The title of the column is also the title of the book published today by Amazon Kindle and available for sale and immediate download on its website. The book contains every word I wrote for the Partial Observer from the end of 2000 to the beginning of 2012. Those who have been with me every step of the way—all both of you?—will find Barnabas here, commenting on absurdity and ethics in the news through the last three years of President Bush's first term, and following the interminable runup to the Iraq war, then trying to make sense of the sexual and legal conundrums of those years. You will find my venture into metaphysics, in a ten-part series on "Possible Possibilities—Searching for meaning in a generation that doesn't want to bother with it." Then for a while I wrote about favorite things—books, plays, food, memories, people, and after that about simple things—the things my life and generation were about, as they came to me at random; some profound, some beautiful, some life-forming, the things that made my corner of the world both interesting and entertaining. From 2008 to the present I have been a generalist with Everett's Version as the column title.
Karl Olsson, president of North Park College and Theological Seminary when I was a student and young minister, once describe two types of writer. One was like a honey bee-- busy gathering, gathering, then producing honey from what it had gathered. The other was like a spider, spinning out of its own guts. I immediately knew I was a spider. It makes my writing self-centered, because it comes from the center of myself—but I am not the content. The content comes from the Bible, my teachers, my books, my experience of this world and my experience of God, the people I love and who love me—all transformed by the life I have been given to live.
The purpose of my writing is to discern and apply the truth. It is from me and through me, but not about me. That is why I dare to call this collection Things That Matter. Even the most trivial piece in the book aims at the truth.
The reader may discern how wild, or accurate, my aim has been.