Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shane Claiborne speaks about "Jesus for President"



Shane Claiborne inspires me and I can't wait to get into this book...

Thanks to JD for the heads-up and for the wee quotes/comments/tweets that encourage me to keep going.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

((deep)) -- tonight's team thought...

I share a thought with the ((deep)) team before each gathering... to get everyone focussed and in the zone for the evening. Here's what I spoke on tonight ::
ROONEY

What's so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is that he gives the good kids bad ideas. The last thing I need at this point in my career is fifteen hundred Ferris Bueller disciples running around these halls.

SECRETARY

He's very popular, Ed. Sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, pinheads, dweebies, wonkers, richies, they all adore him.

ROONEY

That's exactly why I have to catch him this time. To show these kids that the example he sets is a first class ticket to nowhere.


I love this quote from one of my fave films “Ferris Bueller's Day Off”. Its a really funny moment in a really funny film.

I love the labels Joyce, the Secretary, uses. Kind of 80's but still relevant. Proud to say I am a GEEK! Do you relate to any of these labels?

Thing is... we use labels all the time. We probably aren't even aware of the labels we use... Think of the youth tribes we see everyday... emos... goths... skaters... neds... You get what I mean.

We label people and put them in pigeonholes to make it easier for ourselves. Just as we label our work into files and folders so that we can easily access them later... we do this with people.

Just think of all the folk we'll get here tonight. All the labels that could be used. All the ways we categorise folk.

I am glad, however, that I love and serve a God who only has one label for people... and that's LOVED.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

John 3: 16&17 (The Message)

Familiar yet powerful words. Tonight let's follow the example of Jesus and help those “loved” by God. Let's forget the world's labels... the categories that accuse and condemn... and adopt God's label of loved.
I'll share more on ((deep)) tomorrow... Its been a long day.

However, I will leave you with this. The Massive Attack song Teardrop starts with...
Love... Love... is a verb. Loving is a doing word.
This fits nicely with tonight's team thought. We are loved [noun] but in loving us [verb] He sent His Son into the world... as the verse says above... not to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was... but to help... to put the world right again.

Thing is... as followers of God in the Way of Jesus... are we seeking to put the world back together again... or are we pointing an accusing finger at all the people we conveniently label... telling them... and the world in which we all live... how bad it is?

Hmmm..?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Julio Diaz and his new acquaintance

Thought this was a sweet story...
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."
Read the rest of the story at NPR.org

Thanks to BoingBoing for the heads-up on this heart warming story. Reminded me of something somebody said once about turning the other cheek... going the extra mile and giving your shirt off your back. Nice!

This is cool :: Lord of the Rings swede style



Another brilliant visual treat... fantastic! The Watcher in the Water is particularly funny.

That's to BoingBoing for the heads-up on this one.

This is cool :: Tron swede style



Absolutely brilliant - Tron in a Be Kind Rewind "sweded" style. Love it.

Thanks to laughing squid for the heads-up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

((deep)) -- this Saturday



((deep)) is happening this Saturday (29th March) @ 7pm-ish... with Paul & Jen Clement and the Essential Band aka Particles of Warp.

The guest speaker for this gathering is Ivor Telfer, the current Divisional Commander for the West of Scotland Division. He will help us to focus on the Emmaus Road experience... and on our own journeys in this life.

A prayer space will be provided by Kirsty from the Easterhouse Essential team... it will be available for a time of quiet contemplation during the evening.

Coffee and refreshments will be available throughout the evening too.

Door tax is £3... which will be reinvested into the ((deep)) project.

Big thanks to Adam Howie for the artwork! Please... grab the flyer and pass it around... post it on your blog or myspace page... mention it to all your bebo friends or join the event on Facebook. Spread the word!

Be there:

City Centre Corps
1 Houldsworth Street
Glasgow


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Monday, March 24, 2008

New Tunes :: [Rosebud] by Winona



Every-so-often something comes along that is just right. For music its a sense that this is the sound of now >> something special and perfect for today.

I don't want to hype this up... but I have been a fan of Craig Armstrong for a long time... ever since I heard his work on Protection - Massive Attack's fantastic second album. His solo work is truly imaginative... a sweet blend of electronica and classical strings... with some superb vocalists adding their special magic... including Bono whose collab on Stay (far away, so close) is IMHO better than the original U2 version.

Armstrong's latest project is called Winona and is a collaborative project with Scott Fraser. According to the blurb...
They dusted off their eye-watering collection of vintage synthesizers and set about creating glacial European pop / electro music in 2006.

They would convene every Friday afternoon in an airy recording studio in Glasgow. Within months, an album of beautifully bruised and unashamedly confused songs emerged. Themes of fear, self-doubt, denial, surveillance, elation, unconditional love and unquestioning devotion emerged. Flawed but defiantly fantastic, Winona came to life.

Having met French actress Laurence Ashley on the set of Luc Besson’s ‘Kiss Of The Dragon’, Armstrong asked whether she would like to contribute to the project. Her sensual spoken-word interludes, melting into the honey-through-velvet voice of singer Lucy Pullin, seamlessly sealed the Winona sound.
Their work is a body of breathtaking electropop goodness with the kind of dazzling keyboard work that instantly attracted me to Armstrong's work.

Lucy Pullin's vocals are excellent... very fitting and in character with the retro-futuristic soundscapes. A sound complemented with the seductive French of Laurence Ashley.

I won't pick out any one song as being better than the others... it has the old-fashioned vibe of an album... one that you listen to the whole of... rather than individual singles. One that is consistently great.

Well recommended. Now... I need to see them perform live.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holy Week :: Happy Easter

Strathclyde Park :: Easter Sunday

Jesus is risen!

Celebrate the resurrection today... Celebrate the coming of new life and new beginnings... both physically and spiritually.

Celebrate with family and friends... coming together... breaking fasts and feasting in the joy of life and love and the happiness of knowing that Jesus is risen.

PS :: Pic taken this morning at our Easter sunrise gathering in Strathclyde park.

Happy Easter everyone!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Week :: When I survey

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died; my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
When I survey

What does this song say/mean to you?

For me... well, it sums up the whole Easter story and helps to frame my response to such love... such grace... with my life... my soul... and my all.

Holy Week... Stations of the Cross

Cross

As part of my thoughts on Easter... I prepared a contemplative exercise for S*N*A*C. The idea was to spend time in prayer considering the 14 Scriptural Stations of the Cross and some thoughts / application for our own lives.

S*N*A*C never happened and I am not sure whether it will again (that's another story for another day)... but I have been able to recycle these thoughts. They will form the basis of the Prayer Stations at tomorrow's celebration in Bellshill (after the prayer breakfast at 0830ish and the main service at 1030hrs).

I thought I would share these thoughts >> in the spirit of collaboration >> in the hope that others may benefit from them and may also take them to places and use them in ways that I could never dream of.

Download it from my box.net account (its a small .pdf) and let me know what you think.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Holy Week... further thoughts

IMG_5278.JPG

Been meditating on this phrase from Jesus... in the run up to the crucifixion:
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.
John 15:11

We are called to love :: love God... love each other... love our neighbour... love.

Love has been going about my head of late:
All you need is love

What the world needs now... is love... sweet... love.

I love you

Love having you around

Love is not against the law

Love is reason

Love is the answer

Love's in need of love today
You get what I mean...

As followers of God in the way of Jesus we should be known for our love. Not our love of things... or experiences... or our culture... or traditional practices... but... love for people.

Love for outsiders as well as insiders... love for those who are and those we are not... love for the together and the apart... love for all... Everyone.

Thing is... we are good at remembering some commandments and not others. We are good at condemning those who are different and bad at remembering our calling to love... or at least insofar as our calling to love the very people we are quick to damn. This is a superficial kind of love. One that serves us more than it serves others.

Its time to move beyond the superficial... and love without ceasing... without reserve... without any pre-thought. Afterall... this is the very best way to love... and will bring the real meaning out of the songs I mentioned above.

This is cool :: Custom Laser Engraved Moleskines


First we had laser engraved sneakers from Nike... then some folk got imaginative and got their powerbooks and other tech engraved. Unbelievably cool but not accessible to folk like me.

These moleskines from www.engraveyourbook.com are fantastic and accessible (although the international postage is the same as an engraved moleskine). You can choose their fab designs like the one above... or upload your own artwork for $5 more. They engrave the spine too which is extremely useful for an obsessive like me. Check them out.

Thanks to notcot.org for the heads up.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Holy Week... some more thoughts

Chuck's

I should have posted more thoughts on Holy Week... but I have been busy as pretty much everyone else I know. For some reason its a pretty hectic few days.

Been thinking about Jesus washing the disciples feet... as recounted in John 13
He got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"

Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."

Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet—ever!"

Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."

"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"

Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.") After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.
This kind of scares me. I have Hobbit feet... and the last thing I would want is for someone to wash my feet. Its just not a pretty thought. The pic above is the closest you'll get to my feet.

Although it scares me... the symbolism fascinates me... because the Lord has turned on its head the whole world value of hierarchy. Regardless how we package it up... authoritarianism... flat structures... meritocracy... the world loves hierarchy and structure. We need to know our place... and, more importantly, for others to know our place. The world needs its leaders... and its followers.

The Lord isn't necessarily telling everyone to wash each others feet... He is teaching us to serve. To lead from behind through our actions... putting people before ourselves. Sure a servant isn't ranked above his master... but in this life who is our master? God... and His will for our lives.

I was at a church on Monday. A church I don't think I want to go back to. A cold, unfriendly church where hierarchy was apparent... and something powerful. I was with some friends... there to see our Brass Band play to a "Woman's Guild" gathering. We got hunted from "the top table" because that's where the Minister and her mother were to sit. We were, however, able to sit at the back... but were warned that we may have to move if there weren't enough seats for the "important people" aka our band. Fortunately we didn't need to move... but I was incensed by this.

Who is the most important person in a church? Its not the pastor/minister/clergy/officer... nor is it the congregation/fellowship/membership/soldiers... its the outsider... the first-timer... the wee lost soul who needs some help. I could have been that person... and yet I was privileged to be there... privileged to have a seat.

In essence we are all important! because we are all intrinsically equal... regardless of labels / status / wealth / fame etc etc... Woman's Guilds are no exception. As my grandfather used to say... "We are all Jock Tamson's bairns!"

We need to reject hierarchies and the nonsense power trips of the world and just serve. By giving away our lives in this way... we gain far more than we could ever imagine.

So I ask you... as you meditate on Holy Week and all its implications for our lives... our communities and the world as a whole... where can you serve? What can you do for God in the places you are? Whose feet can you wash?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Week...



Its just gone the 1st day of Holy Week and I am glad to be at home... we normally end up away with the kids.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday and we remembered the crowds who cheered as Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King... albeit a king riding on a colt. Such humility.

Anyway, to help with the story... SGM Lifewords have produced some fab animations that you can watch on their website or download. Well crafted.

Thanks to Jonny Baker for the heads up.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gaither Homecoming

Armadillo

What is the point of having horizons... if you are not prepared to broaden them?

Last Saturday night... Olly took me to the Armadillo to experience a Bill Gaither Homecoming and... at 3 and half hours... it was one of the longest and funnest concerts I have been at in ages.

Olly has posted a fab review on her blog... and I don't want to steal her thunder... other than to say it was a great night.

Guy Penrod

For me the highlight was Guy Penrod -- he was awesome! He is an amazing vocalist, an inspiration and a real hit with the ladies.

His rendition of Why me Lord was just breathtaking... he sang it with such meaning and passion.

I am a fan of the Gaither Vocal Band although I think this is purely to do with Guy's vocals. He has a consistency and passion in his singing that I love.

Don't get me wrong... I don't get all their songs... all that one fine day I'll fly away kind of jars with me... we should be dragged screaming and kicking from this world... rather than leaving eagerly and willingly. Why? because our work is here and now... for the last, lost, least... when we are gone who has their back? Exactly!

Janet Pascal

Coming a close second in the highlight stakes was Janet Paschal who sang a couple of solo songs... and then, later on, sang a stripped down version of Written in Red -- the song Olly covered on the first Bellshill Band CD. Her story of her cancer was heartbreaking... but it was hearing her sing Written in Red that really touched something deep inside. It is such a beautiful song.

All in... it was a great night. Something different. A new horizon broadened. A great experience that I could share with Olly and members of both sides of the family and some old friends too.

Check out my photos here... and check out Olly's post on her blog [give her some encouragement to keep on blogging too]

This is cool :: Pixelgirl Presents iPhone Wallpaper



I don't have an iPhone... I might get one when my contract expires... but, for now, I'm content with my K800i. One thing that does excite me about the iPhone is the size of the screen.

I love wallpapers and love to footer with things... customising them... making them mine. Pixelgirl Presents is now doing fab iPhone wallpapers.

If you have an iPhone... and love to footer... I would recommend you check it out. If, like me, you are sans-iPhone then check out their stuff too - I think its the best collection of wallpaper and icons available for your computer... and its free.

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This is cool :: SexyBeijing.tv



Found out about SexyBeijing.tv on youtube by pure happenstance... and I love it. Don't be put off by the title... it is an internet TV station run that produces some sweet content on China and Chinese youth culture or as they describe it...
SexyBeijing is a show about dating, love and youth culture in the People's Republic of China. Follow the adventures of Sufei as she looks for love on the dusty streets of the big BJ and meets a lot of cool characters along the way.
The supercool host Anna Sophie Loewenberg knows her stuff... and looks fab in an incongruous way as she walks the streets with her mike and funky specs.

Its really enlightening... and well worth checking out... especially considering the Olympics are live and direct from Beijing this year.

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This is cool :: Johnny Cash - Were you there?



This morning Olly and I were surfing youtube and we came across this homebrew video using Lego and Johnny Cash. Don't know about you but that's a fab combination in my books. Enjoy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Question :: Initiative instead of experience..?

Companies are obsessed with resumes, constituents rely on credibility, and one’s past experiences are regarded as the best indication of future success. After all, what beats a great track record?

However, the creative world and especially the history of breakthrough ideas suggest that initiative, not experience, is the best indicator of future achievement. Ideas require bold initiative to gain traction. We should think differently about the criteria we look for as we hire new employees and select new leaders.
Interesting article on Behance.com that's worth checking out. I think we need to look for initiative in the church/ areas of social activism instead of experience. What do you think?

This is cool :: Blip One Wallpaper

My new wallpaper

Was needing something special to adorn my new MacBook... and as if by magic a chap called Blip One from Philly added me as a pal on Flickr. His work is awesome and just what I was after... considering I lost all my wallpapers when my iBook (RIP) died. Nice.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rooibos Tea

I'm with Precious Ramotswe when it comes to rooibos (pronounced Roy-Boss) or Redbush tea. Folks who follow me on Twitter will have noticed me mention it now and again - I think its braw!

Tetley get it straight from the growers based in the Cedarberg Mountains of South Africa... which is kind of like Champagne and Parma Ham. Only proper rooibos tea comes from the Cedarbergs.

I have fallen in love with its unique taste and aroma... with or without milk (note to reader - I take mine with) it is wonderfully refreshing... and down right cheerful! It is, officially, the new Earl Grey.

Check it out - £0.99 for 40 bags. Nice!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My iBook is dead... Long live my MacBook

My new MacBook

I couldn't last... I needed a laptop. I just couldn't make it work otherwise.

Sure I could have picked up a Lenovo Thinkpad for £349... but Linux scares me and Windoze is... well... I'd rather have my nipple hair waxed with duct tape than buy a PC.

So I dropped some hard earned cash on the bottom-of-the-range MacBook and I love it.

Its 2x faster than my iBook (RIP) with twice the hdd capacity and more RAM. Time is truly the greater leveller... my once top-of-the-range iBook (RIP) is now less than my basic MacBook.

Its smaller and lighter... and offers more functionality. I love the inbuilt camera... the new power cable... FrontRow... bluetooth... and the fact that x11 comes as standard - I've downloaded GIMP (for imagery) and OpenOffice (for wordprocessing/ spreadsheets/ presentations etc) that work on x11 > all opensource and free.

An extra £15

What I would like to say... however... is WHY OH WHY OH WHY did the doohickey that connects to a VGA cable (for projectors/ LCD TVs etc) not come as part of the package? I got one with my iBook (RIP) and I now have to shell out £15 for one... just because Apple are too stylish to have a VGA port on their laptops. Hmm... c'mon Apple!

Anyway... here's a wee list of bits and pieces (over and above GIMP and OpenOffice) that I think are essential kit for any Mac-wielding digital nomad:
  1. Firefox (free) -- In my opinion... its the best browser. I have a number of add-ons for it... such as "Foxmarks" which enables me to sync my bookmarks across multiple machines... and "TwittyTunes" which allows me to send tweets from Firefox itself.
  2. Flickr Uploader (free) -- Flickr rawks for online photo storage and sharing. The Uploader makes uploading (clue is in the name) to Flickr easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
  3. Adium (free) -- A multi-channel AIM client that keeps my AIM, Yahoo, Gtalk and MSN together in one place. I believe video is coming to it... which will be sweet!
  4. GetTube (free) -- for downloading vids on YouTube.
  5. Growl (free) -- a fab visual notification tool... kind of hard to describe.
  6. iRecordMusic ($24.95) -- software for recording audio streams such as Radio 2 that works with iCal.
So anyway... I'm back and I am grateful to God... Olly... and my employer who pays me... for being able to get back up and running.

Here's to the future.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This is why I Twitter...

But as I sit here writing this I feel connected to a community of people, feel that we share a space that none of the social network sites can conjure up, a space that is both here and not here, somewhere between offline and online.

Bill Thompson for the BBC.

If you don't twitter... you should. I was able to follow a friend's car crash in the US at the weekend... and find out he was ok (Thank God) in almost real time. I can keep in touch with my buddy JD in Texas, my mate Lard in Florida and my pal Laura in Prestwick. What's more... I can show my "tweets" on the ol' nanolog... and my "tweets" also update automatically my status in Facebook.

Trust me... its huge already... and getting bigger. I am Headphonaught on Twitter - Join me...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

My iBook RIP

iBook

My trusty iBook has died. Yesterday, while in iTunes I did something to make the beachball appear... after a wee while it became obvious that this was no ordinary beachball but, in fact, the spinning beachball of DEATH. I tried to force quit with no success... so I switched it off [always the last resort]- now it wont turn on. I have tried to reset the power management unit to no avail. It is dead.

I'm not stuck for the 'tinterweb... I have access to Olly's iMac but access will be limited... as this is her machine for her cards and stuff.

Where I am stuck is for the times I use it away from the house... in the hall for S*N*A*C... recording ((deep))... multimedia at Summer School... you get the gist... out and about.

I can't afford a new MacBook without some jiggery-pokery... I don't know anything about Linux and I don't want to buy a Windows PC. So I guess I am stumped.

All this talk of using our stuff for the Lord... there is both irony and purpose in this. Its a shame I can only see the irony just now.

I have lost photos... but am grateful for Flickr. All my bookmarks are on Olly's iMac, which is a blessing and my tunes are on an external hdd. I backed up recently when I moved to Leopard... so I have most of my stuff... but, nontheless, I am gutted with what I have lost.

So anyway... I won't be updating as often as I used to... I won't have access to Facebook, Twitter and email as often... and my ministry (for what it is) will take a decidedly lo-fi approach for a while until I can work this out... or a miracle happens. Please be patient with me.

Mr Jobs... any chance of a freebie?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Some more thoughts on Uniforms... stuff... Rick Warren and the need for Simplicity

A couple of my fav things...

My thanks to Laura for her recent comment... and her observation...
i'm maybe missing or misinterpretting this, but... didn't God USE Moses' staff for his own purposes?

He took what Moses had.. he took his "stuff" ..and he did something with it.
I alluded to this thought near then end of my post...
What we have isn't really ours... we are just stewards of it for a while. We need to use it for God as well as for ourselves...
but I am glad that the point was raised. We have stuff. We are fortunate to have stuff. Therefore, in the spirit of gratitude and humility lets give the stuff back to God by using it for him... just as we use our talents and gifts... our intellect and strength... our life experiences... just as God used Moses staff > we need to let God use our stuff for His purposes.

I use my iBook for blogging... and as part of a gathering... showing movieclips or slides that add to our time together. I play songs on my iPod... songs that bring people closer to God. I also listen to podcasts that build me up. I use my phone as a means of contacting others... and for taking pics that add to this blog.

We need to use everything at our disposal for the glory of God... everything in our hands: our identity... our income... and our influence.

I hope this adds to the conversation? Thanks Laura for your comment.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Uniforms... stuff... Rick Warren and the need for Simplicity

What's in my bag?

I like stuff. I feel comfortable with stuff... as if I am scared of being bored? Last Sunday Olly and I had a discussion about my bag (above) and its appropriateness (or not) of it being worn with a Salvation Army uniform.

I am a Soldier in the Salvation Army and I have the pleasure of wearing the uniform: tunic... trousers... white shirt... tie... black hard leather shoes... etc. I know a lot of member of the ol' Nanolog community are Salvos... and the rest of you will kind of know what I mean.

Its not the coolest look on the planet. In fact, I'm not big of fitting in... looking the part... in my life and, if I am honest, the uniform is a problem for me at times. These times usually coincide with my weight gain... tunics aren't the comfiest things to wear... but when they are too tight... they are murder.

Back to the bag... a super-hip blue with black skulls (yes SKULLS) messenger bag... what's wrong with that? Technically nothing... because the Army is a "COME AS YOU ARE" kind of place... well at least it should be! The roots of the Army are based on Church exclusion because of outward appearance and behaviour > William Booth created a place where the lost and the least could belong to Jesus and each other. The idea grew... as all great ideas do... and a mission became a movement.

Now I might not have this entirely right... but the origins of the uniform are twofold:
  1. It is an outward symbol of being a follower of Jesus in the Salvation Army movement > we are easily recognisable and, as such, approachable by those who need our help. In a sense it is our "baptism" because we show our belonging when/where ever we put our uniform on. Its not a one-time event but a regular occurrence... kind of like salvation in that its not a one-off but a continual renewing.
  2. It makes everyone the same > everyone dresses the same... regardless of their status in society or the money they have or don't have in their bank accounts... everyone looks the same. You don't get Prada versions of the uniform... Stussy don't do them either... and Nike don't do Tier Zero hard shoes.
So I guess I fell down with bag under point 2 > I was seeking to stand out. It is, afterall, a sweet bag. That said... Olly won the argument... and I admitted I was wrong :: super-hip blue messenger bags with black skulls (yes SKULLS) don't work with uniforms.

But it wasn't over for me... something kept niggling at me... there was more to this than appearance.

It wasn't just the bag but the contents of the bag that concerned me. As I said above I like my stuff. I carry a lot of stuff about... valuable stuff with little regard > books... iPods... games consoles... magazines... notebooks... etc etc.

Why did (do) I need to go to church with all this stuff? Its not like I use any of it... I don't pull out my DS when the sermon gets dull... I don't plug in my iPod if I don't like the song we're singing... All I need is my bible... a notebook... and my wallet, in case we need petrol. I don't need the rest of this stuff... Its not like I have to commute far... and we normally have tunes on anyway.

I have been thinking about my dependence on stuff... what it means. As this has been going on in my head... I watched Rick Warren on a TED.com [I would recommend you watch this video] ironically on my iPod... while on the train to work. He shares a ton of inspiring insights but the one that stuck with me and struck a chord was this:

Rick quotes from Exodus... when Moses sees the burning bush and the following conversation happens between God and Moses:
Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"

Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"

"A staff," he replied.

The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."
Exodus 4: 1-3 (NIV)

What was in Moses' hand? His shepherd's crook... which is meaningful, according to Warren, for 3 reasons:
  1. It was a sign of Moses' identity -- he was a shepherd.
  2. It was a sign of Moses' income -- his "stocks and shares"... his wealth... were his sheep.
  3. It was a sign of Moses' influence
What do I have in my hand? Books... iPods... games consoles... magazines... notebooks... etc etc. Symbols of my identity? Symbols of my income? Symbols of my influence?

Yes... Yes... and Yes.

I was at this point that I got it. I shouldn't take the bag solely because of appearances... and not wanting to make myself appear more important because of what I have. I shouldn't take the bag... with all the stuff inside... because I should be seeking to sacrifice my self... my ego... to God's will.

I don't need this stuff at church. I don't need these distractions... these things that get in the way. All I need is my bible... a notebook... and my wallet, in case we need petrol. God isn't impressed by my super-hip blue with black skulls (yes SKULLS) messenger bag or the contents of the bag... all He cares about is what's in my heart.

I need to get back to the simplicity of just going to church... without any of the stuff that would otherwise distract. This is where the challenge is... To strip church down to a one-to-one experience with God... without all the trappings and baggage. Simple. Building relationships... with God and with one another. Without the labels... without the hierarchy of social standing and placement... without status anxiety.

Just a broken person hanging out with other broken people... worshiping a God who can and does fix us... and continues to fix us. Pretty simple, if you as me.

Thing is... in closing... stuff, in and of itself, isn't problematic. Its the significance we place on our stuff that causes all the grief. What we have isn't really ours... we are just stewards of it for a while. We need to use it for God as well as for ourselves...

What is in your hand?

If its an iPod... what do you listen to? Does it build you up... or wear you down?

If its a phone... do the contacts in your address book know of your faith? or... more simply... do they know you to be someone who is there for them and contactable pretty much 24-7?

If its a book... is it something that will strengthen you with ideas and inspiration... or something else that will wear you down?

If its a console... or a controller... are the games you play beneficial? do they eat into time better spent with others... or with God?

Think about it... what's in YOUR hand today?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

This is cool :: Star Wars titles Saul Bass style



Thanks to the wonder that is notcot I stumbled upon this fab video... here's the skinny:
36 year old bhilmers of youtube has created a star wars movie intro channeling his inner Saul Bass, using “Machine” by the Buddy Rich Band off the album Big Swing Face (1967)… and it’s pretty sweet for any Saul Bass lovers out there (who’s not?).
I love it... and it kicked off a thought. Who is Saul Bass and why does his style seem familiar?

Well God bless wikipedia ::
Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 - April 25, 1996) was a graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, but he is best known for his design on animated motion picture title sequences, which is thought of as the best such work ever seen.
He was responsible for the titles to, amongst others, north by north west (where I recognised his style), vertigo and psycho. He also did film posters including, amongst others, west side story...


and the shining...

I salute you, Saul, for being a visual genius... and I celebrate your work with one of my fave title sequences... that of VERTIGO:

Monday, March 03, 2008

This is cool :: Yo Gabba Gabba


Am I the only person obsessed with the visual and aural treat that is YO GABBA GABBA? It is truly awesome... and when I mean awesome... I mean... mouth open... time stopped... centre-for-good-design within my brain all tingly... awesome.


Its like watching Seasame Street back in the 70s... fresh... new... innovative... A heady mix of sound and vision...



Party in my tummy is just so wonderful...



Oh and even Frodo loves Yo Gabba Gabba



Seriously... check it out. You will be changed forever! Wiki

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

My mum

I would like to wish my mother a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Her practicality, hospitality and sense of fun mark her out as being extra special and would like to thank her for being there for me... for Olly... and for the girls.

Olly @ Isabella's party

On behalf of Dayna and Miriam... I would like to wish Olly a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY too. I consider her to be a fantastic mother (my VIPs do as well) and I am proud as punch that she's my wife.

Anne chillin'

Oh and while I am at it... my mother-in-law... Anne [with an "E"] rawks!!! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to you Annie, too.

Calendar -- March 08

March 08

Here's a wee calendar for you... using one of my pics taken from the viewing platform of the Empire State Building.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Link round up :: PSFK

A wee links round up from PSFK ::
  1. Apple To Open Up iPhone Further -- "Apple are to detail a software road map for the iPhone on March 6 that will allow developers to create applications for the iPhone. To date, all applications for the iPhone have been via the web-browser. Now applications will able to run off the phone itself." -- Can't wait for this. Could make or break whether I buy an iPhone in the Fall or not.
  2. Is TED becoming part of the problem? -- Across the street from the 2008 TED conference is BIL - a competing conference with some very interesting values. -- TED is a fab conference... one that although I could never dream of attending ($6,000 per ticket)... it is one that I have access to via the 'tinterweb... but it is still hierarchical and somewhat closed.
  3. Wii Freeloader Breaks Regional Barriers -- Engadget held up this simple DVD you put into your Wii to overcome any regional restictions allowing people to play any game from anywhere in the world -- this is about choice... and people overcoming barriers to choice. Nice.
  4. Underground Farming in Japan -- Inside a former bank vault hidden beneath a high rise building in Tokyo’s Otemachi business district, a square kilometer of subterranean soil has been planted with rice. There are also different rooms for growing tomatoes, lettuces, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers and herbs. -- I thought this was inspiring.
Read PSFK... its an inspiring read.

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