May 302006
 

I don’t have cable TV or TiVo. So I’ll have to view it via tape delay or something else. Just found out about a new reality TV show on finding a the next great preacher, triggering haunting memories of preaching class where the prof is in the sound booth providing color commentary while I sweat it out preaching without notes.

From the press release, The Learning Channel features a faith-based reality show in new series, The Messengers:

THE MESSENGERS showcases 10 speakers from a variety of perspectives and their ability to communicate the many dimensions and complexities of some of life’s toughest lessons, addressing issues viewers face in their everyday lives and communities. In the end, THE MESSENGERS is built around a simple but lofty goal: to find America’s next great inspirational speaker.
:
Over the next 24 hours, the speakers blend their in-field experiences with their own life lessons to create powerful speeches of motivation for a studio audience. After each speech is delivered, a panel comprising of public speaking experts Richard Greene and Bobby Schuller offers valuable commentary and criticism to the participants.

Richard Greene, author of Words That Shook The World, is a speech advisor and public speaking analyst who gives the speakers constructive guidance on their delivery, technique and content development. Bobby Schuller, a pastor at the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California and grandson of Reverend Robert H. Schuller, focuses his guidance on the content and emotional connection the speakers make with the studio audience.

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May 292006
 

Christian bloggers of different stripes are gathering this summer, at ProgressiveFaithBlogCon on July 14-16 and GodBlogCon on August 3-5 [ht: SmartChristian].

Each with their respective set of polarizing bloggers and political advocates. There’s a few voices in the mix who are politically ambivalent like myself, but very few. The bulk of the programming appears to be talking about cultural impact using political rhetorics, organizational and institutional perspectives, not so much individuals relating and empathizing online. My embarrassing discovery at last year’s GodBlogCon: when they’re talking about “poliblogging,” they’re talking about political blogging, not polyblogging.

CT noted and decoded

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May 252006
 

The Christianity Today April 2006 article is finally released online, The Tiger in the Academy: Asian Americans populate America’s elite colleges more than ever—and campus ministries even more than that::

As a group they are hard-working—driven, some say—and morally conservative. Many come from ethnic churches—Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean, particularly—but culturally they are transitioning between their Asian roots and their American home. … some cultural challenges remain. Family expectations can get in the way of service. “The reality of duty to family, regardless of what Asian culture you come from or what your economic status is, is a huge, inescapable reality…” … “They have so much fervor and dedication, partly because of their Confucian background.” … “Confucianism is a pretty good background for responsibility, sacrifice, and grace.”

[ht: Kenneth Liu; cf. mirrored 1]

And a few pull quotes from me about comment spam, in Spero News, Decoding ‘Christianity Today’: Bene Diction forwarded the comment to Spero News’ technical experts for help and posted a warning for other bloggers to beware of the potential forgery in Christianity Today’s name. My pull quotes [click-thru for context]:

When Herman revealed his identity on Bene Diction Blogs On, “He righted his wrong so to speak,” said DJ Chuang who blogs at www.djchuang.com.

“I think there is a blurry line between a person’s professional role, his personal role, and how s/he can share hyperlinks to other blogs/ websites/ resources. In other words, I’m not the most sensitive to it, since I have professional associations myself, and do not always declare my connections to things every time I make a comment or provide a link. And, I’ll admit that I have an alias blog on which my identity is not revealed, but I have not used that for occasions to ‘link spam’ yet,” DJ Chuang added.

[ht: Bene Diction]

May 252006
 

Waiting for my red-eye return flight back home, after spending a day here in Southern California on a personal excursion. Always a kick for me when my wife Rachelle exchanges introductory small talks, and someone knows her husband (me) because of www.djchuang.com and that she’s related to me. One of those person’s is sociologist Richard Flory, who crossed my radar because of a Biola art show he helped put together back in 2003 and co-authored a book titled Gen X Religion. Sat in on a presentation he did today with Brad Christerson about youth and their beliefs & attitudes on religion. They described the faith of most American teens (Christians included) as: moralistic therapeutic deism. Teens have a largely fuzzy religious faith along the lines of: God created the world, God wants people to be good, the main goal is to be happy and feel good, God is only needed to solve problems, and good people go to heaven. The presentation referred to the tons of great sociological research data, both qualitative and quantitative, from the inch-thick book titled Soul Searching: the Religions and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

I’d be willing to bet that most American adults hava a faith that could be best described as moralistic therapeutic deism too. Most people just don’t think and talk in theological metaphysical categories.

The extra bonus today was to hang out with Richard later this afternoon to shoot the breeze, and to get my grimey hands on a couple of early manuscripts of books he’s working on: “Congregations That Get It: Understanding Religious Identities in the Next Generation” in Passing on the Faith, and “The Embodied Spirituality of the Post-Boomer Generations” in A Sociology of Spirituality.

Then, met up with my old college friend, now widow, over dinner. She was in great spirits, and we were amazed to hear how God is providing comfort and encouragement, and how God has moved His people to provide in so many ways already.

And, no, I didn’t get to meetup with Rudy and do a book exchange, now that we’re both newbies in the self-publishing print-on-demand world. And, Evangelical Outpost (aka Joe Carter) included me on his short list of Christian bloggers rumble smackdown. I don’t get it.

May 222006
 

Left behind. The book was great. The food and movie was great too. I got halfway through reading this book while waiting for the rest of my family (wife and son) to show up. Then we did lunch and a movie together. They distracted me, in a good sense. But, the book got forgotten, and left behind, probably on that empty 4th seat at the food court.

The book, the multi-site church revolution, is an enormously useful read. Even though I’m out of the business of churching and pastoring, I still have a fascination with new ways of doing church and seeing innovation (especially) in the church (and in other areas of life too). This book serves as a very handy workbook that walks a church leadership team through the critical questions to assess and plan for bringing worship and ministry to multiple venues and locations. It shows that there are many ways to run multi-sites (not only one model) and churches of all sizes doing it too (not only megachurches.)

Great piece of work, Geoff, Greg, and Warren! (I did notice that I got mentioned in the acknowledgement for providing feedback to an early manuscript, but I don’t remember what I wrote back. I’m more than pleased to see the excellent finished product!)

And, yes(!), the book has a blog, with a great set of free tools in the left sidebar.

Plus, even my little hometown of 20,000, Winchester, Virginia, has a multi-site church that’s growing up and down the Shenandoah Valley!

sobering realities

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May 202006
 

A passing comment to an old friend from youth group days, curious about “what ever happened to” has turned into a sobering week.

First, got a random phone call on Monday from an old college friend, that her husband had a heart attack that morning and paramedics were unable to resuscitate (cf. obituary for Nathan Tse.) Then, while circulating prayer requests and contacting old friends, found out another member from those youth group days passed away recently from cancer. (cf. obituary for Jenny Chang, her cancer story, NCSU news 1, news 2, in memoriam, her wedding wish). Rest in peace.

Lots of prayers for the families who grieve and weep over the loss of a loved one. I’m at a loss for words; those who live on have enormous transitions and life changes ahead of them, and it will take weeks and months to sort through. Death is such the tragedy.

Yes, we can believe and hold onto the notion of resurrection and the presence of God, but now it’s just a lot of feeling absence and sadness.

May 142006
 

My creativity feels sapped after the book project. I do hope to debrief my experience in book editing here soon, but I’ve got a little sermon to prepare for next Sunday at a friend’s church. So here’s the new book announcement, plain and simple:

A first-of-its-kind book, Asian American Youth MinistryAsian American Youth Ministry, is now published, providing a much needed resource for those who serve in this distinct context among one of the fastest-growing minority groups in America.

This book compiles the practical insights from 12 accomplished youthworkers, who collectively have over 100 years of experience in Asian American youth ministry. The contributors share their perspectives and insights about the intergenerational church, student leadership, and vital outreach.

Asian American Youth Ministry emerged out of a desire to address the distinct issues and challenges of Christian ministry in an Asian American context. This book is designed to be a valuable resource for both professional youth ministers and also adult volunteers and parents too.

The book is the first book published by L2 Foundation, and is edited by DJ Chuang, its Executive Director. The book is available for purchase online at www.lulu.com/content/287040

Preview the book’s introduction at the online store, read the endorsements from Dave Gibbons and Ken Fong, and help spread the word! Your feedback will be most valuable to inform what we can do next!

May 132006
 

Got a question from Bruce Reyes-Chow about how to increase blog readership, and thought I’d share with the public too. That’s the beauty of blogging, it’s easy to share information with the public instantly, and search engines help people to find it right here. And, if you’re sharing stuff that lots of people want to read, and you’re the only one with that info, then you’ll get a large audience. First, my executive summary, then more details.

  • Get registered with search engines
  • Blog well and blog often
  • Join the conversation
  • Provide valuable information
  • Share the web address via other media channels

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