this week’s round-up (june 22)

Donald Miller – Be Secretly Incredible.

Interesting comments on Scot McKnight’s post The New Mission Field: The Rural Church – I don’t think it’s quite a simple telling people to come and open a doctor’s office or a grocery store; there are significant economic and cultural factors that have led the the situation rural communities currently find themselves in, but I do agree with the overall spirit of the piece. Just like he need to remember the “places abandoned by the empire” like Detroit, we also need to recognize that rural communities aren’t without their own set of challenges.

Preaching Hell Without Fire and Brimstone.

A Court Ordered Letter from Dora the Explorer’s Mother. (A couple objectionable words in there for the sensitive, but still a pretty funny article).

Dan Dick reflects on his Annual Conference in The Unforgiving, but I imagine his comments apply to most Annual Conferences. It wasn’t quite this bad in Detroit, but there were hints of the “everyone’s a victim” mentality – and there is a definite need for grace and forgiveness on both sides.

Related: Great quote from Henri Nouwen on Forgiveness.

Lifehacker’s guide to Maintaining Facebook Privacy.

Andrew Conrad outlines 6 Options for Church Online. Option 4 is the one I find myself most interested in at the moment – especially in terms of how the larger, regional churches can help resource rural congregations through things like streaming sermons (or full worship experiences). This has the option to provide solid preaching at low cost to congregations that are struggling to pay a full-time salary in a denomination that is experiencing a dramatic wave of retiring clergy. Of course, when I consider it in the context of the Scot McKnight post above, it makes that consideration a little more difficult – it’s a temporary solution to a problem caused by a larger cultural shift, but I could also see how it could be interpreted as “giving up” on the smaller rural churches. I suspect there is a “third way” in all this that is more akin to our Methodist roots of itinerant preachers and congregations that were primarily lay led while the elder served the other churches of the circuit, but I still don’t have a clear idea of what that might look like.

Teresa Cho – 10 Ways Pastors Muck it Up. Powerful, honest accounting of the mistakes we make in pastoral leadership.

Interesting video on a church that uses texting as an interactive tool in worship to ask questions & get feedback. It was also interesting when I saw this same video posted on facebook, and the initial wave of responses to it were very negative – how this is just one more distraction, and preaching shouldn’t involve answering questions, etc. I get that there is a potential downside to this, but overall I see it as a creative way to engage the congregation.

I’ve really enjoyed Fred Clark’s Slactivist blog since I discovered it a couple years ago, and my thoughts and prayers go out to him now that he’s been laid off in Gannett’s recent cutbacks.

Warning: This will raise your blood pressure: Draw a circle around the one God loves the most. (I’d choose the cat).

In terms of the song itself, I like Matt & Kim’s “Cameras” better, but this is a great video – “Block After Block”: