May 7, 2010

this week's round-up (may 6)

Both Donald Miller and Kem Meyer delve into the topic of slactivism - being an "activist" with a minimum amount of effort (ie buying a t-shirt where part of the proceeds go to a charity and then feeling really good about your contribution to end world hunger). It is easy to wear a ribbon or wristband, put a magnet or sticker on your car, or change your facebook status for a cause you believe in, and those can all be worthy things to do, but if our commitment ends there, have we really done anything at all? The internet is powerful in being able to draw attention to important issues, but if the only thing that happens is attention (which is fleeting), and not action, then we've missed an important opportunity to make a difference - or in religious terms, to help reveal the kingdom - which, hopefully is what we are aiming for.

Jonny 5 writes on the decision of his band, The Flobots, to not cancel their planned concert in Arizona on the Sojourner's blog. In part of the discussion he makes this point:

A friend of ours who grew up in Arizona remembers being a child in Arizona during the boycott over their refusal to honor MLK day. Despite the boycott, Stevie Wonder and Rosa Parks played a show at her high school. She describes it as a “joyful, uplifting experience that defied the hatred and negativity of those on the other side.”

I personally don't have a problem with boycotts, but something Jonny 5 hints at, and something pointed out to me by Joe Stroud (whom I had the pleasure of knowing when I was in Ann Arbor) is that boycotts frequently are a difficult device of protest, because they can hurt the people on the bottom instead of the top. You always have to modify the strategy to the situation, but I think we do have to be very careful about choosing a strategy of disengagement (like a boycott) because it can prevent discussion or a positive message from even getting out. (In addition, as I think more about it, boycotts also seem to have that slactivist problem - people can feel good about doing nothing).

Over at Wise Bread they offer 30 practical tips towards maintaining a greener office.

Ready for some growdivation? (This is absolutely brilliant):

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.
(Via bedeviant)

Jeremy Smith posted this video on his blog from Darren Rowse on the church's role in social media. Rowse makes some great points saying that as church "we are in the business of community" and the social networks that have been built over the internet speak to the need for community and offer a place for community to be formed. I also appreciate his thought that the church needs to have an incarnational mindset to ministry on the web, not "build it and they will come," but go and listen - engage the culture of the web, and focus on dialog instead of monologue. Check it out:

Surprise Guest Message for TransFORM from TransFORM on Vimeo.

I've been leading an adult Sunday School class and right now we are in the middle of Francis Chan's book Crazy Love - which is a challenging, yet inspiring read. (I'd have to agree with one of the members of the class who made the comment, "I'll read a chapter, and get really angry and think, 'Who does this guy think he is?' Then I'll read it again and realize he's making a really good point.") So it was interesting to see that Chan has decided to resign from Cornerstone, the church he founded. Due to polity differences the transition is much different than what I'm used to, but I really respect the process he proposes - giving people an opportunity to speak to him personally and ask questions during prayer meetings. I'm also interested in his plan for the rest of the year, which includes a couple months for discernment and three months of service in a "third world" country.

I knew, when I picked it out, that Chan's book would be a hard read for some of the members of my class, but one that others would be completely on board with. That kind of diversity can be difficult, but it is important. We have to be ready to listen to "the other side" if we want to grow. This week Scot McKnight posted some of President Obama's comments on a similar "plea for civility" from his recent speech at the University of Michigan.

Just because I've had this song stuck in my head because of the news coverage of the anniversary this week:

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