Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 in books

In no particular order..
1. The Making of a Leader
2. The Tipping Point [post]
3. The Journey of Desire
4. The Multi Site Revolution [post]
5. The End of Poverty [post]
6. God On Mute
7. Off Road Disciplines [post]
8. The Big Idea
9. Not Much Just Chillin' - The Hidden Life of Middle Schoolers [post]
10. The Wisdom of Crowds
11. Mavericks at Work
12. The Forgotten Ways
13. Deep Survival [post]
14. Soul Cravings
15. Into The Wild
16. Deadly Viper Character Assassins [post]
17. There's A Sheep in My Bathtub [post]
18. Mindset [still in progress]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Orbiter Reading - December #2

::: Planning Rwanda
Link via My Heart's in Accra
If some of the dreams for Rwanda come to fruition, what are some elements one could capitalize upon to make Christ following communities a reality there?

::: Graphic - State of the Church in England via TSK
What observations can you make based on some of the graphs?

2007 in cities

1. Leesburg, VA, USA
2. Ocoee, FL, USA
3. The Animal Kingdom, FL, USA
4. Baltimore, MD, USA
5. Hagerstown, MD, USA
6. Malvern, PA, USA
7. Fairfield, CT, USA
8. Fulton, MD, USA
9. Vienna, Austria, Europe
10. Sopron, Hungary, Europe
11. Munich, Germany, Europe

I have to get out more next year...

[Related: 2006 in cities]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You Are Legend

In 2009, a deadly virus burned through our civilization pushing humankind to the edge of extinction. Dr. Robert Neville dedicated his life to the discovery of a cure and the restoration of humanity. On Sept 9, 2012 at approx 8.49 pm he discovered that cure. And at 8.52pm he gave his life to defend it. We are his legacy, this is his legend.
This is one of the best films of late that is a redemptive analogy.

In a slight twist on the title, we are taking some of our SPACE-invested Seniors away in January and calling it, "You Are Legend." It's got the same flavor and idea - if you were the only person left on earth, if you were the last hope for humanity, if the destiny of mankind were up to you, could you do it? My personal bet is that some of these seniors will become legends.

Tell you more about the Senior expedition later. In the meantime, go see the movie and take some good notes on what the story is saying about meaning and destiny.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Blessings on this holiday season to you all.

We have family visiting this week, and our girls are in some Christmas kids programs at church later today. It's been a fun weekend so far.

Here is to hoping your Christmas season is refreshing as well, so that we can all get a break, spend time with family and friends and get back to it - you know, redeeming humanity. As John Eldredge says, "Spiritually speaking, this is no silent night. It is D-Day."

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Dear Kt,

Enjoy the celebration. Because...
In a ten years, you have:
- dreamed bigger than I did in 15.
- shared your soul with more people than I did in 20.
- traveled more to see God's mosaic of cultures and peoples than I did in 25.
- cared more about the marginalized than I did in 30.
- lived more in adventure, unknown and mystery than I did in 30.

God has done something miraculous in 10. I can't wait to see the rest of it.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Passion and Optimism Packaged in the XO

The international office has had it's XO for a few days now and we've certainly had some fun with it. Overall, it's been a very positive experience and the XO is going to be a tool that we will continue to use. Here are some quick highlights:

: The overall unit looks like a toy but is solid and sturdy.
: The keyboard is tiny, but you get used to typing with your index fingers.
: The screen is bright and clear.
: I plugged a USB wireless mouse into it and it worked instantly.
: Connecting to any wireless access point is simple. You have to click on the appropriate icon in your Neighborhood view. If you have a secured access point, it prompts you for your key code. Your key code is not kept permanently though, so every once in a while, you do have to re-enter it.
: It's not super fast but definitely adequate.
: Most of what I have used it for is web stuff. Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, simple stuff like that. Uploading large files, like pictures to flickr or attaching a file to an email sometimes works really fast and sometimes not at all. I will definitely be using it when I travel for this same kind of stuff - short email, quick blog posts, etc. I just loaded the Opera browser on it this evening and it runs much faster than the default browser. It also has tabs, your favorite Firefox keyboard shortcuts and bookmarks. That is going to be much more fun.
: I had to cold restart a few times when the machine got hung. I just unplugged it and pulled the battery out.
: The Sugar GUI is very intuitive. My kids started composing music with TamTamJam in the first five minutes they had it.
: Moving files from an SD card to the internal flash memory back and forth is easy with the Journal activity. There is no hard drive.
: I attended the OLPC DC Learning Party earlier this week where there were about 40 people, half of them with XOs. I was able to see and 'friend' a lot of people within the mesh network there and two people at my table were able to get the Chat and Write activities [an application is called an activity] shared across the network. It was a lot of fun and really helpful to learn from others using the XO.
: Speaking about the learning party - every person there was a serious geek and proud of it. Not only that, every person there was just as serious about international development, education and fighting poverty. The cast of characters that I met included linux administrators; network engineers; college students; those interested in collaborative education; a guy who started a nonprofit to get XOs to classrooms in Nepal; and a group of ladies interested in partnership for the underprivileged in College Park, Maryland AND Guinea. And the organizer was Wayan, who was involved with the Geekcorps international tech-development organization and is now a director with Mercycorps and the publisher of OLPC News. In other words - it was an amazingly inspiring group of people to be around. Another real life example of cause creating community.

All in all, the XO is tons of fun and definitely usable for light web stuff. The XO will probably not be your tool of choice if you've got some heavy lifting to do and have the option of working on a 'normal' computer. The bigger scope here is of a tool that is innovative and creative in order to go against the status quo. And like they said of Jeffrey Sachs - optimism and passion. That is what the XO is about.

Photo: From the DC learning party.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday RocketFuel

::: Some view Europe's most diverse city, Marseille, as a laboratory of the continent's future
Link via The Where Blog

::: Alan Hirsch joins the leadership of Christian Associates International
If you are thinking of a future in cross cultural service, CAI should be on your short list too.
[Related - 2007Hungary]

::: LA and Gangs

Monday, December 17, 2007

Book Review - There's a Sheep in My Bathtub

Brian Hogan, the author of "There's a Sheep in My Bathtub", contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing his book. He sent me a copy and the book is certainly a lively narrative of one American family's journey around the world in an effort of reaching those that are literally unreached.

Those of you that enjoy this blog would likely enjoy Brian's book as well. As you learn about the Hogan's story, fundamental cross cultural concepts such as partnership, contextualization, leadership, and team dynamics are all illustrated. Theirs is a story that is inspirational, challenging, and at times, totally heartbreaking. It details the crazy things some people do when they are compelled by a love for others and is a total example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
When I train new church planters headed for unreached people groups, I tell then that if they are successful, the churches that result will make the church planters uncomfortable. If a church takes on an indigenous character, then it will be outside the comfort zone of the apostolic messengers. It will seem weird to the missionaries.
Uncomfortable, apostolic, weird - yup, you would like this book too.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

First Post from the XO

just got it. pretty intuitive. keyboard is really small. D said arent you glad you provided one for someone in a developing country. yup.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Freakonomics Thinks About Urbanization

Some fun reading in a quorum on urbanization hosted by Freakonomics. [MichelleK, freakonomic fan - are you reading this?]
:: In virtually every affluent nation on earth, the old Nineteenth-century industrial cities have exploded outward, allowing densities to plummet at the core as residents move further and further out into low-density suburbia and a very low-density exurban penumbra around that. The city of Paris today has a third fewer residents than it did a century ago, and the suburban and exurban territory around it leapfrogs more or less from the English Channel to Burgundy.

:: The suburbs, for the most part, are toast. They have three possible outcomes in the twenty-first century: as slums, salvage yards, or ruins.

:: Cities are full of poor people because cities attract poor people, not because cities make people poor. Millions of the least advantaged come to urban areas not because cities are bad for them, but because cities are good for them. The opportunity to trade and connect offers a brighter future for rural migrants who come to the outskirts of Mumbai. Cities also often have public transit and a social safety net that is not available elsewhere.

:: Metropolitan areas, including suburbs, are much more ethnically diverse than they used to be. One person living alone (single, widowed, or divorced) represents the predominant household type in suburban areas today. The suburban male breadwinner family with a stay-at-home mom and two children living in a peaceful three-bedroom colonial with a leafy yard predominates only in reruns of old sitcoms.
And about that last sentence, the Sheng sitcom includes two dogs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Soul Cravings YouTube Trailer

::: The World's Worst Places to Be a Kid

::: The Four Essential Travel Phrases
435 languages, 242 dialects, and 49 colangs.
If you know me, you know that I think the phrase, "Where is the bathroom?" is quite essential...

::: The Blonde Map of Europe

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not Much Just Chillin' - Book Notes

Some of my notes from Not Much Just Chillin' : The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers by Linda Perlstein. A pretty important book to read if you are around middle schoolers much, or as in our case, you have kids near that really fun time of life. If the thought of middle schoolers, as in being around them or parenting them, scares you a bit, this book will scare you more. Luckily for us, the middle school profiled in the book is right around the corner from us. Dear God, if you keep our kids from going to that school, I will going on a missions trip... oh wait ...

p. 5
A few of the parents have even read what little ‘literature’ is out on middle schoolers. They’ve learned that their children are about to go through the greatest period of physical and emotional growth, after infancy, that humans experience – years during which no significant part of themselves will go unchanged. They’ve read that the irresponsibility, the selfishness, the boredom their kids are about to exhibit are signs of progression, not regression – no, really. They’ve read to expect contradictions: Children start to fix their values and figure out who they are independent of their families, at the same time they are too timid to set themselves apart as individuals. Twelve-year olds are eager to turn everything into arguments but don’t have the cognitive skills to win them. They are at once submissive and defiant, idealistic and materialistic.
p. 121
...the brain’s emotional and logical control centers are engaged in a tug-of-war. The frontal lobes managing memory and learning also manage emotion, which, being the more developed skill at this point, wins this battle every time. If you’re sad that you rarely see your mom or dad, those emotions literally shrink the space available for your science test.
p. 99
If the Wilde Lake principal could have one wish, it would be for parents and teachers to resist a distance that seems inevitable and draw nearer to their middle schoolers instead. With parents of preadolescents immersed in their own worries … it can be tempting to indulge the "Leave me alone."
But look close, Ms. Thomas says, and you'll see that these budding adolescents, for all their bluster, are still needy children. A better way to think of a preteens changing relationship with her parents is as a reorganization, not a rejection. Wanting to be independent is not the same as wanting to be left alone. She wants to explore; she also wants a safe harbor.
So, I'm reminded that middle schoolers sometimes don't know why they act the way they do, which is sort of reassuring. I'm also reminded that the middle school years is a time of huge, huge change. Change is difficult. And I'm optimistic, both for my own kids and the middle school kids we all know and love. Because change usually equals opportunity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Missionary Heart

The Missionary Heart
Cares more than some think is wise. Risks more than some think is safe. Dreams more than some think is practical. Expects more than some think is possible. - Karen Watson
via Ed Stetzer

Now That is Fresh

This was one of the acts at last Friday's CpR Lip Sync night. The song was to the theme of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," and the girl in the yellow [orbiter TriciaB] is a taxi-cab. You know, when the Fresh Prince arrives in Bel Air...

Should you be creating or should you be letting your students create?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

H2.08 reading #1

Reading list #1 for H2.08.
The Kinds of People the 21st Century Needs

Creative Sweat

The team that is going to this with me is supposed to comment here, but of course you other readers are welcome too!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Post Trip Elements

Last weekend, I took some seniors from SPACE to attend a post trip presentation by a GCC medical missions team that went to Haiti a few weeks ago. Presenting stories from your mission experiences is difficult, whether from a stage or talking to a friend/supporter one-on-one. And most missionaries don't do such a great job at it, me included. [For example, ask me about reading my nonblog post-Hungary report.] We are always trying to get better at this.

I loved bringing some of our students to this and hearing their feedback when it was over. That's one advantage SPACE has - it's a working lab with young people who aren't afraid to try something new.

Here are some elements the team identified with regard to post-mission presentations:
#1 - It's important for every person to get a chance to talk about their experience, if they want to. [Contextual comment - this will require some interesting planning since we may have around 60-80 people spread across five different teams. One question - have each team do one presentation or do them all together?]
#2 - Lots of video and images are great. Shared worship time is also great.
#3 - Our stories are meant to call others to action.
#4 - We have to concentrate on taking out any insider language in what we say about our experiences. It's too easy to make others feel left out.
#5 - We like the idea of an informal open house, with people milling from team room to team room, maybe with the idea of a 'mini-passport' to go from place to place. More intimate for teams sharing, can include cultural objects like food, etc.

For the next generation of missionaries, passionate and dynamic environments are integral for telling their stories.

Photo: Those are my feet on the screen. Cameroon team leaders LB and NLind talk on stage, August 2006.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

She Wants a Fish Pond for Christmas

In light of World AIDS day this past Sunday, Pastor Mark outlined even more about GCC's [Grace Community Church, Fulton, MD] partnership with a ministry based in Uganda called AOET. I was really thrilled to see a Sunday morning given to the AIDS crisis in Africa. After walking over to the Warehouse and saying hi to some students, I was even more excited to hear that the high schoolers had also talked about World AIDS day. One of the essential elements of SPACE is exposing students to the realities of the world and, of course, the AIDS crisis in Africa is a big one right now. Also, SPACE doesn't have to be the major conduit for this exposure - we are happy no matter how students get this information. But we are certainly hopefuly that students process this knowledge into action.

GCC also published a gift catalog in the context of this partnership with AOET, allowing people to give to specific needs in Uganda. Our girls gave some of their yard sale profits for a fish pond, malaria nets and funds to help care for AIDS orphans.

I don't know about you, but when I was six, a fish pond would have never made it on my Christmas list.

Wednesday RocketFuel

::: Danah Boyd on the Megan Meier story
Much to my dismay, parenting today seems to require absolute belief that you're child is the best child ever. Many parents think that their child can do no wrong and, thus, are unable to hear critiques of their own children. In some ways, it's not surprising... people have fewer kids (who are mostly wanted thanks to birth control), inhabit single family homes, and live in a nurture-centric world where their children reflect on them at every level. Doubting one's child means doubting oneself.
But as anyone who was not that cool in school can tell you, middle school sucked. It's ground zero for learning how to negotiate social interactions and many mistakes are made. This is when bullying and boy/girl-dynamics and other dramas really come to the forefront. It's awful, it's hell. Yet, the responsibility of a parent of a tween is not to try to fix all painful situations, but to teach their child how to negotiate them responsibly
Commentary on parents helping tweens learn social coping skills with the backdrop of a really, really sad story. Link

::: What about Christmas from the outside?
Christmas is the the only religious holiday that everyone has to stop working for. It's the only religious event that offices have parties to celebrate. These practices alienate non-Christians.
There are people outside of Christianity that don't really enjoy Christmas. Link

::: Youth Pastor advertising on YouTube
Ah, Hilton Head Island, what's not to like? By the way, our high school ministry is also looking for a high school pastor. The beach is about 3 hours away but The Mall is *very* close.
Link via Mark Riddle

::: Transit Maps of the World via FP Passport

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fun with Vocabulary

Sample #1
disruptive innovator

Sample #2
quantum cloud community

Sample #3

At least I thought it was fun.

Monday, December 03, 2007

How Much Potential?

Apparently - Strong potential.... Hmm... This is either really good or really bad....

Ordinary people, like you and I, can do extraordinary things, like some of those below.
Have you personally led at least one person to faith in Christ in the past three years through the venue of one-on-one evangelism?
Do you regularly try to stay in touch with secular music, television or films for the purpose of having greater insight into how unchurched people view the world?
Do you know your present neighbors quite well?
Have you ever designed a ministry or event that successfully targeted the felt-needs of a specific target audience?
Do you consider yourself highly attached to your family?
Do you make friends easily?
In the past three years have you actively participated in an on-going peer support/accountability group?
Do you have a consistent pattern of regular daily prayer?
Have you ever created a ministry from the ground up?
Do you usually recover quickly from setbacks or disappointments?
Have you ever led a small group or team that created and fulfilled some significant set of written goals?
Are you highly adaptable to changes in your circumstances and environment?
Do you enjoy building small groups?
Can you identify three individuals (other than family members) whom you have 'discipled' in the past five years?
Can you list at least two spiritual gifts that you believe you have?
Have you ever successfully handed off a ministry you were leading to someone you identified, recruited and trained?
Two other quick thoughts:
+ "Every Christian is a church planter, every home is a church, every church building is a training center." [Related: My notes from Organic Church]
+ Church planting is the best method of evangelism.

Take the assessment here. And, I think I should have got a lot less than 14, because I cheated.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Orbiter Reading - December #1

Some links specifically for the Orbiters - they are supposed to comment here, but you are certainly welcome too as well.

::: Pendulums and Fire

The author describes two types of change: 1st order - gradual, slow, periodic; and 2nd order - fire, unpredictable, chaotic. Identify and briefly describe two changes in your life, one for each order.

::: The Six Lessons of Kiva
Describe how we could apply or how we already have applied one of those lessons to SPACE.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Before the Prom

Corp 1.3 had its annual Christmas party tonight. Dang - wouldn't you know it - one of our kids got sick last night. D got all dolled up anyway so we could take a picture together before I went stag.

World AIDS Day 2007


Watch the video by Emily Oster, "What do we really know about the spread of AIDS?"

Test your knowledge about HIV and AIDS with this interactive quiz.