August 30, 2010

this week's round-up (august 29)

Another abbreviated round-up this week, less time spent web surfing, more spent with friends and family at Clergy Family Camp. It was a great time to reflect, reconnect, and be recharged.

More teens becoming 'fake' Christians.

Leading your church to change.

N.T. Wright on the Hunger for Worship.

Donald Miller asks If 40 is the New 30, Then is 20 the New Junior High?

Nothing is striking me musically this week, sorry.

August 21, 2010

this week's round-up (august 22)

Keeping it short and sweet this week. I working my way through Leonard Sweet's new book Nudge and plan to get a review posted in the next couple weeks. I also want to do something more with Seth Godin's book Lynchpin but not quite sure what it will look like (or how to find the time to make it happen).

Does Commuting by Car Make You Fat?

Twitter Lessons from Rick Warren

Imperfect is the new perfect. Transparency builds trust.

Scot McKnight gives a thumbs up to Adam Hamilton's latest When Christians Get It Wrong

I never appreciated The Call like I probably should have - I liked the few songs I heard on the radio, but never bothered to pick up an album. Michael Been, singer and guitarist, died this week; he was working with his son's band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (which are worth checking out, too). Thanks, Michael, for the music. (The first video is the song you're probably most familiar with if you listened to pop/rock from the mid-80s; the second is one I don't remember as well, but am quickly growing to love).

Spending some time with clergy colleagues and their families this week (as well as my own). A time for renewal, inspiration, and support... which means there might be slim pickings next week as well.

August 16, 2010

this week's round-up (august 15)

   Dancers protest church - seems like it should be a story from the Onion, sadly it's not. Todd Rhoades has some great thoughts, and pretty much puts into words what I'd been thinking since I first heard about the story. To summarize the story: for the past few years a congregation in Ohio has been staging protests every weekend in front of a local strip club, which included taking photos of the license plates of the club's patrons and posting the info on the web. This past weekend the strip club fought back by having some of the dancers plant themselves in front of the church, grilling burgers and holding signs like "Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing."
   There are big issues surrounding the sex industry in this country, so I'm sympathetic to a congregation that is trying to do something about it, but at the same time, I can't help but be amused at the dancer's creative response.
   As I've been thinking about "what would I do if I found strippers on the front lawn on a Sunday morning"? I'd like to think that in my very best moments (after my initial panic) I'd announce that we'll be having worship outside this morning with these ladies who have joined us, gotten some more hotdogs and hamburgers and turned the whole thing into a party. As I noted on facebook, "Somewhere along the line we've become allied with the Pharisees, instead of spending time with (as opposed to protesting) the people Jesus hung out with, AND we've forgotten that one of the key images Jesus uses again and again for the kingdom is that of a party! Sometimes we need to take a moral stand on issues, but maybe instead of a protest, we should offer a better party."
   (Or you could try this).

At EmergingUMC, Matt Kelly takes a slight tangent off the recent article about clergy health, and asks the question, who is responsible for fostering an environment of unhealthy expectations around church. Eugene Cho also offers his take on "Death By Ministry." (In another tangent, one way to help foster personal happiness is to use your "extra" income towards memorial experiences rather than more stuff).

Fred Clark looks to sewers and storm drains as a possible answer to the current economic problems.

Seth Godin on "The Incredible Power of Slow Change."

Lifehacker suggests a list of foods that are cheaper to grow than buy. (I especially found the comments to be fascinating as one commentators suggest things like kiwi and shrimp (raised in a kiddie pool in the basement!?!) might also fall into this category).

The Most Beautiful Churches in America

Double-rainbow action in this week's Fox Trot.

August 8, 2010

dis at cvs (i'm old and uncool)

So Friday night I stop in to the local CVS because I needed to grab and gallon of milk and was too lazy to go to the grocery store; to provide some context, his CVS is across the street from DTE Music Theatre. Here's the conversation that unfolded as I made my purchase:

CVS guy: Hey, how's it going?
Me: Not bad.
CVS guy: Do you know who's playing across the street tonight?
Me: Yeah, I think it's like Rob Zombie and Korn.
CVS girl standing nearby who overhears our conversation: ARE YOU GOING??!!
CVS guy (answering before I can get a word in): No, this DOESN'T look like the kind of guy who would go to THAT SHOW!!
Me (now mildly offended by the judgement): No, I'm not going, but back in the day I did work at a hard rock station and played stuff like Metallica and Tool.

I saved the two the 20 minute lecture how I was listening to bands like White Zombie while they were still in diapers, met members from The Melvins and Fishbone, and have far more "rocker cred" than my appearance would suggest. But then I also remembered how I never looked liked rock guy, even back when I was a DJ and making frequent visits to Gabe's during college, and today I would be that creepy old dood if I did make it to a show.

I can admit it - I'm old, I'm not cool (and never really have been), and I'm okay with that... and really even back then I didn't have much interest in bands like Rob Zombie and Korn, but I still have enjoy a good rock song. (And yeah, since I'm old, I've got to go old school) -

this week's round-up (august 8)

Playing catch-up from the past couple weeks, but here's a few things that have caught my eye:

This video is well worth your time - "A Thousand Questions" (via Jeremy Smith)

From Cornel West:
"We have a market-driven society so obsessed with buying and selling and obsessed with power and pleasure and property, it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for non-market values and non-market activity so that love and trust and justice, concern for the poor, that's being pushed to the margins, and you can see it.
You can see it in terms of the obsession on Wall Street with not just profits but greed, more profit, more profit. You see it in our television culture that's obsessed with superficial spectacle. You see it even in our educational systems, where the market model becomes central. It's a matter of just gaining a skill or gaining access to a job to live in some vanilla suburb, as opposed to becoming a critical citizen concerned with public interest and common good.
It's a spiritual malnutrition tied to a moral constipation, where people have a sense of what's right and what's good. It's just stuck, and they can't get it out because there's too much greed. There's too much obsession with reputation and addiction to narrow conceptions of success.
And when I talk about love, I'm talking about something that's great, though, brother. I'm talking about something that will sustain you. It's like an Aretha Franklin song, brother, or a Coltrane solo or Beethoven symphony, something that grabs you to the gut and gives you a sense of what it is to be human.
That's what we're more and more lacking, and it's very sad. It's a sign of a decline of an empire, my brother." (via Mike Todd)
I love that line "It's a spiritual malnutrition tied to a moral constipation" - don't know how I'd ever work it into a sermon (or a poem), but it's certainly an image that gets the point across. That quote also intersects with part of what I've been reading in Seth Godin's latest book which talks about how that "market" undermines "art" and "community" - rather than delve into it right now, I'll try to pick up more on that theme later. (Actually I have this idea of doing a Linchpin for pastors/churches series of blog posts that aim to apply the lessons of his book to the context of ministry; I don't know if it will see the light of day, but it might).

7 Reasons Leaders Quit Your Organization

Scot McKnight points to an article on the erosion of the middle class. Also via McKnight's blog this entertaining little cartoon on Twitter disciples.

Among my circle of friends and colleagues the NY Times article on clergy burnout has been receiving (needed) attention this week. NPR's Talk of the Nation also provides a discussion of it as well:

Insightful, short article in Leading Ideas - The Promise and Peril of Conflict by David Brubaker.

Fred Clark on why every AG in the country should be suing the credit rating agencies. Also check out this post which is a letter written by a former slave to his former slave owner; as Fred says, "The letter provides a valuable glimpse into the atrocious reality of our history, but it should also be studied and relished as one of the all time great examples of the cheerful and elaborately polite 'Screw you.'"

Donald Miller put this song by Andrew Peterson up on his blog a couple weeks ago; its a lovely little song about life and marriage:

That does it for this week. I think I will probably be moving to a Sunday posting schedule, for the handful for people who actually follow this little thing.