Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday Evening Update (on Monday morning)

The Weekend: We had lots of family in town to participate in Henry's baptism with us yesterday.  We had a great time eating lots of food, sharing stories, and being together.  We had a family friend do the baptism so that I could participate as a parent not the officiant.   That was really nice.

To-do This Week:  Organize the office - closing out 2008 and getting files and such ready for 2009. Plus I am preaching at our District's leadership training event this Saturday, so I need to get ready for that.

Procrastinating: Working on the leadership training day for our church...

Book I'm in the Midst of: For Christmas I got Thorstein Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class.  It was first published in 1904.  A very interesting economic and sociological look at a how humans choose to stratify themselves.  This is the book where the term "conspicuous consumption" was first coined.

Music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: Still reaching back to the past I stretched back to middle school by purchasing Run-DMC's greatest hits.  Its pretty "bad" stuff. ("not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good!" - if you can name the song that lyric comes from I will send you a prize.)

How I am feeling about this week: I feel pretty good.  I am really enjoying having time together with family and look forward to a day or two of downtime this week to ring in the new year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Evening Update (on Monday evening)

The Weekend:  Sunday we hosted over 60 people at an open house at the parsonage after church, so much of the weekend was spent getting ready.  Though, Saturday morning as we  were running errands we stopped for breakfast at IHOP...mmm.....pancakes.  Last night Henry came down with his first cold.

To-do This Week:  Write a sermon for Sunday, finish Christmas shopping, try and do some end of year reflection...

Procrastinating:  Working on the leadership training day...

Book I'm in the Midst of:  Just finished Body Piercing Saved My Life.  Very interesting.  I really appreciate Beaujon's very fair, and at times generous, approach to the Christian music industry, particularly as a self-identified atheist.   Next up:  UnChristian, by Dave Kinneman and Gabe Lyons - trying to understand a bit about culture and how (according to Barna Group's data) Christians are perceived in American culture. 

Music that seemed to catch my attention this past week:  while vacuuming to get ready for the open house I delved into some the albums from my college and high school days....ahhh...memories from:  REM, Genesis, and Rush.

How I am feeling about this week:  A bit stressed about our Christmas Eve service.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday Evening Update (on Monday Morning)

the weekend that was: Kind of a low-key weekend. We made some goodies for our upcoming open house this Sunday. I got to do a fair amount of reading this weekend which is always a plus. Last night we had the kids Advent program at church - fantastic!! They were adorable!

on my to-do list this week: Christmas Eve service, trying to get the bulletins for the next few weeks as far along as possible, and spending some time working on our leadership training event in the middle of January.

procrastinating about: (this should come as no surprise) Christmas shopping

book i’m in the midst of:
I just started two interesting and very different books - The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria and Body-Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock by Andrew Beaujon. The first book is an attempt to look at the world and how it is changing in light of shifts in politics, economics, and culture - kind of a mile wide and an inch deep. The second book is the opposite - an inch deep and mile wide look at the Christian music subculture.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: because I have been doing a lot of work at Starbucks over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the various versions of different Christmas/Holiday songs. KT Tunstall's 2000 Miles from this album really caught my attention.

how i’m feeling about this week: I'm feeling pretty good about the week and I will feel better once I get some of the things on my to do list done!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blink: the power of thinking without thinking

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's second book, Blink. I thoroughly enjoy Gladwell's style of writing. I love his narrative style recounting various events and studies through the eyes of the people who led the studies. (He used to write for the Washington Post.)

The basic premise is that our unconscious thought, through training and experience, can be amazingly accurate. He illustrates that there are times when too much information can actually impair one's decision-making. On the other hand, Gladwell also illustrates how our stereotypes and biases can also be heightened in thinking in the blink of an eye.

This is a very interesting book. As far as application for ministry goes I would think it might help Boards of Ordained Ministry as the evaluate and refine their processes. Another application might be to help administrative councils and leadership teams discern a framework to empower committees and individuals to make decisions on the fly.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cool New Gadget...

My wife and I joined the Black Friday madness this year by making a purchase at the Apple on-line store. We bought an Eye-fi Share card. This is a 2GB SD card for your digital camera that is WI-FI enabled. In other words it transfers the pictures from the camera over your home network. Moreover, it allows you to upload them to a web-based service like MobileMe, Picasa, or Flickr.

To the left is my first wirelessly downloaded photo (downloaded to both the web and my computer.)

Pros: No more cords to move pics from the camera into iphoto. Easy to set up and use.
Cons: Can't put pics onto more than one computer with out changing the settings everytime, kind of a hassle if you want to put the pics on more than one computer. (Of course the work-around is to upload them to a web-based service and pull the pics you want onto your computer.)
Overall: It was worth the discounted price to try it out and I think Jill will enjoy being able to wirelessly download photos into her library.