Tony Jones, M. Sue Wilson, & the STFU Campaign

Letter from M. Sue WilsonTony Jones is tenacious, I’ll give him that. But tenacity is not always a good thing, especially if your end goal is as misguided as his. The ToJo Narcissist News of the Week this week the letter bearing the upside-down-Nike-swoosh-logo-letterhead of his lawyer, one M. Sue Wilson. I was made aware of this letter by Tony’s ex-wife, Julie McMahon, as were a number of other bloggers, one of whom has posted a copy in all its glory, with personal information redacted. The letter reminds Julie of a court order that instructs the parties, Tony Jones and Julie McMahon to cease posting about this matter and to remove their past postings, insofar as they are able to remove them. So far, so good. However.

Barack Obama & the Social Pulpit

obama_bbery.jpg 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.

On the Validity of Virtual Community

global-people-link.jpg 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.

New Technology Vexation

htc-touch-diamond.jpg 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.

It was also time to upgrade my desktop PC — Mandriva 2009 has been out a while now, and I finally got around to upgrading the OS. Note: the Mandriva 2009 upgrade does not go smoothly. Somehow as a result of the upgrade, I no longer have a graphical environment, just a command-line, which makes most of my everyday applications a bit of a challenge.

The System vs. The Movement

arlo_guthrie_alice.jpg 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.

Electronic Hermeneutic Tools

logos-software.gif So today I got spammed by Logos software to tell me that their product line now includes a version of Logos Bible software for Mac OS. () I have several responses to this.

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.

2. I know that a lot of people use the Logos software, but I’ve never really given it a serious look because it was always too rich for my blood (current range $150-1380). I realize that the copyrighted works included require royalties be paid, which drives the cost up. I’m not suggesting that the value isn’t there to some degree, but it just always felt steep since if I bothered at all, I’d be into it at some scholarly level, well past the price range for the intro levels.

Brother Maynard, now with 80% More Twitter!

twitterbird.jpg 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.

This has Been a Frayed Political Announcement

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.

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See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Then of course there’s the “alternate” race…

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See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

And if it’s all just too much, you could try another recommendation…

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See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die