Saturday, January 31, 2004

To the Next Level
This is an example of the "bridging" website strategy described in my last blog. This site was referenced in the NY Times article. Great example!
Tucked Behind the Home Page, a Call to Worship
This is an excellent article that presents the "bridging strategy" - that is, a strategy among Christian web designers to attract visitors through secular information. The idea is that you attract a wider audience of people by creating a website about, say, sports. Then you include Christian content that people come across as they explore the site. In my opinion, this lets pre-Christians see how faith can relate to their daily life.

In order to read the article (linked to the title above), you may have to register on the NY Times website, but it's free and it's well worth the time and effort.

We will be having a chat about such things as the bridging strategy and web evangelism at the Aldersgate chat room on Thursday, February 5, at 9:00 p.m. CST. Click on the link to Aldersgate Church to the right of this post, then follow the "community" link to the chat room.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Living Offline
This has been a nice day... one spent not in front of the computer as most of my days are. Sometimes it's refreshing to step out of your world and experience the lives of others. I spent this afternoon with a friend I hadn't seen in a while, just visiting and looking at houses as she contemplates buying. The times we invest in the lives of others are often the most rejuvenating times in our lives. I find that if I'm feeling lazy or depressed or sad or angry (or any number of other negative emotions), it always helps if I take my focus off of ME!

In general, life is just better all around if we're not self-absorbed. As a single person, I find it very easy to get caught up in my own life and forget to consider those around me. It's been good to be reminded today that there is life outside of Melissia.

On another note...
In class we've been talking about the way that Christians should view new media. By "new media" I mean all of the technologies that have been recently developed to mediate communication - whether that's via computers, wireless access, or what-have-you. Anyway, I wrote this little bit of imagery to help explain to my classmates how I see some Christians' experience of new media, specifically online endeavors.
    As a Christian communicator, you have made the decision to step out of the boat. Your boat appears to be an office area. A desk, a chair, a lamp, a computer, a shelf filled with books. The computer itself offers a step up and out onto a new sea of information and opportunity. You know that God has allowed this creation to exist, yet you fear the uncertainty of it. Nonetheless, you see Jesus walking out there, working in and through this new technology, and calling you to do the same, whatever that means. So you step out of the boat and into the stormy sea of cyberspace. The feeling is new and exhilarating – to be walking out upon a substance that really has no substance. It certainly doesn’t have enough mass to uphold your weight. Suddenly, a wave of hate speech threatens from one side. A swirl of pornography is encroaching from the other side. Materialism splashes all around you. An occasional burst of criminal activity streaks across cyberspace, leaving behind it the rumble of fear. Then, troubled by the virtual hurricane of anti-Christian notions and hopeless philosophies, you feel yourself begin to sink. You cry out to Jesus to save you! He doesn’t remove the storm immediately. But He catches you before you drown, asking, “Why did you doubt me?” (See Matthew 14:22-36 for Peter’s water-walking experience.)

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Being Offensive
I've been thinking alot about being offensive lately. Really, I've just been in the mood to be offensive. I know that sounds strange, but sometimes you just feel like ranting about things that you know will tick people off.

For example, I'd like to rant about people in the church being petty and insulting other Christians when they are doing God's work. I'd like to rant about the fact that there are 1000 butts in the seats on Sunday mornings, but no one to help out with the children. I'd like to rant about how non-Christians are never going to see Jesus in us as long as we're arguing with each other. I'd like to rant about how we can't seem to get past "the way it's always been done" in order to reach people that were never reached through "the way it's always been done."

I really would like to go off and offend some people... but I can't. You know why? Because I'd offend myself in the process. I'd step on my own toes and point out my own faults and probably make myself really mad. Then I'd have to admit that my life itself is really offensive. Then I'd have to accept this offensive message: I'm not perfect and someone is going to have to step in before I ruin the world. Aren't you glad Jesus already did?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Wired News: MyDoom Spawns More Potent Variant
If you're concerned about the MyDoom virus, here is an article that should help explain the problems it will cause. Please, please, please... be vigilant in opening attachments. If you fear that you've opened an attachment that contains the virus, please make sure you rid your computer of it by this Sunday, February 1. If you're not sure how to do that, e-mail me and I'll try to help you out.
FitDay - Online Diet & Fitness Manager
This site's pretty cool... you put in all the things you've eaten and all the things you've done and it tells you how many calories you've used and how many you've taken in. That way if you eat a gargantuan piece of chocolate cake you can find out how many miles you have to walk/run to make up for it. Scary, but useful. And it's FREE! Free is our friend.

Sunday, January 25, 2004 - Weblogs
I feel bad for not really blogging regularly. We've been talking about blogging amongst ourselves within the leadership at Aldersgate (see link above), and Steve and Mike are really doing well at keeping up with theirs. I guess I worry that my "journaling" tends to be too personal to want to publish. I guess I'll leave the juicy stuff for my bed-side journals!

Today my thoughts have been on evangelism. We had a live simulcast of Elevate on Saturday. It was a great conference, featuring Victoria Jackson, Peggy Wehmeyer, Kirk Cameron, Janet Parshall, and Josh McDowell. The point of the whole day was to elevate your thinking so that you see people and their situations through God's eyes. There were plenty of tips and ideas for talking with non-Christians about why we believe what we do. It also challenged me to not disregard current events, politics, and the culture around me. I tend to get in my own little world and not keep up with the world around me. But We live in two worlds - the spirit world and the secular culture. If we're not aware of the nuances of the secular culture, we can't connect with people! We were challenged to read up on current events, to be excellent in our chosen field or profession, and not be afraid of being different.

In terms of evangelism, the conference offered some insight into how "feel good" evangelism was not the way that Jesus went about getting people to follow Him. What I mean is... Jesus started by showing people their need - that they were separated from God by sin. Then, once they fully understood their need, they would be more open to listening to the solution: salvation through Jesus. Kirk Cameron was the key speaker on this topic. Kirk and his partner, Ray Comfort, have a ministry, The Way of the Master, which provides some great resources for those of us who are interested in learning more about apologetics.

Anyway... I guess that's enough for now... I need to get back to the books.