I reviewed The Shack about a year and a half ago, and posted my interview with Paul Young shortly after that. The book has just now dropped from the top spot on the bestseller list, and has sold 7½ million copies. After being rejected by 22 publishers. Yes, well, what did they know? Anyway, George Strombolalphabetsoup recently had William Paul Young on The Hour for a bit of an interview. Too bad George’s guests all get turfed after 10-15 minutes of fluff — the boy could be a great interviewer if they’d let him show his chops. Good discussion nonetheless, with some great lines. What is God like? “It took me fifty years to wipe the face of my father off the face of God.”
Yesterday afternoon, the Autumnal Equinox occurred, summer ended, and fall began in the northern hemisphere where I reside. I noticed this today when Google‘s logo changed to a fall theme for the day. The fall colours have begun to emerge… wait, can I still use that word? The emergent leaves are beginning to turn… uh… I’m enjoying the fall colours. And in an apparently unrelated turn of events, the new issue of Next-Wave is out, with a cover story titled Emerge-ed?, which may possibly sound familiar, as I wrote and published it here a few weeks ago. The post takes a kind of summary view of the discussion around the abandonment of the term “emerging” or “emergent” with perhaps even an insight or two of my own in there. The post received some linkage and clearly resonated with a number of people… which I think might be fully attributable to the way it rides the coattails of a cult classic for which I’ve unwittingly awakened some kind of craving.
In my reading of Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, I came across his brief mention and discussion of social capital, which he takes from Harvard Sociologist Robert Putnam’s 2000 book, Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In fact, Putnam didn’t originate the term in his 1995 article, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” nor the book it became. The modern use of the term is ascribed to Jane Jacobs in the 60′s, but it goes back to 1916 when L.J. Hanifan described it as
When I first began my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth a year ago, I had no idea that it would run this long. I thought it would probably run several weeks, a few months — six, maybe nine — and I’d run out of material. I had no idea until I began looking back into old hymnals that we had sung so many hymns that remain familiar to me even today… even though I’m not often in a hymn-singing context anymore.
Maybe everyone else already knew, but I “discovered” a treasure trove of addresses on YouTube, a series of archived Google Talks. Almost as much fun as TED. I mentioned the work of Philip Zimbardo (Or “Dr. Z”) a couple of months back, discussing The Lucifer Effect: Why Good People do Evil, which is pretty much the title of his new book. Yesterday, I referred to bad apples being the creation of bad barrels as a metaphor for the way in which bad systems can corrupt good leaders, resulting in the abuse of the people within those systems. The metaphor comes from Dr. Z’s talk at Google.
Sometimes you pick up the most interesting tidbits in unexpected places. Like when you’re watching The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos, and Valerie Bertinelli is on to talk about her new book, Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time, and they get sidetracked. Follow the links to see the video and learn that Schneider’s moustache on One Day at a Time was glued on every week. Then they get onto politics.
VB: I’m already in trouble, some people don’t even want to read my book because I say one bad thing about George Bush.
On Friday I caught the tail end of an interview with Anne Harrington on CBC’s The Current. Harrington is the author of The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine. I’m sure I wouldn’t be down with all the ideas in her book, but a salient bit at the end was the discussion of “the placebo effect“. Harrington asserts that the telling of your story is part of the placebo effect — as is the visit to the doctor itself, before he’s even done anything for you. It works, she says, simply because we believe in western medicine. In response to the interviewer’s next question, she suggested that yes, the placebo effect would work even without the doctor.
A lot of people are linking to or embedding an excellent interview with Eugene Peterson, so I either hat-tip everyone or no-one as I follow suit. The interview was conducted at the 2007 Writer’s Symposium by the Sea sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University. The video runs barely shy of a half hour, during which Peterson comments on story (a theme around here) as well as things such as translating the beatitudes, reading fiction, and being quoted by Bono.
There’s also a 56-minute interview with Anne Lamott which I haven’t seen yet, but I’m sure will be good when I carve out the time.
This morning I caught an interesting segment on CBC’s The Current, with Anna Maria Tremonti interviewing Philip Zimbardo (RealAudio). Similar to the Milgram Experiment, Zimbardo has explored the question of what makes otherwise good people act evil, stepping well beyond their own ethical boundaries. The segment intro:
The Current: The Lucifer Effect
As we carry on in our Johannine Advent blogging through my Advent Daily Office with the prologue to John’s gospel, we arrive at a pair of fairly significant verses… I might even say favorites, and if the structure of the passage didn’t convince me otherwise I might say that verse 14 is the climax of the passage. Well, in many ways it is the thematic climax, but the main point is yet to come. Verses 9-10 and 14 are linked in their subject matter, both positively and negatively. In 9-10 the Word comes into the world he created but his people don’t recognize him; in verse 14, he “pitches his tent” among his people and at least some recognized him and “beheld his glory.”
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.)
We’re kidless this weekend, as the munchkins are camping out with their grandparents, my in-laws, just for something to do. What would you do with a kidless weekend? We booked ours up with two brunches, an evening out with friends for Chinese food, and are watching the timetables for the nearby second-run movie theatre. While we do that, I’m leaving you with a whole boatload of reading to do. This is far more than my usual collection of links (my largest yet), but let’s just say that on more than one occasion in the past week, I discovered that Google Reader can’t count past 1,000 unread items. You want to know how much reading (skimming, let’s be honest) you have left, and it just doesn’t know. I’m caught up now, but it probably won’t last. It never does.