Ouch... I've gotten really behind on maintaining this thing; apologies to the handful who actually follow this...
Here we go:
Ever want to try to break open a door just like in the movies? Here's how to do it (without hurting yourself).
Glen Bickford: How I Lost a Vocal Cord and Found My Voice.
Roger Olson: Should Christian organizations adopt the business model? Certainly there are practices and techniques that we can learn from an adapt, but when do we cross the line from being a body that changes the world through our values and practices to being one that simply assimilates the inherent brokenness of the purely secular world. I think I see this most clearly around employment practices - should the church pay, provide benefits, and treat employees like every other business does (which generally means strive for the lowest common denominator), or should we aim to do better, striving to really embody a belief that every person is of sacred worth and deserves the best the organization is able to offer? Obviously this same line of thinking can be applied to the whole discussion around church metrics and congregational vitality as well.
Related to that last point - Jeremy Smith has a whole round-up of Call to Action-related posts. Tim McClendon on Restructuring is bad medicine for the UMC. Also, from another perspective, check out Bishop Scott Jones: 1972 No Longer, and Bishops, Conference, Mission.
Another post from Olson worth checking out - Our Founding Fathers, Christians or What?
Mark Engler - a guy I used to play ultimate frisbee with back in high school, now writes some great stuff at Democracy Uprising, has a excellent post on Occupy the Pulpit. I've been paying attention (and intrigued) by the whole "Reverend Billy" thing for a while, and how his act essentially mocks stereotypes of preachers, while at the same time putting forth some very valid points about community building and not being lost in an overly materialistic culture. As Mark makes note maybe it is time for real preachers to make a prophetic stand so that Reverend Billy is no longer necessary.
Megan Phelps-Roper of Westboro Baptist Church: An Heir to Hate. When I read this, I realized it was most likely was Megan that I shared a plane with a few years ago (I was going to guess that her cousin mentioned in the article, Libby, was the other young woman on the flight, but according to the article, Libby had already left the church by then). Much light that flight, the article on Megan simply reminds me how tragic her situation is. I know I'm a victim to my own biases and prejudices, but it doesn't isolate me. It also made me really reflect on the compromises we all make - I'm really curious how Megan can reconcile protesting Steve Job's funeral while also using an iPhone... and I know if I looked hard enough I could find similar hypocrisy in my own life, but at least I'm willing to acknowledge the grey areas of life and my own imperfections. When you make everything so very black-and-white you can't help but expose the flaws in your own philosophy.
Zombie Outreach for Churches. From Halloween, but still good. PS - How amazing was this season of The Walking Dead? Loved the ending, and I can't wait for the series to resume.
Dan Dick: C is for...
Jay Voorhees: Using the Common English Bible in Worship. I do have a couple copies of the CEB (both physical, but also on my phone), and have been using it a little in worship and in Bible studies. I'm not sure I'm totally comfortable with making a big commitment to it, but I do like the way some of it reads.
Drive Old or Buy New?
Perry Noble: My Wife Had a Bad Experience at Chick-Fil-A. Does one unusual experience, or one bad encounter get in the way of all the good ones? (That question has nothing to do with Chick-Fil-A).
Fred Clark: Richard Land to Newt Gingrich - Strike a Pose
Derek Webb has an excellent piece of the future of the music business in terms of distribution, generating revenue, and building community: Giving It Away - How Free Music Makes More Sense. Although I'm not involved in the industry, I've been thinking along the same lines for a while now (see my discussion about Prince from a few months ago - near the bottom of the page). Back to the idea of what churches can learn from business, I think there might be something here - give it away, and build those personal, long-term relationships.
Rupert Murdoch now controls 50% of the Christian book market.
The Easter Island "Heads" Have Bodies! By the way, I've noticed Mental Floss magazine in the stores for a couple years now, but I never really stopped to look at it - turns out I LOVE it, it totally speaks to my inner geek - if anyone wants to give me a subscription, or a shirt feel free (I especially like the "I'm no rocket surgeon" and "I avoid cliches like the plague" ones).
Sometimes you just have the learn the hard way: Maybe our apartment is too small for a bald eagle.
Still prefer the original, but Billy Bragg has a new version of Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards out...