Thinking Out Loud

March 6, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Jesus is the Light of the World

Regular readers will know this already, but I’ve never quite come out and said it: I find it somewhat snobbish when bloggers publish link lists where anything older than 2-3 days is considered obsolete. A true link sleuth will unearth some great material and won’t be concerned if the post is dated 30 days ago. If it was true then…

  • Essay of the week: Church Planting in Montreal. A somewhat typical couple has been living together for ten years but has never gotten close to having any kind of spiritual discussion. And that’s just one challenge. The Quebecois version of Hybels’ “unchurched Harry” is quite different from “Harry” in the rest of North America. 
  • Runner up: Remember that feeling when you were young and you came home from school only to find nobody home and you immediately thought everybody had been raptured?  Well, it happens to not-so-young college students, too.
  • Okay, so that video about how to write a worship song wasn’t the first time Jordan at BlimeyCow waded into Christian music criticism. Or church camp. And different types of churches
  • While everyone else on Sunday night was watching The Bible miniseries on History, one blogger was putting the final period on his review even as the credits rolled. I guess that way you get to say, “First!”  (The cable channel show beat all the big networks in the ratings.)
  • If you know people whose Christian faith is characterized by what they are against, may I suggest you copy and paste this article and email it to them.
  • For people who don’t know how to use a “table of contents” in a book, The Alpha Bible presents the Bible books in… well you know.
  • Given the success of The Book of Mormon, a Broadway production by The Foursquare Church denomination on the life of Aimee Semple McPherson probably seemed like a good idea at the time
  • The idea of gospel tracts probably seems somewhat archaic to most readers here, but the concision of these short presentations actual suits present attention spans. Now 31 Good News tracts are available on audio.  
  • Matt Hafer comes out of church leadership hibernation with five ways for pastors to tell if people are truly on board.
  • I know I often link you over to Christianity 201, but I really want you all, if nothing else, to catch this video.
  • In some ways connected to a link we had here last week, a Christianity Today women’s blog suggests a little bit of Christianese is OK.
  • As someone whose entire wardrobe was purchased at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, this is scary: Pat Robertson allows the possibility that those shirts and sweaters could have demonic spirits attached. (That’s why Pat buys professionally tailored suits, I guess.)
  • Once we know the name of the new Pope, the new Pope has to choose a name. Past Pope picks included these. (You remember Pope Urban, right?) 
  • How is it possible that this great song by the Wheaton College Gospel Choir has had less than 2,500 views in two years?  If this don’t bring a smile to your face, your mouth is broken. Watch, copy the link and share.
  • Jon Acuff finds himself in a prayer meeting with someone who gives a whole new meaning to the phrase too much information
  • If you missed it January, Shaun Groves shares songwriting secrets for worship composers. But ultimately, “I think worship writers have parted with standard songwriting practices because they’re creating with the live experience in mind. So their priorities are much different from those of a traditional songwriter.”
  • The people at Thomas Nelson flatly refused us a review copy of this, but I’ll be nice and tell you about it anyway. Jesus: A Theography is a new book by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola combining theology and biography with –[free review time expired]
  • …Mind you, that was already better than this guy’s review. “After a while, I finally put the book down and said enough.” (When you accept a free book you do agree to finish reading it.)
  • Remember Anne Jackson? Well she’s still kicking around, still writing, and apparently this Friday is a special day
  • Nadia Bolz-Weber, the Lutheran with attitude, shares her struggle preparing to preach on The Parable of the Vineyard. (Open the audio link in a new tab, then click back to follow the text; the whole sermon is about ten minutes.) Actual quote: “…you’d think that I’d totally remember a parable where poop is mentioned.”
  • Meanwhile Steve McCoy’s kids, age 12 and 14, are taking sermon notes while he preaches.
  • On our fifth birthday, we introduced you to Derek the Cleric. We had a tough time that day choosing between two cartoons and thought we’d stretch the written permission we received to do just one more.

Derek The Cleric - Powerpoint

April 8, 2010

U2 Concert Tickets Easier to Get Than Pete Wilson’s New Book

Filed under: books — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 1:45 pm

I’ve been a huge fan of Nashville pastor Pete Wilson’s online writing at the Without Wax blog since I stumbled on it about three years ago.   If I’m ever in Nashville, I know which church I’ll be visiting.

So when I heard around Christmas that he had a new book coming out, I was really looking forward to reviewing it here, especially since I was part of what was — at least so I thought — an elite group of bloggers who had been accepted into Thomas Nelson’s Book Bloggers program, currently operating under the dubious name “BookSneeze.”

However, the program is flawed.

Participants in an early marketing ‘teaser’ for Don Miller’s newest — notice the name in the coauthor spot at the bottom of the cover — weren’t necessarily guaranteed access to the book itself, and sure enough, they ran out of copies.    At that point I simply lost interest in reviewing it, and as I also work in the Christian bookstore business, I lost even more interest when it simply didn’t sell.

None of this is personal however.   I really enjoyed his sermon at Willow Creek which I linked to here last month.   I am increasingly become more and more of a fan of Donald Miller.

It’s my relationship with Thomas Nelson — which was never good — which is hitting the skids.

If you’ve ever tried to buy concert tickets online, you know what it’s like to keep hitting “try again” but for me this was a new experience.   I dutifully logged in to “BookSneeze” at 12:00 noon (1:00 EST) as I had been told to do.   I selected Pete’s new book Plan B, and then I got a description of the book.   ‘Did I really want to read this book?’ the site asked.   Yes, as a matter of fact I did.

Time was ticking.   The site was not responding.   I’ve never been online as a server has been crashing under the weight of demand.   Next question, ‘Did I understand that reviews must all be published on the same day, May 3rd?’   At that point I was looking for the button that said, ‘Yes, damn it;’ but the best I could find was one that read, ‘Select Book.’

That was as far as I got.   So, so very, very close.

My browser is still clicking “try again.”

I’m glad the publishers recognize the role that social media has played in promoting books.    Originally, there were a few key players in this, but now the playing field is wide open.   Yesterday I discovered that on Blogspot blogs, the “Next Blog” button is no longer random.   It will take you to one related blog after another.    In fifteen minutes I saw about a hundred Christian-themed blogs I’d never seen or heard of before.

There’s a lot of us out there.   But we really shouldn’t be treated like cattle in the process.   (And in case you’re wondering, my other blog, which is a Christian book industry blog, plus my ownership of two Christian bookstores affords me absolutely no advantage in this process.  None whatsoever.)  Nor should we be made to waste our time like concert-ticket buyers lining up for hours in the rain.

If the 500 copies were truly gone in less than ten minutes — which is what it looks like — there are probably going to be more people angered by this process than those who are pleased.     If social media is that important to publishers like Thomas Nelson, then this particular promotion — along with the Donald Miller one — has backfired; it has done more harm than good.

And for that I feel bad for Christian publishing in general, and authors like Pete Wilson in particular.

The old-school methodology was to print and distribute hard copy of sample chapters.   That way everyone out there gets an equal opportunity to discover the new generation of Christian writers.

It may not seem a valid option in 2010, but other than cutting down a few trees, it did a lot less damage.

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