Dec 262008
 

It’s a holiday season. That means lots of time for movies. On one channel, they had a whole hour of trailers from movies about Christmas. I think I read once that more movies made about this holiday than any other.

This week has afforded me more time with family, and to think about family. I don’t blog about my family, as all of them have privacy concerns, or I think they assumingly do.

Family is family, and many do feel enough of a connection to made an annual pilgrimage home to visit, even though few families describe themselves as close. When the family gathers, there may be fond memories of rituals that are cherished as family traditions.

There are other family traditions too. The habits and patterns each of us revert to. Some love to play together; some cook and eat; some talk feelings and relate that way; some tell stories; some share their joys and fears; some listen to each other; some create drama; some debate for fun, some for fight; some graciously help each other grow and mature; some stay cordial and polite; some go shopping; some vacation together with each person doing their own thing.

I’m probably not alone in saying that I behave differently being around family than I am hanging out with a friend. (sometimes) I wish I could be as free being with family as I could be with friends. (A few people might have the reverse, feeling more free at home with family than with others.)

Somehow I’ve psyched myself out, thinking that if I behave the same with my family in the way I would with a good friend, my family might be offended, or not accept me and get rejected, or not get my sense of humor, or get uncomfortable, or. whatever… and it’s not like I run with a questionable crowd.

Let’s see what happens if I change my words and behaviors. Got a couple of days on this round. Let’s see what happens. I may report back, especially if I can get any of them to blog or twitter ;)

Dec 222008
 

Christmas celebrates the coming of Christ into the world. Jesus shows us what God is really like, and shows us what He wants for people. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

Jesus shows that being spiritual is being engaged in the real world. A real Christian faith is so much more than prayer, Bible reading, attending worship services. And, the Christmas story ought to bring peace and good will to all kinds of people.

Yet, only 7% of U.S. churches are racially diverse.[*]

Q: Why? What are the reasons for its being so low?

A: There are three things, and it depends on the group that we’re talking about, but there’s history, there’s culture, and then there’s social networks. [emphasis mine]

Social networks. The sociological factors that affect church life often go understated, often rationalized in theological constructs. Watch the entire interview from PBS Religion & Ethics:

interracial-churches

[*] Religion and Ethics interview with Michael Emerson, author of People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States; researchers regard a “mixed” congregation as one with at least 20 percent of its members providing racial or ethnic diversity

Aside: for fans of The Office and/or those who can laugh at their own religions, watch the God, Inc. series over at YouTube; note the difference between “really Christian” and “sort of Christian”]

Dec 172008
 

I was surveying different ways of praying, as I’m reinvigorating my prayer life (if you want to use that kind of venacular). I came up with these 7:

  • speaking: this is probably the most common as someone prays out loud, and others bow their heads and close their eyes in agreement; some Asian groups will pray with everyone speaking out loud at the same time
  • thinking: this is the kind of praying when they have a “moment of silence”
  • writing: you cacn pray by writing in a journal
  • typing: you can type into a document on your PC, or text it in a 99-cent iPhone web app called Pray and it doesn’t go anywhere (by Frog Army)
  • reading: you can read a Morning Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, or Evening Prayer; aka Daily Offices
  • signing: 4141k25gwpl_sl160_ for those who are deaf, they’d pray with sign language
  • posturing: I’ve heard and seen this kind of praying from Doug Pagitt, who poses in yoga stances as a means of prayer; and even wrote up a book about it, BodyPrayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God

Are there any other ways to pray?

Dec 152008
 

[update 12/17] As this chart shows,chart tokbox spiked as a trend on twitter just 2 days ago, when Tony Steward and crew gathered 50+ people for a group video chat, and locked up browsers everywhere. Watch this one — it could well be the beginning of a viral movement, and not an anomaly. Would be sweet to see another video from Lauren*. + catching on I tell ya, there’s a tokbox multi-user video chat at churchstaffbreakroom.com now. [/update]
[update 12/17 5pm PT] Tokbox is temporarily down. Another sign of viral movement, eh?
tokbox-talk-to-the-world_1229563414839
Remember the Twitter whale? Sometimes a website being down means the website is getting more popular and the server can’t handle all the people who want in. Or, a website being down means hardware or software failure. [/update]

Yes, 60 people video chatting at once with ToxBox.com !! on TwitPic I had signed up for a tokbox account months ago, but didn’t have people to try it out with. So my account signup sat buried in the inbox.

Now webcams are going more mainstream. I noticed (almost?) every laptop at the retail store (starting with the letter B) had a built-in webcam, even the tiny 8″ netbook. And then to hear 2 of my non-tech colleagues get webcams and using Skype for the first time in their lives. (!)

Now that webcams are mainstream (and having broadband internet becoming common helps the cause), I googled for a free web-based multi-user video chat web app. I don’t want to mess with software downloads and installation. I don’t think non-techies want to mess with software either. So, to find tokbox again was a treat. Too bad it locks up when all the CPU cycles are eaten up.

aside: yes, Tokbox handed out tacos outside of Yahoo last week to spread info about their job openings, and spread the good cheer

Dec 142008
 

One of the things that Leadership Network is known for, is its regularly published newsletters about the latest in church innovations. In the past, that has taken on the form of NetFax, Church Champions Update, NEXT newsletter, Into Action, etc. I still hear about them when I meet (older) leaders at conferences.

The current iteration is something called Leadership Network Advance, a free bi-weekly email newsletter with the latest in church innovations. So we’re clearly on the same page, innovation in ministry is any new change of practice that improves performance. Take a look at the current version:

Subscribe to get Leadership Network Advance conveniently delivered to your inbox; every other Tuesday is when you can expect it hot off the (digital) presses. [disclosure: I work at Leadership Network]

Dec 122008
 

Continuing the series on “Developing emotional maturity – part 5 of many”. [cf. part 1: what is emotional maturity? part 2: how to develop emotional maturity; part 3: how emotionally maturity is connected to spiritual maturity; part 4: emotional intelligence and emotional maturity]

I confess I’m not exactly sure where to go with this series. I don’t have a road map or content schedule planned out. So I’m going with what’s at my fingertips. This chart comes from Soulwork Systemic Solutions, a coaching system developed by Martyn Carruthers:

And, Guy Kawasaki twittered this online Emotional Intelligence (EQ) test over at about.com. Taking the test just now (there were like 15 questions; I lost count), it told me, “Your results indicate an above average score on emotional intelligence.”

The people there wrote that Emotional Intelligence “refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while other claim it is an inborn characteristic.”
Continue reading »

Dec 112008
 

While interaction is what makes the web more webby, I’d like to think there are more ways to use the web/ internet.

What I’m thinking of is inbound web content. That is, one-directional internet; you could even call it mobile broadcast.

For years, the President of the United States can freely turn on cable tv to watch CNN or Fox News, so why couldn’t the POTUS pull out a modified blackberry device or gphone or iPhone and get mobile web content?

Having worked at a telecomm company in the past, I’ve heard colleagues say that the said company provided customized telephony to the White House. So, it’s already been a business and government precedence set for custom services to be developed. And, there are cell phones now that get their built-in cameras turned off, right?

It’s reported that Obama will be the first president with a computer on his presidential desk [mobile ver] in that Oval Office. That computer is most likely going to be a MAC. Will Obama using a Mac accelerate its adoption into mainstream? This month was the first time that Windows dropped below 90% market share. [aside: this blog post was composed on 2 Apple products, iPhone and MacBook Pro]

I think he oughta have a unidirectional mobile smartphone to receive near instant inbound web stuff. That’ll keep the questions about the Presidential Records Act moot, and we can keep technological progress progressing. I’m with Bill Brenner, that Obama’s BlackBerry is no security threat: Taking it away could isolate him from the real world.

NOTE: I confess that I haven’t kept up with the news on developments with this issue, so I don’t know if it’s already been resolved. Someone can quickly fact-check and inform me in the comment section.

Yeah, there are possibly many more ramifications and implications that I haven’t considered. Want to voice how frustrating it is for me to see how the laws of the land isn’t able to keep up with the ever-changing ever-developing digital technologies. We’re in an increasingly paperless society.

Dec 092008
 

There’s something to counting down the days to some big event: Christmas and the advent season — we’ve got this wreath on our front door; end of the year lists for 2008; top predictions for 2009; whatever. (some even count down hours and minutes, especially if you’re an internet campus of a church).

According to the calendar, we are now 49 days away from the Innovation3 Gathering on January 27-28, 2009 in Dallas!

Every day leading up to the Innovation3 Gathering, Leadership Network will count down 50 reasons for why you must attend, one reason for every day!

Reason #50: No stump speeches. Reason #49: not your father’s conference. Check the Innovation3 blog every day for count down of more reasons, or you can follow @innovation3 on twitter.

And, look at the website innovation3gathering.com for more details and you can easily register online. And, follow along with the count down.

Innovation3

[disclosure: I work at Leadership Network and that means I'll be at Innovation3 -- that can count as Reason #51, right? Todd Rhoades is Reason #52.]