A Sidekick's Blog

The Document No Man Can Shred

June 30, 2015
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So relevant among those of us (including me) who have mistakenly placed far too much faith in the Constitution!


When my daughter sets her mind to something, she’s always devastated when she doesn’t get it. I try to tell her that she should not invest so much hope in the object, but she inevitably sets herself up for disappointment. If we adults are honest, we do it too. I would argue that many of us have done so in recent years. We have placed our hope in men’s words, when really we should be putting our hope in the word of our God in heaven.

The Shredded Constitution

Nothing new to your ears, I’m sure, but the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down a major decision yesterday. SCOTUS essentially broke contract with the states by interpreting the United States Constitution in such a way that gave them permission to override the sovereignty of the states and the voice of the people who had voted in those…

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Another Adventure Begins!

June 18, 2015
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This is my last selfie from the Batmobile. Our heavenly Father has seen fit to send me on another new adventure, but not as a sidekick this time. After a failed attempt to make it in the insurance business, which was basically door-to-door sales to businesses, I have been forced to seek out a “regular” job. But in this economy, jobs are scarce. Part-time, minimum wage, you get the picture. Thank you, Democrats and RINOs. May none of you pretenders ever influence public policy again. Anyway:

The Robinmobile is red (naturally), diesel, 10-speed, and weighs 40 tons fully loaded. Yessir, back in a big rig again. It breaks my heart to have to do it. But believe it or not, I’m the youngest driver there. Almost all of these guys are on Medicare and Social Security but they have to keep working, thanks again to Democrats and RINOs. I swore I’d never do this again after the last time just about killed me emotionally, being alone and lonely for so long, with no practical “life” outside of the truck. But it pays the equivalent of $18/hour approximately. That’s enough for us to climb out of this fiscal hole we find ourselves in again, thank you Democrats and RINOs – and one Boy Wonder for letting it get this bad before dumping the Aflac business for something that depends on my own time and effort rather than waiting for someone else to finally say “we’re ready, let’s do this.”

Remind me to swap that W for my Robin logo

It’s been many years since I did this over-the-road thing. I thought I was all done with that life. I very nearly gave up my CDL for a regular license just because it’s a lot cheaper (and tickets have far less impact on a regular driver’s license than on a CDL). I’m deeply sad about it. I cried for an hour yesterday and couldn’t turn off the tears. Again today in the pastor’s office talking about it. Actually, it’s very good that I can weep openly about the loss of my “normal” lifestyle, while at the same time rejoicing in God’s provision and feeling excited about what He’s going to do next!

I wouldn’t dare compare what I’m feeling to what my daughter must be feeling, but I think it might be similar. She and her husband are flying across the planet in a little over two weeks to begin the missionary work they have been preparing for for years. Giving away most of their stuff, all their worldly possessions fit in a couple of suitcases and carry-on bags now. Off to Papua, New Guinea! Please have a look at their blog (www.ntm.org/Josh_Verdonck) and send up some prayers for them! You might even join me in partnering with them financially. It’s an honor and privilege to do so! I don’t know if she’ll have a crying jag like I did, but Erin, if you’re reading this, it’s okay if you do or don’t – but I sure needed it. I’m thinking she already has. And I don’t even know if mine is really finished yet. 😀 Anyway, I think I can kinda sorta relate a little to how Josh and Erin must feel, and I hope my own divided heart somehow brings us closer “in spirit.”

Anyway, I’m gonna make this fun. Audio sermons to ponder while driving, lots of time to sing at the top of my lungs without anyone telling me not to, seeing different places all over the country. No matter how old I get, I’m still the Boy Wonder. Just ask my wife. So I’ll post pictures and stuff, and thoughts while on the road. It’s likely to be sporadic, both here and on Keachfan’s Theology Thursdays column, but I love to write and communication is very important to me – as I’m sure it is to every missionary who may feel forgotten by those back home when they don’t hear from them often! So if you get nothing else from this post, at least get that: Communicate with those you love! Especially to those who are far away (geographically).

Heavy-hearted and excited all at once,

Naturalism and Education

June 16, 2015
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Why those “fluffy” Humanities, History, and Philosophy college courses really matter.


In this blog series, I have been examining the effect of sin on the quality of higher education. In particular, I have been examining how worldview changes (and their subsequent effects of society) have led to a change in the quality of higher education as well as the mission of higher education. Most of these changes can be described by examining how the presence of sin in our hearts negatively affects and undermines the human mind and intellect (otherwise known as noetic effects of sin). In previous blogs, I addressed general problems with higher education, but in this blog I want to focus my critique on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. In my view, the fourth major issue associated with contemporary education is the growing neglect of philosophical self-reflection and training in the STEM fields. One important aspect of contemporary education which needs to be recovered is the…

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A Word to Insurance Company Recruiters

June 6, 2015
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A Word to Insurance Recruiters: It’s Not a Job, It’s a Business!

I am left open-mouthed when I meet some of the people recently recruited as independent agents for the insurance company I represent. A number of these folks seem to think they’ve been hired at a job, rather than invited to start their own business. I must admit, I started the same way. But I quickly came to understand that being an independent insurance agent is not a job. There’s no hourly wage, no boss to report to. My pay depends on a great investment of both money and time. It took me two months to get any return on my investment, since I couldn’t invest at least 8-10 hours a day for weeks just to build a base from which to work.

I didn’t tell my recruiter how desperate for money I was. Like many Americans, one or two paychecks away from homelessness. I needed a paycheck immediately. Another new recruit I met this week is using a borrowed car with only a half tank of fuel, living with relatives, and desperate for a fast buck. It’s not going to happen. If this were a regular job, maybe in a week or two. But this is your own business. You have to spend money to make any. You have to invest time (in training, prospecting, licensing), and money (in gas for getting to the training, meetings, and prospects; in appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes that get worn out going door to door; in the little trinkets that make approaching businesses effective). Why was someone like this kid recruited anyway? Why wasn’t he (nor I too for that matter) told that this opportunity is a big investment with the promise of handsome returns if one has the time and money to invest in starting their own business? The newest recruit is a nervous, awkward, clueless nerd who wore the same outfit to work three days in a row. He couldn’t sell insurance any more than I could fly to the moon. Stringing him along is a cruel waste of his time.

It’s cheaper to retain good people than to hire new ones. And it’s reasonable to expect a recruiter to explain the nature of the opportunity, rather than to set needy people up to fail and leaving them worse off than before. Recruiters, take note: Most people – especially kids right out of school – don’t have a clue what being an independent insurance agent entails. Do a little screening before you have a needy person sign a contract, willya? Insurance agents can’t invest the time and money they should to succeed when they’re counting pennies and worried about late rent, having utilities cut off, cars repossessed, and money just to eat and buy gas to get to work. Don’t sell Independent Insurance Agent as “a job.” It’s an opportunity – and a great one! But it isn’t for “job seekers.” Do yourself – and the rest of us – a big favor by recruiting honestly and choosing new recruits wisely and with kindness. Don’t bring on a clueless newcomer to compete with your experienced agents in the same market. It’s cruel, and it’s plain stupid. Too much is invested in training new agents to see it all get flushed because a recruit wasn’t told what he’s getting into.  An agent can’t follow through on accounts he creates if his car has been repossessed by the time they finally “pull the trigger” and arrange an enrollment, or he has run it out of gas, or his electricity has been turned off, or he’s answering an eviction notice.

Wednesday I’m starting a new job. A regular job with a regular paycheck. My sales coordinators won’t like it, but I’ve got to go part time as an agent, and full time at a job that can keep the bills paid. Technically they can’t “fire” me since I’m an independent agent; my own “boss,” so to speak. But it’s likely they’ll “encourage” me to turn all my accounts over to someone else and quit altogether. That’s okay with me.  I’ve only actually closed one account, and my commission was a three-way split between a broker and another agent. So no big loss.

Back to the regular workforce, with a regular paycheck, for a regular guy.  I gave it a good shot and it was worth it, but insurance sales is a cutthroat business with great potential for high income – and along with it high responsibility, high competition, high drama, and high risk.  It’s not for the timid.  And not for needy, clueless kids like “John” who stand no chance of making it in such a high-pressure cutthroat business.  I know that my regional and district sales coordinators are required to regularly recruit a certain number of new agents every month, but the rush for “good numbers” should not leave such tragedy in it’s wake.  While the company I represent has won awards for being among the most ethical companies in America, this recruiting game is, to be blunt, unethical and cruel when the numbers come to matter more than the people who get recruited.