Making footprints on the web… these are some of the places I’ve been in the last week or two, in no particular order.

  1. Where The Hell Is Matt? This one is great… a guy who can’t dance, dancing his way around the world, with video evidence on YouTube. And when he gets home from his trip, a very cool chewing-gum company with a very creative website says to him, “Would you like to do it all over again, only we’ll pay for it this time? You know, for publicity? The Internet is a very fun place.
  2. And if that isn’t fun enough, what would you like to say to those godless pagans who don’t get raptured when you depart to the skies? At least now you have a way to say it, via USA Today: Atheist offers to send letters post-Rapture using what he calls The Post-Rapture Post. And if he does really well and gets himself three staff members, maybe they really can be the four postmen of the apocalypse.
  3. Okay, seriously, now. What About Kids In Organic Church? (HT: Len) Have I linked to that one before? Sorry if it’s a duplicate, but the question doesn’t seem to go away either.
  4. Aussies get Megachurch… and Megachurch Watch, “a news and information site which aims to make sense of megachurch phenomena in Australia.” Will they have better luck making sense of it than we’ve had in North America? I hope so.
  5. Jerry Falwell. I like Mike’s observation contrasting Falwell’s passing with that of Yolanda King. Do I need to say anything? I would have, but not anymore. On Tuesday this week, my wife was telling me about a conversation she’d overheard between two older ladies criticizing someone else in a checkstand lineup for buying energy-saving light bulbs. One commented to the other that Jerry Falwell says this whole environmental thing is a sign of the end times approaching. An hour later we heard on the radio that he had died, and I felt instinctively in my gut that there was a larger cultural shift taking place. This brings me to the post I wish I’d written on the matter: Will Samson offers Thoughts on the Passing of Falwell, and his words alone mean I’ve got nothing else to add. Will writes, “the recent passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell should at least be seen as a chapter near the end of one cultural story and the prologue of a new book being written.” After that, he starts to get downright insightful. Excellent stuff, read this before anything else on Falwell this week.
  6. Cold case close to home: back in 1984, 13-year-old Winnipegger and Mennonite Brethren Collegiate student Candace Derksen was found dead after being missing for 7 weeks. Her killer was never found, and her mother Wilma Derksen, wrote Have You Seen Candace? about the tragedy. The Amazon review says, “The book spans the events and learnings of one year, beginning with the day Candace disappeared and ending with the anniversary of that day.” It also notes, “Wilma Derksen is Director of Victim’s Voice, a national Canadian program of Mennonite Central Committee Canada that assists people impacted by homicide and violent crime.” It seems to me that her story could be of help to many more people than I wish would need it in these days. And why bring it all up now? Because after 23 years, police have made an arrest this past week. Wow.
  7. As long as I’m in a more serious tone, Matt Thomas quotes Bob Webber’s obituary, and offers his own thoughts. David Fitch does similarly, but quotes a personal word from Bob himself from the memorial program — challenging. Well done, Bob.
  8. Gotta change gears. Scot McKnight offers some advice for authors who feel they should blog to support their book. Some good advice for any blogger in there, though. I confess I’ve recently emailed Scot along similar lines, but my own perspective is different… opposite, actually. I figure I should write a book to help support my blogging. They pay you to write books, don’t they?
  9. Word of the week: “Christarchism,” the “Christian Anarchist Perspective.” This from Mark Van Steenwyk, who in discussing Alternative Economics says that although it’s biblical, we need to abolish the tithe because it isn’t Christian. Now that’s not a great turn of phrase to leave standing on its own, but I think it makes more sense in the context of the series he’s been doing. I’m suggesting that by “biblical” he must mean that it occurs in the Bible and is instructed in the Old Testament. See, we’ve been discussing tithing (also see the comments) around here this week too, and now I’ve gone and said that where the tithe occurs, it’s always associated with the Law, and when used in the New Testament, it’s used to point to the kind of legalism that fails to save us by what we do. In other words, the tithe has already been abolished by the work of Christ. I think I’m prepared to say it more strongly: the tithe has never been compatible with grace, and in fact works against it. On the other hand, we’re left with an instruction to give generously, and on this point Mark is also correct that “we should all live simply, take what we need, and share the rest.” Still on the subject of money, “Mary” has some questions about how missionaries to overseas destinations go about raising support outside of the institutional church. Not sure I have an answer to that one yet either.
  10. Drew Goodmanson is thinking about Missional Eldership – Leading a Transformational Community. Leadership is one of those bugbears we’re still needing to finish reimagining. I do know that we shouldn’t be setting up any superstars as “substitute Christs,” for If you meet Christ on the road, kill him! If that has your attention, you may need to brush up on your Zen. Click through to Mark Van Steenwyk’s post, it’s well worth the read — trust me, neither of us are being heretical, despite the provocative phrase.
  11. Eric Hogue tosses out a few examples of “Missional In My Neighborhood” (HT), some good ideas, reminds me of a piece I did not long ago. Lesson, don’t despise the small beginnings on your way to being missional.
  12. I noticed that the Next Wave website seems to have vaporized over the past few days, at least at the old url. The current issue is online at a different url though; either way, there’s a Brian McLaren quote on missional church that caught my eye, lifted from Next Wave:

    The term missional asks this question: what is the purpose of the church? To enfold and warehouse Christians for heaven, protecting them from damage and spoilage until they reach their destination? Or to recruit and train people to be transforming agents of the kingdom of God in our culture? The missional church understands itself to be blessed not to the exclusion of the world, but for the benefit of the world. It is a church that seeks to bring benefits to its nonadherents through its adherents.

  13. Jordon Cooper has done an excellent substantive piece on The Present Church in which he is clear about being unable to predict the future, but surveys a great overview of the landscape that we have to work with as we try to figure out what’s in store. If you don’t get the Canadian political references in the first paragraph, just push past them, you don’t need to get them to get the real meat out of the article. A good read.
  14. Darryl Dash: Tim Keller on spiritual fruit and ministry… good stuff, citing Calvinists (I just point that out to be provocative). I confess I read this one too fast… I need to go back and read it slowly. Two or three times; it’s that kind of post.
  15. I’ve been thinking about redesigning the website, and this week I finally came up with a few ideas toward that end. I’m hoping to make it a lot cleaner and more legible as well as load a lot faster. I’m also toying with a 3-column layout idea. For those who read a lot of blogs, what do you like in a blog design? Any preferences on number of columns, how many posts the front page should show, or what kinds of widgets are helpful in the sidebars? (Searches, Digg links, 19 ways to read the blog, recent comments etc.) Oh, and does anyone read the link blog? I’m thinking of blending that into the main content as now happens with the RSS feed, or else dumping them into these “RAL” posts. Or maybe everyone uses a reader now and doesn’t care about how the site looks.

So here endeth “Random Acts of Linkage #10.” Have at it in the comments on anything I’ve raised here… and now that we’ve reached this milestone I’m also wondering about the format of these posts. I find once I get writing a few sentences on some of the items, I can end up with 150-300 or so words in a small paragraph (item #9 is a good example). This is shorter than most of my blog posts for the past while, and I’m wondering if I should maybe be tossing them out even as a second or third post for the day despite them being shorter… the alternative is that these lists can sometimes get unwieldy. What do you think?

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