water water everywhere

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Aug 312005

A little late on the news, but read my copy of complimentary hotel copy of USA Today this morning, about the hurricane damage in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and surround areas. Words fail to touch the grief + sorrow + loss + death + sadness + destruction. I was in New Orleans almost 2 years ago in November 2003. Now the city is like 80% under water.

Some photos are getting online at flickr.com: most recent, most interesting, hurricane-storm-neworleans cluster

flooded by Katrina Katrina hits Louisiana

Aug 262005

Subversive Influence noted in Barna Makes a Major Ministry Change that George Barna, of reputable statistics, demographics, and trends among evangelical “born again” Christians, had gotten tired of sharing information and seeing that many church leaders were unable to translate that into action and impact. Barna’s own word can be found at New Direction, dated April 2005.

More recently, Jason Clark and Tallskinnykiwi have already commented on George Barna’s new book titled Revolution via advance pre-publication manuscript. Things are changing in the institutional church, and not only in terms of minimally impacting statistics and trends.

But what he says could indeed be considered revolutionary, it certainly is a change of strategy for him, and it will be for many ministers and leaders who read the book. Especially the part about followers of Jesus who progress spiritually WITHOUT going to a local congregation – a group of people that will grow from 30% to around 70% in the next 20 years, making the FRINGE Christians the MAJORITY, and giving churches a good reason to rethink the next building program, and Seminaries to rethink their aggressive recruiting strategies. … Well, actually, those repercussions are mine, not Barna’s. But his book informed them. And Barna does a good job in softening the blow to the traditional church with gentleness and honor, while at the same time giving a case for the necessity of other forms (housechurch/ simplechurch, cyberchurch, family-faith, emergent, postmodern, mini-movements, etc).

All this to say, that it puts me in a precarious position. I love information and concepts. Doing the strategic stuff is good for me too. (yes, my top 3 StrengthsFinder themes are input, ideation, and strategic.) I don’t do as well with operationalizing or implementing. I don’t care much about answers or impact. Now, to see Barna change directions is commendable, I’m all about change and innovation. The more the better. But to see that information and data doesn’t speak for itself, and doesn’t create change, somehow bursts my enthusiasm for data. Just a little bit.

Aug 242005

One study noted observable differences between native Chinese people and European American people. Not to overgeneralize, what may have been observed among the Chinese may not apply to all Asians.

Asians and North Americans really do see the world differently. Shown a photograph, North American students of European background paid more attention to the object in the foreground of a scene, while students from China spent more time studying the background and taking in the whole scene, according to University of Michigan researchers.

The researchers, led by Hannah-Faye Chua and Richard Nisbett, tracked the eye movements of the students — 25 European Americans and 27 native Chinese — to determine where they were looking in a picture and how long they focused on a particular area.

“They literally are seeing the world differently,” said Nisbett, who believes the differences are cultural.

“Asians live in a more socially complicated world than we do,” he said in a telephone interview. “They have to pay more attention to others than we do. We are individualists. We can be bulls in a china shop, they can’t afford it.”

. . . Reinforcing the belief that the differences are cultural, he said, when Asians raised in North America were studied, they were intermediate between native Asians and European-Americans, and sometimes closer to Americans in the way they viewed scenes.

Read entire article at Wired News: In Asia, the Eyes Have It. [ht: Brad Boydston]

Abstract about the study, Cultural variation in eye movements during scene perception, is online. Published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Full text (PDF) costs $10 to access online.

Aug 232005

Joseph Dworak of Leadership Vision has graciously read my palm, er, analyzed my StrengthsFinder themes. I’ve found this to be the most helpful personal assessment tool to date, b/c it not only tells me how I might do something stylistically, but it describes what I actually prefer to do and do well. And with this brief analysis, I’m one step closer to understanding how to better use my strengths in a leadership and/or teamwork context. Here’s his analysis:

DJ Chuang is the next on the list to be profiled / analyzed based on his Gallup StrengthsFinder test results. DJ is someone I have met through the blog-world. His strengths are Input, Ideation, Strategic, Adaptability, and Woo. He is a dominant thinker, Input, Ideation and Strategic – who can research, come up with ideas (fueled by his input) and a plan to boot. This plan will probably be very fluid – (Adaptability tends to be like that) and changing as things come up. DJ is a good leader in the moment. His Woo as we have discussed will help people get on his side and get going with his ideas.

I see him as someone who might get off track as things come up and take him in a another direction. His Woo/Adpatability combination will help him get people on task with him, especially during events. When things go wrong, he will be like – I expected some things to come up, no big deal. Great to have in youth ministry which I believe DJ is in.

Other things – since he is such a heavy thinker he may have trouble developing people – others may help him with the handholding aspects of ministry. Also, he would need people on his team who are hard workers who can get his ideas done in a disciplined way. He may seem like his head is in the clouds at times, with all that thinking going on – not a big deal but this is where teaming will really help him out.

Add to the discussion about what you think about my StrengthsFinder profile, and how I can best serve as a leader and contribute to a team.

Aug 222005

I often get offline, in person, comments about how resourceful this website is, and how they’ve found it helpful for all kinds of information. But I’m also recently getting emailed and picking up online comments about the link rot on my website. While to the casual (or frequent) observer + website visitor, this website might seem impressive, it has gotten to where it is a little bit at a time. Since 1997 to be exact. It does not take me hours to maintain it every week. And, I can’t help it if other people can’t keep their content online and links updated. And, due to copyright restrictions of some people, I cannot freely archive a stash of content the way Google cache or archive.org’s Wayback Machine can.

And, I did find this gem, an excerpt from Tim Keller‘s untitled new book –

Do we have a secular society in which skepticism and relativism reign, making orthodox faith both exotic and deviant? Or do we have an increasingly religious social order in which fundamentalism flourishes and non-belief is stigmatized? In an unforeseen and unexpected turn of events, we have come to a cultural moment in which both secular skeptics and orthodox believers feel their existence is threatened. We have neither the western Christendom of the past nor the secular society that has been predicted for so long. We have something else entirely. Both doubt and faith are on the rise in significant, powerful ways.

Read entire excerpt from the book’s introduction at Palpable Synergy

art at the mall

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Aug 212005

Makoto Fujimura is perhaps a most notable and accomplished Asian American artist, based on New York City, and connected with International Arts Movement (IAM) and Village Church. I briefly met him in person a while back, when I conference-crashed (cf. Wedding Crashers) an event where he was, along with Dallas Willard.

I just found his blog, where he’s shared profound insights into the value of art, like his recent thoughts: Why Art?

Art is everywhere, from the food we order in restaurants, to clothes we purchase, to paintings hanging on museums. Aristotle defined the arts as ?our capacity to make.” … Art expresses who we are.

Here’s my photo essay of a portion of my Sunday (today) afternoon at Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton (formerly known as Wheaton Mall). Yes, you can see what I had for lunch, and what I bought at Target. I found this easier to pull off than to moblog- easier to upload all my photos from my digital camera in one fell swoop.