And when we meet on a cloud, I’ll be laughing out loud…

Lots of links catching my eye this week…

Want a cool-looking desktop? Check out Map->Image for interesting map-based images. My current desktop is this watercolor version of the Detroit metro area:

Wil Wheaton: It’s about looking back at those adventures and remembering the people who had them with you.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove: Growing Towards Community

Miles Kahn: A GOP Strategist Suggests New Talking Points

LaRay Quy: 3 Things You Should be Able to Say About Yourself.

Scot McKnight: Introverts and Language.

Bishop Scott Jones on Security of Appointment and Vital Congregations

Last week it was announced that the United Methodist Publishing House would be closing all it’s bricks-and-mortar store and focusing exclusively on it’s online presence. Jay Voorhees writes a great piece on this, and practically echos my thoughts exactly. As Jay says:

“No, the loss isn’t about losing a bookstore. It’s about losing a store focused on outfitting the needs of churches and pastors. I didn’t visit Cokesbury to buy books, but rather to pick up products, often at the last minute, that I needed in worship. I would look up the week before Advent and realized that I had forgotten to order the Advent wreath candles and so I would run to Cokesbury to get a set. Cokesbury was the place where new clergy went to be fitted for robes and albs, and the staff there could offer their insight on the best practices and fit. I would visit Cokesbury to scan the available curricula, to search for church supplies, and to check out the latest clergy stole. And yes, sometimes I would even buy books – usually by looking in a particular category and guided by the curation of the staff in what was available on the shelf. Cokesbury was and is a supplier, but it’s also been a destination when I’ve needed to find resources to help the ministry of my church.”

I don’t know the economics of this decision – I know for small business and bookstores everywhere it is increasingly more difficult to compete. Beyond those last-minute-supplies and the chance to page through books that offer a much broader theological scope than Lifeway or Family Christian bookstores, Cokesbury also provided a place for clergy to gather, run into each other unexpectedly and catch up, and I think that loss will also be felt. At the same time, there hasn’t been a Cokesbury store in Michigan for two years, and all that’s done is kept me from using Cokesbury at all. Their website, simply isn’t good, and short of a miracle, they can’t compete with Amazon, so going forward, the only thing they now have to offer will be a few Methodist specific items – like baptism and confirmation certificates… oops, it looks like Amazon has those too.

Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary: Jesus in Cougar Town.

Adam Walker Cleveland: Why (Some) Pastors Should Regularly Drink in Pubs.

Dan Dick: The De-Loved Community:

“But I would much rather live together in the ambiguity of our ability to comprehend the mind of God than to be at war with brothers and sisters whom God intends me to love. My vision to include all people is not a ploy to exclude some. When I talk about acceptance I don’t mean tolerance — merely putting up with those who oppose me just to shut them up. I believe we can find a way through our differences to actually enjoy each other!”

Semi-related – Shauna Niequist has a beautiful post on the Storyline blog: A Tip on Learning How to Love – Dive Into Their World.

Google Calendar is my main tools for life organization – I have our family calendars all set to sync together so that Amy and I can easily access them from our phones. In this video Steve Dotto gives a nice overview of some Google Calendar tips (the big tip for me was using the ability to find open times for multiple people – I knew the function was there, but I’ve never tried to use it):

Speaking of Google, check out their latest Transparency Report on the rise of government requests to remove content or hand over user data.

Seth Godin: The Whiners Room also The False-Proxy Trap.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

From Positive Detroit: Detroit is identified as one of the best cities for green jobs.

More Detroit-love – great article on a new start-up in Detroit – how the Shinola name is being reclaimed for quality American-made branding; doesn’t look like I’ll be able to afford one of their watches, but maybe I’ll be able to buy a journal or wallet when the become available.

What if Wes Anderson directed Star Wars?

The big news for indie-music nerds is that Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel has announced a tour, including an upcoming date for Detroit. Here’s a live version of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” from several years ago: