Wednesday, December 30, 2009

85. Legos of beauty and hope

This is a great picture of what it means to be salt and light in the world. These pictures are from Tel Aviv, an area that has felt the brunt of violence and war. There is a small movement called Dispatchwork where people go around with Legos and patch up the holes and craters in walls and monuments with a colorful mosaic of plastic art. It is a refusal to let the effects of war brand an area with destruction.

They are filling in the wounds and scars of war with a creative, beautiful touch of art. It is a testimony that beauty can emerge after tragedy. This is exactly what Jesus does in our lives.

Monday, December 28, 2009

84. The Marathon of Project Managemnt Tools

Thanks to someone leaving a comment on the last post, I was able to learn about a whole host of project management/collaboration tools online, almost all of them FREE!

Check out the post entitled The Marathon List of Project Management

Sunday, December 27, 2009

83. Cool Information and Citation Management Tool

I was recently reminded about the tool Zotero and re-downloaded it onto my laptop. It is right on time as I am becoming increasingly dis-organized in my writing project. I have read so many books that I am starting to forget where the cool stuff is that I have marked out in these books. Zotero allows me to enter these books and "tag" them with terms that I can later search for, bringing those books back up and reminding me that a particular book discusses, say, contextualization of the gospel. Here is the promo video.

Monday, December 21, 2009

80. Slide Share and Innovation at IDEO

As a diagram junky, I always love to come across sites that attract and store other peoples innovative drawings and prototypes. I just recently came across a slideshow about innovation at posted in Slide Share. It is like a youtube for powerpoint presentations. A good resource here not only for visual learners, but also for those who like to hear neat, short summaries of ideas and concepts.

Here tis....

When it comes to innovation, IDEO is...well...I'm speechless really.

Monday, December 14, 2009

79. Missional Eschatology Part 1

Eschatology, the view of last things is finding a much needed resurgence these days. I have always been drawn to apocalyptic movies as a kid. I love the end of the world movies like Deep Impact, and recently 2012. They have a riveting effect on me and fuel my fascination with the future.

What I see in the gospels is a Jesus that was fueled by a vision of the future that was radically breaking into the present. When Jesus said the Kingdom of God was at hand, he was talking about the rule of God. And the future is the only time and place that the rule of God will be consummated. When Jesus healed someone, he was pointing to the future and saying, when the rule of God is consummated, there will be no sickness. When he fed the 5000, he was pointing to the future when all physical needs would be met. When he forgave sins, he was pointing to the future when relationships would not be fractured and we ourselves would not be fractured by our experience of the fallen nature.

When we talk about being missional, we need to, as Hirsch explains in his book ReJesus, recalibrate back to Jesus. But the conversation must go a bit deeper here. Going back to Jesus is a monumental task in and of itself, but once we get there, I think we will be confronted with another question: Where did Jesus get his mission from? When we are trying to understand what our mission is, we go back to Jesus. He embodies and enacts the mission. He is our paradigm. To be missional means to tap into Jesus as the source and energy of our mission. But where did Jesus get his mission from? What was the paradigm he operated in? We tap into Jesus, but what did he tap into?

I think a better way to ask this question is: What was tapping into Jesus? The Spirit of God is what transported that future, New Creation into the present and infused Jesus with the power to embody and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. The future broke into Jesus through the Spirit in a most powerful, yet graceful way. Jesus was apocalyptic, but he was eschatological too. His message of the Kingdom was apocalyptic because it was charged with hope and judgment for the present context, but it also stretched out to encompass the meta-narrative of history, which means it was eschatological. Apocalyptic is eschatology on steroids. Jesus was both because he had a message for the present, but this message was anchored in a future that had yet to be realized. Jesus message of the Kingdom was both apocalyptic and eschatological because he was a portal through which a future rule found a present expression.

When we talk about returning to Jesus we will inevitably run into this amazing subject of the Kingdom of God and eschatology. This should have major implications for the missional conversation. I am grateful for people like NT Wright who have uncovered the sometimes mysterious connection between eschatology and mission. If the mission is understood in the context of Jesus, and Jesus understood his mission in the context of the Kingdom of God, then we have a sort missional-eschatological helix to run through. Will come up with a diagram on this one later.

78. Verge Conference

Headed to this conference called Verge on the first weekend of February. Should be a really cool gig.

Friday, December 11, 2009

76. Symbols and the Construction of Community

Revisited a book I read a while back for the book I am working on about Apostolic Leadership. This guy is so thorough in his analysis about how symbols foster, maintain and hold community together, that it is sort of hard to find a good summary quote. Symbols are those clandestine meaning transmitters and they work in such an ambiguous way that when you stop to look more deeply into how they operate and what it is exactly that they do, you begin to see there power and presence on almost every corner. This quote is from Anthony Cohens book The Symbolic Construction of Community.

"Symbols are effective because they are imprecise. Though obviously not content-less, part of their meaning is subjective. They are, therefore, ideal media through which people can speak a 'common' language, behave in apparently similar ways, participate in the 'same' rituals...wear the same clothes and so forth, without subordinating themselves to a tyranny of orthodoxy. Individuality and community are thus reconcilable. Just as the 'common form' of the symbol aggregates the various meanings assigned to it, so the symbolic repertoire of a community aggregates the individualities and other differences found within the community and provides the means for their expression, interpretation, and containment. It provides the range within which individuality is recognizable. It continuously transforms the reality of difference into the appearance of similarity with such efficacy that people can still invest the 'community' with ideological integrity. It unites them in their opposition, both to each other, and to those 'outside.' It thereby constitutes, and gives reality to, the community's boundaries..."

An interesting question to entertain is, how does the symbol of the gospel function in this way? Symbols are fused with meaning by someone. The strength of symbols is that they can store and communicate multiple meanings at once. Their weakness is that meaning can get away from what produced the symbol in the first place. A good example of this would be the cross. Still a vibrant religious symbol in Christianity, it has been emptied of its original meaning and loaded down with centuries of domestication and cultural baggage. The most vivid display of this would be the prosperity gospel which manages to skirt the cross altogether most of the time, bypassing it for a direct line towards the resurrection, giving it a lopsided theology of naked power and naive triumphalism. Weakness and suffering, non-violent resistance and loving sacrifice seem to escape this particular ideology altogether. Instead, the prosperity gospel liquidates the meaning of the cross and shrinks it down to a purely transactional affair to secure personal salvation and forgiveness. It is a side note to the "power" of "abundant living." The current Protestant versions of the gospel have fallen into this same trap. This is quite a downsizing when compared to the massive implications Paul and other writers of the NT draw from this powerful symbol. Joel green and Mark Baker are quick to point out a foundational source of this tragedy in their book Recovering the Scandal of the Cross.
They say that part of the problem is the way in which we construe the human dilemma. Explanations of the solutions offered by the gospel are directly linked to how we understand the problem. Before Christ the human dilemma was understood within a broad spectrum of categories, including, social, physical, political, emotional, and psychological. The spiritual dimension is always present, but at times it is single voice among many. Explanations of the meaning of the cross need to first wrestle with the entire human situation in relation to God, creation and humanity. The fall reaches into every facet of our existence. It only seems right to expect the gospel, as the power of God for salvation, will speak to these categories. In fact it does. The word salvation is a medical term that is akin to the Hebrew version of shalom. Wholeness and harmony are intimately tied to the gospel, yet they are framed by a crucified messiah. A paradox indeed. The critical flaw in the prosperity gospel is that it approaches the human condition outside the framework of a crucified messiah. It is a contemporary version of the Corinthians "realized eschatology" which wants to live as though the new creation is entirely accessible in the here and now. We live between the times. We have experienced the power of the age to come, but the age to come still has yet to fully "come." We live under the sign of the cross, the spirit transporting the power of the new age into our presence, giving us a foretaste of what is to come. We have to acknowledge this tension. New life has begun, but it has infiltrated a cosmos still suffering from the brunt of the fall.

Apostolic leaders must learn how to embed the gospel in ways that reflect its multiple meanings, guarding and preserving its original potency to speak to the human condition in relation to God, people, systems and the creation.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

75. Daniel Pink on Motivation

I recently read a book by Daniel Pink. This guy is worth listening to.

74. One Stop Shop for Innovation

Found this blog post listing the 7 conferences and events in America that focus on innovation.

Friday, December 04, 2009

72. The Idea Camp

I was just thinking the other day it would be cool if we had a Christian version of are two sights I have seen of late that sort come within the same atmosphere of TED.

The Idea Camp



Innovation is catching on in a lot of circles these days in the Christian community. We desperately need forums like this to explore, share and inspire us into beautiful ventures of love and good news.