this week’s round-up (september 26)

Ron Edmonson on 10 Random Things to Know about Pastors. They are all really good, but I especially appreciate:

Even though I’m teaching it…I may not yet have mastered it…but I’m working on it…

I get nervous every time I start to preach…sometimes sick to my stomach nervous…

Your story probably doesn’t surprise me anymore…but I am never callous towards it…

To my family I’m not a pastor…just a husband and dad…

If you tell me something on Sunday morning…you probably should back it up with an email to remind me…

  • Maps of Racial/Ethnic Populations in U.S. Cities. Check out the depiction of Detroit, based on racial/ethnic identification from the 2000 census (can you guess where 8-Mile is?) (Red = Caucasian, Blue = African American, Green = Asian, Orange = Hispanic, Grey = Other each dot represents 25 people). [Original image here].

  • Race and ethnicity: Detroit

    Great site to find local recycling centers.

    Seth Godin reminds us that the current recession is rooted in a much larger cultural shift. He also has some thoughts on risk-taking, noting:

    The problem with putting it all on the line…

    is that it might not work out.

    The problem with not putting it all on the line is that it will never (ever) change things for the better.

    Not much of a choice, I think. No risk, no art. No art, no reward.

    There’s a really important message for the church in there. 

    Jeremy Smith has some thoughts on Why Every Church Needs Video Engagement. He’s probably right, but I notice feelings of resistance within myself that I can’t quite pinpoint – I think the first main reason is that I’d hate to do video (streaming or podcasts) so poorly that they would be a deterrent to reaching new people and populations (but that’s probably just the perfectionist in me). The second is that I’m still nervous about the idea of a purely “virtual” church where a person’s interaction is only (or primarily) through a computer screen. I say that knowing the irony is that I tend to be tech-obsessed, and would much rather send a e-mail than call someone. Jeremy isn’t even suggesting the virtual church, he’s just recommending another tool, but I fear how that tool might be misused in the future, in a way that reduces the incarnational aspect that is vital to ministry.

    Check out Don Miller’s post on humility.

    I was having a conversation with a clergy friend last night, who was recounting a conversation he recently had about the future on the United Methodist Church. The person my friend was talking to suggested that people my age probably wouldn’t retire from the UMC. Many of the local churches will still be there, but the institutional structure will have collapsed under it’s own weight by then and something new (probably more regional in nature) will have replaced it. I find that difficult to think about – on one hand I think what will come out on the other side will be exciting and a healthier institution, but I know it’s going to be a long painful process to get there, and unfortunately this change isn’t going to come proactively, but as a result of crisis. Then, on my way to church this morning, I listened to this sermon by Adam Hamilton and realized that as long as we carry forward the missional DNA from our Wesleyan roots, we’re going to be okay, even if “the institution” radically changes (or goes away completely).

    (Yes, I am fully aware of the irony of mentioning my concerns about churches using video in the same post where I link to a video of a sermon, AND where Hamilton suggests that this might be part of the future model of church. I’m not really anti-video streaming, I just want it to be done well (which COR does) and I think we need to be asking questions about how the incarnational piece is maintained in a virtual setting (which COR is also considering)).

    Music this week from Belle and Sebastian – their new album (Write About Love) comes out October 12.