My name is Jim Minker. I live in Lake Worth, Florida, on the south east coast (which is just under West Palm Beach). I have been employed at The Home Depot in Boynton Beach (just 15 minutes south of me) since 1992. Before that, my little brother and I had a home improvement business going for a year and a half (the recession killed it before it really got going). Before that I had built a lawn maintenance business that lasted for seven years. That was a pretty good business until I wore myself out and finally sold it to pursue the short-lived project with my brother. I could go on, but that's enough employment history, huh?
Around my house it is not necessarily agreed on, but I'm kinda funny. Well, at least, I think so. :) Now, the simple fact is that my wife and three daughters have just learned to humor me in my delirium. My two grandkids still think their grandpa is pretty doggoned funny! My oldest daughter used to tell her friends, "Don't laugh at him, you'll just encourage him!"
I grew up in Burke, Virginia, which is just outside Washington DC (we used to pronounce it, "Warshington"). I moved with my mom, dad, brother, sister and nephew to Florida in 1971 when I was 18. That means I was 18 when Alice Cooper's "18" was a hit song! Aren't you impressed? Let me tell you, we thought it was pretty cool.
You know, here I was growing up during the time of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Woodstock, the sexual revolution, the 60's drug culture, the generation gap, etcetera, etcetera, and yet I was oddly unaffected. I didn't smoke. Oh, I tried a few times, but the gag factor just didn't seem worth it. Pot? I not only didn't inhale, I never experienced it. Well, I almost did ... because I unsuccessfully tried to smoke a roach (a marijuana stub) someone gave me, but I dropped the stupid thing and couldn't find it!! Maybe that's because it was one of the rare occasions I had went out drinking and got a little too much of a beer buzz. Somehow, moving to Florida gave me a whole new outlook on life and I had too much fun without the stuff. And to top it off I was a virgin until the day I got married (Boy, was I teased about that!). Mostly, I think I was too scared to try any of the so-called wonderful things everybody else was doing! But hey, based on what I DIDN'T do, I MUST be better than you! Don't you think? No, not a chance! :)
I have learned not to take myself so stinkin' seriously! Now, that doesn't mean that I don't take life seriously or that I can't be serious; but I have come to see that life, true life, is not some mysterious, evasive, difficult thing. If I have been saved by the grace of God because I was too far gone to be fixed, then how could I ever consider myself to be better than anyone else? Oh, I've been there enough times to know how obnoxious I can be when I think MY viewpoints are the only real truth in the universe! :)
Truth is truth and I won't deny it, but the concept that knowing enough true facts (even those found in the Bible) could set me free is one of the most bogus notions perpetuated by my old religious mind.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free John 8:32
But this has ALREADY become the reality of all who have believed in Him! Jesus said,
I am the way, the truth, and the life John 14:6
And this has made it quite clear to me that since I know Jesus I know the truth. What amazes me is discovering just how free He has made me!
So, why do I call myself the shovel? Well, it's based upon an experience I had in my early twenties. I was standing between the boss' wife and a co-worker. She was on my right (making a short story into a painfully long, self-absorbed one) and he was on my left (with his head just inside the door waiting for her to finish). Out of nowhere he produced a shovel and handed it to me, and while she was still talking he said, "You may need this . . . it's getting pretty deep in here."
It took me a few seconds before I caught on, but I will never forget the intensity of the moment. I often wonder if there was any connection between that and the short-lived employ of my bold companion. Looking back over the years, I have come to view this gutsy (albeit, foolish) move to have cut through accepted protocol and expose the situation for what it really was.
So I took on the name of the shovel because I realized as I studied my Bible and reconsidered my beliefs that I had to do a lot of digging in the long process of removing piles and piles of religious dirt, one shovelful at a time. What once seemed so difficult and confusing now has been revealed as simple and pure.