The inauguration of Barack Obama last week caught a lot of attention, naturally. It’s the sense of a new day in Washington, DC that Americans are all-too-aware of, and the world is taking notice with the hopes of a renewed, kindler, gentler US of A. Some are suggesting this presidency marks a seismic shift — no ordinary change of power, but a milestone marking a change in the way things are. Obama’s effective use of the Internet in his campaign has been likened to Kennedy’s effective use of television, with Arianna Huffington going as far as to say that without the Internet, Obama would not be president. In many ways, it’s the fruition of Joe Trippi’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Revised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything.
In a short video interview with Shane Hipps at Out of Ur, Hipps says that online community isn’t “real” community, and translating the gospel into online expressions like Second Life constitute its “disembodiment.” His book Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith presumably outlines his argument a little more fully — the interview (below) comes across as though real community can’t exist because Hipps hasn’t seen it and can’t imagine how to translate the gospel into that context. I presume he hasn’t read Voices of the Virtual World. Now, I readily acknowledge that there are some good and valid arguments for the conviction that virtual community has its shortcomings, and that these can be a detriment to fostering genuine Christian community. But I think he writes it off as invalid far too quickly.
I seem to be in the midst of a technology update. It started with replacing my Treo 650 with a shiny new HTC Touch Diamond. I have to say I like the calendar and the email app on the Treo better than the HTC, but the Treo lacks about 83 of the features on the HTC even though it has a much more functional keypad. Or it could be 84 features. Anyway, now I have the task of transferring everything over. I hate the transition where I have half my data in each place and have to carry two devices as a result.
Mike Todd caught this the other day as well… Seth Godin asks, What happens when we organize? Seth opens his post with the observation that “Most power occurs because one side is better organized than the other.” This is a good description of an imbalanced power structure such as happens in the church where a divide exists between clergy and laity (Seth gives other examples). These structures are being upset in the present changing environment where Internet tools and a shift in values toward egalitarian ideals drive collaboration and spontaneous organization around a goal rather than simply falling into a rigid power or authority structure. Books such as Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us and Clay Shirkey’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations fill out the rest of the picture. The message is that the power structures are beginning to crumble under the realization that they really aren’t necessary, and their reaction to the changing milieu appears to be confusion — for the most part, there’s an instinctive desire to oppose this new disorganized organization, this “grassroots” movement that threatens to upset everything. Unfortunately for them, they are ill-equipped to meet this challenge; Ori Brafmann and Rod Beckstrom’s book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations gives a good explanation of why this is so. Boiling it down to a single sentences though, one might latch onto the one which Seth Godin ended his post with, as I believe it to be highly accurate: “The system doesn’t know what to do with a movement.” They’re as ill-prepared for what’s coming at them as “Officer Opie” was.
1. I’ve refrained from buying products that would otherwise have interested me from companies I might otherwise support simply because the product came to my attention through spam. In some cases, I’ve take the information from the spam and searched for a competing product.
Well, I finally succumbed and signed up for a Twitter account. I don’t know… maybe it’s because Seth Godin and Clay Shirky spoke so well of it in books I’ve read recently, or it could be that I was chatting with some friends earlier today and the subject of Twitter came up. It wasn’t the inevitable “twit” pun that did it, but the conversation about translating a synchroblog onto twitter: a synchrotwit. A good laugh was had by all us missional twits. Two of us went out and signed up for twitter since that conversation.
With the US-ian elections just a couple weeks away, I thought it’d be appropriate to cover some material relating to the candidates.
First, it looks like some heavy endorsements are coming out now.
Then of course there’s the “alternate” race…
And if it’s all just too much, you could try another recommendation…
Here are the rules :
1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.
2. link back to the person who tagged you
3. link back to the parent post
4. tag a few friends or five, or none at all
5. post these rules — or just have fun breaking them
Even my Wife is Cynical
A friend was telling us about a recent encounter that a mutual acquaintance from our CLB had had — this out of some desire to not let their handling of the coals from the Lakeland fire (or however they put it) fizzle without becoming in some way evangelistic. Our friend thought about a book she picked up about how to stop making God look bad and I characterized it as a drive-by prayer-bombing, but apparently the subject in this case was quite touched and began coming to church. Allowing that God genuinely seems seems used the encounter in this case, I said that I still had a hard time making a pattern of an exception. My wife said that “of course,” this encounter is the one that will be continually touted as a testimonial, ignoring the other “fruitless” encounters (the ones that make God look bad). “Of course,” I replied. “It’s the post-conversion embellishment.” What a phrase, eh? If it resonates, what does that tell you?
June 17th is Firefox Download Day — the Mozilla team is shooting for a world record for the most software downloads in a 24-hour period. Get involved, and download Firefox 3 — a great browser, for free. Come on, all you IE-users, get free and rediscover the web!
I’ve noticed that a lot of emerging church types like to talk about their Macs. Ever notice none of them talk about their PCs unless it’s in an apologetic tone with the notation that they’re misfits or just too old or something… otherwise they would be using a Mac. So I figured I’d break taboo. I am no fan of Windows, and I do not own a Mac. Oh, yes. Purist language coming… those who argue against Microsoft product on moral grounds should really go the whole way and instead of defaulting to Mac, take up the cause of Linux and Free Software. It should be a familiar manifesto… you might say that the GPL, the license under which much of the software is distributed, is simply a legal representation of the phrase, “freely you have received, freely give.” Get it?
I’ve been pretty much too busy to read or write for the past …almost two weeks now. As my friend Bill Kinnon mentioned, the project that’s had me snowed under for that period of time has been the redesign of the Allelon website. There are a few bits and pieces yet to come and some small tweaks to be made, but there it is in all its glory! I came into the project at the 11th hour when most of the design was done, but as Bill mentioned it’s been a large amount of work by a small number of people. The new site is much easier to navigate, and I found all sorts of things that I’d never seen on the old site… and that’s without even browsing through all the articles. We updated some site content today, including a new article by Sally Morgenthaler and a video report from Seabeck and our Missional Order conversations this past October. You’ll find me talking in the video… but that’s not the best part of the eleven-and-a-half minutes. Bill spent a lot of time editing today, and he did a great job… he left me asking, “So, when is the next gathering?”
(RSS readers can click through to this post to view the video.)