July 21, 2011

this week's round-up (july 21)

Neglected for about three weeks... quite a bit to catch up on... so less commentary, more links:

Seth Godin: The Overwhelming Fear of Being Wrong. Also: Naive or Professional, and via the Domino Project: The Evolution of Pop Culture.

Dan Dick: An Unlucky Parable. Also: Tough Love/Tough Luck.

Mike Slaughter: Vital Signs.

Teresa Cho: 10 Ways to Revive a Dying Church.

Jay Voorhees: Have the Courage to be the First Follower.

Donald Miller: Your Friends Don't Really Matter.

Will Willimon: By The Numbers.

Brian Dodd: 10 Signs Your Christianity Has Become Too Comfortable.

Ben Reed: Preaching and Self-Discovery.

Jason Hood: Why Theology? It was interesting that this came up in my news feed when it did, because a couple weeks ago I was walking over to an event where Peter Rollins was speaking; on the way the group I was with was stopped by a couple of college-aged women, who handed us some postcards and invited us to this "great Bible study" they were a part of. One of the people in our group offered a similar invitation to join us to hear Rollins speak. We tried to explain who he was as a philosopher and theologian, I even compared him to Rob Bell thinking that might be a point of connection, but they hadn't heard of Bell, either. They left saying, "We are more about reading the Bible, we don't really do theology." I so badly wanted to explain that theology fundamentally is about understanding, interpreting, and applying Scripture into practical life - if they only read the Bible but don't do theology, then they are just reading an empty book, but I held my tongue. (By the way, Peter was AWESOME - I even got to hang out with him after the event, even though I always feel a little stupid and intimidated to be in someone like Peter's presence, he was very cool, approachable, and funny).

Roger Olsen: What is "theological liberalism"?

Lifehacker: Why You Think You're Never Wrong and What To Do About It.

David Crumm: Farewell Borders - The Book is Dead, Long Live the Book.

Amy Valdez Baker: A Different Way of Doing Church.

Andrew Conrad: Snippets and Smidges of Faith.

Amy Julia Becker: Why We Don't Invite Our Friends to Church. Not sure I completely agree, but she does raise some good points.

Chad Holtz: I Really [M]ucked It Up This Time. I've mentioned Chad's honesty about his addiction before; this in another very painful chapter in his story. There is language some might find offensive in this post, but also a deeper truth that many need to understand and hear. Prayers for Chad and his family. (A side note: for the past month or so, I've really been listening to the Mumford & Sons album, and really wondering about the spiritual dimensions, or simply references, behind the album and Chad does a nice job of highlighting them).

Des Moines is the best city for young professionals. (Note: I won the "Take Pride in Des Moines" essay contest in 1987-ish. Also note: I no longer live there).

With the discussion about Prince and the changing music industry in my last round-up, I thought it was interesting to find this piece about Morrissey, and how he has a new album written, but can't get it recorded because he can't find a music label to record and distribute it. I think he makes some valid points - most labels aren't interested in legacy artists (although ANTI- seems like it could be a good fit), and at least he's honest about not being interested in self-releasing (although his comment about "not wanting to be innovative" misses the mark a little - it's no longer innovative at this point, it's really just a case of not doing work in that direction). I don't buy music like I did 20 years ago, but I'm also not as interested as listening to the "latest and greatest" sensation like I did back then. Someone like Morrissey now has an advantage (for me personally) because of name recognition, but the music needs to mature with the artist as well - they need to create something that connects with their changing demographic; and I believe that market is out there, they (music labels, artists) just need to be more creative and dedicated in rediscovering it and connecting with it.

The Onion: 97-Year-Old Dies Unaware of Being a Violin Prodigy. Obviously satirical, but raises an interesting question of what talents go undiscovered in our lives and in our communities.

Music this week from William Elliott Whitmore (don't know much about him, other than he is on the Anti- label and apparently from Iowa):


And how about one more for good measure - They Might Be Giants are certainly one of those bands that could fall into the "legacy" category, but they continue to find ways to connect with an audience (going into children's music was a brilliant move). This is from their latest album for adults, Join Us; for the video they put a challenge out to their fans to make their own. Here's the one John Hodgman selected as the winner:

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