June 30, 2011

this week's round-up (june 30)

Donald Miller is working on a series of podcasts with Chase Reeves that look interesting. Information about the the podcasts can be found here.

Andrew Conrad asks an important question about clergy friendships with congregants. The comments are good there, as well. It's a complex issue, because it gets into areas of professionalism and boundaries, but also into the very nature of what it means to be in pastoral ministry. It is easy to make bad analogies - I don't expect to be friends with my lawyer, doctor, or mechanic, or therapist but (hopefully) pastoral ministry is something more than that; it is more intimate, more personal, and clergy should be able to be more fully themselves. At the same time, developing friendships has the potential to disrupt the nature of the work when a professional role needs to be asserted, can create at least the appearance of playing "favorites" with congregants (leading the jealousy, etc.), and impact the itinerant nature of pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church. I think it can be done, it just has to be carefully navigated; but this complexity is also a cause for supporting greater clergy-to-clergy interactions, relationships and friendships - so that needed network of support can happen in other systems; this is why I love things like Clergy Family Camp.

Speaking of friends from Clergy Family Camp - powerful poem from my friend, Jeff Nelson: Thanksgiving Ride.

Another friend, Bri Desotel, posted a great sermon on the Trinity. One of my favorite bits:

"See, whenever you think you’ve got the Trinity figured out,
  you need to stop and be very careful… 
 because, chances are, you just became a heretic. 
Whenever God makes sense, then we’ve made God far too small."

One more friend, from my days in the Wesley Foundation, Amy Valdez Baker provides a helpful analysis around the "vital congregation" discussion surrounding the UMC.

Really interesting post from Taylor Burton-Edwards on Ordination, Orders and Rule of Life - I think it was a couple years ago I was wondering to myself how monastic orders and rules might translate into the United Methodist Order of Elders as a way of developing identity, support and accountability. Burton-Edwards really develops this idea well beyond my initial questioning.

Church Warnock - Changing Demographics to Impact Small Churches. Just this evening, over dinner, I was reading the chapter in Generation Rising: A Future with Hope for the United Methodist Church on "Race: Grace and Unity in the Post-Civil Rights Era" that address the underlying issue in a United Methodist context, which talks about applying the means of grace to shape how congregations identify and be in ministry with our neighbors, with the challenge that we move from "multi-ethnic" (where we still expect "one size fits all") to truly "multi-cultural" (where we appreciate diversity as a sign of God's greatness).

David Fitch - STOP FUNDING CHURCH PLANTS, Start Funding Missionaries. This would require a major shift in thinking for United Methodists, but I think there are some really good points in there. I've wondered about how bi-vocational pastoral ministry might work before, and I think Fitch's post is part of the answer.

Seth Godin - Show me the meta-data.

Fred Clark - Cut waste, create jobs, save money. Seems like a simple, but beneficial idea to me. Also, check out Fred's post on the use and abuse of credit scores.

Prince won't record new music until internet piracy is under control. So in other words, Prince is done making music. While I understand the desire for greater copyright protection and how Prince might wish it was 1984 again, the reality is the world has changed. The system that helped make Prince famous - massive record labels, top-40 radio, and the youth culture hegemon of MTV - are no longer in place to help guarantee success, but the trade-off of financial guarantees is the very thing Prince said he wanted throughout the 1990s - creative control.

Prince now has the power to make any kind of music he wants, and he can distribute it, globally, without any kind of middle man to get in the way of how he might want to market it. Plus he is still in a far better position to do it than most artists still trying to make a living today - he still has name recognition AND the resources to create something people might be interested in. Yes, it means more work, with potentially greater risk, and lower returns, but if he is really interested in "the art" of music I'm sure he would still have enough of an audience wiling to pay that he could keep doing his thing.

The real problem, I suspect, isn't that people aren't stealing his music, but that no one really cares about his music anymore. He hasn't made anything that connects with a wide audience and gets people excited. I'm sure that's frustrating for him, but instead of being frustrated he has a choice - keep making music for that small group of fans that will always support him, or do something so good that it connects with a wide audience again. Until last Sunday I'd found myself feeling pretty burnt out around the music of U2 - I hadn't bought the last couple of albums, and wasn't really even listening to the old stuff anymore. Then I had a chance to see them live and they got me excited again. They knew how to play to the crowd, they kept their focus on their older music, slipping in only a couple of their more recent songs, but in was enough to get me interested in checking out those newer albums. I think there are still a significant number of people who would be interested in something new from Prince, he just has to connect with them and give them a reason to care. (Really I was thinking about Prince and changes in the music industry, but there is probably a lesson for the church somewhere in there as well).

Actually, Prince, should just check out this video with Seth Godin and Michael Hyatt, which pretty much explains what I was trying to say - the quote Seth Godin refers to "The enemy is not piracy, it's obscurity" really says it all:

Backstage with Seth Godin from Michael Hyatt on Vimeo.

From BikeHacks - How to Upholster your Bike Saddle - I actually need to do this on my old bike the old covering has become un-stapeled/un-glued... or I could probably save myself a lot of hassle and just buy a new one.

How $200 Million Changed Poetry (via Jordon Cooper)

Interesting infographic from Guy Kawasaki - How to Increase Your Likability:
Enchantment - Increase Likability

Might as well put up some U2 for today's music selection - this is from the 2000 album All That You Can't Leave Behind; I still want to learn bass guitar so I can seem as cool as Adam, and on Sunday, found myself wondering if I could ever pull off the "black stocking cap and goatee" look, like the Edge.

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