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Archive for July, 2007

DJ Chuang:

“One blog has noted The Silence in the Godblogosphere is Deafening. Yes, this kind of thing doesn’t generate a lot of chatter nor media attention. Why? B/c they’re Christians, and b/c they’re not Americans.”

The hostage takers have killed two of the hostages so far.

– Read the rest of DJ Chuang’s must read post here.

We need to pray.

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There’s a little game that I play with my three beautiful daughters. I’ll say to Michaela Siobhan (11), “You know, you’re my favor…no…,” and then I’ll sputter to Skye Teresa (9), “…no, Skye-Baby you’re my absolute favor….well…,” and then land on Alia Noelle (7), “Li-Li , the truth is that you’re the one I really lo…ugh…”and then I’ll begin again with Chaela and work my way around my beauties until they’re all giggling. The truth is that I love Michaela the most; I love Skye the most; and I love Alia the most.

We have a relative who tries to propagandize us that “there’s nothing like your oldest child.” Poppycock. Each of our girls are so unique and all are to be preferred.

Em Griffin in his wonderful little book on communication, Getting Together, reports that his daughter names her relationships with others. So, for example, she has a special name for her relationship with her dad; she names her relationship with her best friend, etc. That approximates what I feel about about each of my daughters.: They are all so different that it’s quite impossible for me to attempt to quantify and compare the love I have for each of them. Micha and I share a love of reading and Harry Potter – she read Deathly Hallows in about 5 hours the day after it came out. Skye-Baby is one of the most emotionally intelligent people I know and is unfailingly courteous. And Li-Li is quintessentially cute and loves to chase me. To say that I treat them fairly and provide them with equal regard is to obviate their endearing idiosyncrasies and the highly individual love that I have for each one.

This familial reality has an analogue in organizational life.
Markus Buckingham and Curt Coffman suggest in First Break all the Rules that great managers do not treat everyone equally and even play favorites. As a manager myself, while I provide each of my employees with open doors for growth and development, there’s no doubt that my stronger employees get more of my time and attention. This may seem counter-intuitive to the egalitarianism of the heart I suggest above but for me it’s consistent in this way: Folks are so unique that we do them a disservice if we treat them all exactly the same way. And so I resonated with these recent comments by Granger Community Church‘s Tim Stevens and Kem Meyer:

– Fairness is not priority for us in what we communicate and in what we don’t.

– As a leader, I’m not fair with my time. Some people can call and get time with me at a moment’s notice. Other people can’t. That’s not fair.

– We aren’t fair when we determine what gets in the budget and what doesn’t.

Of course, these are broad brush statements and are not intended to illegitimize “fairness” as a concept. But these type of statements are intended to dethrone “fairness” as a privileged setting that’s mindlessly applied to all circumstances.

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Brian Clark at CopyBlogger posts 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer:

  1. Write.
  2. Write more.
  3. Write even more.
  4. Write even more than that.
  5. Write when you don’t want to.
  6. Write when you do.
  7. Write when you have something to say.
  8. Write when you don’t.
  9. Write every day.
  10. Keep writing.

ht: Jim Walton

photo courtesy of freefoto.com

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I’ve been very blessed in the last few months to have been asked to work on three projects related to online spiritual community. The first project was a research and article project for Leadership Network which was passed out at this year’s Buzz Conference. That piece focused on churches’ use of social networking software and sites and can be found here. The second was the chapter I was asked to craft for The Wikiklesia Project‘s first book – Voices of the Online World – on the Legitimacy and Limits of Online Relationship. This book was just published this past Monday. The third project I’m working on now is a chapter on churches’ use of online tools in their efforts to address social justice issues and provide social relief for a forthcoming Crossway book .

This work has lead me to some rethinking of a dynamic I’ve blogged on quite a bit: the declining cost of information. I still believe that is a significant dynamic. As information declines in cost through technological development (e.g. printed page, radio, television, internet) society is disrupted and changed. But the use of the term “information” tends to only apply to the broadcast aspect of these emerging technologies – i.e. the info is primarily moving in one direction.

While information costs will continue to decline, what is becoming even more interesting is the declining cost of interaction. It seems to me that this is a better term to encapsulate the dynamic we’re now seeing because it better captures the two-way conversation now available to us in non face-to-face contexts. This growing phenomenon and its relational implications also helps to explain why churches are increasingly becoming interested and involved in this space.

I believe we are at the very early stages of this and there are challenges. At the Buzz Conference in DC in June, I had the chance to interview LifeChurch.tv‘s Innovation Leader Bobby Gruenewald about their foray into the Second Life metaverse. One challenge they are now facing, as are many other businesses as reported in this recent Frank Rose piece in Wired Magazine (ht: Kenny Sheppard), is that Second Life is struggling to keep up with the sheer number of folks that are entering their alternative universe. Individual avatars or even entire locations can disappear under the load. But technology will catch up and increasingly immersive experiences should be possible.

In the final analysis, it is not the bright and shiny new technologies that will be the most significant factor in these developments. What will be most transformative will be the increasing ease with which folks will be able to interact with ever-widening social circles. It is, of course, the social effect that will be most interesting.

This space truly offers unprecedented kingdom opportunities as the cost of interaction continues to decline. But we must remember that the critical engine of kingdom growth in these contexts continues to be the vitality of our personal relationship with Jesus and the health of our spiritual communities, where ever they might form.

photo courtesy of bigfoto.com

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Buzz in 2008

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Mark Batterson reports:

“For what it’s worth, we’re definitely leaning toward a Buzz 08. After this year’s conference it is hard to imagine not doing it. ”

This is good news.

Metapost on the 2007 Buzz Conference

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“But by the second half of the 20th century, Aries writes, our culture had become horrified by death. Instead of residing in the home, where the most basic fact of human life could be openly acknowledged, death was transferred to the hospital, where only professionals and close family members needed to witness the indignity of terminal disease.”

Rob Moll provides a thought-provoking meditation on the good and public death.

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I opened up my Thursday USA TODAY to find the following books on USA TODAY’s Best Seller Listed at the following positions:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Deluxe Edition

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

13. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

14. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

JK Rowling, estimated to be worth over $1 billion dollars, and her Harry Potter series captured an astonishing 8 of the top 14 places on the list. Amazon.com’s Bestseller’s List shows a similar phenomenon. Worldwide, the seventh and last book in the series sold an unprecedented 72 million copies in the first 24 hours. Let that sink in. To give that number some perspective, there are just over 109 million households in the United States. And that also means that during the first 24 hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold at a rate of just over 833 books every second.

Full disclosure: I’m a late-to-the-party fan.

After taking my oldest daughter (11y) to our local Barnes & Noble Friday night at 9 PM ET and receiving ticket #2144 to get us a place in line, we walked out with a copy at about 1 AM on Saturday. Michaela got up about 10 AM or so and finished the 759 paged book at around 3 PM (she’s an extraordinarily fast reader).

To get a little deeper into Chaela’s world, I decided to begin listening to the books. I grabbed an audio copy of the first book from our local library, imported into my iPod, and began listening.

I loved it and I’m hooked. I’m deep into the second book (I deleted the first book, of course) and have the third book queued up.

The Christian world is divided over the book. Christianity Today’s Ted Olsen has posted his usual comprehensive around-the-room capturing what Christian leaders say what and when about the Potter series.

Obviously, we haven’t stopped our kids from reading them, but we are talking to them about discernment. Honestly, I’m really, really enjoying them while feeling a bit uneasy about all the witches and wizards.

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