Saturday, May 31, 2008

whither twitter

I've been twittering since 10 March and still feel conflicted about it. So, faithmaps blog readers, why do you twitter (if you do) and what do you get out of it?


Thursday, May 29, 2008

McCain, Obama, Clinton Joint Statement on Darfur

"Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us. We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end and that the CPA be fully implemented. Even as we campaign for the presidency, we will use our standing as Senators to press for the steps needed to ensure that the United States honors, in practice and in deed, its commitment to the cause of peace and protection of Darfur’s innocent citizenry. We will continue to keep a close watch on events in Sudan and speak out for its marginalized peoples. It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush Administration. If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009, we pledge that the next Administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve."

- read the entire statement here.

Rick Warren's PEACE 2.0

Rick's rebooted PEACE:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

kenny sheppard on tony jones' book the new christians

"The New Christians is a loose kind of narrative. It tells a story that moves from the “old ways” to the “new”, and it does so through a set of relatively discrete stories about this process. These smaller stories are punctuated in turn by sets of definitions, “dispatches”, and more concrete sets of arguments. It is, then, a kind of mosaic, where anecdotal narrative, theological disquisition, dictionary, and popular history meet. The book is meant to engage on many levels, providing, it seems, several ways of reaching the reader with the message: the emerging church has a history, a theology, a set of practices and institutions that are robust and here to stay. It’s an apologia. And it is here, I suspect, that critics who wish Emergents to set down their beliefs will find fodder for their arguments. It is where I take issue in this review, but for different reasons."

- read kenny's full review on tony jones' book the new christians

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A New Chapter: Goodbye USA TODAY; Hello Gallup!

On Friday 23 May, I let my boss know at USA TODAY that after almost 20 years with this great company, I am leaving to join Gallup as a consultant.

I began working at USA TODAY in January of 1989 as a part-time Customer Service Representative shortly after I was laid-off from my data-entry job with the Washington Times.

At the time I was working on a degree in Management Information Systems. But when my dentist told me that I needed $1500 worth of dental work, I dropped out of school (it was my third degree anyway!) and became full-time so that I could get dental benefits! A year later I became a Customer Service Specialist and then I later became a Customer Service Supervisor. A few years into that, I decided to switch to a technical career within USA TODAY and became a Data Analyst, then a Database Administrator, then a Technical Manager. Then in 2002 I began working with a team of folks to roll out USA TODAY Subscriber Delivery Partners (which were usually other newspapers) first as a Circulation Manager and then finally as USA TODAY's National Home Delivery Circulation Manager also running a small group called Market Services.

It has been a wonderful ride.

The thing I'm most proud of is that we were able to expand USA TODAY's Home Delivery footprint from 20 million households to over 50 million households within a six year period.

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life optimizing people systems for core value impact. I thoroughly enjoy reading about, writing about, and executing project management, conflict resolution, vision statement creation, running great meetings, in short all things org. And USA TODAY has provided me an optimal context to learn about these things and to practice them. I've written elsewhere about how much this has served me in ecclesial contexts. When I first came on staff at Cedar Ridge Community Church as a part-time small groups and adult education pastor in the late 90's, I used to say I didn't know if I had learned more about pastoring from seminary or from working for USA TODAY! And so with this decision to begin working to optimize people-systems, I started very intentionally looking for great organizations where I could do this. I never sent out my resume to tons of places, but over the course of maybe four years I worked to get jobs in just three organizations. I liked my job with USA TODAY; I wasn't in a great hurry, so I took my time looking. Gallup was the fourth organization I started looking seriously at about ten months ago.

A few years ago, USA TODAY began working with Gallup and their Q12 material (First Break all the Rules). Then about a year ago, USA TODAY asked me to become a Strengths Leader (Now Discover Your Strengths) working with my group - Market Services - and also with National Customer Service. I had the opportunity over the course of the year to teach the material and do one-on-one coaching, in addition to working with other USA TODAY directors and supervisors on their own coaching. I enjoyed it so much, I broached a conversation with Gallup about joining their team. After three months, testing, and six interviews, Gallup invited me to join their DC team a few weeks ago.

There may come an opportunity down the road for me to work some with the Gallup Faith group, though I also plan to continue writing for Leadership Network as long as they keep feeding me projects!

I begin 16 June and I'm very excited. I will miss my friends at USA TODAY and I told our director on the day I resigned that they have treated me like a prince.

I'm very grateful to both organizations and to God.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

please pray for susan's husband

“God knows what he is doing. Susan and I met fast, fell in love fast, had a kid fast. Now I know why…God knew this was coming and he wanted us to have this short time together, because he knew it was all the time we had.”

At the age of 30, Noel Heikkinen's friend Susan died yesterday morning of a sudden blood infection. Please pray for her husband and her two year old soon.

See Noel's post for more and a video of Susan's testimony.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Toward an Understanding of "Missional"

I'm working on an article for Leadership Network as part of their Missional Renaissance Community, co-facilitated by Reggie McNeal and Eric Swanson. The Missional Renaissance Community is composed of nine churches who participate together with leaders from their local communities. They are basically resourcing one another as they strive to be more effectively incarnational within their local environs. Part of my writing project was interviewing leaders at the nine churches. But I'm also doing some background research on the history of the term "missional" and will make some brief comments about that in the piece.

Toward that end I've found some useful material online that I wanted to mention here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

pls pray for the family of steven curtis chapman

Associated Press:

"The 5-year-old daughter of contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said."

- see the whole AP article

Interview with Todd Hunter

Charlie Wear and I recently had the chance to interview Todd regarding his new adventures in the latest issue of Next-Wave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

but it's always like that

Since last Tuesday, I've been waiting for something. Putting it this way is a bit melodramatic (I think) but it has felt like I'm waiting for God to come through on something. Put more honestly and specifically, I'm waiting for God to allow or do something that I want Him to allow or to do.

So in the last couple of days, I've been more aware than usual of my contingency on God.

But here's the thing: I'm always contingent on God. The next beat of my heart will only occur because God in his grace and mercy allows it. I believe that it's only the confluence of my earnest desire and the likelihood of what I want to happen actually happening that's precipitating my hanging on to an illusion of greater contingency at this moment.

But the truth is that always "in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

I need to remember this.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

a use of summize

just discovered a neat use of summize on twitter: Do a search on your twitter handle and find folks' that respond to your twitter posts whom you don't follow.

stuff you don't know

It's illegal to put money in to someone else's parking meter to help them avoid a parking ticket; at least, it's illegal in Charleston, SC.

See Seacoast's Mac Lake's brush with the law.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Associated Press: Another Church Attack

"A man with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire at a festival outside a Southern California church Saturday, wounding three people, one of them critically, police said."

- see the full AP story

Sweet Freedom Whispered in My Ear

"Dear Grammar Geekess, CMOS has not, since the thirteenth edition (1983), frowned on the split infinitive. The fifteenth edition now suggests, to take one example, allowing split infinitives when an intervening adverb is used for emphasis (see paragraphs 5.106 and 5.160). In this day and age, it seems, an injunction against splitting infinitives is one of those shibboleths whose only reason for survival is to give increased meaning to the lives of those who can both identify by name a discrete grammatical, syntactic, or orthographic entity and notice when that entity has been somehow besmirched. Many such shibboleths—the en dash, for example—are worthy of being held onto. But why tamper ...." [links added]

- I love the Chicago Manual of Style and I appreciate the convenience of being able to search the entire text online. I just renewed my online subscription.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Search Twitter Posts

I just stumbled onto this neat tool that lets you search twitter posts.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

LibraryThing and Shelfari

I've switched to LibraryThing because I like its simple widgets better than Shelfari.

Monday, May 12, 2008

the emerging church is protean

Yesterday Terry Mattingly referenced his ongoing confusion with what precisely is denoted by the term "emerging church" His GetReligion post was prompted by an interview that Brian McLaren gave with the Associated Press' National Religion Reporter Rachel Zoll.

I just wanted to make one observation. The cognitive dissonance to which Mattingly implicitly refers is not surprising considering the breadth of theologies - even theological methodologies - represented in the broad emerging church conversation.

In fact, I think even in the interview that Brian did reference the varied voices within the emerging church when Zoll asked:

"What are the weaknesses of the movement?"

Brian responded:

"A: Nobody had a master strategy for this. That creates weaknesses as well as strengths. It means you don't have anybody calling the shots and it means that things happen in a somewhat haphazard way. And I think there's a huge range of responses. ... Among evangelicals you have people who are not doing any theological rethinking at all. The theology that they inherited, they're staying with 100 percent. They're trying to do sort of methodological innovation (in styles of worship). And my personal feeling is that's great. Those'll be steps in a good direction... I'm not a purist about anything. I think it's all good. We're all trying to stumble along and take some steps in the right direction. Others of us are asking theological questions and that's always messy" (emphasis mine).

With this comment, Brian seems to be referring to those whom Ed Stetzer styles Reconstructionists in his influential Understanding the Emerging Church.

Those who might wish to dig a bit further into the differences that exist within the broad emerging church conversation can hardly do better than to read DJ Chuang's excellent many kinds of emerging church where he aggregates some of the more popular emerging church taxonomies.

A failure to appreciate the theological diversity within the movement itself would precipitate a significant degree of confusion and I don't believe that either Brian or anyone at Emergent would claim the position of spokesperson for a monolithic emerging church, despite Mattingly's reference to Brian as "the key figure." (And I'm not questioning that Brian has been a key figure in the history of the movement).

I think that perhaps the main common denominator of all stripes of emergers is a dissatisfaction with the status quo of the current institutional church and some degree of appreciation of the impact that modernity has had on her.

I know Emergent's Tony Jones has opined that the emerging church/emergent church distinction is an inside baseball conversation, but when the protean nature of the conversation isn't appreciated (or, at least, referenced), a significant degree of confusion is understandable.

AP: " Gospel singer Dottie Rambo dies in tour bus wreck in Mo."

"Joyce "Dottie" Rambo, an influential gospel singer and songwriter, died early Sunday when her tour bus ran off the highway and struck an embankment.


Rambo was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last year and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

Rambo has had more than 2,500 published songs, including gospel classics such as "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need" and the 1982 Gospel Music Association Song of the Year, "We Shall Behold Him.""

- see the whole AP article here. Very sad.

- Dottie Rambo's website

I doubt seriously that many readers of the faithmaps blog listened to Dottie Rambo. But she was a huge figure in what's termed "gospel music. "

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Search of the Quintessential Baltimore Diner

This morning, Kenny Sheppard of Prolegomena fame and I continued our quest to find the quintessential Baltimore Diner. Kenny, his girlfriend Candace, and I (the picture was taken just after I detailed for Kenny and Candace what actually is in "Scrapple," a Delmarva breakfast delicacy) visited Frank's Diner near my house. So far we've visited

This morning we discussed
and the obvious nexi of these topics with the Baltimore Diners in general.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Being President

"'The president’s task has become impossible for me or any other man,' said Roosevelt in January 1937. “A man in this position will not be able to survive White House service unless it is simplified. I need executive assistants with a ‘passion for anonymity’ to be my legs.”

As a sometime student of the American Presidency (my favorite reading is presidential biography), I very much appreciated Joel Achenbach's recent "Few Voters Know What the Presidency Really Entails."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

a faithmaps facebook group

As many faithmaps blog readers know, from 2002 until 2007 I moderated an online discussion group associated with In 2007, I could no longer keep up with the volume of discussion and had to set it aside. Recently one of the 'mappers - Rick Presley - suggested that I start a faithmaps group on facebook where former 'mappers (though I'm not limiting membership) could gather and interact. I've now created such a group and am announcing it to the blogosphere!

Thanks Rick; good idea. I always felt that I was the landlord who tore down the building forcing the tenants to scurry and now I'm hoping that 'mappers will enjoy this cozy new space!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An Around the Room on Evangelicalism

Steve Knight is serving us by a megapost he's updating on evangelicalism and discussion precipitated by today's release of the Evangelical Manifesto.

So far it features comments by Tim Keller, Justin Taylor, Darryl Dash, and others.

Todd Hunter on Three is Enough Groups

"Three is Enough Groups bring together the five most important strands of my life-long pursuit of Christian spirituality for the sake of others: the Gospel of the Kingdom, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, evangelism, spiritual transformation and contemporary culture.

TiE groups assist three people in any aspect of human endeavor to be, through the empowering presence of the Spirit, ambassadors of the Kingdom in the rhythms and routines of their actual current life. Participation in a TiE group makes possible a couple of crucial practices (and re-practising Christianity is preeminent goal of TiE groups): one’s own spiritual transformation and an others-oriented, servant-hearted engagement with life."

Read Todd's whole article

Facebook: Little Help Please?

I don't see my Wall any longer on my facebook page (and I am logged in). I don't see a setting to toggle it on and off.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

R Laird Harris with God

"Dr. Harris was a wonderful example of how God's grace flows through his servants to bless and build up His people. Though originally trained as a chemical engineer, Dr. Harris was called into ministry in 1932. He studied under J. Gresham Machen at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before going on to a long and distinguished career as a Christian educator. He helped to train generations of pastors and biblical scholars, first at Faith Theological Seminary, where he served from 1937 to 1956, and then as a founding faculty member of Covenant Seminary, where he taught in the Old Testament department from 1956 until his retirement in 1981. From 1964 to 1971 he also served as dean of the Seminary."

- from Covenant Seminary News & Events

Roger Overton let's us know that R Laird Harris passed away on Friday 25 April at the age of 97.

His Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible was very helpful to me .

Monday, May 05, 2008

More than 10,000 Estimated Dead in Myanmar

CNN: "The death toll from the Myanmar cyclone is more than 10,000 people, Myanmar's Foreign Ministry office said."

- full story

"The Next Big Thing"

"I know so many people who read the next big ‘trendy’ book and endorse it as if its the Bible. I’m all for reading books, particularly some that you don’t agree with or that push you a bit, but make sure you do so discerningly. Whether its Tony Jones or John Piper, get some Bible knowledge in you so you can tell truth from opinion, particularly misguided opinion. Just because it sounds nice, doesn’t mean its biblical."

- Good advice from Chris Case

I can't comment intelligently on Driscoll's critique of The Shack, which Case mentions, but I thought Case's larger point was well worth noting.

Friday, May 02, 2008

iTunes Turns 5 Today

Happy Birthday!

I cannot overstate how much I've enjoyed my Nano. I almost left it in a Panera Bread the other morning and my breakfast partner asked me what I would do if I lost it. My answer was that I would have a new one by the end of the day. Rare is the day when I haven't listened to it at least 2x and many days more times than that - usually while commuting, exercising, taking out the trash, washing dishes, or cleaning the house. However, most of the time I'm listening to unabridged audio books - usually a historical biography.

Previous posts on iTunes or the iPod:

On Not Buying a Mac

"...something weird is happening.

As I have made known that I was getting a new laptop and was researching various PC's - my friends who now own Macs have been acting very, very unusual. Instead of the normally loving and accepting relationships and interaction we normally have - I have been taunted, mocked, picked on and ridiculed - all for not buying a Mac. I believe I am seeing a platform-prejudice rising among recent Mac converts against those who do not choose to buy a Mac and remain using a PC. My dear, dear friends Bennett, Sarah and Kristin who all are recent Mac converts and others consistently have been sending me emails, subtle and not so subtle hints, text messages and photos on my cell phone about their view that I should not be using a PC. It feels like they are trying to convert me and they become perplexed when I have refused to convert.

Kem Meyer, (a PC user and fellow Dell owner who is on staff as the communications director at Granger Community Church in Indiana) and I have discussed this and found we have had the similar experience of seeing Mac users getting confused when you tell them you are very content and satisfied with a PC and don't see the need to change to Mac. So this Mac peer-pressure is not just a California thing, but something happening across the country."

- See Dan Kimball's entire post on his experience of buying a new Dell.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

books, books, books

I've added Shelfari Shelves of what I've recently read and what I'm currently reading below and to the right of this blog.