May 31, 2011

this week's round-up (june 1)

Your commute is killing you. Interesting article (and a little scary); I'm right at that 45-minute mark each way and have started having back pain...

7 Ways to Make Commuting (a little) Better - haven't tried the "learn a new language" idea, and books on tape have been hard for me to process... I think I need something a little more mindless; but it's still a good list if you are stuck in a car on a regular basis.

Semi-related, 25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today

Donald Miller - How to Partner with God in God's Work. I was sort-of trying to make this point as part of my Baccalaureate message but I know it didn't come across nearly as clear or concise - in every day and in every place we have opportunities to partner with God, using the multitude of gifts God has given us. Sometimes it can be as simple as working in the garden or baking a cake.

Following the Baccalaureate service someone thanked me for not being an "Open Theist" which really had the feeling of being a backhanded compliment. The weird thing is, open theism is a strange topic to even bring up in such a setting - it relates to how we understand God's relationship with time, and there was nothing in my message to that would suggest I was a firm supporter of something like predestination. I suspect what this person was really affirming is that I didn't seem to be a universalist, because I talked about Jesus in my message.

Love this quote from Anna Quindlen from a 1999 Villanova University Commencement address (via Inward/Outward):

"So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life.Get a real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you."
Jen Lemen - What's True Right Now

Roger Olsen on The End of the World:
"I urge evangelicals to make clear to all who will listen that we DO believe in the return of Jesus Christ, but, as a whole, we DO NOT believe in staring into the sky waiting for it to happen.  For the most part we agree with Luther who, when asked what he would do if he knew Christ would return tomorrow, said “plant a tree today.”  In other words, carry on as always living as disciples of the crucified and risen Lord."
 Seth Godin on legacy issues in business... not too difficult to make the jump to legacy churches and questions of how we continue to support congregations with no interest in growth or vitality.

Dan Dick on The Folly of Fear.

From the Art of Non-Conformity - The Need For Change.

Chad Holtz offered a couple very raw, honest, and I believe important posts on how the church responds to people with addiction, and Chad specifically speaks of his own sexual addiction. I consider this to be a must read. First this. Then this follow-up. Finally, this one.

Andrew Conrad - 10 Ways to Connect.

I think I'm going to try the #Trust30 thing, but I'm not sure I'm going to put it all up on the blog. (As much as I like the idea of developing a discipline to write on here every day, realistically I'm not sure I can maintain it).

I think I need some clothes with embedded LED lights... (or maybe just a stole for the candlelight Christmas Eve service)...

May 17, 2011

this week's roundup (may 17)

Dan Dick on the consumer culture we carry with us into the church - You Need to Understand.

Bishop Wil Willimon on the topic of suffering.

Matthew Paul Turner has a really great take on the group (groups?) speculating that this Saturday will bring the end of the world, and how it impacts the faith of the "least of these." Certainly worth reading.

Church Marketing Sucks provides an overview of how some churches celebrated Mother's Day. Some really great ideas on that list.

Jordon Cooper reminds us the best resumes don't necessarily make the best leaders. Also, from a tweet Jordon sent out - read this next time you assume an unemployed (or homeless) person could just get a job at McDonalds - in their most recent hiring blitz they filled 62,000 positions... but received 1 MILLION applications.

The sales pitch for a great little place on Hoth.

Donald Miller on the enneagram, personality types and theological world-views. If you've been through seminary, you probably already have a pretty good handle on this, but it's still interesting to consider.

Jen Lemen's always brilliant words (especially when you are feeling low) - It's Never Too Late.

The One Minute Review of Thor

One Minute Review: Thor from Thomas McKenzie on Vimeo.

Seth Godin on What People Want and The Future of the Library. On the library post, I wonder how much is equally applicable to the church:
The next library  church is a place, still. A place where people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together. Aided by a librarian pastor who understands the Mesh, a librarian pastor who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and access to information to bear.
In a digital age, access to great preaching, Biblical scholarship and theological inspiration are just a couple mouse clicks away. On some levels, the local church can no longer compete in that regard. What the local church has to offer is the opportunity to connect people with each other and with information that will equip them to serve and be the people God calls them to be.

Jay Voorhees - Conversation with a Young Methodist. Also from Jay, The Young Clergy Question - I'm not sure I'm completely on-board with everything he brings up in this post; but I think there is a danger of wanting "young clergy" simply for the idea that they are "young" - especially when the Conference/District/Local Church doesn't have systems in place to adequately support them. He's completely right on when he says:
"The problem is not one of age — it’s a system that values conformity to institutional norms above that of leading congregations to a vibrant and living faith that is relevant to people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. We have a process that lifts up those who say the right answers or who calm the boat in the storm, and does what it can to stamp out those with an entrepreneurial spirit. The issue isn’t age — it’s values."

Nice post from Jeremy Smith on some basic Facebook "how-to's" for pastors. I've been in conversation with colleagues that something like this, but even more specific needs to be distributed, as District Superintendents, clergy, and clergy spouses have sometimes pushed the limits of appropriate boundaries of sharing and interaction on Facebook. There is still a lot of gray area with social media in general, but there are some clear needs for basic education as well.

Thom Rainer on The Introverted Leader.

Laurie Haller on Church Bullies another "must read".

Great post from my friend Jeff Nelson on Resurrection, the Counter, and Mickey Mouse Pancakes.

Jump day, tomorrow... looking forward to it, but I'm sure I'll be making a deal, too:

May 7, 2011

this week's round-up (may 7)

Lovett Weems on membership, finances and the future of Methodism; some sobering stuff in there, especially regarding the coming "death tsunami".

Lovett H. Weems, Jr. - UMC Realities from Lewis Center on Vimeo.

Really interesting TED Talk from Eli Pariser on the "filter bubble" - how the personalization features built into facebook, google, etc. keep us from seeing a broader worldview. (It's also cool that Eli uses a screenshot from my old college friend, Scott, as part of his presentation). As Eli talks about the filter that operates "behind the scenes" in the algorithms, I found myself also wondering about the filters we create ourselves - this whole "round-up" thing I do every week is basically a filter, and there are pretty clear patterns about my thoughts on church, theology, social media, and music...

Then from Jesus Needs New PR - Joel Olsteen has never heard of Mark Driscoll - interesting to read in context of Eli Parsier's talk on "filters." Where do we place our attention? How does it distract? How does it keep us isolated? How does it inform? How does it broaden our worldview?

Roger Olsen on Deep Church - I love that idea of "urban Amish."

An account of a return to Methodist covenant groups.

Another hard-hitting post from Dan Dick on Wethodism:
"It is time to take the “me” out of Methodism and replace it with “we”.  Somewhere we lost touch with the fact that this is God’s church and that each of us is fortunate and blessed to be allowed to be a part of it.  The church does not exist to serve our individual needs.  It doesn’t exist to make us happy.  It doesn’t exist to make us feel good about ourselves.  It exists to do God’s work and will in the world, and we are invited to be active participants in the glorious creative miracle of God’s unfolding vision.  We have got to get over ourselves.  At the very limited extreme, church may be about “us” as a whole, but never about us merely as individuals.  The whole “me and my buddy Jesus” mentality that pervades our culture has virtually nothing to do with church, Christianity, or the Bible.  Our boiling everything down to a personal and private religion has a historical name — heresy.  It isn’t all about me — and our denomination is suffering an acute case of “me”-thodism."
Steven Furtick on Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods and What it Means to Fall From Grace: "The quickest way to fall from grace is to think that there is an ounce of your life that isn’t dependent on it."

Craig Groeshel on Being Weird:

Fred Clark on Lawnmowers and $40 Nachos - when do we make allowance for the community good?

Jen Lemen on How to Be Happy (Part 2)

A lot was posted on the whole situation surrounding ben Laden, among the many good and thoughtful posts, I appreciated this one from Becca Clark.

From Julie Clawson on being the Body of Christ:
"Is it possible to call people to be living sacrifices when they can’t even be bothered to know who it is they follow? It’s hard enough to talk about turning the other cheek when there are celebratory flash mobs in the streets because we finally killed our enemy. Or to call the church to love their neighbor when people see giving to others as an infringement on their entitlements. But this goes even deeper. It’s a mentality utterly at odds with the entire way of Christ and yet its adherents still claim to be Christian. I struggle with knowing how to respond. I know this issue is nothing new; it’s just difficult to be reminded of its extreme in such a blatant way. But I keep wondering how can the body of Christ ever be healthy when so many of its members are non-functioning?"
I'm Finite, How Are You? 

Michael Hyatt on The Benefits of Playing Full Out

Maybe Hyatt's post is an appropriate segway to let my friends know this is going to happen on the Wednesday before Annual Conference at 6:00 - feel free to come and watch.

And I do apologize for embedding this...