Tech consultant turned priest.

Give your idea a chance

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

Sid O’Neill:

You think about it whilst you’re mowing the lawn. A couple things occur to you and you realize that actually the first idea you had was OK, but really it’s just part of a larger idea. That larger idea is something you haven’t ever considered. It seems pretty fresh. You ponder it some more, think of a couple nice analogies that help explain the concept.

Boredom, which is the enemy of technology, provides furtile soil for curiosity and imagination.

Still on Path

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

 

Many people are mocking the sale of Path, a social network founded on the principles of privacy, intimacy, and intentionality. That's fine. I understand folks were burned by Path's pitch of being an escape from the ad driven business models of Facebook and Twitter. The problem is that Path didn't come up with an alternative business model that actually makes money. App.net was a similar failed experiment.

I'll continue to use Path, though. The reason is simple. The ten active users who I am friends with on Path happen to be family members. Our parents and siblings are all on it. We post daily. We post pictures of kids, thoughtful comments, current movie viewing, and even the occasional location check-in. We like Path.

Twitter is contextless communication that is increasingly losing interest to me and will never appeal to my mom. Facebook is a reminder of the wide bredth of political opinions held by my acquaintances. What I like about Path is its focused audience. The sad truth, though, is that intentionally small networks don't make the dollars. My family and I cannot sustain Path's San Francisco based staff for the long haul, especially since none of us are paying members. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe we all should pony up.

But, there is a reason why I never give Path dollars. Their inventory is entirely made up of virtual sticker packs. You know, images of Power Rangers and barfing dogs that you can embed into a post. Oh, I almost forgot; they also sell photo filters that can make my pictures look like they have overlays from the Matrix or whatever. I believe in supporting developers by paying for their services, but if that means buying tangential products that provide zero intrinsic value, then no thanks. Sticker packs and photo filters are lame attempts at making money no matter what the other underlying principles being championed by Path, Inc. I will not spend my dollars on sticker packs.

Give me useful features that make Path even more of a knock out solution for families who want to keep in touch without the boat load of carp from the Facebook. I have dollars waiting to go to Path when they add features like profile pages, photo albums, and event sharing.

But that won't happen. And that's fine. Because for the time being, my family and I just want to share our daily happenings without complication. Until Path ceases to make that simple, we'll be around.

God and Country

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

From Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis:

Let him begin by treating the patriotism or the pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the ‘cause’, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war effort or of pacifism.

The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes and crusades matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours – and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours.

On denominational superiority

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

Alan Jacobs:

When the proponents of one Christian tradition assume that it holds in its hands all the resources needed for the flourishing of the church, and when we read other traditions in reductive and simplistic ways, then we are unnecessarily impoverishing ourselves and weakening our cause.

As one of my mentors would say, "We are all different regiments in God's army." Many bemoan the fact that we have so many different denominations, but one thing I drew from my experiences at an inter-denominational seminary, Beeson Divinity School, is that each regiment has specialties that serve the greater community of God.

I see at least two benefits. First, I need the voice of my Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Pentacostal, and Prebyterian brothers and sisters to make sure that I stay true to the core doctrines of Christian faith. The histories and cultures of other denominations provide a unique perspective from which my own theological and pragmatic blind spots can be spotted. If I ever sway from orthodox belief, my friends will steer me back on course.

Second, diversity inspires innovation. The problems I face in my own life and the life of our church are well aided by the voices of other travelers. As long as we hold tight to the essentials of our faith, then we become more willing to listen to each other's thoughts and solutions. My tradition might not have a history that fully equips me for addressing every issue, and so I can borrow from the experiences of others.

And as Jacobs points out, we're especially going to need each other as we move into this next era of God's people.

“I condemn those heinous killings, but…”

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

Alan Jacobs:

The first thing I note, at any rate, is a tone of exasperation: I can’t believe I have to say this. But why do you have to say it? Obviously: because if you didn’t, people would think, from the rest of your post or essay, that you don’t have a big problem with the murder of the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo.

Finding the Right Book of Common Prayer for You

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

We put together a quick starter’s guide to finding the right Book of Common Prayer for you. Below, you’ll find descriptions and links that should help you as you consider owning your own BCP, or looking into other helpful liturgical resources.

A quick guide from the staff of our church.

It stops today.

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

Patrick Rhone:

It was something Eric Garner said before the choking. It was a statement of defiance. One spoken by a proud man who was tired. Tired of being stopped and harassed for little more reason than being Black in America. A tiredness experienced by far too many who suffer the same. If I were Eric Garner, I would want to be remembered for standing up and saying “It stops today. ” Not for being wrestled to the ground and choked out but for standing tall and proud and asserting my rights as a citizen and a human being. I would want that to be a rallying cry of protest. I would want that to become the song of freedom that brings long sought justice to those being oppressed.

Opionions regarding Eric Garner are all over the board, but one thing we will all agree on is that there is injustice in our land. Today is as good as any for it to stop. How will you do your part?

Race and Justice

Added on by Rick Stawarz.

Tim Keller:

These events show again how deeply race shapes the way we see life, understand justice, and relate to one another. In the Old Testament book of Amos, and elsewhere in the Bible, we see that God holds all nations accountable for how they treat the least powerful groups and persons in their societies. As U.S. citizens, we in Redeemer leadership join with many others who, while honoring the members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line each day, nonetheless call for changes to our justice system so that it works more fairly and equitably for everyone. As Christians, we can do two additional things. First, we must pray—that God would bring our nation both peace and justice. Second, those who are not members of racial minorities, and who are therefore not as directly touched by these issues, must refuse to let themselves be unconcerned or too busy to care. We must remember that we were saved by the one who was excluded and crucified outside the gate. We should spend time listening to voices that we may have previously ignored and embracing the call to work for reconciliation and right relationships in our city. In this advent season, we are called to look to the Lord’s coming by an examination of our hearts and in hope for a day when all things will be made new.