Apr 282006

Helen Lee is one of the editors who worked on the Growing Healthy Asian American Churches book we’ve been discussing here. She is also cofounder of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, and formerly an editor at Christianity Today.
I was able to find a way to pull together an interview, asynchronously conducted over email amidst our crazy adventure-filled lives: For Helen, that’s being a Mom of 2 young ones, among other things; for me, that’s being a guy of 2 jobs, and lots of ideas on the side.

DJ: Thank you for playing a vital role in being a part of a team that put this book together. What did you enjoy most about the book project?
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Apr 272006

I installed IE7 beta 2 yesterday on 2 older PCs, which had been hijacked by malware in recent past. I figured, if IE6 was vulnerable to malware (that’s how I was infected before, twice), IE7 in beta couldn’t be any worse, and there’s a good chance things are better. And indeed they were! MSIE7 loads and runs so much faster than Internet Explorer 6! Very happy about that. There’s a few glitchy things with my trying to move the toolbars where I’d like (and couldn’t), but the overall speed improvement is worth test-driving in beta for me.

They had a party and didn’t invite me. Just to dispel any rumors or impressions that I’m any kind of a web personality that some people might have an illusion of my being one. Jeremiah the web strategist was invited to the party, and is entertaining the idea of possibly switching from Firefox to IE7. Just entertaining the idea since he was entertained, no decision yet. As for me, I’m sticking with Firefox for now, because I love the idea of open source and Smart Keywords.

Apr 262006

People2pray.com is now available in public beta. It looks to be quite a brilliant convergence of Web 2.0 concepts and how Christians pray for one another. I’ve used it for a few weeks, and it uses a swift mix of AJAX and Javascript (I think?) so it tracks and tags prayer requests, counts up how many times a request is prayed for, facilitates the forming of open and closed communities, and lots of other features. And, yes, even RSS feeds. Amazing to see how much of it has been developed on sweat equity alone!

[update: Blog Ministry has screen caps for those of you that'd like a guided tour, see before you try. The rest of you can jump right in and use it already!]

On another note, NK Missions (nkmissions.com) just finished a 21 day prayer campaign, and are sharing about what happened via 8 videos and podcast. Good use of technology there; they’ve got over 700+ members in their online community so far!

Apr 242006

Chapter 8 of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches is titled Gender Relations in Healthy Households, breaching a controversial subject in evangelicalism. Many in the evangelical theological realm have aligned themselves with complementarians or with egalitarians in defining specific boundaries (or lack thereof) for legitimate and illegitimate roles. For (most?) mainline Protestants and progressive theologians, it’s a non-issue.
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Apr 222006

As we approach the final stretch of our blog-based book discussion on Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, I’ve been underwhelmed by the number of comments posted. Statistics range anywhere from 5% to 33% of Asian Americans are Christians, and you’d think this would be a hot topic for discussion, generating triple-digit comments like over at pomomusings.

I couldn’t figure out the disconnect (cf. my post in March 2005 titled Asian Americans online enclaves). On the one hand, Asian Americans are the most active online compared to other racial groupings, and yet comparatively few are active in using the Internet to talk about faith, supposedly a very important thing for those who are into faith.)

Then I came across this in the New York Times piece, Google’s China Problem (and China’s Google Problem) [formerly titled "Google in China: The Big Disconnect"; cached here] ::

Chinese businesspeople, for example, rarely rely on e-mail, because they find the idea of leaving messages to be socially awkward. They prefer live exchanges, which means they gravitate to mobile phones and short text messages instead. They avoid voicemail for the same reason …

Aha! It’s an Asian sense and sensibility that meaningful conversations have to be face-to-face, and at 2nd best, at least real-time, and with people you know. And it’s been my experience that this preference of Chinese businesspeople is also true for a majority of Asians and Asian Americans. This means that advertising and marketing works very differently too for reaching this segmentation.

Disintermediated media doesn’t work for most Asian Americans. I’m the odd one out. Boo.

[update: another data point from How KitKat became Number 1 in Japan >> " Japanese young people are suspicious and scornful of advertising." Hmm.. and reading Cardboard's retort that people don't "buy products, they're buying comfort" -- it dawned on me that superstitions are particularly appealing for Asians]

Apr 202006

Lots of faith blogging buzz percolating. I’ve cut back on my blogging here b/c of a scare last month with running into my current web host’s monthly bandwidth limit, leaving me on a scramble for another one.

Easter was not only a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, blogs4god.com experiences its own resurrection (again).
Progressive faith bloggers put together a version of their own conference in reaction to GodBlogCon [ht: velveteenrabbi].

Andrew had asked me for some thoughts on Internet Evangelism Day, and my thinking in 25 words or less is: IED is good for exposing traditionalists who are not yet fully online. But, presenting static content online is far short of having conversations online, and organizations are reticent to be that individually authentic.

NYT also jumps in with this: Evangelicals Debate the Meaning of ‘Evangelical’. [ht: emergesque via justin] Yes, quite debatable, but nowheres near as debatable as emerging or emergent.

Apr 172006

Chapter 7 of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches is titled Multigenerational Households, with a positive story of how one intergenerational Korean American church makes it work. The intergenerational immigrant Asian American church has colored the faith experience of so many, and it is still the setting for a large majority of Asian Americans, even though it is arguably a declining percentage among English-speaking Asian Americans.
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Apr 102006

This blog-based book discussion of Growing Healthy Asian American ChurchesGrowing Healthy Asian American Churches will continue with Chapter 6, Hospitable Households: Evangelism, a pivotal chapter about how churches can grow through relationships rather than programs.

Evangelism has become an acceptable word in the marketing and business world, while evangelism has become a “dirty” word in the spiritual and religious world. What’s up with that? One thought: it’s okay to tell someone how well something works, it’s not okay to tell someone they’re wrong and you’re the only one right. Another thought: evangelism has to go outside of the small circle of people one knows and has relationships with, it has to touch people who we don’t yet know — this is one area where comfort zones have to be stretched. We need a new way of relating and building relationships with people we don’t know — blogging is one of those ways.
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