Mar 312008

In Pasadena this week is the Awaken Conference that Erwin McManus and the Mosaic Alliance is hosting. I’ve never been to a conference by the Mosaic gang, aka The Origin Project. I hope to drop in on Tuesday and/or Wednesday. I haven’t seen a whole lot of blog chatter on this, surprisingly, so maybe it’s reaching more of a non-blogging constituency.

Awaken has an incredible lineup of great communicators (trade secret: most great speakers recycle their messages, having delivered a talk many times over; you could almost say it’s eco-friendly). On stage will be names like Wayne Cordeiro, Bill Hybels, Mark Mittelberg, Nancy Beach, Lee Strobel, Mark Batterson, Eric Bryant, Dan Kimball, Rick McKinley, Erwin McManus, Henry Cloud, Phil Cooke, and more. Most of these are veteran household names, sprinkled with a few newer voices. I’d like to have seen many more fresh voices, but that’s me, and I can kinda get lots of fresh voices at Q and The Whiteboard Sessions.

Looking at the schedule, I’m not sure how Awaken will carve out time for more interactivity to create the church for a postmodern, post-Western, post-Christian world, as Erwin said in the first promo podcast. The promo that’s been spread around says:

AWAKEN is more than a conference…

AWAKEN is an invitation into the imagination of some of today’s most inspiring spiritual leaders. Join us for a 3-day conversation between uniquely different voices, generations, styles, passions and perspectives.

I’m much more interested in the conversations that’ll happen, as that conference schedule permits, more than the content. But I sure hope that they don’t tell the audience to break up into groups of 3 and 4 to talk about a topic — my experience with those has been mostly forced and contrived.

Will report here what I find out when I’m there on the ground.

Mar 302008

You know a cuisine is going mainstream when it breaks into the fast casual and/or fast food restaurant category.

I walked by a restaurant a coupla hours ago called The Flame Broiler (with “a healthy choice” in small print), and I had to go in and grab a menu, thinking to myself, how in the world do you flame broil a burger or chicken and keep it “healthy”? Surprise– not a burger on the menu.

Wouldn’t you know it, the food they were serving was Korean fast food cuisine! Their slogan — “grab a square meal in a round bowl.” I didn’t eat there, but it did get me thinking about when would Korean food mainstream [redux], and make their food eater-friendly to non-Koreans. Sure, Korean restaurants a plenty are great at attracting Koreans, but not so much others. Well, it’s happening! And my a-ha moment about their break-thru was: don’t call it Korean food! Just like the name made me walk in, a very diverse multiethnic crowd walked in and ate there too.

Some people say that Koreans are very entrepreneurial, and they may well be with these startups, just as more fro-yo’s ramp up too [cf. my Yogurtland fan page]. So, here’s where that horse race is at: Flame Broiler has 36 locations. Sorabol has 15 locations. The first Korean fast food chain honors goes to Sorabol, started in 1979, while Flame Broiler started in 1995. Second mover advantage at the moment. Sorabol’s website is much more polished (if there was only a way to turn off that music!) and Flame Broiler‘s much more ghetto.

Sorabol gets a writeup in AsianWeek, in “The Golden Age (Not Golden Arches) Of Sorabol Korean BBQ” and “Food for Thought“. Great to see AsianWeek go to a blog-format, powered by WordPress!

Mar 302008

if you’re curious like me (or, have a StrengthsFinder theme of INPUT, like me), I’ve wanted to know what really happened behind the scenes, and how this whole emergent church thing blossomed, and it was something years in the making, mostly unintentional, from what I gather. And it’s become a bigger thing than I’d ever imagined, as this photo from my neighborhood Barnes & Noble shows:

The New Christians' books for sale

A whole table section named after Tony Jones’ new book!? And, some other emergent church history goodies, excerpted from Books @ Leadership Network blogboring title. great insider info. ::

… I came across this blog series, The History of Emergent by Jason Mitchell [ht: faithmaps via knightopia]… here’s what Jason’d blogged:

… this intriguing book, as it “pulls the curtain back” to give the readers at an insider look at how this whole “emergent church” conversation started and developed over the past 5 years or so.

Read that full blog entry for free Chapter 1 download and more context >>

Mar 282008

You may already infer that the absence of politics here, even amidst a very excitingly dramatic election year, that I am politically ambivalent. But, I do vote.

I got this email recently from a guy named David Wetzell, who is a professor of Economics, with a Master’s in Theological Studies and a former blogger at the Anti-Manichaeist

We’re still in stage one of casting seeds right now, and transitioning into stage 2 of contacting our local state-level third parties and selling them the idea. So if you could pass it on along with my contact info to (umpteen, 10) people who might be interested along with my contact info and ask for them to do the same, maybe it’ll get going. In CA, you have the option of pushing for a referendum on changing your state constitution. That might work and it certainly would get plenty of media attention to the idea…

But you know, pray about it. I’m only doing this because I believe that we need a new kind of political system, one that provides more spaces to allow people to act selfless to influence policy without getting wrapped up in the power-politics that so easily sickens people and pulls them away from what is truly important in life.

… truth is, I don’t know what strategy to use to cast seeds on this issue. It’s one thing to get people to appreciate it’s structure, it’s another to get them to commit to it in the way that I’ve become committed to the idea.

But that’s what it’ll probably take, I need people to commit to the idea that changing our rules for elections, first at the state level, is the way to renew our democracy and thereby steer our own country along a diff path. My idea has the advantage of not requiring that we put our faiths in any particular party/candidate and the latter is what seems to be the main strategy most people are using…

It is what it is. You can also read his proposal outline here. His email [email protected] is the best way to get in touch with him if you people have questions.

Mar 262008

It is indeed a rare occasion to get Eugene Cho and Gideon Tsang in the same room, and this recent Asian American Leadership Conference pulled it off. Both of them are being the church in a new way within their local context, often asking the question: “What would it look like…” That workshop was titled:

“Emerging Into Mission: The Substance And Over Hype Of The Emerging Church” What is an appropriate response to the emergent buzz over the last decade? Join us, with the context of your city and community, in a conversation on emergence and mission. (Eugene Cho, Quest Church/Q Cafe, Seattle, WA and Gideon Tsang, Vox Veniae, Austin, TX)

I caught the last hour of the 3-hour extended workshop (which supposedly was entirely recorded in whole by the event organizers, if the technologies don’t glitch, they’ll get it online by next week or so)

I turned on my digital recorder, which sat in the front row, so it’s not production-quality acoustic. I was surprised LT Tom didn’t turn on his webcam, as he’s been known to do.

You can eavesdrop like a digital fly on the wall, and hear what they said in the raw:

What questions would you ask Eugene and/or Gid? The conversation continues, right here, online.

Mar 252008

Here at the Asian American Leadership Conference, an encouragement kind of conference that comes around less often a blue moon. The last one was in 2004. Over 300+ people here, lots of seasoned veterans as well as next gen pastors and ministry leaders. Link love to the others here: Peter Ong, LT “abcpastor” Tom, Eugene Cho, Daniel “headsparks” So, Gideon Tsang, Tommy Dyo, Bumble Ho, Ken Fong, Daniel Eng, Dave Gibbons, Brian Kim… Okay, I’m going to get in trouble for leaving people out, so let me just apologize for forgetting anyone with a blog that didn’t come to top of mind.

I did a Technology 101 seminar with my friend Phillip Kim of Platt Design Group. Here is a PDF of my handout with lots of links mentioned. [also view in browser] And you can listen to the audio too (runtime 1:03:34):

I talked about web stuff in a quick overview: websites, blogging, email newsletter, and podcasting. Phillip had the eye candy, lots of cool photos of fantastic sets and stages that their company has put together for Sea World, businesses, and churches with incredible combo of lighting + sound + video equipments.

Best compliment I just heard was from a non-techie saying that both of us kept it very accessible and we avoided jargon. Whew!

[update] not a lot of blog buzz about this AALC 2008, partly b/c the venue was not Wifi enabled. Daniel Eng posted summaries of each day: 1 and 2.

[update 2] Peter Ong has 77 photos from AALC 2008 over at flickr.

DJ and Peter Ong

Mar 202008

As Holy Week wraps up and culminates with thousands of worship celebrations for Easter, I’ll hit the ground running with a whole slew of conference-attending on my itinerary:

Do say hello if you’re there too!

Mar 142008

Been in metro Washington DC (Herndon, Virginia) at the SEAC conference for Southeast Asian American Christian leaders. Over a 100 young next gen leaders, over 17 languages and ethnicities represented. Energy level is high. Marketing (signage, name tags, conference notebooks) are 1st class.

Here are the slides from my first workshop on churches reaching the next gen + the mp3 audio (run time= 1:13:52). Wanted to get audio uploaded too, but the hotel’s complimentary wifi network is slower on the uptake, so have to try later.

Mar 112008 is supposed to be social networking meets betting for fun — they call it social betting. It’s also generating a ton of emails that appear spam-like. I’ve gotten 3 Blubet invites, which were soon followed by 3 apologies (I’ve removed personal info as noted by – \/snip\/ )::

Hi everyone,

I accidentally sent out a blubet ‘gift.’ Don’t open this, because you might not know what it’ll do to the computer. Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.

Hi Please ignore my previous email, I accidentally clicked a link that spammed my entire contacts list. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Dear All:

My apologies for this mass email; perhaps you’ve already received a spurious email, supposedly from me concerning a free gift from “BluBet.” Don’t open it; delete it, spam it, step on it, do whatever else, but don’t open it.

I don’t know how it sent emails to ALL my contacts even though I did not open the BluBet email.

I hope all’s well with you, this e-hiccup notwithstanding. Thanks for this, and this IS from me, \/snip\/, and I’ve got no gift for you, unfortunately.

So I don’t know what BluBet is doing, and who knows, some spammer or phisher might be posing as BluBet. The website looks legitimate enough, with a blog to boot, but I’m afraid to click on any links that purport to be from them — because I sure don’t want to inadvertently click somewhere wrong and send invites out to everyone in my address book.

And BluBet is persistent too. When I’ve ignored the first “special gift” invite, it comes back at me with this reminder email:


On Mar 03, 2008, \/snip\/ sent you an invitation to join BluBet.

On Sunday (Mar 16), this invitation will expire. Follow this link to join BluBet:\/snip\/

Signing up is free and takes less than a minute.

Please do not reply directly to this email. This message has been forwarded at the request of \/snip\/. BluBet will not use or retain your e-mail address for any other purpose as a result of this referral.

If you would prefer not to receive invitations from ANY BluBet members please click here
BluBet, Inc., 208 Utah Street, Suite 404, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA.

Emails with embedded links seem so unsafe and risky. Have you found any solutions to persistent Blubet invite emails bearing special gifts? What would you do?