Thinking Out Loud

July 8, 2012

Information You Need to Know

Filed under: family, personal — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:40 am

So Saturday night dinner was running a bit late, and I walked into the kitchen and picked up a nearly empty package of potato chips, or as they say in the UK, a package of crisps.

The package had been folded over and sealed with a clothespin, but they were getting a bit stale.  I shook a few of the small bits in my hand and ate them, and then repeated this; the second time noticing something in my hand that looked like a dead ant.

Panicked, I said to my wife, “I think I’ve just swallowed some ants.”

Of course, I have no reason to believe this; it just existed as a possibility. 

I quickly tore the package apart and there was in fact, evidence of some other dark thing among the crushed chip bits that remained.

Mrs. W. continued quietly cooking dinner.

And that’s when it hit me.

If I had a Twitter account, I could simply say something like, “I think I accidentally swallowed some ants.”

Surely that would garner the sympathy I was looking for.

And then something else hit me.

This is exactly why people have Twitter accounts. To share the minutia of their lives with people who for some reason have decided to follow them because there is in fact some perceived value in knowing the minutia of their lives.

Like the intern who decides to shadow the Kramer character in the television series Seinfeld, large numbers of us apparently want to thought-monitor both friends and people we will never meet in person; and equally large numbers feel compelled to share this information. Our interactions are now thousands of miles wide and a millimeter deep.

(Note: The previous sentence mixes metric and non-metric measurements and uses a spelling of the word millimeter that is largely unacceptable to people who actually use the word on a regular basis.) (Wow! What an astute observation. I could totally Tweet that.)

All this to share one very important principle:

You should look at what’s in your hands before you put it in your mouth.

(…Of course if you spell it millimetre, then you also spell it minutiae.)

March 9, 2011

Wednesday Link List

I think we’ll start with a shout out to all the people who gave up social networking and blogs for lent. In which case, why are you reading this?

  • We kick off with a few quotations from an interview U2′s Bono did with a Johannesburg radio station last month, along with a link to an audio file of the entire program.
  • The Rob Bell release date for Love Wins has been moved up by two weeks to March 15th, less than a week away!  Mars Hill Bible Church in Granville, Michigan has made no official comment, but on Sunday, parishioners were told that church staff are supportive and excited about the book’s release.
  • However, Jon Rising suggests that there’s a whole other controversial book releasing at HarperOne — the same day — and traces links to advance reviews of Miroslav Volf’s simply titled Allah: A Christian Response.   The publisher blurb helps define the book’s hot spots.
  • A young Christian woman tells her Christian father that she is gay. We’ve all heard stories like this, but what does that actually look like?  How does that play out exactly? John Shore takes what is, to many of us a very abstract concept, and spells out what that really looks like in many families in his fictional Smith Family Chronicles; episode one and episode two already complete with more to follow.
  • A couple of strong stories at Christian Week (three actually, and we’ll give each one its own bullet!). First a piece on how urban poverty is not a downtown thing anymore but is hitting the suburbs featuring the director of the Yonge Street Mission.  (In fact, urban downtown areas are reconsolidating into a very upscale vibe.)
  • Next, a piece about the relationship between the church and political debates sparked by Billy Graham’s statement that he regrets the times he waded in on political issues.
  • Last in our CW hat trick — and I don’t expect my U.S. readers to get the full impact of this, but here this is huge — Crossroads, Canada’s largest Christian television ministry gave InterVarsity Christian Fellowship five of its Circle Square Ranch summer camps.  No strings attached.  An outright gift from one ministry to another.  They become part of the ministry of IVCF as of the first of April.
  • I find it interesting that many of today’s younger preachers are the subject of condemnation by older ones because the younger ones don’t do expository (verse by verse) preaching.  But Andy Stanley really rose to the occasion in this series on Acts titled Big Church.
  • Okay, it’s not that Facebook is solely responsible for one in five divorces as originally reported in 2009; but it is definitely accelerating the process.
  • Spent about 40 minutes on Sunday night enjoying a mini-concert by an artist who is quite established here in Canada who needs to be shared with the rest of the world.  Check out Greg Sczebel’s website.
  • Got baggage?  Know someone who’s got baggage?  Check out this short video at GodTube.  Also at GodTube here’s a music clip from Christy Nockels from the new album Passion: Waiting Here For You.
  • Looking for some good news online?  Here’s a site with a difference: My Miracle invites readers to post stories of God’s intervention in their lives.  Maybe your story.
  • Got a question for The Pope?  He hits the Italian TV airwaves on Good Friday for a little bit of Q & A in a pre-recorded program.
  • Several months ago, this blog ran a piece on modesty for girls.  Now here’s a modesty test for your preteen or early teen daughter from Dannah Gresh’s Secret Keeper Girl website.
  • If you’re reading this Wednesday morning or afternoon you can still catch our contest from Monday to win a copy of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
  • Here’s another one from Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like featuring all your favorite types of church songleaders.
  • And speaking of same; here’s CT’s list of the Top 27 All Time Favorite… Hymns?  That’s right, all scientifically calculated using books which contain them that nobody actually uses anymore.  This could be the very last such list.  (Click the image to see the chart clearer as a .pdf)
  • Our cartoon this week recognizes that today is the first day of Lent, which every good Evangelical knows is the _____  ____s before ________.  (Betcha we caught a few off-guard.) Bad Sheep is the product of Jay Cookingham who blogs at Soulfari, You can also click the image below to check out Lambo and Chop’s merchandise.

November 29, 2010

Social Media Overload: Sabbatical or Sabbath?

From Dictionary.com:

Sab·bat·i·cal
/səˈbætɪkəl/ [suh-bat-i-kuhl] –adjective

5. ( lowercase ) any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

and

Sab·bath
/ˈsæbəθ/ [sab-uhth] –noun

2. – the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.

I think you know where I’m going with this.   There would be a lot fewer people burning out on social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) if they practiced the concept of Sabbath.   Then they wouldn’t need a sabbatical.

I grew up around people who had all kinds of arbitrary Sunday rules:  No television, no sports, no swimming, etc.   I always swore I wouldn’t be that kind of parent.   But early on we sensed the need for a Sunday computer Sabbath.     Now that the kids are in their late teens, we don’t have full compliance every week, but as for myself, the computer doesn’t get switched on until around 4:30 PM.

You really do need to take a break now and then.


Here’s a post about the actual words used to mandate a day of rest

Related post from last month about working at home on Sunday

June 9, 2010

Wednesday Link List

From my computer to yours, here’s just a few of the online adventures I had this week…

  • “The day after we here in the U.S. paused to remember the men and women who had died fighting for our country, the fight continued from beyond the grave. On Tuesday [June 1] in the town of Göttingen, Germany a World War 2 era bomb exploded killing three people and injuring six others.” So begins a short essay by Julie Clawson, “Violence from the Past.”
  • The Rev. Scott Schmieding didn’t let a physical impairment stop him from taking a pastor job — which includes preaching — even though he has no tongue.   This CT story will make you reconsider whether or not you’re letting circumstances stand in the way of calling.
  • Christian author Diana Gresh, aka ‘The Secret Keeper Girl,’ shares a concerned one-parent-to-another open letter to Billy Ray and Tish, mom and dad to superstar Miley Cyrus.
  • Remember that street-preacher in the UK who was arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin?  Here’s actual video of him being placed under arrest.
  • Rick Warren tells the people in his congregation that if they’re just faking Christianity, it’s time to find another church.
  • “Social networking does have its perils. This much is for sure. Loss of privacy, device obsession, check-in overdose … Bad. But this new wave of human communication opens doors that have previously remained slammed shut.”  Read more at BeDeviant.
  • American churches (and other buildings with large auditoriums) have only three days left to convert their wireless microphones over to a new operating frequency.  Many can’t afford to do so.   (First it was the digital television conversion; now this…)
  • A German family receives asylum in the U.S. under rather strange circumstances — they are home schooling refugees.
  • Here’s seven great over-arching principles for Children’s ministry from the blog by Will Mancini.   Pass this link on to your Christian Ed. person where you worship.
  • Flashback to February; the blog is called Sim’s Zone, the piece is short but poignant:  Lent Reflections.
  • Blog discovery of the week:  The Aristophrenium.    Four young men; three Australians and one in Canada; writing on Apologetics; often at a deeper, academic level; and often with with the common touch and bit of heart.
  • Rick Apperson launches a blogapalooza with guest writers all throughout June.  It was good to connect earlier this week with Dawn Fehr who blogs at Blown to Smithereens.
  • Two popular UK figures team up to have some fun writing a book together.
  • Christian news and information blog highlight of the week:  New Church Report.
  • New homes in new neighborhoods constructed with new building materials and  filled with new furniture… equals major indoor air quality issues.   It seems that rapid economic advancement is actually killing young people in China.
  • Have a worship moment (or many) interacting with God’s creation:  If you remember the BBC DVD series from a few years back, Planet Earth, you need to know about the new series, Life.  Here’s a trailer.
  • Internal link from this blog two days ago, in case you missed it, on the passing of CCM veterans Dana Key (DeGarmo & Key) and Kevin Thomson (Sweet Comfort Band).
  • Speaking of Christian music, for my Canadian readers who are into modern worship, CCM, southern gospel or even children’s music — and anyone else who wants to take a peek — check out the redesigned (as of yesterday!) YourMusicZone.com from the Music & Media division of David C. Cook Canada.
  • Our cartoon this week is from Sacred Sandwich:

April 21, 2009

Overload of Social Media Causes Man’s Head To Explode

MI-064-0295

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, YouTube, Picassa… Is it more than our human brains are meant to process?    That’s the question I posed in the comments section of Anne Jackson’s blog today.

While the header for this post is fictional — or has it already happened? — the question it raises is serious:  How much is too much?

First, here’s a little bit of what Anne wrote:

Let’s say all the people who follow me on Twitter and myself were in a big room at the same time.  My friend Joe is somewhere in this room talking about his wife who just had a baby. I’m across the room by the food table eating a cookies. And cupcakes.

And in between us are 3300 other people talking.

Now let me ask you a few questions:

Am I going to hear my friend Joe over all the other conversations?

Am I even going to be able to make sense of all the noise 3300 people talking at once?

No way.

Any of you old enough to remember to remember the Paul McCartney song “Silly Love Songs” will know there’s a part at the end where it breaks into a rather nice three-part counterpoint (probably the most complex thing he’s ever written).    It starts out with a somewhat descending melody:

How can tell you about my loved one?

And then they add a simple ascending melody:

I love you

Finally overlaying the more intricate:

I just can’t explain the feeling’s plain to me; say can’t you see?
Ah, she gave me more, she gave it all to me

Around the time this came out, I was studying some much more orchestral music with a man who had a doctorate in music.   While you can argue what I’m about to say, he claimed that the human brain was only capable of processing two of the lines of the song at once.    You know there are three playing, and you can quickly compare A +  B,  B + C, or A + C; but he claimed that in any given moment in time you can’t actually be fully processing all three of them.

(So you can talk on your cell phone and drive your car, but as soon as you add chewing gum to the mix, everything, including yourself, goes out the window.)

I also often wondered what the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease is going to be among those of us who currently thrive on either an encyclopedic knowledge, a preponderance towards multi-tasking, or both.  (Both, but not three things, since you wouldn’t be able to truly process three things!)

I also wonder if God has not placed certain limits on what we’re capable of doing and we’re trying to exceed those limits — building our own, individual, personal Tower of Babel to stretching human limitation.

Anyway, here’s what I scrawled on Anne’s blog:

Social media is producing a generation heading for a collective insanity. Your brain was only meant to track so many things at one time. Perhaps the people Twittering are actually teetering on the brink…

I try to keep my posts short and succinct.   There’s only so much people can take.

January 6, 2009

People Who Knew You “When”

Filed under: Christianity, Faith — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:31 pm

On a cold and snowy February Saturday last year that we were intending to go to Toronto, we were stranded at home.   When you grew up in a large megacity, and find yourself living in a town of 15,000 people; usually you are looking to get “out” at least once per fortnight.   Longer than that, and I start to go nuts.

facebook-logo-289-75So stuck at home, but armed with my wife’s Facebook account, I decided to see who I could track down.   The first step is remembering some names.   The second step is seeing who their friends are, which suddenly brings to mind others you’ve forgotten about.   I was on the site for about 90 minutes, sending messages that began, “This is Paul, I’m using my wife’s account…” which she finds hilarious because I refuse to get a Facebook account of my own, but have used hers more than she has in the last few months.

In total, I rounded up five people including one whose e-mail address had been escaping me for a decade.   Of those:

  • One, I suddenly remembered why we lost touch.  Once he had my address, he started sending me advertising for his business, so I quickly ‘blocked’ his further access.
  • The one I had been trying to regain contact with for many years e-mails about once a month.   Though he lives a world away, it’s interesting to see where life has taken him.
  • One e-mails me at least once a week now.   We obviously have some common ground and I hope we can get together in person sometime soon.
  • For another one, I ended up connecting him with some people I knew in another city.   He met up with them in South Carolina (I think) and then did some music ministry for them here in Canada.
  • The fifth one had actually been in sporadic contact with me, the additional connection on Facebook actually produced some deeper conversations

Tonight, I reconnected with someone else from that era.    I think you reach a certain age where you long to connect with people who knew you ‘when.’ Another person phoned over the holidays to say he wanted to get together soon.   Something about “needing roots” or “needing grounding.”

My life today consists of what’s here and now in this somewhat small(er) town.   I can’t be living in the past.   We’ve met new people and moved on.  But I think it’s important to reconnect with ‘old friends.’   It keeps you honest.   It keeps you humble.   And when you see their graying hair, it’s a reminder that time only moves in one direction.

Each of these people is also a Christ-follower.   (My high school and university friends have totally fallen off the radar…)   It’s interesting to see how God is working in their lives and how they are continuing to serve Him through their local Church and in their families, too.

I’m not big on doing a lot of social networking.  (Notice I said it was my wife’s Facebook account I used.)   But I think it’s good to rekindle relationships that have formed over time; even if the points of contact resemble stones skipping over the water.

Note to English purists:  Yes, the last sentence contains a double metaphor.

November 5, 2008

If You Miss The Sermon The First Time…

Filed under: Christianity, Church, Humor — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:22 pm

Thought it was time for another one from Reverend Fun.  This one’s for all you technophiles out there.

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