Ray's Master's Thesis

Ray's Master's Thesis - Azusa Pacific University, 1996

The Birth of Church & Technology

"An Internet Model of Distance Learning for the D-Min Program"

My Thesis was developed as a special project as my sponsor, Dr. Earl Grant saw my talent was not aimed at pastoral work, but integrating Church and Technology. Many of my papers were variations on the theme of Church and Technology.

In 1996 the Internet was brand-new. I was on the cutting edge being a first adopter of email, bulletin-board services, and other nascent online services. I was working for American Standard Circuit Labs as an engineer, manufacturing electronic circuit boards. As such, I was introducing DOS and early windows computers into the manufacturing process. The owner of ASC Labs, Les Taylor (a Deacon Board member of my church, which I headed as a Lay Pastor), allowed me to work and be paid full hours while I took days off each week to attend seminary. I owned an Apple IIGS "Wozzer" computer, and an Apple Power PC as an official Apple beta-tester. In addition I was a contributing member of the AppleWorks Users Group's Journal, (see here) distributing a popular shareware program PostalCoder for bar-coding mail in the new Plus11 format still used today.

My thesis was published by the Association of Theological Seminaries, a national accreditation organization for Evangelical Seminaries. It was used as an introductory reader for Seminary Leaders in developing their first Internet Distance Learning strategies.

After being given a 4.0 on my Thesis, I was invited to guest lecture in several D-Min seminars on the use of Technology and the Church. At one point I entertained the idea of joining the HST staff, but declined due to "marital" concerns at the time.

My Thesis Defense was actually an instructional seminar instead of a defense, as the subject matter was little-known to them. Instead of the usual three departmental professors, it was attended by Haggard School of Theology Dean, Dr. Les Blank, Dr. Earl Grant (my sponsor), the APU's Provost (name forgotten), David Jensen as the Manager of APU's Information Technology department, Dr. Lane Scott as department head for the D-Min program, and Rick Dent who was Manager of Information Services, Messiah College. The day of my defense was coordinated with that of Rick Dent visiting APU who was coordinating with APU on several projects. As a result of meeting Rick Dent, I began spearheading the use of email and BBS Bulletin Board Service email exchange for the Brethren in Christ Church denomination , hosted on Messiah's servers.