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    Entries in Writing (17)

    Monday
    Sep122011

    FaithVillage :: Indexing the Close of the Summer

    Since July I've had a few more posts featured at FaithVillage.  Check it out.

    Thursday
    Jun232011

    Excited. "The Right Way to Disagree" Published at RelevantMagazine.com

    I was glad to discover via Twitter that RelevantMagazine.com published an article I submitted under the title "the Right Way to Disagree".  I am thrilled.  Here is my conclusion: 

    John 13:35 reminds us, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This includes loving one another enough to speak the truth. It means loving one another enough to ask hard questions, to be picky about the details and to take care that our words and actions are truly Christian. As Stanley Hauerwas has reminded us, living as a Christian requires learning a language that encompasses what we say and what we do.

    We may not be of one mind, but we can be of one heart. If we hold our love for Christ in common, God has given us all the time we need to work out our differences and disagreements. In those difficult moments, we must trust that, though we can’t see it, God’s Kingdom is bigger than our corner.

    You can read the rest here.  Share with your friends.  I hope you find my words of value, and worthy of discussion.

    Wednesday
    Jun082011

    Like to Write? :: An Interview With Jeff Goins

    I write.  A lot.  And when I'm not writing, I'm usually thinking about writing.  I'm processing ideas, making connections, forming criticism, or affirming the finer qualities of something that I've seen, read, or heard about.

    This inspired me to get in touch with Jeff Goins, who also likes to write.  He is very passionate about encouraging others to write as well.  You can find Jeff's blog here, or you can follow him on Twitter.  I contacted Jeff to ask him a few questions about writing.  What follows is our exchange.

    Hopefully you'll pick up a few tips.  I know I did.

    You write a great deal about writing.  What inspired you to encourage and instruct other people about the craft of writing?

    I started writing on writing, because it was a subject that I felt particularly passionate about. I also wanted to grow as a writer. At first, I thought that this disqualified me from blogging on the craft, but then I found out that many "expert" bloggers on certain subjects (including Problogger) started out as amateurs, wanting to become professionals. I'm finding that I'm in good company; not to mention, the best teachers are learners.

    For many writers, the hardest part is getting started.  Where do you look for inspiration and ideas?

    I look at what's available to me. I consider the following: books I'm reading, movies I've seen, stories that friends have told me, and what's happening in the world. But mostly I look inside myself. What's happening in my life? How is it affecting me? How am I growing as a result of it? What lesson am I supposed to learn?

    What about discipline?  I know that many writers struggle with procrastination.  What are some of the best ways to make sure you sit down to actually do the work?

    I'm terrible at discipline, but here's where I land on that: Just make a covenant to do SOMETHING every day. I wrote over 1000 words the other day, responding to a 15-minute daily writing challenge. I was amazed! I just try to write a little every day. From Pressfield to Grisham to King, I hear this idea resonated amongst some of the most successful and motivated writers of today. It's not about quality or quantity; it's just about doing it. Every single day.

    Whose writing do you really enjoy?  What bloggers or authors do you find stylistically compelling?  Do you model yourself after anyone in particular?

    For books, I like Hemingway, Donald Miller, and C.S. Lewis. For blogs, I enjoy Seth Godin (of course), Michael Hyatt, and Keith Jennings. In terms of who I'm trying to model myself after, I tend to write more memoir style in long form (offline) and more like Copyblogger in short form (i.e. blogging).

    Lastly, how would you describe the intersection between your creative work as a writer and your convictions as a Christian?  What does your faith have to do with your work?

    I like what Madeleine L'Engle says about faith and art: All true art is Christian art (my paraphrase). That is, if we believe we are created in the image of a creative God, then we have no excuse not to steward our creativity and use it to change the world. My faith is my work. And my work is my faith.

    Monday
    Jun062011

    8 Ways To Help My Blog

    1. Leave a Comment

    Great blogs are great communities.  Great communities form when there is communication and common passion.  I write about books, theology, technology, media, ministry, church, and culture.  Some of the things I write about are humorous.  Some are serious.  I write about  abstract, philosophical ideas and concrete, practical approaches to the Christian life.  I know there are other people reading my blog who have something important to say, even if it is a word of encouragement like, "nice thoughts" or a brief disagreement, like, "you suck".  I'd prefer the former to the latter.  Let me know you're there.  Be part of creating a community by leaving a comment. 

    2. Connect With Me On Twitter/Facebook

    I like to connect with readers/leaders.  Twitter and Facebook have been great for that reason.

    Find me on Twitter.

    There are two ways to connect with me on Facebook.  Add me as a friend, or become a fan of my page that is dedicated to my writing.

    3. Subscribe Via RSS

    Click here to subscribe to my blog.  RSS (really simple syndication) enables you to receive blog updates via email or through a blog reader, like Google Reader.

    4. Share The Blog With Others

    If you read something here that you find interesting or of value, share it with others.  Link to the GOOD stuff (I'm serious about this).  Link to the posting from your blog, share the link on Facebook, or put it on Twitter.  Boost the signal.

    5. Submit Questions and Comments Via Email

    In the left hand column there is a submission form, or click here to send me an email.  I may write something you disagree with, or something you find compelling, or something you'd like to hear more about.  Questions or comments from you can serve as a great springboard for discussion, and if you give me an idea to blog about, with your permission, I'll give you credit for spurring my thinking.

    6. Form a Partnership

    Are you a publisher, content producer, or provider of a important service relating to theology, church, and media?  I like to read.  I like to write reviews.  Contact me if you'd like to discuss a partnership.

    7. Invite Me to Guest Blog

    Do you have a blog?  If you're looking for someone to help create content, invite me to come and post.  Give me a topic or a book to review, a word count, and a little about your readership, and I'd be glad to discuss being part of your blog community.

    8. Hire Me

    I like to write.  Getting paid helps me to put more time in to reading and writing.  Contact me if you're looking for someone to create content, read/edit/respond to a manuscript, or compose supplementary material for something you are working on, such as discussion/study questions.

    Wednesday
    Nov102010

    Writer in Transition

    For the past couple of years I have contributed to Collide Magazine.  It has been great work, with creative people, and has generated a number of stimulating conversations.  There is a much intellectual work to be done in the realm of church and media, and Collide has been a forum where I've been able to express some of the things I think about.  Scott McClellan and the community that has formed around our web and print content have been incredibly patient and encouraging as I've given my perspective, even when what I've chosen to write about has been more on the philosophical than practical side of ministry.

    As those who follow the magazine know, an announcement was made in mid-October that Collide is nearing an end.  This leaves me at a point of transition, looking for more work, not only because the pay was nice, but also because having a regular outlet for the expression of ideas, and the pressure of a deadline, helped me to be creative.

    So, on the professional end, I'm bummed to no longer have regular work.  I'm proud of the work I've done with Collide, and very proud of what the magazine as a whole has accomplished.  But, as I said during a phone conversation with Matt McKee regarding the demise of the magazine, "It sucks."

    On the personal end, contributing to Collide has helped me to realize that though I don't consider myself a technology and computer nerd, I'm passionately engaged with the development and proliferation of media and web-based tools.  There is an interesting culture that has emerged on the web that has been furthered by wide-spread internet access and an increase in smart-phones with mobile web capabilities.  There is an entire class of church leaders who, by virtue of their digital presence, concern themselves with more than just a local discourse or a local community.  Most of those people I have encountered who use these tools come from the evangelical world, serving large churches or ministries.  The content they generate is not only for their particular context, but is intended to influence a wider subculture.

    This is most definitely a reality to be celebrated.  Connectivity encourages the spread of ideas.  My thinking has been challenged and stimulated thanks to blogs, Twitter, etc.  But oftentimes I consider the thousands of people who have little interest in web-based tools, and are uninvolved in any discourse outside those that concern their family, their small community, and their small parish church.  Not everyone dwells in web-space, not even those of younger generations, at least not to the same degree I do.  And one of the dangers of using web-based tools is that it is typical of human beings who follow certain trends and use certain devices to expect everyone else to do the same.  If we use email, and check it on our phones, others should do the same.  Technological snobbery, is what I have come to call it.

    I've also learned that church leaders are highly pragmatic, and few are deeply interested in philosophical matters that might undergird our use of technology.  There are some who are interested in these things, but not a majority.  Content delivery and excellent user-experience are the most important factors in measuring success.  And the more people that access the church via technology, or the more excellent the church's use of technology becomes, the better.  Whether or not the technology itself is a helpful medium on the whole, and avoids negative influence on existing facets of church ministry, is only a minor concern.  If a service can be delivered or designed to be technologically accessible via the web or through a smart-phone device, then it has to be done.  If worship can be live-streamed on the net, then we should do it.  It's one more avenue for content delivery.  Throughout the history of the evangelical movement, there has been a strong trend for taking advantage of new technologies and delivering the message through as many avenues as possible.  The "new media" is no exception.

    Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I've learned that the Christian community is more vibrantly alive than critics both inside and outside the church may be willing to admit.  I have hope for the church, because I have met many leaders and thinkers who are doing excellent work.  The diversity of theological perspectives, core commitments, and methodologies vary, but the love for Jesus and the love for people is widespread regardless of denomination or movement.  There is a lot of health within the church.  This does not mean that challenges are completely absent.  They are manifold.  But there are passionate people doing great work all across the United States.  And God is faithful.

    As I look into the future, I hope to continue participation in this great conversation that is Christianity.  I don't know what the outlet will be.  Maybe it will be this blog and my local community.  But I hope for more than that.  My standard M.O. is to wait and see what the Lord has in store.  

    I expect to be surprised.