August 19, 2011

this week's round-up (august 19)

Jeremy Smith on Outsourcing the Message - Jeremy brings up some good points about something I've been interested in - using video streaming to bring sermons to remote congregations. While I've been generally in favor of at least exploring or experimenting with the possibilities, and how it can be a way to support small membership and rural congregations that might otherwise lack regular preaching (especially as the number of active clergy drops and the associated personnel costs rise), I appreciate Jeremy's critique of how it undervalues contextual, community based messages and undermines leadership development. Good stuff to consider.

Bill Hybels responds to Starbuck's ceo withdrawing from Willow Creek's Leadership Summit. Regardless of what you might think of Willow Creek or the "controversy" that surrounded this, I think Hybels response is excellent; he addressed it with a lot of grace... and actually made me pick up Howard Schultz's book Onward when I saw it at the library this week. (I'm only about 1/3 of the way into the book, but already agree with Hybels that it is excellent).

Roger Olson on Process Theology - it's interesting in that I've always considered myself in or near the process theology "camp" , but based on Olson's definition, I'm not (because I don't see God and the world as being ontologically interdependent). I also enjoyed Olson's post on Something Protestants should borrow from Catholics.

Four signs you are becoming an irrelevant church leader.

Fred Clark on Is Rick Perry a 'sucker' or is he just lying, unlike Fred I am likely to give the benefit of the doubt and believe that most politicians err on the side of stupid rather than malicious, but I always appreciate Fred's analysis. Also from Fred on the theme of truth telling, this time from the pulpit: Glurge and Ghost Stories I don't think I've ever been as egregious of the violations Fred cites - I've never tried to sell another's story as my own, and there have been a couple cases where I have tried to fact-check or explain a sermon illustration that falls more into the "metaphor" rather than "history" category, but I can see where it is an easy trap to fall into.

Top 10 Tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Always good information to know.

I'm falling in love with Spotify - it's a great site for finding and listening to music, new and old, with some great social networking features. Their music catalogue is pretty deep allowing me to reconnect with music I used to have on cassettes that have been lost though the ages (and I've never managed to replace on CD or MP3); The Sundays are one of those bands - Reading, Writing & Arithmetic - was a big part of my soundtrack in the summer of 1990:

August 12, 2011

this week's round-up (august 11)

Paul Steinbrueck: What Church Members Want in an App.

Roger Olsen: Folk Religion and Life After Death (Part 2). Excellent article! One of my adult Sunday School teachers is going to be doing a study on "heaven" this fall, and (I think) will be addressing some of these "folk religion" aspects that Olsen mentions.

Fred Clark: You might be an evangelical...

Jen Lemen: 10 Things That Are True About You.

Dan Dick: Running Out of Options. Dan makes that case that the greatest threat to the future of the United Methodist Church is:
"... a self-centered, selfish, consumeristic, privileged entitlement mentality that puts the comfort of the individual ahead of the integrity of the community of faith and the will and vision of God. My-way-or-the-highway, take-my-ball-and-go-home immature coercion is becoming the norm rather than the exception. This, and this alone, has the power to kill us."
make sure you follow the link to read the full article.

Wil Wheaton writes about the 25th anniversary of Stand By Me.

From Mike Slaughter's blog: Why Methodist? (Good to be reminded that sometimes we do get it right).

From Christianity Today: Should We Still Give Out Tracts?

From ProBlogger: The 5 Must-read Books for Bloggers in 2011. Haven't read any of these, but I was interested in the second one on the list: Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators - I didn't realize that curation (basically what I've been doing each week) was really a "thing" - this was really about finding a way for me to catalog the stuff I found interesting as a personal study discipline, and to possibly bring some benefit to the handful of friends interested in similar subjects. I've always felt a little like I was cheating by pointing to other people's blogs while not offering very much in terms of my own content, but maybe there really is value in just doing this.

Personal MBA: 7 Tools to Manage Social Media Overload.

My family got our picture in the Detroit Free Press this week (fortunately not for doing anything illegal).

August 4, 2011

this week's round-up (august 4)

Steve Sjogren: Bullhorn Evangelism. Interesting article, especially when I saw this very thing being played out at the U2 concert in Lansing - outside a handful of guys with a bullhorn condemning everyone to hell, inside a stadium of people singing songs of hope.

Dan Dick: Paradoxology. Be sure to read the whole thing, as with most of his posts it is pretty convicting, including this bit:
"The process by which God provides is in place. That process is us. Our current problems are not those of quantity, but distribution. We don’t lack resources, we simply lack love, faith, compassion, and trust. We bow before the god of fear at the expense of trusting the God of love. It feels safer and more comfortable to take care of ourselves than to perhaps give aid or comfort to someone we don’t know, like, trust, or agree with.
And this is why our church is in the state it is in. At least for United Methodists, we lost our way when we jumped the mission and social justice ship for the church growth cruiser."
Chad Holtz: Christians Need a Ramadan and The Idolatry of Belief

Lifehacker: Best Windows Downloads and Best iPhone Apps. Several of the Windows programs I use on a regular basis (Google Chrome, Thunderbird, Dropbox, Picasa, Microsoft Security Essentials, and I've started playing with Spotify); the iPhone apps I don't know as well, but these are both pretty solid lists for good (and largely free) software for your systems.

This next link it a little more advanced in the techno-nerd realm, but Michael Hyatt has a nice post on How to Get Your Kindle Highlights into Evernote. This has been one of my frustrations as I've experimented with ebooks - how can I mark passages for future reference, and fortunately Michael notes a (relatively) simple solution.

I never really expected myself to agree with John Piper on much of anything, but his article on How Do I Think About Tweeting actually makes a lot of sense to me, especially since I know I don't use the platform to it's potential (most of the time you'll just find me retweeting what someone else has written).

Great article from Roger Olsen: A bigger problem than heresy: folk religion.

One more for the "must read" list: What If Jesus Isn't as Reasonable as Us? by Ed Cyzewski:
"Theology can only take us so far. We’re dealing with approximations at best when we talk about God. We can study the Bible all we want, but at the end of the day we’re just talking piles of dust and spit trying to define a deity that we can only see in a mirror dimly.
We know some things about God, but as NT Wright says, we can’t be 100% sure that all of our beliefs are right. And if we one day discover that God is different from us, what will we do?
I don’t think you can blog a rebuttal after standing before the judgment seat of God. Actually, I’m pretty sure about that one.
At a certain point we bump into our limitations and the likelihood that we have been wrong about God in some ways. We have to decide whether we’re willing to stick with God even if he dashes parts of our theology to bits, even if he appears unreasonable, intolerant, or too inclusive."
Mike Friesen posted this video on a day I really needed to see it:

I've had this song by the Avertt Brothers stuck in my head the past couple weeks... I really don't know much about the band other than the appearance they had on the Grammys with Mumford & Sons, and Bob Dylan; but checking their wikipedia page shows that their grandfather was a Methodist minister, so they get bonus points for being cool...