Feb 072011
wad of money

In a world where business models dominate, and an economic engine to required for an initiative’s sustainability, that is too often the dark cloud that blocks our vision of what’s possible. Financial pressures like that govern the running a media business, like a magazine, that’s usually advertiser-supported. This Editor’s Note in January 2011 issue of Koream Journal describes the situation::

It’s true that our magazine—due to the pressure to sell issues, remain afloat and cater to a broad readership—must often headline the VIPs prominent in their respective fields. And those familiar with our annual gala also know that we do tend to indulge the Asian American red carpet. The media—even ethnic, independent outlets such as ours—must be mindful of the business aspect of our enterprise. It’s not the perfect model, but it’s the reality.

But money doesn’t have to be the limiting factor for something that could be done, should be done, and needs to be done. 2 other viable options must be more of the conversation about how ideas can become reality. 1 is the whole non-profit sector. Granted, that has challenges of its own wrt to financial sustainability.

The other is the world of open source. Our internet-infused world enables humanity to build some incredible things collaboratively, and this is the sector that excites me the most. You’ve heard of them: Wikipedia, Firefox, Quora, Linux, Creative Commons. In the church world, the fuel that keeps the organized institutional church sustainable is volunteerism and charitable donations.

What keeps all of that going, the open-source kinds of efforts that don’t have paid staff & organizational infrastructure (e.g. overhead) to keep them going? Mission. Meaning. Community. Faith.

Sure, in the real world, most of us have to be responsible & concerned for putting food on the table, paying the rent (or mortgage), buying gas for the car (or tix for public transit), etc etc. There are other ways to get the bills paid. There’s much to be done that consumerism, business, and finances cannot address.

The profit motive and self-interest do not define who we are as human beings and the things we do with our time, energy and effort.

Think different. The world can be a different place. Call me idealistic. I’ll say it. I am idealistic. And I do dream of a world that’s better and free. And I’ll do my part towards that reality.

photo credit: Andrew Magill

May 082010

In the May 2010 issue of Worship Leader Magazine, a new column launches by yours truly, called “DJ’s Spin.” As a magazine that’s been around since 1990,cover of Worship Leader
I’m part of the team that’s extending the magazine’s availability to an online readership in addition to its faithful print-edition subscribers.

In “How Grief Connects Us All,” I share 5 examples of how the online world is connecting us in the midst of grief:

As Internet technologies, online tools, and smartphone apps become increasingly weaved into our everyday lives, the relationships facilitated by these network tools have an integral role in our worshiping communities. This connected worshiping community is both within our local church and in the network of relationships we have with other Christ-followers in the Church universal.

And, my first column in Worship Leader is available in a variety of online formats:

While it is debatable whether print-based magazines will go through the same challenges as print-based newspapers has, there are some similar challenges being navigated. I am curious why newspapers have been hit harder & earlier by the digital revolution than its magazine counterpart. What are your thoughts?

Aug 292008

Got an email this week from Joe Carter, about a new online magazine / network:

I’m the managing editor of Culture11 (www.culture11.com), a new online magazine/social network that was started by Bill Bennett, David Kuo, Steve Forbes, et al. Today is our first day and rather than trying to get attention using traditional media, we’ve decided to announce our launch by reaching out to our friends.

Our goal for the site is to build a community around irresistibly interesting perspectives on life in America. From pop culture to politics, from faith to family, you’ll find original and entertaining stories here from some of the country’s most dynamic voices. …

With your help, we can make Culture11 something truly extraordinary – an online destination that has the editorial excellence of a great magazine, the thrill of a terrific conversation, and the comfort of a supportive community all rolled into one.

Now, usually I don’t care (as much) about the context of a conversation, particularly during with someone f2f in person, as I’d counter-positioned myself in contrast with Stephen Shields over Monday night dinner at Chuy’s. Don’t think we have a photo of that momentus event, but there were 4 tweets: 1, 2, 3, 4.

However, when it comes to websites, one of the 1st things I do look at is the “about us” section, especially when they want me to sign up for a free account and register my personal info with them. The “about us” page at culture11.com is sparse (at the time of this writing), and no explanation of what “culture11″ means, which is less of a concern for me.

So, good to find out names of some of the people behind culture11.com in the aforementioned email. Here’s a couple of links to what can be known about them (or, someone with the same names):

Mar 242005

While I’ve been a proponent for multiracial churches for years at this website and during my time in the pastoral profession, it’s not the same as getting a cover story in Christianity Today. Or having a book published (granted, excellently researched, from a sociological perspective). Their current web strategy is to post select articles online for a limited period of time, after the print edition has rolled out. I happen to have a print edition of the magazine at hand (and I would scan it into PDF format for you to see, but I don’t want to create ill will.)

So, in a few weeks, stay tuned for the following, in the April 2005 edition of Christianity Today Magazine: All Churches Should Be Multiracial: The biblical case. An Excerpt from United by Faith by Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim. And, Harder than Anyone Can Imagine: Four working pastors – Latino, Asian, black, and white – respond to the bracing thesis of United by Faith. The pastoral voices are Noel Castellanos (Latino Leadership Foundation), Bill Hybels (Willow Creek), Soong-Chan Rah (Cambridge Community Fellowship Church), and Frank Reid (Bethel AME Church). Also sidebar, Big Dream in Little Rock: what multiracial church looks like in the town formerly infamous for segregation, featuring Mosaic Church, led by Mark & Linda DeYmaz.

Some compelling excerpts:

  • If we define a racially mixed congreatin as one in which no one racial group is 80 percent or more of the congregation, just 7.5 percent of the more than 300,000 religious congregations in the United States are racially mixed. For Christian congregations, which form more than 90 percent of congregations in the United States, the share that is racially mixed drops to 5.5 percent. Of this small percentage, approximately half of the congregations are mixed only temporarily, during the time they are in transition from one group to another. [that is, less than 3% of Christian congregations are racially mixed 80% pro rata]
  • Soong-Chan Rah: If we were to hear of any other institution in the United States that had those kinds of statistics, we would be outraged. If less than 6 percent of universities or government institutions were integrated, we would say there is something seriously wrong.
  • Bill Hybels: A true biblically functioning community must include being multiethnic. My heart beats so fast for that vision today.

[updated 3/31/05] CT cover story posted online, and sidebars too. Also see October 2000 CT article, Color-Blinded: Why 11 o’clock Sunday morning is still a mostly segregated hour. An excerpt from Divided by Faith. By Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith.