7 December 2009

My Destination Christmas List

Can you have a Christmas wish list for places you would like to go?

If there were I would have a giant circle in the catalogue for this one.  I found the conference that, wow, I wish I could go to.   It's called:  The Electronic Gospel: How Technology Shapes Our Faith.   It's at Dallas Theological Seminary and I know I would love it.

The main speaker is Shane Hipps and other than Marshall McLuhan no one around this blog gets more direct attention.   It also features Scott McClellan of Collide Magazine and

26 November 2009

Preach it Shane

Shane Claiborne has a great article in Esquire addressed to those who don't follow Christ.
At one point Gandhi was asked if he was a Christian, and he said, essentially, "I sure love Jesus, but the Christians seem so unlike their Christ." A recent study showed that the top three perceptions of Christians in the U. S. among young non-Christians are that Christians are 1) antigay, 2) judgmental, and 3) hypocritical. So what we have here is a bit of an image crisis, and much of that reputation is well deserved. That's the ugly stuff. And that's why I begin by saying that I'm sorry.
I'm glad to see a person like Share Claiborne get such a platform to be read by a wide audience.

12 November 2009

reading Marshall and Me

Found an excellent blog about the ideas of Marshall McLuhan written by Michael Hinton: Marshall and Me.  I have just begun reading back in the archives of post, but am very pleased with his excepts, quotes and ideas from the past.  I've added it to my RSS and will follow the thoughts.
I don't know how many people are as interested in the thoughts of McLuhan as I am..... but you should be ;)

1 November 2009

Kid Blogging

So just in case it is not (blog) public knowledge, Brea and I are expecting our first baby around March 13th.   Acording to various pregnacy books, she is at the stage where she should be feeling the little guy kick and move (or yeah, we know we are having a boy).   This morning before church she was lamenting that while the book was rather certain that she should be feeling him, she had felt nothing.  He was quite a moving little guy when we saw him on the untralsound, so it's supprising that she wasn't feeling anything. We headed off to church  (which I will post about as well), sat down and during the worship set an older man in front of us began praying out in a loud voice.  Brea was already feeling the Spirit moving, but suddenly an the man began to pray she also felt the moving of our baby for the first time.   A very emotional start to our Sunday morning.   He has been moving all day, but so far it is not at a time that I have been able to feel it, but I am so happy to see Brea's joy.

31 October 2009

Arguments against Virtual Church

I love to follow and analyze the various arguments that go on in the Blogosphere about the various new methods that are being used under the banner of "church"    I have commented myself on The Meeting House and things that I see around me, but one person I have loved reading is Bob Hyatt.    If all the latest trends are smoke, he has his infrared glasses on to see through it all.

He has a great post responding to this article In Defence of Virtual Church

Virtual Church is STILL a Bad Idea
I recommend reading the whole article, but here are a few highlights:
What do we call a church that not only fails to engage in, but makes a practical impossibility, the idea of church discipline? How will discipline happen in Second Life/Internet/Sim Church, where anonymity reigns and screen names and identities are changed with a couple clicks?
What do we call a church that not only fails to engage in, but makes a practical impossibility, the equipping ministry of the church? What about discipleship and leadership formation? How does one become an elder in a virtual church? What do we call churches without biblical eldership?
Can true community be mediated by a screen, or is it forged in the times at table, bearing one another’s burdens, serving the poor and one another together, at weddings and funerals, births and deaths … all the stuff that happens when I turn the screen off.

30 October 2009

Shane Hipps is on the move

I'm a big fan of Shane Hipps.  His two books have played a significant role in my own journey of where technology needs to intersect with life and faith.   Today I picked up on a little news that he is moving to be a teaching pastor at Mars Hill.   That is pretty big news in a way I feel like the fan of the an indy band that has just made it big.  It's cool that Shane will now be part of the Rob Bell big picture and I hope that Shane's teaching about technology and the effects will have a bigger audience.  (Hey Shane, what are the four effects of NOOMA)  But in some way I feel like the hipster kid that now has to share his favourite band/author with everyone.    Any way.... Good hire Mars Hill.

FYI.... wow there are a lot of people that think Rob Bell and now Shane Hipps are teaming up with Satan himself.   Gosh.   I'd link to them, but then they'll just track back here and to be honest I don't need that kind of bother....  Just Google Rob Bell + Shane Hipps and see what you get.

28 October 2009

The search for The Church

One thing that has not really happend yet since moving to Torrance to take the job at Camp Crossroads is for Brea and I to find a church body to be a part of.   We really want to be a part of a community, to find a people that want to seek Jesus on a daily basis and also seek to be Jesus to live close by.  A church body that is growing spiritually and is looking to make a difference (if not friends) in the community.
In the spring we went to the litle presbyterian church down the road.   The people there were very freindly and welcoming.   The worship service was pretty slow and mostly hyms out of the book, many at which even those in the pews didn't seem to know.  The teaching was good, but notably in sync with a common passage in the denonmination and thus not exactly as passionate as something that was brough personally from the pastor.    One of the main reasons that we had started with the church in town is that we want to tap into this community we live in and get to know people.  On thing about the church in Torrance, they weren't doing much to get to know their neighbours.   The pastor and his wife run a great afterschool program, but it's not something the community is interested in.   In the end we really felt it was right to look for other places.
The summer was crazy busy at camp and it wasn't untill fall that we had a few chancs to start looking at other places.   One church that often came up in searches and conversations was Glennwood Chapel.   It was a day in September that I went on my own,  Teen Challenge was there and it was a really great service.  (Since then we have started supporting them a little bit).   Brea was back for a few services on weekends that I couldn't and was excited by pastor Reg's preaching on what was the vision for the community that the church was in.   So a few weeks ago Brea and I finally had an oportunity to go together and were really looking forward to it.  It started off well enough - actually Life 100.3 was there which was cool, hadn't seen Scott Jackson, the GM in a few years - but then pastor Reg got up for his "sermon"  I have put it in quotations because it really wasn't a sermon at all.  Really just a presentation of what direction Glennwood needed to move in to become a bigger church.   It was just that, how to go from being a small church, to a medium church, to a large church.   I really started feeling sick.    I couldn't believe that someone would actually take the time to lay out a plan that was so stuck on numbers of people attending on a Sunday morning.   He used one slide that in esseces said a small church moves from being "Relationship Driven"  to "Program Driven"  - I wanted to walk out.    He also had slides that said rediculous things like the pastor needs to move from "caring for people" to being and "administratior"  So very quickly I was feeling like Glennwood is not the right place for us.

We are looking at other places and praying that God would give us a clue about what is the right place to be. 
So more on the progression later.    Would you go to a church that activly wants to move to a program bias?
We just want to be a part of a group of people that want to change their community and be changed by the Spirit.... not fill seats and build programs that people will hopefully want to come to 

26 August 2009

Virtual Church ?

“The problem, in my mind, with virtual community and Internet campuses isn’t that it’s not church… it’s that it is just church enough to be dangerous. Because it has all the easiest and most instantly gratifying parts of community without the harder parts, it ends up misshaping us.”

Bob Hyatt for the Out of Ur Blog via Finding Rhythm

Authority and the Internet

I've started reading Don't Eat the Fruit and I like what I have read.  It likely has something to do with his approach to media and how it influences us.

This was and interesting idea about what the internet does to authority and community
The Internet is not merely a means of communication, it is more fundamentally about giving individuals the power to choose what information they consume. The trade-off is that the more choices we have, the more decisions we make in isolation and the fewer we make either in community with others or under the authority of leaders.
Of course, I could claim that the Bible is my authority and that my view is more biblical than that of Piper, Boyd, or the iMonk. But everyone claims the Bible is their authority. Bible, Bible, Bible – everyone quotes the Bible. What’s really happening is that I “agree” with leaders when their interpretation of the Bible matches up with my personal views. The Internet simply gives me more views from which to choose.
And the more choices I put in front of myself, the more choices I make. The more choices I make, the more I believe in my ability to chose. In the end, my authority is not the church, nor the Bible, it is my will to choose.

19 August 2009

A step in the right direction?

Over at Church Marketing Sucks they have a post about a church that is taking a stand against abortion.

One Atlanta church has a bold challenge to anyone considering abortion: "Peachtree Presbyterian Church will care for any newborn baby you bring to this church."
So says Pastor Vic Pentz in a recent sermon. The church is partnering with the adoption agency Bethany Christian Services to make this happen and to start the education process for their congregation. Adoption is never simple and easy, but I love this bold action instead of the usual rhetoric around abortion.
I think it's great to know that a church is taking this kind of stand. I have always hated the "stop abortion" stance with out any real provision for what we will do with the unwanted babies. I hope the move is of right motivations and not a publicity stunt of some degree. But, asuming the have the right intentions it is interesting to hear of one church moving to take care of the unwanted babies.

11 March 2009

Shane Hipps and Rob Bell

Been a bit slack on the posting.... too many papers.

This video is great if you haven't read any Shane Hipps yet... check it out

29 January 2009

Thinking about security

A number of people in Stratford have had money stolen from their accounts as part of a large debit card scam. Even some people I know from the House of Blessing.

It has me thinking about passwords and such. As much as I am pretty geeky and like to think I am smarter than the average computer user, I have to admit that I use some pretty common passwords for just about everything. (not exactly the same, I'm a little smarter than that) So as of today I am going to change my system up. One of my favorite sites is LifeHacker.com - they have many articles on various software that can help create and keep passwords, this particular one seemed make sense to me:
You don't need to remember 100 passwords if you have 1 rule set for generating them. One way to generate unique passwords is to choose a base password and then apply a rule that mashes in some form of the service name with it. For example, you may use your base password with the first two consonants and the first two vowels of the service name. Say your base password is "asdf." (See how easy those keys are to type?). Then your password for Yahoo would be ASDFYHAO, and your password for eBay would be ASDFBYEA.
I'm also going to try out KeePass to help me remember the new passwords. I'll post a review of that once I have played around with it.

25 January 2009

I don't want to cause a Twitter

I've been thinking some more about Twitter and how it will effect the church. (You might want to read my last post) I did some reading of the reviews that are out there for Anthony Coppedge's book The Reason Your Church Must Twitter and I saw this quote by Jim Watson
"The beauty is that you can reach your people on their computer and/or on their cell phones, via SMS text messaging, which is a huge thing. Phone calls are tedious, email is often not read and fairly labor intensive for a church and in the end, ultimately, communication is key."
Communication is key, but I think that Twitter will eventually become like the things mentioned above, just another form of invasive annoying communication.  Ultimately people respond to communication because they have an connection to it.  (I already ignore text & Facebook messages from some people)   The quote is actually quite telling of how quickly we forget how cutting edge the mentioned technologies once were.

I'm know at one point email was the saviour of communication....because the telephone was quite tedious
I bet the telephone was once going to save the church.... because visiting people took a lot of time.
Throw in how websites, signs outside our churches,  radio broadcasts, pod-casting  etc. were all going to save the world around us.

A new medium will not change the way most basic reason that people ignore your message....they don't like you or you're not important to them. 

Being the McLuhan geek that I am I thought I would look at Twitter through MM's four laws of media:
ENHANCES:  - the ability to communicate information, to convey quick information.
OBSOLESCE:  - email, phone, talking to people, deeper connections
RETRIEVES: yelling across the street, passing notes in class....
REVERSE: reverses into constant barrage of short messages, devoid of personal connection

I'm going to contiune thinking about some of these.... feel free to let me know where I am wrong in comments.

24 January 2009

Technology saving the church (again)

Facebook and Twitter are going to save your church. No for real - it says so on the Internet.

Maybe it is just the type of blogs that I read. Maybe it is just the things that catch my attention. But, it sure seems that there are a lot of people out there that love to embrace each new medium that comes along.

I'm not even going to get into my usual mcluhanesque comments on media both being positive and negative* but there seems to be a rush lately to be the first person to literally write the book on the latest social network and how it will be the saviour of your church.

First there was Chris Forbes and "Facebook for Pastors" that would teach pastors how to "build relationships and connect with people using the most popular social network on the Internet."
Now recently we have Anthony Coppedge and "The Reason Your Church Must Twitter" who takes an even stronger stance with "a helpful, easy and practical guide to reaching the right people with the right message." I don't want to pick on these two authors. In fact they are both really smart men, that I respect a lot of what they have to say. I haven't taken the time to see if a few years ago someone wrote how MSN Messenger would save the church. I bet the Internet was going to save the church at one point, along with the computer, the automobile, and the printed page. All those things have had huge impact on both the church and our very core of culture, but the impact was not wholly positive. I could come up with lots of things about the comptuer, cars and print itself that have negativly effected the body of Christ.

Already I feel it. Somebody is muttering "ludite" and dismissing me as a technophobe. But stop and think about it, nothing has wholesale postive effects. Yes Twitter is great, people can track what other people are saying, eating, etc.... but what about depth? What takes people to a deep level of realtionship? I can as easily ignore the "This is the worst day in my life" tweat as I can engage that person. Being that I am disembodied here at my computer the person dosen't even know that I have ingored their call for help/attention/assistance. Maybe even worse I will make the mistake of dismissing them with a "don't worry tomorrow will be better"

I think us lovers of tech have to be (more) careful to not sell the latest and greatest technology as a fix for all that ails the church. We have see more than the benifits and see all the effects.

Always more to say...but that is good for now

* technically McLuhan has four laws (or directions) but most people really are only ready to focus on the positive and negative effects.

22 January 2009

A new Shane Hipps Book

I am really excited to see that Shane Hipps has a new book coming out.

Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith

Best I can see it is soon to be released (not available on Chapters or Amazon yet) and it seems that it will be in the same style as his previous book.

Without making a large gushing sound Shane Hipps really changed the way I look at this world... at least how I view technology, which tends to be a big part of my world. In many ways he is the one that turned me on to the likes of Marshal McLuhan, Neil Postman and others. So even if some of this material is rearranged from the first book, I will buy it as soon as it is shipping.

(and for the record this changes my mood from the last post)

21 January 2009

January Blas

I heard on the radio the other day that January 19th is the most depressing day of the year. I also heard it called "Blue Monday" and did a little digging and discover the science might be a little suspect. None the less, I certainly feel that this is a low time of the year. Over the last few years I have noticed a personal trend of feeling 'blue' in late January.

There are lots of things in my head but right now, I just can't put them to words. maybe I'll get some inspiration when the sun comes out again