Oct 302006

Today I started my new job with Leadership Network (LN)! I’d first heard about them back in 1998 when I was pastoring, on staff at a church plant, and my senior pastor had received LN newsletters. I was transfixed by their desire to serve churches with innovations and strategies. Now I’m getting to work alongside; so excited! My role with LN (described by csmonitor.com as a church consultant group) will be to help with their digital initiatives, which is to say, using the internet and the web more effectively (probably firstly) to distribute content about church innovations and (perhaps later) to use the web itself for innovations of Kingdom impact. I’ll get to do researching, strategizing, facilitating, internet stuff, and work with a virtual remote team of great people. I’d write more, but this was only my first day. I’ll be in Dallas later this week, and most of next week, and will hit the ground running with learning the ropes and hopefully do something that’d be public-facing before you know it! Stay tuned..

Oct 272006

Spread the word about the Asian American Emergents skypecast [NOTE: sorry, messed it all up; please skype me to join!] coming this Sunday 10/29 at 9:00pm Eastern + 6:00pm Pacific. Note that this Sunday is the first day of Daylight Savings Time in the US. We should be talking about planting emerging/emergent churches for Asian Americans with our special guest Bruce Reyes-Chow, making his first appearance on the skypecast that he originally dreamed up.

Had an incredible time here in Oregon; flying back East to Washington DC on a red-eye. Tell you more next week.

[update 10/29/06] We used an alternative way to do our event tonight, b/c I messed up the Skypecast setup and we also had other technical difficulties too, so we did it via a Skype conference call: Skypecasts allow up to 100 participants, but Skype conference calls only allow up to a maximum of 5. So, sorry Eddie for not being able to include you on time, this go around :(

On the call, we (Bruce Reyes-Chow, Sivin Kit, myself, plus 21-year-old Eugene from Vancouver listened in.) did dialogue around the issues of planting emerging churches to reach a new generation of Asian Americans. Bruce (who is Chinese/Filipino) started with a discusses the story of how Mission Bay Community Church started with PCUSA support; it now has a multiethnic diversity of about 40% Asian-American, 40% White, 20% other (African American/Multi-Racial). We explored the intersection of Emergent and Asians, talked about technical difficulties, and ended with advise about church planting.

We did manage to record the last 25 minutes of the conference call: listen in or download the MP3 audio + add your comment below to join the conversation.

Oct 252006

I’m out here for a week in the sticks of Southern Oregon, in a town called Grants Pass. This place is among the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, and supposedly one of the fastest growing retirement communities in the country.

I’m really glad to sit under the sagely teachings of a master facilitator to learn his process for strategic operating planning. It’s a different spin on strategic planning, and in many ways more wholistic than what little I know of other systems and carries with it a simple elegance. But more than that, to glean from his wisdom. I have always gravitated towards wisdom, even though I haven’t figured out what to do with it, but usually can’t remember the stories that make truths come alive. So I’m recognizing the value of stories, and I’ve gotta figure out a way to remember them so I can retell them.

And hearing life wisdoms this time around, I’m finding motivation to get past my psychological self-defeating mechanisms, and I think by the end of the week, I’ll turn the corner from being a lifelong resistor of personal ambition, personal success, personal gain, personal performance, and personal accomplishment. Yes, I know there’s a lot behind those personal words, but that’s what has been a part of my personal story.

Oct 222006

Even though I was blogging when I stopped pastoring, I had not gone on record to explore and unpack why I quit that high calling. The year I stopped was a dark year, a lot of my life didn’t make sense during that transition. I’m asked that question often enough, so now that I’ve been a regular citizen as long as I’ve been clergy, I’m starting to gain perspective on what all of that was about.

Oh, I wish I could be a pastor! I spent a decade of my life trying, dedicating myself to serious studies at a seminary, praying and doing spiritual disciplines, even working as a pastor for over 5 years. I believed I was called to go to seminary– a Bible verse urged me on: for the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. I started by faith, and I continued by faith, but blind faith could only last so long.
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Oct 202006

Peter Ong‘s article title Exit Wounds was posted on AsianAvenue.com; the teaser describes it briefly:

A walk along boulevards in any major American metropolitan city, one will find that the church as the cultural center for Asian American ethnic communities. According to a 2000 Pilot National Asian American Political survey, Christians make up the largest Asian American religious group at 46 percent. But despite the common faith there is an undercurrent of conflict between first and second generation Asians.

You can read the article online, but you have to register for a free account to add comments there.

Oct 202006

Eddie Byun launched a new podcast titled Interviews and Insights, and tapped my shoulder (figuratively) to be the first interview! What an thrilling honor and humble privilege!

I sat in the comforts of a nearby Starbucks (Wisconsin Ave & Bethesda Ave) with my laptop and headset at 9:00am local time, and where Eddie was, it was 11:00pm in Australia. Skype connected us up for this interview across the continents (this is not your father’s conversation across a coffee table.) We chatted for about half an hour about my semi-sabbatical: why I started it, what I did, what I’d do different, the impact of life coaching on my life, and more. Plus, towards the end of this interview, I make my first public mention of my excitingly new job assignment! You’ll have to listen to the interview [cf. mp3 audio] to get the scoop, or wait until next week when I blog about it. :)

Oct 192006

You’re invited to join the IMPLICATIONS Group on Saturday, November 11th, starting at 7:00pm. We’ll be meeting at the Chuang house in Bethesda, Maryland (closest DC Metro stop is Medical Center on the Red line) and we’ll be thinking out the implications of the Gospel for our lives and our community. Space is limited: please RSVP for directions or call for more info.

This IMPLICATIONS Group will begin with brief introductions. Then we’ll listen together to a thought-provoking sermon by Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, as a basis for our discussion to think out the implications of our Christian faith. This Group provides a venue for dialogue in a safe environment, encouraging all of us to share in the excitement, express any concerns, and make sense of life and faith at a personal and community level.

There is no obligations or long-term commitment. There is no organizational association. There is no soliciting or prospecting. When you drop in for a visit, you’re not signing up for anything. We believe in the freedom of association guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. We simply want to provide a safe place to explore faith + talk about implications: join the conversations!

Oct 182006

Congratulations to Mark Batterson of evotional.com and National Community Church, aka theaterchurch.com, for getting his 2nd book published, 1st official one with a real publisher. The title is somewhat cryptic to me -> In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars, some allusion to some biblically-mentioned guy named Benaiah. (his previous book, ID: The True You, was published through more of an indy deal called Xulon Press. And, he even has a 3rd book in the works, tentatively titled You Are Here, being published by Multnomah; pre-orderable.)

The book starts right into the story, true to form for Mark being the narratival storyteller he is, no introductory remarks up front, and dives into what seems to be a book about doing bigger things that we’d first imagined even in the face of fears and risks. This looks to be a great read to get another jolt of encouragement and energy to take that next step of faith when opportunity knocks.

Being the innovative creative genius and blogger that Mark is, what I’d love to see is not an audiobook version of this published text, but a webcast of the book’s content, something along the lines of a video blog or Flash-driven web app to get 9 episodes of Mark being his goofy self (that’s how he describes himself, cf. ICC video) reading or acting out excerpts of the book.

Oct 172006

If you’ve been having difficulty reaching my website here, it appears that my Dreamhost-based web hosting server is on the blinks yesterday and today, hopefully temporary. Believe you me, I am by no means an A-list blogger, though I did exceed the monthly bandwidth limit of my previous web host. To keep persistently connected, try the mirror blog at djchuang.livejournal.com .

According to websitepulse.com, my website has a 99.4777 % uptime percentage. On my quick perusal of Dreamhost, I was not able to find their uptime ratio or guarantee.

Downtimes during the past 48+ hours, according to montastic.com – a free website monitoring service:

Mon, Oct 16, 2006
2:05 AM to 2:55 AM
3:13 AM to 4:04 AM
5:09 AM to 6:48 AM
8:11 AM to 9:33 AM
10:07 AM to 11:00 AM
11:25 AM to 11:58 AM
12:15 PM to 1:38 PM
2:29 PM to 3:20 PM
3:53 PM to 4:10 PM
4:58 PM to 5:15PM
8:00 PM to 8:32 PM
9:34 PM to 9:49 PM
10:24 PM to 10:55 PM
11:13 PM to 12:35 AM

Tue, Oct 17, 2006
1:09 AM to 3:04 AM
3:36 AM to 4:11 AM
4:43 AM to 6:36 AM
7:24 AM to 8:57 AM
10:03 AM to 10:38 AM
11:36 AM to 11:57 AM
1:39 PM to 3:05 PM
3:21 PM to 4:28 PM
5:01 PM to 5:36 PM
6:59 PM to 7:32 PM
8:05 PM to 8:21 PM
9:10 PM to 9:27 PM

[update: 12:35am 10/18/06] Finally got an email and resolution; here’s what their customer support sent me:

Thank you very much for notifying us of this, but let me assure that we are aware of the issues with your server. It appears that network issues were causing a high-load which made it unresponsive, and we had to reboot it several times. We eventually shuffled this server, which cleared up the network issues. You shouldn’t be having any other problems, but if you continue to notice persistent outages please let us know and we can move you to another server if you’d prefer?