It’s time again for another Research Journal update, where I provide information about my life, about my writing projects, and about my unschooled Master of Theology Program (uThM) and life at Eden.

So, let’s get going….

Finished Writing Kathy & Charlotte

This morning I stepped into yet another week long “weekend” with a few doctor’s appointments and an oil change on the immediate horizon. My day job is also “up in the air” as my co-worker/immediate supervisor has decided to quit, leaving me in a make-shift no-man’s-land with a new department head and company wide analytics that would send any self-aware analyst screaming, hair tearing into the woods.

I have no idea what my job will look like in two weeks. I have no idea if I will have a job. The whole company could close its doors if we don’t get a better customer retention (if I can even phrase it that way), so my future financial stability is poised precariously at the edge of the abyss.

I’ve certainly been here before. I guess it’s a process of trusting, of relenting control. The very idea of looking for another job, though, let alone actually taking one if offered sounds simply horrific and mind-bending. I don’t think I have the emotional capital left in me to invest in yet another corporate culture. And I’m so close to being financially independent as it is. If only the universe wasn’t so actively conspiring against me.

My health is improving. So there’s that. I may be moving under one of my local bridges sooner than later, but at least I have my health!

But, that’s really not what I wanted to write about in this update. Employment catastrophes will always be omnipresent, coloring the background of reality.

Rather, and I might say more importantly, I woke up this morning and got to work, spending a few early hours and finished with the first draft of Writing Kathy & Charlotte.

It is finished!

My semi-autobiographical exploration of a polyamorous relationship (that never actually took place) yet a relationship I can’t help but wonder what could have been.

The story came together pretty well, I think. Yes, it is a story about the new relationship between Jack, Kathy, and Charlotte, but it is also (more so) about Jack’s previous relationships, his failed marriage, and, ultimately, demon possession.

I’ve never been able to bring myself to regret declining the actual invitation from Charlotte that one fateful day at work all those years ago. God only knows what kind of life lasting damage and havoc we would have wreaked in each others lives if I had accepted. The real life Kathy and Charlotte, if memory serves, didn’t last even a year just the two of them, the relationship having succumbed to Charlotte’s infidelity. Where does that really leave a multi-member relationship when one of its members is caught stepping out?

Monogamy?

That just doesn’t seem right to me. But, oh well. In this first installment of the Jack Shaw Journey (series name), the relationship is new and fresh and hot and insane.

So are the demonic forces surrounding them! I’ll keep you posted on the story’s progress. Now it has to begin the arduous editing phase. I hope it doesn’t get mired down like Sacred the Sent has. I don’t know if that book will ever get published at the hit and miss rate I’m editing it.

Stay tuned.

Declaring Majors

The last few weeks I’ve been ironing out what I’m actually doing in my unschooled Master of Theology Program (uThM) and have come way with a much clearer understanding of my research goals.

First, I would declare a major (if graduate students really declare a major) in the following way.

I’m pursuing a uThM in Biblical Studies. This is the “degree.” I think of it as the worldview, the major framework from which my research is conducted. It is certainly Christian (if it not be heretical to self-identify thusly), though wholly and unequivocally distinct from any kind of Christianity I’ve ever seen before. I’m certainly not evangelical, barely protestant (if at all), not Catholic, not Orthodox. I don’t believe I’m gnostic (though this label is basically passed around like a hot potato these days, so I might as well take my turn), and I’ve no real affinity for desert theology, so monasticism is lesser of the better descriptors to use. I’ve early on adopted the “hermitic” monicker, though I’m not all too certain this is even a proper term (I’ve found it in a few dictionaries online, but the same is true for irregardless, too. What does that tell you about online dictionaries?)

I have no call to the formal ministries of modern Christianity. I’ve since ceased trying to force on that ill-fitted slipper. Instead, I’ve spent this year (and the last 20 years) exploring the contemplative, the existential, the heretical, trying to find a proper home.

This is what I’ve come away with.

I’m seeking the avocation (would love it to be a vocation, but we all know how that goes these days, even for the properly credentialed) of Christian Philosopher. More specifically, the Christian Metaphysician.

For awhile I thought I was treading down the Theologian’s path, but I quickly discovered the term Theologian carries with it a great weight beyond mere theology. It bears the burden of denominationalism, regardless the brand of Christianity you’re referring to. Any self-respecting religious college or university not only requires your sworn allegiance to their brand of belief, but they also require you acquiesce to their own collections of doctrines (of men).

But, I’ve found there are no modern day Christian Metaphysicians. Few Christian Philosophers. And, the questions I want to answer in my research going forward are not theological but metaphysical, philosophical in nature (and application). Plus, the answers (if I actually find any) would not be only applicable to the Church (universal) but to the world (not that I presume my research will be of interest to really anyone outside of the multiple conversations carried on in my own head).

So, theology in biblical studies would be my “degree” in this graduate program, and my “major” would be the philosophical and metaphysical exploration of the distinct states of reality and being: birth, consciousness, death, and afterlife.

In my research, I hope to synthesize current knowledge and understanding of these four distinct states of being (determining if they are states of reality at all) and apply them to a universal theory of reality.

This is a study of theology in biblical studies since I’m operating from the axiomatic presupposition that the biblical text is intrinsically extra-terrestrial (not necessarily alien, but just other than earthly) in nature and origin. It is the operational framework from which I plan to explore the concepts and realities of the four distinct states of being.

Difficulties in Eden

Eden, on the other hand, has not been as productive as my scholastic endeavors have this last year.

Having been finally freed from certain financial ruin by mid-December 2019, I spent the remainder of winter paddling over on day trips, but never being able to find a sure footing on the property again.

The cold is the biggest obstacle so far. Winters in my region are not necessarily too cold for sleeping (even in the low 30’s and mid 20’s I can get relatively comfortable in my hammock, especially now with my new pod-bag).

Sleeping is not the issue. The challenge is existing in 30 degree weather during the day, on north-facing property that never warms up and structures that so far have proved inadequate.

The first dugout was simply too small, and too bug-infested, and the bench I built was just too uncomfortable.

My tent on the dock worked well in the summer (they all work pretty well in the summer), but not the best in winter, and the wind destroyed the rain fly and quickly transformed my tent into a standing bathtub.

Additionally, tents on the dock proved less than desirable with seemingly no privacy. Fisherman and boaters seem to think there is no need for common courtesy on the water, apparently.

My most recent construction was a shelter with a wood frame, tarp roof, and wood deck floor. This works okay for the hammock hanger, and I even got the wood stove installed, but it simply will not function well enough in winter to provide the lounging abilities I need.

Mid-April brought with it another tree fall, that seemed to come out of nowhere (taking out actually the all-present, all-consuming leaner), and near flattened my shed and workshop roof. Now I have a large tree that needs to be cut up, that will have to be done mostly from a ladder.

If I were completely honest with myself, and I had a magical wand that I could wave and grant myself my ultimate wish, I would do away with both the Eden property and my house in town, and would buy a dependable cargo van and move into it full time. But, this carries with it issues of its own. There is no telling when it will be outlawed again to live in a vehicle. With the pandemic issues, all of the gyms and businesses and public parks are all closed down, which means no place to park during the day, and no public showers.

Not to mention, living in a van doesn’t really resolve the daytime cold issue in the winter, unless I plan to continually heat the van (and if I can heat a van, why can’t I build a shelter on the Eden property and heat it)?

I’ve resolved to simply be present and grateful wherever I am. These two properties are my networth (close to $100,000), which if I sell one, I can use the other to retire. But, that likewise has its own risks, which is why I hope to keep my part-time day job for as long as humanly possible. By doing so, I have unlimited time to explore living at my house, at Eden, and alternatively elsewhere, too.

My immediate plans going forward are to spend three and a half days at Eden and three and a half days at my house in town. Of course, I’m still waiting for the summer weather to arrive (temperatures are fine now, but the rain has not yet departed).

Part of me is tempted to liquidate everything I own on this planet and buy a van and move to another state. Maybe Hawaii? Texas? It’s a freeing idea, if only to just think about it.

Research & Reading Improvements

I’ve been working on my productivity and effectiveness of my research process over the last several weeks, and I’ve finally arrived at a process I think closes all the loops. I wrote a detailed blog post on this, which you can find here.

Until the next update….


Please consider supporting my work, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.


Excerpt from In the Meadow:



A second later, the engine roared to life, and Dawn glanced back, one last time, at the trailer she’d grown up in.

The empty yard.

The trail she’d blazed through the blackberries.

That gaunt looking trailer.

Everything she saw now looked so dirty and run down, almost a shambles.

It was like a dream.

Paul circled wide, then threw the truck in reverse and backed up. As he braked and put it back into drive, Dawn could see Harold’s place a few slips down.

Paul gave the truck some gas.

As they went by, she could see Harold standing outside, near his front door, motionless, watching them.

She didn’t mention the earlier conversation to Paul.

Why would she?

He was just a creepy ass guy, and one of the handful of things she didn’t have to deal with anymore.

They drove out the front gate of the trailer park, down the side street to the corner, Paul stopping for a moment as he waited on the traffic to clear.

He took her hand and smiled at her, then pulled out onto the highway, heading west.

They drove past the Ray’s Grocery Store, past the gas station, where Bart was out front, talking excitedly to the Desmond boy.

Paul kissed her hand and she smiled, laying her head back against the headrest.

There was nothing else standing in her way now.

As Dawn began to relax, she watched as her old life quickly dissipate into vapor in their wake.

For the first time in her life, she was leaving Oakridge. She was moving to an entirely different state, a new home, with the man of her dreams.

She’d never even been out of Oregon before.

“Now or never,” Paul said, as they drove past the trailhead sign, on the right.

Dawn tightened her grip on his hand.

She’d finally gotten her wish.

She was leaving Oakridge.


Buy my book In the Meadow to find out what Dawn will do as her perfect fairytale life begins to unravel. Are the girls calling out from the banks of the Skagit River trying to help her? Do they want to hurt her? What secrets will she find?

Click here and grab your copy today! Get the sequel, Returning the Meadow and keep the story going even longer!

But, trust me when I say, this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride. People are dying all around her, and you have no idea what evil lurks in the meadow! Get started in this thriller story today and find out why they’re warning her…calling out to her….trying to tell her…to RUN!


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Blog, jack shaw journey, Research Journal, unschooled-masters-degree