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    Entries in Writing (13)


    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.



    This past week I accepted an offer from Collide Magazine to serve as a staff writer.  I will contribute regular content--online articles, blog content, and feature articles for the print edition.  I'm pumped!  I've written freelance for Collide over the past couple of years, and I've enjoyed engaging with church leaders and thinkers in the area of media.  This is such a great opportunity for me, and I look forward to working with Scott McClellan.  He's the boss and uses phrases like "Great Caesar's Ghost!", kinda like this guy.

    I start work March 1, even though I've been dreaming of different ideas to pursue since beginning a conversation with Scott and my friend Jeff back in December.  If you don't know about Collide, check out their website.  Or, if you're a church leader, creative, pastor, or layperson who is interested in church and media, I'd encourage you to subscribe to the print edition.

    If you use Twitter, connect with Collide, with Scott, or with me.  I'm excited.  Great things are ahead.


    Some Cool News :: I Got Published

    Last May the people at Abingdon Press contacted me and asked if I could contribute an article to a church leadership resource that has now been released entitled Becoming a Praying Congregation: Churchwide Leadership Tools.  In the article I was asked to tell the story of 40 Days of Prayer for The United Methodist Church, as well as provide practical guidance for how Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media tools can be used to support and foster the prayer life of a congregation.  I was humbled to be asked to contribute to this project, and after receiving the resource along with a companion prayer guide by Reuben Job, When You Pray: Daily Practices for Prayerful Living, I'm pleased with the final result.  Both books are meant to be used in tandem to help churches think about the vital role prayer should play while engaged in ministry.

    Abingdon has set up a website for the book, where you can visit the contributors page to see my mug shot, along with a short bio I provided to the publisher.  There is a small grammatical error in that bio that I wish someone would have noticed and corrected.  Oh well.  The website states that contributors will be asked to add some content to their blog.  Maybe one day I'll make a contribution there.  If I do I'll be sure to point my friends in that direction.

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