There’s been something of a general malaise going around lately… people tired with blogging, tired with the emerging church, tired with missional, or tired with “the conversation.” People accuse these conversations of being the “same old, same old” or a number of other things, including being exclusive or exclusionary or being made up of people who only talk and don’t ever do the things they talk about. Perhaps you can call to mind a recent post or two or five that runs along these lines — I know I can. I’m not linking them because I’m not specifically responding to them… I’ve had similar conversations and emails and read comments along these lines as well. And of the posts we can both call to mind, there are some folk who I highly respect and who (ironically?) are an important part of the conversation… even if they tire of it at times. And some of what they say in these posts is correct. On the other hand, one reply in a group email thread this past week discussing this phenomenon said simply:
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 case you’re wondering, I’m tinkering my way toward a new theme design. For something different, I thought I’d do the development live, which means that as I start out there is very little here for styles. This approach lets you watch it evolve over time, and should help me catch any trouble areas as they occur. One oddity that I’ve found already is an inordinately high number of database queries occurring — in the hundreds, in fact, when there should be something in the low double-digits. Normally this is caused by plugins, but disabling plugins and changing over to an effectively blank theme hasn’t eliminated that problem, which is the reason the blog loads much more slowly than it should.
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.
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.
Over the past 4+ years, I think only two or three days have gone by where I haven’t posted. That’s a pretty good record — but not perfect. When that much time passes and I haven’t posted, I feel I’m neglecting the blog, and if I let one or two days go by, it’d be easy to let a week go by without posting. On the other hand, I’m trying to say things actually worth reading rather than posting just for the sake of typing practice.
Part of the issue is that I’ve had very little time to read blogs… I haven’t been “caught up” with blogreading since September, but the last month or so has been worse than usual. I guess I know how Bob Hyatt feels, to one degree or another. And for the record, Bob, I do have a ponytail and graying hair. I got this far, and you’ll get here too. Just pray that when you do, you’ll be smarter than I am. ;^)
9rules is a collection of blogs representing good writing in a variety of categories. As they put it, “We find the best content from the independent web and pull it all together in one location.” And the 9 rules? Those are:
2. Never stop learning.
3. Form works with function.
4. Simple is beautiful.
5. Work hard, play hard.
6. You get what you pay for.
7. When you talk, we listen.
8. Must constantly improve.
9. Respect your inspiration.
I can go with those… hopefully without stretching too far, as they’re generally ideals I already hold. Oh — and I feel a blog redesign coming on. I think I’ve been using this theme for two years now. It’s got a couple of rough edges I never did finish off, but I find I’m growing tired of it these days. In any event, this design (and the new one, should I actually get around to it) will now sport the 9rules logo along with my other networks.
I’ve upgraded my WordPress install from 2.2.3 right up to 2.7 now, including updates to several plugins and a few plugin changes as well (add this, drop that). Turns out I had an improper MySQL query, and the changes I’ve made seems to have overwritten it. Like the shoemaker’s son who wanders around town in the worst shoes of all, I keep falling behind in the updates to my own website. Kind of embarrassing how long I let it slip because of some necessary database changes that I wanted to avoid. I won’t be doing that again.
Please report any weirdness or let me know if you see significant issues at all… but most significantly, everyone should see a marked performance increase. This is the main thing I’m after with these changes, as well as some of the back-end improvements in WordPress. While I was at it, the astute reader may notice I’ve shortened the website urls. But don’t worry, all the old links still work.