Sunday, December 02, 2007

FWIW: The record of an online surfing safari

I recounted, below, the story of bumping again into an old acquaintance. I said I found him by a circuitous path.

I thought I would tell the story of that path.

I was looking, this afternoon, for some material about biblical and historical attitudes toward usury--the practice of charging interest on loans.

I have read some good stuff on the subject in the past. I seem to recall it was written by Gary North.

So . . .

* I did a search on Google: gary north scripture on borrowing.


* A PDF essay by Ian Hodge titled Usury. I am aware of Hodge. He's pretty good. And he interacts with North.

On page 4: a footnote reference to a book called Christianity and Law: An Enquiry into the Influence of Christianity on the Development of English Common Law by Stephen C. Perks.

Ooh! That looks interesting!

* Does Amazon carry it? (No. Indeed, they don't even list it.)

Where can I find the book?

* I do a Google search.

Kind of slim pickings. But my search yields a Wikipedia article about Stephen Perks. (That's interesting! Who has heard of him? Why would Wikipedia include an article about him?)

* I go to the Wikipedia article. Not bad!

Perks founded the Kuyper Foundation. --Oh, yeah! Abraham Kuyper!

* I click on the Kuyper Foundation link in Perks' article.

Bummer! "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact title. " Indeed, "If you expected a page to be here, it has probably been deleted (see Why was my page deleted? for possible reasons)."

So . . .

* I click on through to the Why was my page deleted? article.

Not terribly informative.

Due to past sad experience, I know if I write an article about something I know intimately--like Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd.--even if I only use publicly available sources, even if my article follows pure, objective, encyclopedic standards, Wikipedia almost promises to remove it. But I "just" want to see the rules. So . . .

* I click on the link from the Why was my page deleted? to Wikipedia: Criteria for speedy deletion. I read it. And then I get thinking: Maybe I'm not permitted to write such an article, but perhaps someone else wrote an article about Sonlight! So . . .

* Is there an article about Sonlight on Wikipedia? (No.) . . .

Okay. Then how about one of our competitors?

* Bob Jones University Press? . . . (Nah, I tell myself. Don't even go there. Why not start with Bob Jones University, period?)

Turns out there is an article about Bob Jones University. [Later addition: Turns out there is also an article about BJU Press! --But I'm sidetracking.]

* When you get way down the Bob Jones University page, you'll find there's even a separate article about Notable people associated with Bob Jones University.

* And a whole section in that article about Notable former students of BJU who didn't graduate. (Did you know Billy Graham attended BJU for a semester? . . . And Fred Phelps, the pastor of Westboro Baptist Church--the "God Hates F*gs" guy who leads members of his congregation on cross-country protests at the funerals of known h*mos*xuals? . . . And then, way at the bottom of the list, a guy named Barry Rogers (including the link I've just copied). He was thrown out of BJU midway through his senior year because he "came out" as a h*mos*xual. Soon after "coming out," he began making g*y p*rn movies. He became HIV positive and eventually committed suicide . . . last year. But I returned to the Notable former students of BJU who didn't graduate section and clicked on the last link: Chris Sligh, a finalist on the sixth season of American Idol . . . (He was thrown out of BJU because he attended a 4Him Contemporary Christian Music concert. . . .)

Well, by the time I finish reading about Sligh, I begin to wonder: If Wikipedia is willing to feature pages on guys like Sligh and Rogers, . . .

* Is there a page on me? (No.)

* A page on my book, Dating With Integrity? (No.)

* How about on Josh Harris' book I Kissed Dating Goodbye? Yes. (!!!) . . . Hmmmm. (Josh's book has sold more than a million copies, while mine has sold only about 80,000.)


* There's a link on that page to another Wikipedia page about Josh Harris . . .

And then, way down at the bottom of that page,

* There is a link to "The Way of a Man With a Maid", "an online book critiquing the courtship movement. See Appendix A, titled 'Joshua Harris and the Courtship Movement.'"

So I click on that link.

Oh! "I know this book!" The Way of a Man with a Maid is the online version of Robin's book . . .


* The online version of The Way of a Man with a Maid includes a link to Robin's blog. . . .



And guess what?

When I got to Robin's blog . . . and I read his article about the "Thought Police"? . . . It was originally published by (you're not going to believe this) . . . the Kuyper Foundation!

What a small world we live in!
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