This report from the Onion has some colorful language, but it's a telling commentary on outside perceptions of the church and church leaders.
1. This will be my 12th straight 15 hour day. Haven't done that before. Don't want to do it again. Ever.
2. Wrote an 11 page draft of a paper for my PhD work in philosopy--in 4 hours and 15 minutes. Don't want to do it again. Ever. (To be fair, I had assembled a lot of stuff prior and had worked through several parts of it in other formats. But still . . .)
Wired Parish v. 2.0 should be finished today. Hallelujah. Pass the Tylenol.
Todd Rhoades at Monday Morning Insight rocks the house by pointing to this video of Stephen Colbert throwing out a little liturgical dance. Forget Colbert for President. Somebody needs to hire this guy as Pastor of Worship Arts.
The Internet Monk points to these videos of Woody Allen interviewing Billy Graham.
First words that come to mind after watching them: Gracious. Funny. Rich.
This is prime time stuff. Actually, this is not unlike conversations amongst theists and atheists in my philosophy department. Although, most of those conversations are interspersed with a great deal of language that couldn't make it onto TV!
KJ and I are doing a recording session with Dr. William Irwin, the Series Editor of Blackwell's 'Pop Culture and Philosophy.' We're talking about Metallica and Philosophy.
When I say we are 'doing a recording session,' I mean, like, right now. As we speak. I'm trying to type quietly.
The thing is that KJ and Bill and doing all the talking, and there's no room at the inn for the Jay. :)
For one of the first times in my life, I just don't have a thing to add. That, of course, means it's really good. They're doing a great job!
And I get to blog while I listen!
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a super-secret, super-cool announcement we were going to make very soon. I'm dying to tell you, but we're waiting on one or two more small tech details before we can announce it. Mo, our primary programmer, is coding away feverishly trying to finish.
He would love your emails of support cheering him on as he finishes up Wired Parish 2.0. If you'll send me an email at jay at wiredparish.com, I'll pass it along. (I'm keeping him away from his own email until he finishes!!)
If you haven't seen this video from Greg Hawkins, the Executive Pastor at Willow Creek, you owe it to yourself to watch it. It's a short version of Reveal, a book-form of qualitative research results on the effectiveness of the Willow Creek ministry philosophy and approach.
I won't rehash the video here. You can watch it for yourself or read what lots of other bloggers are saying, but the basic message from Willow Creek is 'Oops. We were wrong.'
A couple of thoughts I've not seen elsewhere:
1. It appears their strategy works as people move from non-followers to young followers. It breaks down the longer someone is a Christian. That's unquestionably not a good thing, but it's not as if their strategy had not value. It simply looks like it didn't have the capacity to reliably move people beyond early growth stages as followers.
2. My bet is most ministry leaders who followed Willow Creek in the Dao of the Big Box will look to Willow Creek to chart the new course. I don't get the sense that WC is losing credibility in this--mainly because most people trust that they will actually work to correct the HUGE problem.
3. I'm EXTREMELY interested to see whether other Big Box churches own up to the findings of Reveal or pretend that the findings aren't true for their church. What 'Reveal,' um, reveals is that the problem is systemic. It's not particular to Willow Creek. So if you're a Big Box ministry leader, you need a pretty good argument as to why your church is exempt from the problems their research uncovered.
What wisdom did Stoops pass on to Mark Mangino, who has Kansas off to a 5-0 start?
"I didn't pass on any wisdom to Mark. He's a smart guy who's worked hard. As much as anything, he had a good background, here as well as at Kansas State being, part of our building process.
"My only advice is always stick to what you believe in. I didn't have to tell Mark that. And he's done an excellent job of building a strong, fundamental team that plays the right way. They've done a great job.”
I love that Stoops deflects credit to other people--players and coaches--as much as possible. Obviously, as a highly visible D-I coach, he has plenty of opportunities to take credit for successes, and he virtually never takes those opportunities. Almost invariably, he passes the credit on to other people.
Can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged. For those of you who emailed saying some version of 'Where the heck are new blog posts? Get off your tail, you joker!', thanks! I appreciate the support!
Here are some bullet points for your blog-reading pleasure. More detailed stuff is forthcoming:
More later, friends!
In a grad class on the Confucian Analects this semester. This will NOT be the only quote from Confucius. :)
Someone asked Confucius, 'Why are you not employed in governing?'
The Master replied, The Book of Documents says: "It is all filial conduct! Just being filial to your parents and befriending your brothers is carrying out the work of governing. In doing this I am employed in governing. Why must I be 'employed in governing'?"
Suppose you replaced 'filial conduct' with 'ministry' and 'governing' with 'pastoring' . . .
Think this might have some parallels with missional living??
I keep track of 100 or so RSS feeds. Generally that means 100+ new posts greet me every morning in Google Reader. That can take a loooong time to work through; so I've developed a very simple, very quick system of working through my RSS Feeds.
Typically I can work through 100 or so posts in 10-15 minutes by using a combination of keyboard shortcuts in Google Reader.
Here are the settings and shortcuts I use:
1. Google Reader launches in the 'All Items' view.
2. Settings show full text of new posts only.
3. Cycle through posts with J/K.
4. Mark posts read with M.
5. Star posts with S.
6. Open a post in a new Firefox tab with V.
Here's my process:
1. Click M to mark post read.
2. If I want to read the post, I Star it with S.
3. Click J to move to the next post.
Now I have all the posts I want to review more closely in my 'Starred Items' section of Google Reader. Everything else is gone.
4. Click on 'Starred Items.'
5. Important: Set my cursor on the Google Reader tab in Firefox.
6. Click S to remove the star on the first post.
7. Click V to open the post in a new tab.
8. Left click the cursor (which is already on the Google Reader tab) to return to Google Reader.
9. Click J to move to the next post.
10. Repeat 6-9 until all posts are launched in new tabs.
11. Read through launched posts, add to Del.icio.us if I want, and close each tab when I'm done.
100 posts. 15 minutes tops.
Anyone have any suggestions to make this faster?
I wish there were a setting that allowed me to stay in Google Reader even when I launch a new tab . . . Anyone know how to do that?
I (VERY BRIEFLY) played basketball in college. Actually, they gave me a uniform and a great seat for the games in exchange for 2 1/2 hours of practice a day and more trips through the Furr's buffet line than I care to recall.
Learned a lot of life lessons in that program. Here's one that I've carried with me for well over a decade:
I played out of position at point guard. Never was comfortable, mainly because it was my job to get other people the ball, and let's face it, I always picked my team in gym class based on who could pass to me the best. :)
Playing very uncomfortably out of position meant I turned the ball over. A lot. No really.
I got in the habit of apologizing after a turnover. 'My fault.' 'Sorry.' That kind of thing. The apology bug caught on because of me, and several people amped up their use of apologies after making mistakes.
Of course, apologizing can be a good thing. Taking responsibility for mistakes and such.
But one day our coach stopped practice after I tossed the ball into the third row and quickly acknowledged that it was my mistake and not the mistake of the guy who watched it sail over his head.
He said, 'Apologizing and taking responsibility for what you did is a good thing. But I'm less interested in an apology as I am that you do it right to begin with.'
Sometimes an apology for what you did--particularly one that is graciously received by the other party--gives you a false sense of freedom to do it again next time.
The sermon at church today was on death. It was a real pick-me-up.
The subject of 'Last Words' played a minor part, but I started thinking . . .
If you could choose your last words, what would they be?
Why do I continue hearing reports from pastors who are discontent?
Discontent with the members of their church. Discontent with their senior pastor. Discontent with their staff. Discontent with their elders/board.
Not hopeful, holy discontent that leads to action and change, but 'I don't want to do this anymore' discontent.
At least 6 pastors in the last 6 months have told me they're seriously considering leaving paid ministry, getting a 'real job,' and doing ministry as a lay person.
Is this as prevalent as it seems? Or do I attract these stories since many moons ago I was a discontent pastor who left paid ministry for a 'real job'?
If it is truly as common as it appears from my vantage point, why is this? Is it something wrong with pastors? Something wrong with the way church is done? Something wrong with Christianity?
I'd love your opinions.
Our local mall food court has 2 Chinese places. One Sbarro's. One Subway. One Chick-Fil-A. Two Chinese places.
One has been there for years, and when the 2nd moved in a couple of years ago, they put up a sign that said, 'Don't let the imitation fool you.' Classic.
Today, I noticed the 'imitation' fought back. Their newest sign highlights their 'new original Bourbon Chicken,' which the 1st place apparently started selling AFTER the 2nd group moved in.
The new sign reads, 'Don't eat it from the imposters.'
Gunshots will eventually ensure, I'm sure.