Archives For Weblogs

ANewPostAtMyBlog1

As I once again step up to the blog microphone and begin to infest the interwebs with my fevered ideas let me first clear something up.

They are called BLOG POSTS. If you want to shorten the phrase – then they are POSTS.

Your BLOG is the site where you publish your POSTS.

If you’ve written a new BLOG then it means you’ve created a new site for the display of your great (or is that GR8) wisdom.

Perhaps it will help to understand the etymology of the word: BLOG. it is the short form of the original WEB LOG or WEBLOG.

OK.

Comprendé?

Then.

As you were.

Calvin

I heard Marshall McLuhan speak at the University of Toronto when I was in my final year of High School. The medium is the message, I think, or was it the message is the medium, hmmm. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t messages from mediums.

It was a truly momentous occasion. At least, it should have been. I understood the language he was speaking. His concepts, ideas and conclusions, however, were way over the head of an 18 year old more concerned with who was playing on the next Steely Dan album.

Perhaps if Bill Watterson had begun Calvin and Hobbes 15 years earlier – I would have had a better chance of understanding McLuhan… but then again, probably not.

I was amused and enlightened by this post from Fred Sanders, What You Can Learn from Calvin and Hobbes about the Message and the Medium. My family and I are huge fans of Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. My favourite birthday present being The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Box Set – given to me for my 50th birthday (almost three years ago) as I blog posted here.

Sanders speaks of Watterson’s resistance to creating the marketing juggernaut that Calvin and Hobbes could have become. He then deftly moves the discussion to the marketing of the church.

Marshal McLuhan may have overstated the case when he pronounced that “the medium is the message,” but he surely indicated the way that what you say is entangled with how you say it. If you want to make a statement about people in relationships over time, you had better not try saying it on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. Communicators need to understand their message well enough, organically enough, to pick an appropriate medium for getting it across. Insensitivity to the medium-message connection is what makes most pop music so bathetic when it attempts profundity.

It also explains why the Christian message seems so bizarre and irrelevant when it is communicated via slogans, marketing campaigns, fashion, and advertising knick-knacks. Pointing this out hardly qualifies me for prophet status; any sensitive person confronted with the modern Christian marketing machine is bound to feel queasy.

Sanders then cites the prophetic voice of 26-years-dead Keith Green,

It pains me to see the beautiful truths of Scripture being plastered about like beer advertisements. Many think it is wise to “get the word out” in this way but, believe that we are really just inoculating the world with bits and pieces of truth – giving them their “gospel shots.”

Sanders returns to Calvin and Hobbes,

Watterson was worried that the very existence of these products would sap the power from the real thing; that a million Calvin window decals would make the Calvin comic strip harder to read. It’s possible that too many ineffective Jesus reminders all over the place might have a degrading effect on our ability to read Jesus where he really is. The only way to know if that’s the case is to know our message as well as Watterson knew his. Watterson could spot a deviation from the integrity and fullness of the Calvin and Hobbes mystique in an instant. Do modern Christians have senses so well trained, or a grasp of the gospel message so acute, that we can spot such deviations?

Although less focused on Jesus Junk than Sanders, I’ve written my own series on Church Marketing* that you might consider reading, although my cartoons leave much to be desired in light of Watterson or Fred Sanders – and as odd as being self-referential is, allow me to quote myself in the conclusion to that series:

…the church isn’t marketable. Programs, conferences, services even, may be – but the church itself is not. I understand that this a polemical statement. And there will be those who vehemently disagree.

The church is a people who pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. It is a people who forget about themselves as they pour out their lives for others. It is the way of discipleship – becoming like Jesus – who laid down his life for his friends…and enemies. It is not about “living your best life now” or any other such silly talk. (Or tee-shirt slogans, gospel trinkets, FLASHy websites or other such crap.)

Marketing presupposes a product or service to market. The church is neither. It is a living breathing organism that exists for those outside of it.

Would that those of us engaged in communicating the truth of the Gospel had the integrity of a Bill Watterson:

I’m convinced that licensing would sell out the soul of Calvin and Hobbes. The world of a comic strip is much more fragile than most people realize. Once you’ve given up its integrity, that’s it. I want to make sure that never happens. [via]

*My Church Marketing series: here, here, here, here, here and here. You might also enjoy A Little Retail Aversion Therapy and It Really Isn’t Funny.

Calvin and JobsAside: Perhaps Calvin and Jobs is more representative of the present Zeitgeist. (Click on the pic for a larger version.)

Note: The bones of this post were ripped from the archives of these non-achievable ends – appearing in a less edited form in August 2007.

Back in the days of The People Formerly Known as the Congregation unintentional SynchroBlog, Brother Maynard was the synthesizer of the many posts on the topic. He’s begun the process anew with last week’s What is Missional? SynchroBlog, and, as always, he’s worth reading – Part One, Two and Three, so far.

SUNDAY UPDATE: Read Kingdom Grace‘s Missional SynchroBlog Soundbites in addition to BroMayn’s stuff above.

Kingdom Grace asks the question, Who Can Make the Shift? (from an existing attractional model congregation to a missional church).

The organizing purpose of most churches is the organization itself and the Sunday service. Most believe that the growth of their church and service within the church is the same as building the kingdom. They may be genuinely interested in mission, but it is not their central purpose.

Grace (and I) were impacted by this post from Darryl Dash (the famous Triple D), Church of the Broken.

Jared Wilson’s Love is Never a Waste was pointed out to me by Grace before I had a chance to read it in Google Reader. It helped me profoundly in dealing with some “issues” this week.

One of my favourite bloggers, Jonathan Brink, writes a post on A Connected World. Please read it.

Out of Ur repents for their earlier blog post on Willow Creek’s Reveal study. But will they repent from calling those of us who struggle with WC’s Consumer Church approach, “gloaterswho can’t read – as we took issue with a church that admitted it had screwed up in discipling people – and then marketed that admission to the wider church. I’m just asking. (Let me again point you to Jonathan Brink’s comment on the Out of Ur post – #5 in the list. #4 makes a strong point as well. I’ve added a comment there that may or may not get published. We’ll see.)

I need to spend some time with these gorgeous Sketch-Notes from Mike Rohde @ the Seed 3 event in Chicago.

And though I haven’t been reading Hugh Macleod in quite a while, I did like this recent cartoon of his.

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Hugh uses the term market in more of a Cluetrain sense than in a traditional marketing sense.

ImwithStupidInternet.jpg

Via David Weinberger – from Kevin Marks

Kathy Sierra update

kinnon —  April 2, 2007 — Leave a comment

Doc Searls linked to Kathy’s post today and these two statements from Kathy and Chris Locke.

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Kathy Sierra Threatened

kinnon —  March 26, 2007 — 2 Comments

I am flabbergasted, angry and in shock. (This isn’t hyperbole.)

If you’ve read me for any length of time, you know I am a fan of Kathy Sierra and consider her to be the best example of the Generous Web.

This is what I’ve just read on Kathy’s blog:

As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I’m not. I’m at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you’ve probably heard of. People like respected Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Chris Locke (aka Rageboy).

Her blog post continues with material that, as Kathy says, “includes disturbing language and a picture beyond anything I’d normally say here.”

What she has experienced is completely outrageous. In fact, it is criminal and those responsible need to be charged and tried. How dare these people inflict this mental anguish and fear upon anyone – let alone someone who generously spends hours writing blog posts and creating great graphics for the benefit of her readers.

Say a prayer for Kathy. And express your own outrage. This is like some bad Twilight Zone episode…but that was fiction. This is someone’s life.

UPDATE: Doc Searls weighs in on the discussion.
UPDATE 2: Doc weighs in further with an email from Alan Herrell – a blogger I’ve had good contact with and one who was named by Kathy as one of the “bad guys.” I was completely flabbergasted that Alan might be messed up in this in that it didn’t seem in character. Strong opinions, yes. Doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Yes. But that kind of perverse attack – I didn’t think so. I’ve been going to Alan’s blog (Raving Lunacy – which is down) every couple of hours in search of his take on this. Alan responds in an email on Doc’s blog – and it appears to be a case of identity theft. I’m more than inclined to give Alan the benefit of the doubt on this. And am truly sorry for his pain in the midst of this.

UPDATE 3: Read Dave Winer on this.

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Beth Kanter

kinnon —  March 26, 2007 — 1 Comment

I’ve become a regular reader of Beth Kanter in Google Reader. Beth is another example of the Generous Web at work. From her About Page on her blog:

Beth Kanter is a trainer, coach, and consultant to nonprofits and individuals in effective use of technology. She has worked on projects that include: training, curriculum development, research, and evaluation. Her expertise is how to use new web tools (blogging, tagging, wikis, photo sharing, video blogging, screencasting, social networking sites, and virtual worlds, etc) to support nonprofit. She is an experienced coach to “digital immigrants” in the personal mastery of these tools.

I’m listening to a Podcast from Stanford’s Social Innovation Center recommended by Beth – and I’d highly recommend it to any of my regular readers – Paul Lamb and NonProfits of the Future. You can read Paul’s bio here.

I’ve sent this blog post of Beth’s out to a number of my colleagues. Check it out, please. (I’ve also just discovered that Beth’s RSS Feedburner feed is not updating properly in Google Reader – so I’m about six days behind.)

I’ve muttered on at length about the Generous Web in posts past. Of late, I’m reading less that qualifies as generous…and also seem to be writing less than what seems to be generous. (If you want to read the icon for the Generous Web, read Kathy Sierra. Or read the non-blogger but very generous, Roy Williams.)

Many of us have become more adept at making pronouncements about others – where they are right and where they are wrong – and not particularly great when it comes to being generous.

On Thursday, I will teach a Masters level class about social media – with a primary focus this week (I’m doing it over two weeks) on blogging. My problem is that I’m not feeling all that pro-blogging at this point in time. (Hopefully it will pass.) I’m reevaluating my own blog and my contributions to the Generous Web and wondering how I’m going to get this blog back on track.

I believe that blogging has more than proven its ability to effect change. What it has also proven is it is a “great” place for folk to take out their frustrations on the rest of the world. I need to read fewer of those folk…and write fewer of those posts.

In the true sense of the phrase, God Help Me!

UPDATE: Let me point to one of the more generous folk in the missional conversation, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, as one who I would do well to emulate. Jamie’s new series, Pattern of Missionality, is worth reading. (And if you aren’t already, read the Tuesday’s with Harry series at Jamie’s blog. Today’s brought tears to my eyes.) I find it rather interesting that some of my favourite bloggers are Winnipeg based, or spent significant time there.

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I’m busy getting ready for the Allelon/Resonate ECHO event this evening (burning a DVD as I write this) but I’m also scanning Google Reader (and my email).

Here are some blog posts and conversations worth reading:

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My blogging buddy, the indefatigable Brother Maynard is doing a series on Friendship and Marketing the Church. It’s worth the time to read. (You might also want to check out my series which began in December on Marketing the Church here, here, here, here, here and here. You also might find my Family Marketing Sucks™ post humorous.)

The also indefatigable Internet Monk, Michael Spencer has decided he hasn’t opened enough cans of worms lately and so he’s written, Fear of Women and Their Cute, Pink Books.

Dan Edelen (who is working at becoming indefatigable) takes a look at the impact of Christian conferences…or rather…the lack there of – The ChristCon Con.

John Frye recommends N.T.Wright’s Simply Christian. If John recommends it, you should read it. (It’s one of the books I need to finish…if I could only find it.)

JR Woodward tells the powerful story of the Mustard Seed Foundation – a must read.

Bob Hyatt points to another Emerging Church Expert – which further proves the point that even idiots can use YouTube.

I pointed to it in the Updates to my Global Warming Heresy post, but Tim Challies has written an interesting post comparing Johann Tetzel and Al Gore on the selling of carbon offsets and papal indulgences.

And just because you need to smile, Brant Hansen has popped up briefly from his blog hiatus with this – making it all better. (Now I’m singing about “just like a mini-mall”, yikes!)

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