preaching and Preachers – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Like I told you: sad.

The Invincible books are a series of graphic novels (about 175 pages each) about superheroes that just got a bit too graphic for me to enjoy them in good conscience. I probably should have stopped much sooner, but I was intrigued by the storyline (a father and son superhero team is broken up when the father, who is essentially Superman, turns evil). No excuses, and I wouldn’t recommend it in good conscience to anyone. But there it is.

Not counting the comic books, I completed a grand total of 10 books this year: 4 books about theology/ministry, 1 book about sociology/worldview, and 5 novels. This year’s list marks the biggest swing toward fiction in my reading in easily a decade. Clearly, I was looking for escapism.

Typically, I’d give you a top-five recommendations from my list, but in a field so small, that seems almost self-indulgent. So I’ll just recommend two books, one fiction and one non-fiction, that I’m glad I finished this year:

  • On the fiction side, I’m going to say Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. I decided to seek out more Hercule Poirot stories after enjoying Murder on the Orient Express last year, and this one is the best so far. I almost said Roger Ackroyd but I was a bit frustrated by the reveal at the end; it was cheeky and innovative but annoying as well. I think I’ll try to seek out more Poirot this year, as palate cleansers from some of my heavier reads on the horizon.
  • On the non-fiction side, I have to say that Preaching and Preachers by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has made and will continue to make the most impact on me, both in the practical nature of pastoral ministry as well as my perspective on the act and art of preaching. I had read portions of it in the past, but I was finally able to read it from cover to cover, and it’s worth the time for anyone who has the privilege and responsibility of preaching and teaching in a local congregation. It’s a book I’ll return to often, I think.

Next year’s reading list is obviously overly-ambitious given how I’ve been doing lately, but if I can’t shoot for the moon with my reading goals, what is even the point, right?

Anyway, there you go. The4thDave’s reading-year 2022 is in the books and best forgotten. Onward and upward!


Your turn: What’s your favorite read of 2022? What are you looking forward to reading next year? Let me know in the comments.

A box of Christmas Crackers.

As promised, here are the rest of my 2022 Christmas Songbook selections for your post-Christmas enjoyment. (C’mon, we can still enjoy these until Epiphany, right?) Minimal commentary, because we’re here for the music, right? So let’s get right into it!


The Christmas Shoes – FM Static

I think I have exhaustively explained my extreme dislike for Newsong’s hit “The Christmas Shoes.” But as I stated on my “Terrible to Bearable” post back in 2018, FM Static’s version is less awful. So there you go. If you’re a fan of the original, maybe you’ll enjoy the remake. If you hate the original, maybe you’ll hate this less.

Joy to the World – The O.C. Supertones

I just heard this version recently, and man, I love me some Supertones. That’s all.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayla Peevey

It’s terrible, but I love singing along and cheesing it up as much as possible. So sue me. Bless that little girl’s Ethel-Merman-sounding heart.

I Hate Christmas Parties – Relient K

It’s an unbelievably emo Christmas song, and I kinda love it, even if I’m long past my “sad emo boy” phase.

Tennessee Christmas – Amy Grant

This song is forever linked to Christmas for me. I remember my parents playing the vinyl album (and later the cassette) of this record every year. The cover art of Amy in her patterned Christmas sweater with the snowy backdrop is as indelibly burned into my brain as Mariah Carey’s red snowsuit (though obviously for different reasons). Anyway, this is a great track and a Christmas classic.

White Christmas – Bing Crosby

I love this movie, thanks to my wife. And as such, I love this song. Here’s the big finish, and it’s gorgeous.

You Gotta Get Up – Rich Mullins

Any excuse to put Rich Mullins on a list, I’ll take it. This song is great, the album it comes from (A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band) is one of my all-time favorite Christian albums, and the vibe just makes me smile.

I Celebrate the Day – Relient K

Okay, a lot of Relient K on this list, but their Christmas album (Let It Snow, Baby, Let it Reindeer) is pretty much in constant rotation at my house each year. And whatever their current trajectory, this song is worshipful and well done.


Right, I believe that catches us up. So what now?

I’ll post maybe 1 or 2 more times this week, and then starting next week, my 2023 posting schedule will be probably something like Mondays and Fridays. Maybe I’ll try another posting-every-day streak again in the fall, but for now, let’s set our expectations a bit lower.

I have to say though, I’m proud of myself for posting over 100 times since September 1st. That’s a big deal for me. While I know that the quality of posts has certainly varied, the goal for me was just to publish as much as possible and stretch these neglected muscles. I’m glad to say I’ve started doing that. This month got a bit too busy to do that on a daily clip, but I’m still way ahead of where I was even a year ago in terms of post frequency.

Looking ahead, I’ll definitely be shifting to “less often, but better written” goal. I don’t want to just churn out junk and get random hits. For your sake, dear reader, and for mine, next year will be about going a bit deeper and giving you a better return for your time and attention. All the same, I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s posts. I have enjoyed the challenge.

Check back Friday for a post about the books I’ve read this year (spoiler: not nearly as many as I would have liked).

Packing up my Christmas leftovers…

Hi friends.

I did indeed have posts planned for the last ten-plus days to close out the Christmas Songbook well, but there was more to do than I expected, and I had to choose the necessary things.

Since today is Boxing Day, I’m packing up my leftover Christmas goodies for you to enjoy once more, but that will have to wait one more day. Don’t worry, they’re like fruitcake; they never go bad!

All that to say, I’ll have a few more posts for you this week. Stay tuned. And a belated Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Can’t think of a better way to end the post than this:

Christmas Songbook Day 15*: “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” by Sir Paul.

You need to watch the video in its entirety for this to make sense.

This song landed on my “Eggnog” list when I went through my top-five beloved, hated, “eggnog” (guilty pleasure), and “terrible to bearable” lists of Christmas songs back in 2014.

The original is still on my “Eggnog” list. It’s weird but I kinda love it. If there were an Island of Misfit Christmas Songs, this track would be voted President for Life.

Where to begin? The juxtaposition of Doctor Who-style synthesizer with jingle bells? The weird constellation person? The fact that the constellation person suddenly summoned a party of people dancing and drinking and singing along with a charismatic central figure who’s the focus of the…

This is “Must Be Santa” all over again, isn’t it?

Paul McCartney appears via cosmic magic (?) and starts the party in that older couple’s living room. Everyone’s going nuts, including the previously staid house owners. As he’s singing, suddenly you see that Paul (or his doppelganger!) is singing simultaneously on the television, and we are transported to that jam session. Everyone’s face is stretched with a sort of manic glee. It’s clearly sorcery.

So the question we must ask: Are Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan both Christmas wizards? Are they aware of each other? Are they IN LEAGUE with each other? Are they different classes/degrees of wizard, like Gandalf and Radagast? Or is it more like Gandalf and Saruman, since Dylan seems more chaotic and reckless, while McCartney is more playful?


I mean, the revelers are dancing around a bonfire singing, and at one point, Paul is singing back and forth with a doppelganger. There are angels leaving Christmas graffiti on walls. It’s pretty much a fever dream. (Come to think of it, the pre-roll ad that YT assigned to this song was for a chewable supplement that was made using that wacky tobaccky, so draw your own conclusions.)

I gotta admit, though, Paul’s bowler-and-scarf combo are pretty snazzy (and vaguely Tom-Baker-ish).

Bottomline: The video is wild, the song is an inane puff of peppermint cotton candy, and I don’t care. I’m simply having a wonderful Christmastime, too.


All of that said, here’s a fantastic version of the song, featuring another great scarf:

Christmas Songbook Day 14*: “Little Drummer Boy”

Let’s start off with the baseline: on its own, when performed in a traditional, choral way, this song gets on my nerves.

The droning bass part of either “Drum, drum, drum, drum” or “pum, pum, pum, pum.” The dragging tempo. The tediousness of the lyric. I just don’t care for it in its basic/classic form.

That said, I don’t hate the idea of the song, so I’m down with versions that change things up. So, here are some of the versions I enjoy the most or have discovered recently that I dig:

Bowie and Bing’s Duet is classic TV and I don’t acknowledge the parody

The pre-song patter is sometimes considered cheesy and unnecessary, but it seems fitting for an era of musical/variety television, so it’s a nice time-capsule of that moment. And I legitimately love the weaving of the two melodies by two master vocalists. I’ll find myself suddenly humming the Bowie part as I’m going through my day. This clip is wholesome and I love it.

For King And Country, because of course

It’s a song about a drummer. It’s practically an international crime not to include these drum-centric songsters. The cinematic nature of the music video is also pretty rad.

Johnny Cash sets his own tempo, you hear me?

It’s so strange, but I still dig it. All the extraneous “pa-rum-pum-pums” are gone, the whole thing’s a little off-kilter, and the image of the little drummer boy opening his mouth to speak and Cash’s voice coming out is just bonkers, and I love it.

ETW – Drummer Boy (from Yo Ho Ho)

Okay, here’s the deal: I love this track for many reasons, but 3 come to mind immediately: 1) You have that nice harmony on the initial chorus, giving you a little Boyz II Men throwback vibe; 2) Once the beat drops, you can clearly hear some Run-DMC influence; and 3) there are a ton of samples from my favorite (and arguably, the best) Christmas movie of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life. While the title track of the album is a lot of fun, I think this one is actually the star at the top of the early-90’s CHH tree.