Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You do things that you normally wouldn't

An amazing story, told by Chris Ware on This American Life, about play video cameras and the effects on kids:

Beethoven for the New Year

Amazon's offering an incredible deal today - The 99 Most Essential Beethoven Masterpieces for $1.99. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you have never had the opportunity to pick up this much music for so few pennies. Amazon continues to steal my heart from iTunes!

UPDATE: 1.49 GB, 15.8 hours of music, and (for me) more than 90 minutes to download!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Faith offers hope

Rick Reilly nails the story of the season (Christmas and football), and perhaps the story of the year.

(ht: Brian McLaren)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More Seth

In a Christmas Day post, Seth asks:

So, why exactly are you planning on the future being just like it is now, but with better uniforms?


My wife and I have been privileged to attend 4 of the past 5 Catalyst conferences in Duluth, GA. This past October, one of the main stage speakers was Seth Godin, who gave a fabulous presentation based on the concepts he explored in his latest book Tribes. (He then proceeded to give everyone in the audience a free copy of the book!)

Seth is always worth listening to. Here's a video provided by TED (by the way, one of the most helpful Internet destinations I've found).

(ht: BNET)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Brian Schulenburg at Pass the Salt posted way back in 2007 his Top 10 Issues the Church Will Face in the Next 10 Years. Click on the link to see his elaborations, but here's the list in a nutshell:

1. Soteriology
2. Open Theism
3. Homosexuality
4. Ecclesiology
5. Scripture
6. Social Issues
7. Red Letter Christians
8. Infighting
9. Consumerism
10. Culture

Obviously, #3 seems to be the biggest one, judging by media stories these days. However, I've been convinced for some time now that perhaps the greatest threat which the Church has been/is/will be battling is #9. And not just Jesus Junk, as Schulenburg writes, but the consumerist mindset which seems to rule the thinking of most USAmericans.

(ht: Todd Rhoades at MMI)


Worth a look: Aaron Shepard's Storytelling Page

Welcome to the freak show

Carl Trueman has a straightforward post concerning the (trumped up) controversy about Rick Warren being chosen to deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration, and I think he gets it right. Here's an excerpt:
You can have the hippest soul patch in town, and quote Coldplay lyrics till the cows come home; but oppose homosexuality and the only television program interested in having you appear will soon be The Jerry Springer Show when the audience has become bored of baiting the Klan crazies. Indeed, evangelicals will be the new freaks.

Statistics may lie...but these are amazing nonetheless

Found this recently (pardon me, but I don't remember on which RSS feed), and, after watching it, I couldn't not post it. Some of the numbers were well-known to me, but some of them were astonishing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Missing out

In my denomination, there seems to be a prevailing mindset that in order to be extraordinary, you must aspire to be in professional ministry. A few strides have been made in recent years, but the majority opinion still seems to be that God's kingdom is built primarily by those in pulpit ministry. With that in mind, as I read this post by Seth Godin, I substituted "professional ministers" for "investment bankers and lawyers."

Seth says:
There must be hundreds of thousands of movers and shakers out there, people of all ages who are smart and get things done. And more and more, they're being motivated by the quest, or the outcome, or the people they work with, not just the cash payout. It's exciting beyond words.

Exciting indeed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The odds are against US

Ran across this disturbing article in Asia Times Online. An excerpt:
Americans really, really don’t have a clue what is coming down the pike. The present shift in intellectual capital in favor of the East has no precedent in world history.

And this:
American musical education remains the best in the world, the legacy of the European refugees who staffed the great conservatories, and the best Asian musicians come to America to study. Thirty to 40% of students at the top schools are Asian, and another 20 to 30% are Eastern European (or Israeli). There are few Americans or Western Europeans among the best instrumentalists. According to the head of one conservatory, Americans simply don't have the discipline to practice eight hours a day.

One more:
Except in a vague way, one cannot explain the uniqueness of Western classical music to non-musicians, and America is governed not by musicians, but by sports fans.

Give people stories

Seth Godin, from his new book Tribes:

People don't believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.
What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about change.