30 August 2008

And so it begins....

Friday was my last day working for Yake Engineered Systems.
For those of you who don't know me outside of this blog (or just didn't know me that well) Yake Engineered Systems is a company that for the most part works with churches on audio, video and other technical media related stuff. If you know me even a little, you know I love the knobs and wires, so working through some of the little and big technical issues was fun (most of the time)
The last little while - say the last year or so - I have started to reevaluate what life should be. Things like:
How have I let my identity be defined by my career?
What kind of real impact do I have on my world?
What are my goals?
Does living in a true Christian world view involve goals?
Does technology play too big a role in church/religion/worship?
Can you do ministry while selling products?
Have most churches gotten too big or too much like businesses?

There might be some other variations, but that is a good starting point. They are all thoughts that I would like to develop farther and love to read other thoughts on. So over the next little while, if you stay tuned will see stuff on those themes or links to similar thoughts.

So what is next? I'm actually going back to school. It's not that I feel I need more education to get somewhere, but I really feel like I am in a place where God is pushing me to grow. I guess I could do that on my own, but sometimes being pushed by academics is a good kick in the pants. So as of September I'm back to student life.

What else is next? Glad you asked, because I almost forgot. Brea and I are taking a position in October with Stratford House of Blessing as the house parents of Sara's Place Maternity Home. We attempt to stand in the mom and dad role for up to three women ( likely age 16 - 24) while they transition into the role of being a mom. Brea will be the one that works with the girls during the day in the various programs that are necessary. My role will be to be the father figure - encourage, enforce the rules and hopefully get to know the fathers, if they are still in the picture. It's a big step for us... Excited is the word I use most - but scary is exciting too.
I'm not sure how much I will ever blog about that, I would never want to compromise the privacy and security of the home - but I expect that it will be a stretching experience.

28 August 2008

1 Good Read....200 Bad reads

So I saw that Donald Miller had a first post at his new blog

as with most things Donald Miller writes, I laughed. It's worth the read. Go read it before you read the rest of this post..... no really.


So I scrolled to the bottom of the comments and wrote a witty reply.... after which after I read some of the other comments I realized something.... Everyone thinks that Donald Miller could be their close personal friend.... I think somewhere in my delusion I thought, "oh maybe he will read my comment and then know that I exist" Wow sometimes celebrity is so goofy.

I hope Donald Miller continues to write short posts on his blog - but gosh, if it were me I think I would just eliminate the comments section. (Some people are mean too...wow American politics!)

Oh and just in case Donald Miller actually reads my post, clicks on the link here.... wanna have coffee some time?

A review of Rob Bell's new book

If you are a fan of Rob Bell, he has a new book coming out in October - Jesus Wants to Save Christians, by Rob Bell and Don Golden

Ben Witherington has a review of it. I'm a big fan of Witherington's reviews - but be warned it is a long one... but worth the read for sure.

27 August 2008

With the right marketing anyone can be smart.

I sometimes marvel at how companies can spin things to make their products seem better than everything else - when usually most of their competitors product works equally well. Yes, I'm aware that is the most basic priciple of marketing, but sometimes the end result is just goofy.

I the world of sound system there are a lot of great speaker, amp and processing companies - not matter what you read, there is no one company that will sound good no matter what. Each system requires a talented designer to choose the right componets.

So that being said here is a quote that I read.

"I've been in a couple of hundred rooms, and, to me, this is the best-sounding system in the best-sounding room I've ever been in. In so many other rooms, the first thing I would notice as a sound engineer is the system. But here, the first thing I hear when I walk in is the band jamming, the vocalist singing, or a pastor whispering into a mic. Ever musician is communicating directly to me and every word is crystal clear"
- Chris Gille, Audio Department Head
Willow Creek Community Church

First - I'll let you in on a trade secret...every Audio guy that walks into any room will analyze the system. My wife still cringes when I'm critiquing the audio system during a wedding or at any event we are visiting.... so Mr. Chris Gille is no different. What is different is the craziness that the system at Willow Creek is beyond analysis, that in that room, with that system - you just hear the sound.

That is like saying my car runs so smoothly that when I get in I just zoom down the road forgetting I am in a car - while everyone else in the world is aware they are in a car.

OR My forest is so great - I don't even notice it has trees.

Sure he doesn't notice the system ANY MORE. But this is an add using Willow Creek to sell line arrays to churches that would be better off using traditional speakers (my own oppinion).... but if the Mecca of Willow says do it, the clones will follow (ok, that is a different rant)

The reality is every company markets like this to some extent...this one jumped out at me.

25 August 2008

I never have the words

So I've read a few people writing about how they haven't blogged much lately. I get that...

For me it not that I don't have a lot of great thoughts rolling around in my head.

Brad Culver spoke at The Gig on Sunday, so now I've been thinking about being call "Christian" vs things like "Follower of Jesus" He made some great comments on how NOT calling ourselves Christian so that people can't assume they know what that means. Been kicking around in my head today

Thanks to Kamp Krusty I found out Frank Viola has a new book out. I still have to comment on his last one

I've also been thinking lots about Technology and how much we really need it. Been selling off some of the tech toys that I have acquired over the last few years (don't ask what I have - the good stuff is gone)
Why do people think I'm strange for moving to a paper calendar... maybe I'll talk about that some time.

Throw in some Identity stuff that seems to continually be a working process right now and that should give me lots to write about....but not tonight.

Hey did I mention 4 days till I'm done my job?....

21 August 2008

Knowing and Being Known

Brad Abare has an interesting article in Catalyst

First, Everybody Knew Everybody
For thousands of years, communities were made up of interdependent individuals that knew everybody within their vicinity. Lacking long distance communication and the ability to travel far, you didn’t know anybody else except the people in front of you. Everybody knew everybody.

Then, Everybody Knew Somebody
As travel and communication increased, we moved away from everybody knowing everybody to everybody knowing somebody. As cities increased in population and as people spread out, it wasn’t possible to know everybody in your world because your world was getting bigger. As long as we knew somebody, life would still be livable.

Next, Somebody Wanted to Be Known by Everybody
Enter the dawn of pervasive marketing and celebrity, especially post-1800. P.T. Barnum immediately comes to mind as a master of publicity. Revival preachers were also good at positioning themselves publicly so that people wanted want they had. It was no longer possible to know everybody, and knowing somebody was a given. It was now time for everybody to know me. The more people knew me, the more I would be associated with wealth, influence and fame. Yes world, you need to know me.

Now, Everybody Wants to Be Known by Everybody
With the immediate and permeative nature of communication, we’re now living in a period where everybody in the world wants to be known by everybody in the world. The Facebook population alone is as large as the fifth most populated country on earth. Facebook’s entire premise is to be known by everybody. Why else would people spend so much time updating, uploading and upchucking everything about themselves? Yes folks, we want everybody to know us. We’ve come full circle because this is how it started. Everybody knew everybody. Only this time our world is in the billions, not the barrios.

This seems to resound with the type of thoughts I have been thinking.
How many people to I really need to know? the world seems to be focus on quantity not quality of the relationships that we have. I don't know if I have something so interesting to say that I need everyone to know....he writes on his blog ;)

18 August 2008

Donald Miller speaks , wish I was there.

Tim Stevens took notes at the recent Echo Conference where Donal Millar Spoke on the power of story. Some of these are great quotes, mind you I tend to find anything he says compelling...or at least better than I could have said it.

- My friend said, "Life is meaningless." I said, "No, life is fine. Your life is meaningless." It's the story my friend was writing with his life that he didn't like.

- Very seldom are humans happy. They only look back on a moment and think they were happy, even though there weren't. They also look forward and think they'll be happy when they get something or do something. Humans are happiest in the past or future but rarely in the present.

- I think the reason that God made it difficult for men and women to communicate is because he wanted to introduce conflict in the story. Because when it works, it is a beautiful thing

- If you are working in order to fund a better story, that's great. But if your working is your story, then I'm not sure that will be very satisfying.

Church or Football?

I got started reading Good Magazine because of the name similarity...but they do have some really interesting stuff...and every so often something really king of fun

Every Sunday during football season, rabid fans gather to root for their team. That same day, people are going to church to pray. This is a comparison between attendance at megachurches and attendance at football games in the five states with the largest megachurch attendance.

View Section 3, Pew 16

Just as a side note, I'm not really a fan or mega churches or football.

Hint hint

I love when they track this type of stuff......

Dan Cook (Globe and Mail) Posts:

December 2, 2006
: "You have before you a Liberal dream team. Stephen Harper, we are counting the days to the next election." — Liberal Leader Stephane Dion

November 30, 2007: Dion hints there could be a spring election

December 23, 2007: Opposition hints at 2008 federal election

February 10, 2008: Dion hints budget might be election's trigger

July 23, 2008: Dion hints at possible fall vote

August 16, 2008: Liberal Leader Stephane Dion criticizes Stephen Harper's election hints

15 August 2008

To Gear or not to Gear

Matt at 37 signals writes:

Years ago I read a book about guitar effects pedals. Something the author wrote in the intro stuck with me: “Tone is in your fingers.”

He went on to explain: You can buy the same guitar, effects pedals, and amplifier that Eddie Van Halen uses. But when you play that rig, it’s still going to sound like you.

Likewise, Eddie could plug into a crappy Strat/Pignose setup at a pawn shop and you’d still be able to recognize that it’s Eddie Van Halen playing.

Sure, fancy gear can help. But the truth is that your tone comes from you.

I often think of this story when people fixate on gear over content. You know the type: Wannabe designers who want an avalanche of fancy typefaces and Photoshop filters but don’t have anything to say. Amateur photographers who want to debate film vs. digital instead of what actually makes for a great photo. Startup folks that worry more about software and scaling issues then how to actually get customers and make money. They all miss the point.

Aspiring podcasters consantly ask Gary V about the tools he uses. He responds:

It’s not the camera that I use, it’s not the blogging software, it’s not the widgets, it’s not the SEO. It’s the two C’s: content and community…There are so many crap podcasts out there with billion dollar cameras and editing tools for days. It’s about giving from your heart with content you really understand and, more importantly, giving back to the community that supports your show.

Figure out what you have to say that’s interesting and then unleash it. Use whatever tools you’ve got already or what you can afford cheaply. Then go.

It’s not the gear that matters. It’s you and your ideas that matter. Tone is in your fingers.

Crap - gotta go sell my bass gear again.

Want the good news or the bad?

Sometimes the bad news is the good news. So it is with the report that retail sales are down by 0.1 percent in July, the sharpest drop in many months.

Why good news? It means that consumers are starting to cut back. They could be going into less debt. They might be saving more. They are being more careful about long-term plans pending short-term trends.

I don't know if people are really learning anything - or if things are just so bad that something has to change....sort of reading the manual after you have spent hours claiming you "know what your doing" reading it once dosen't mean you will pick it up the next time you open the Ikea box.

The article isn't actually annoucing that any big change is happeing, but more challenges the way we somtimes interpret data. It caught my attention because I sort of hope that maybe people will start to change the way they spend money.... well I can hope right?

14 August 2008

Direction of the Spiral?

I’m reading this morning and something hit me.

Beneath the subtlety of religion (which is a system of performance) is the lie that I’m not really broken, that secretly I’m okay. And that if I just learn the right thing, know the right material, read the right book, do the right thing, or pray a certain way that I will be okay. Nobody will notice my indiscretions. And the very nature of the lie is to convince me that it is true, and because I’ve believed it I hold out hope that the lie is actually true. The search for those things leads me down the spiral to captivity, yet to admit the truth is to let go, which I don’t want to do because then I will have to admit I am broken.

Just thinking out loud.

I think that is me too. I seek knowledge to enhance my faith, but the knowledge leads me to rely on knowledge not faith. The question is - can that become a cycle of growth and not a downward spiral?

Better and faster at meaningless

Jordan Cooper posts:

"We can talk on the phone as we eat fast food while using the ATM. Not only are we better at multitasking and becoming more productive and efficient, along with the increased pace, more is required of us. And so we hurtle through life faster and faster, becoming busier and busier. The result is that in our busyness we are becoming increasingly efficient at leading meaningless lives."

Don Whitney, professor, Midwestern Seminary

Yep... that's what it seems like.

6 August 2008

The Junky Car Club

I came across the Junky Car Club today... This seems like a neat idea to me
Junky Car Club members are learning to live with less so we can give more. We're a bunch of happy drivers who are politely rebelling against consumerism by driving junky cars. We encourage our members to use their dough to support social justice causes instead of making fat car payments. We believe in environmental stewardship and hanging onto things a little longer. Junky Car Club members sponsor kids living in poverty through Compassion International.
I ride the bus for a similar reason. We switched to a 2000 mini van as part of our on going goal to just spend less on "things" If junky cars, saving money and donating to the poor can become cool - I think I'm in favour.


3 August 2008

iThoughts and cool culture

I have been thinking about technology and consumerism a lot lately. It plays into my decision on why I am quitting my job at the end of the summer* There have been a number of great post on it in the last few days.

Empire Remixed has thoughts on media interviewing people people that slept out side to be the first to have an iPod
Why is it that we celebrate those who sleep on the street in order to consume, and yet shun those who sleep on the street because they can’t afford to be anywhere else…what is wrong with us?

Jordon Cooper takes on the culture of cool.
Culture and coolness is local. It’s all local. When I am in rural Saskatchewan, a leather John Deere ball cap is cool and a very important part of culture. Yet when I hear people in the church talk about culture, we talk about “emerging culture” (there is no such thing), or global culture (sorry, culture is awfully localized). The thinking is what is cool in San Francisco or New York is going to be cool in Saskatoon or Calgary is incorrect. I always cringe when I read my blog as being listed as an important blog to read for understanding culture. That is totally incorrect, you don’t understand culture by reading a blog about culture, you learn about culture by observing it or living in it. Now there are those that are completely oblivious to popular culture but they aren’t trying to be cool anyways.
I've been walking through this sort of stuff and should really get my thoughts down, but for now others continue to give me good things to think about

* Sorry if you haven't heard the news on the job change, I should really get around to writing about the eh?