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Posts from November 2005

Church 2.0

much talk about Web 2.0.
much hype about Bubble 2.0
much skepticism about Burst 2.0
more thought needed about Emerging Church 2.0

As I type these words into my blog editor, the term "Web 2.0" is currently the most searched phrase or key word on Technorati's blog search. There is a lot of discussion and dreaming and criticism. Last months Web 2.0 Conference (the second one) made a huge splash. The 2004 conference had people like Tim O'Reilly throwing some bones about how Web 2.0 might look and feel . . .

O'Reilly said: "Web 2.0" stands for the idea that the Internet is evolving from a collection of static pages into a vehicle for software services, especially those that foster self-publishing, participation, and collaboration. . . "
"User-centered Web phenomena such as blogging, community photo-sharing (exemplified by Flickr), collective editing (Wikipedia), and social bookmarking (Delicious), they argue, are disrupting traditional ideas about how software is built and how information is generated, shared, and distributed on the Internet."

Web2

The idea behind Web 2.0 is not new at all, although much of the tech now available to pull off Web2.0-sized dreams is recent. Web 2.0 is how some of us initially viewed the internet in the 90's when we chose to start journalling our lives rather than creating static vanity sites or commercial storefronts. By 1999, the word blogging was adopted and the idea of casual self-publishing and hypertext linking is now not only acceptable, but in many cases, preferable. This is what Douglas Rushkoff was referring to in his "Open Source Democracy" [PDF] where he outlined the initial flavor of the simple, collaborative web, and how it was captured by commercial interests and mystified beyond the reach of ordinary people. But now we are returning to demystification and empowerment of the masses for self-expression and connectivity. Or . . Web 2.0

Anyway, the ideas of collaboration, participation, distributed power etc, are all very similar to what we are seeing in the newer crop of churches started by media savvy, web-native people and bloggers. That makes me want to suggest . . .

Church 2.0 . . . a missional ecclesiastic response to a culture influenced by the values of Web 2.0

Emerging Church 2.0 might be those emerging churches that are shaped by new media values rather than old media. They write blog posts rather than articles, PDFs rather than books, start churches without buildings, and lack a vertically hierarchical leadership structure. Hierarchy is modular and dynamic, rather than vertical and static. I am not talking about cyberchurches that migrate to the web. I am talking about alternative faith communities that emerge online and then seek physical meetings, new aggregations of believers that connect with each other and the world through the complex networks that make up their World 2.0

Jesus 2.0? No . . . SILLY . . . He's the same yesterday, today and forever
Gospel 2.0? No . . same timeless message but the message has always been delivered and distributed in a particular context. And I am talking about . . . . yes . . . Context 2.0
Church 2.0? You bet.

Any thoughts out there on this subject? [Apart from the large amount of criticism I will receive about this post]

Related:
- Christian Blogging and Web 2.0 on Blogs4God
- Blog Ministry notes that most churches are still Web 1.0 and suggests 5 Christian Web 2.0 services you could do.
- Coop links to a Web 2.0 Checklist
- Forward Slash, EmergAnt: New Media Fluency, Generation Text, by tsk
- Jim's Church 2.0 project and wiki
- We Know More Than Our Pastors, by Tim Bednar
- Fred Peatross is writing his Mod-Church Manifesto, with hat tipping towards Cluetrain.
"15) To the conventional church, our networked conversations may appear disorganized and confused. But the conversation is gathering; movement will soon follow. We have the tools, more ideas, and no rules to slow us down."
Dig Think
- Andrew Careaga (of e-ministry) highlights a piece on digital storytelling from Digitial Think.
[quote]"This is the dawn of the connected epoch in human civilization. We are living, you and I, in the first seconds of a society reshaped by empowered individuals connected by digital networks, of lives shaped by unprecedented volumes of information and shifting notions of knowledge and trust."

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My Top Referrers [thanks]

Almost a thousand of you lovely adorable bloggers have permanent links to me on your front page, which means that many of my hits come from your sites. I have enjoyed over half a million hits in the last season, and much of that is because of you. Your permanent links give me a high google rating and I come up more often on the search engines. (Who said there was no hierarchy on the internet?)

Thanksforlinks_1

In the past, I haven't had permanent links to you - sorry - very rude of me - but i hope to fix that. I don't want my blog to be self-centered and i do want to honor you. So I just started a list in the right column called "Top Referrers". There is about 100 links right now but that number will keep growing as i track which sites are sending me the most hits. So if your blog comes up on my list, consider it a THANK YOU from me. I may do spotlights on individual referrers . . . so keep looking . . you might find yourself on my front page.


Being Casual and Other Start-Up Rules

EvHead, of Blogger fame and speaker at the recent Web 2.0 Conference, gives ten or eleven tips for web start ups. Heres the best one.

"#3: Be Casual
We're moving into what I call the era of the "Casual Web" (and casual content creation). This is much bigger than the hobbyist web or the professional web. Why? Because people have lives. And now, people with lives also have broadband. If you want to hit the really big home runs, create services that fit in with—and, indeed, help—people's everyday lives without requiring lots of commitment or identity change. Flickr enables personal publishing among millions of folks who would never consider themselves personal publishers—they're just sharing pictures with friends and family, a casual activity. Casual games are huge. Skype enables casual conversations".

I find that blog conversations that stay in casual mode can host some profitable conversation. But when blog posts are too formal (like my "Open Blog Post for Carson" which resembled an open letter) then tension levels rise and people get defensive. I feel the flavor of Web 2.0 is casual, not formal.

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Prov 28:17

Murdersconscience

Found and edited this image of Cain and Abel (anonymous artist) yesterday from One Year Bible Blog. I have failed miserably to keep up with this particular Bible reading schedule this year emoticonbut I still get the notes from the daily readings in my RSS reader - in fact, I have moved the feed to the top of my RSS list because its the best feed I have each day. Thanks Mike and the team for your extra notes, thoughts, and images. Good to see Gollum yesterday. Count me in for 2006.

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UK Needs to Get Sorted. This Week. Dangit!

The prophets tell us that this week is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL for the spiritual future of the United Kingdom and the emerging church. They are calling for prayer and action that will show God that Brits are serious about following in His way. And if not, He might take that as a "NO!"

Now, being a natural skeptic, like you, I would usually suspect that behind these prophetic words are some over-enthusastic Americans changing the world by remote control at a caffeine-charged prayer meeting. But the fact is, I have been hearing the same thing for a while and so I give it a lot more cred. So, if you also have a sneaking suspicion that something is in the works in the skies above UK, the take a minute and read this.

Got an email this morning from Johnathon Stuart-Brown:
"Andrew, . . . There have been many prophecies which suggest within days or at most weeks, The UK will go one way or the other depending on prayer, praise, repentence from The Body of Christ. Chuck Pierce predicted the London bombings 40 days in advance when he saw a sword over London and called for 40 days prayer and fasting. He also prophecied in May 2004 that Britain would have to decide by the end of November 2005 which way to go: Double Blessing or Double evil. Others see it as God about to put His thumb Up or down on The UK."

There are many others on website... http://www.ourchurch.com/view/?pageID=190233
This is just one..
The UK hangs in the balance - what the body does next will determine the Nation's destiny - Greg Austin - Nov 2005"

So, this being such an urgent matter, I took a butchers at the OurChurch.com website - dang! what an ugly website!!! Plllzzz don't tell the artsies at betachurch.org. But, hey, the content is good and very timely so put on your darkest sunglasses and take a look yourself. Here are some highlights, starting with Greg Austin because he is a leader in the emerging church as well as a prophetic/prayer movement.

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Cyber Monday Restraint

Blogs4God SinbathBlogs4God salutes you if you avoided the "orgy known as Black Friday" especially if you restrained yourself from buying some of the Jesus Junk that is currently available. Lets see how you fare tomorrow on Cyber Monday, the web equivalent of Black Friday. Its when connected Americans go online and spend lots of money after Thanksgiving. And those who shop from overseas can also benefit from the savings so I guess that impacts everyone.

As I ask myself what i really need, and how many of them do i already have . .. a thought comes to mind from LUKE 3:11 [thanks Matt]

So the crowds were asking him, “What then should we do?”
John answered them, “The person who has two tunics must share with the person who has none; and the person who has food must do likewise.”

Or in other words, our secondary possessions are up for grabs. Thats how I read it and it often keeps me from buying the extra thing or the second thing. And if i do buy it, I am already thinking about who might need the item i am replacing.
Related: Jesus Junk in 2002, monastic simplicity.

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Feedster's Top500 Blogs

Feedster500 11-12 2005The second accounting of The Feedster 500 Top Blogs was announced . . . and my humble little blog was violently kicked off its perch as i predicted would happen. I was number 381 and was quite excited when i got the news, but now am a SUB-500 blog, just like the rest of you peons. And Tim Challies of Challies.com also gets the back door and the gold watch.

Megablogs like Engadget.com (No. 1, 165,000 links) and TVSquad.com (No. 3) are large commercially driven blogs with dozens of contributors. These are dominating the Top 20 with over 30,000 links each. Weblogs, Inc is the company that creates and monitors them. Now that these blogs are competing with non-commerical personal blogs (like my little mom and pop cornerstore blog), there is not much hope in the future to have the same level of presence and findability. But maybe that will challenge us all to team up more on group blogs.

Pro-Blogger-TmAussie Darren Rowse, (author of emerging church blog Living Room and a thousand dozen others), makes a HUGE splash with ProBlogger (No. 129, 5,485 links). This is an incredibly good looking site thats stuffed with blogging tips. Definitely one of the BEST BLOGS IN THE WORLD. Well done, Darren!

A few blogs on theTop 500 list stuck out to me.

- PostSecret.com - I like the use of old media - handwritten and typewriter words on a postcard or photo.

- PepysDiary.com - The deeply hyper-texted life and times of Samuel Pepys in 1660's London. You simply MUST take a look at this blog that made No. 47 with an incredible 11,000 links! Its tightly organized and simply presented.

Bbhead10Xb-1
BoingBoing.net (No. 2, 81,000 links) a perennial favorite, simply the best blog in the world. Its contributors are superstars. Forgive the namedropping, but I met Cory Doctorow in London at Tech Active. These guys are not in it for the money. Trust me.

Church/Spirituality related blogs?

Some good ones here but none of them are very original in their artistic design or approach to blogging. Or in their use of technology. But its great to see them here.

LaShawnBarber.com (No. 117, 5,886 links) - The most impressive of all faith blogs. I confess I have only been on her site once before today. She runs an excellent blog and deserves her rating. I just added her to my RSS reader.

TheEvangelicalOutpost.com - (No. 383, 1,9992 links). Not pretty nor personal, but a great source of Christian blogformation.

OnehandClapping (No. 442) seems to be more of an American patriotic politcial blog in the flavor of HughHewitt.com. But author Donald Sensing occasionally has some religious news and so he makes this list.

Amy Wellborn just makes the list, and in doing so kicks my butt right off the Top500, with Open Book.(No. 494) A blog so named because a blog is like an open book, and because One open Book roots her. A Catholic blog in the good old-fashioned personal diary style.

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Reflections on USA: Western Seminary

Reflectionsonourusapilgrimage

Last month I drove by Western Seminary in Portland Oregon where I studied in 1988 and got my introduction to postmodernism. I also drove by the Horse Brass Pub where I ate lunch every day. The Horse Brass has become quite well known now with Don Miller talking about it so much (Get PDF) but back then it was just an English style pub and a much better alternative to the Seminary's cafeteria. Bob Hyatt (another Western Seminary student) also prefers the Horse Brass. Bob is a leader in the emerging church but doesn't like the term. He prefers "organic church", or so he said at our pizza party in Portland.

Speaking of organic church, one of the teachers who has greatly influenced the house church movement is George Patterson who also teaches at Western Seminary. George yelled at me in the early 90's when he found out I was starting things OTHER than churches. Dang! I like the guy. Despite his grouchy-old-man personna. He let me go through his files which were later published as the Church Multiplication Guide - one of the only resources for house church training in the nineties and much appreciated when we were doing house church in 1997.

Did I start off saying the "P" word?

I hesitate to use the word "postmodern" because the conversation belongs to a different decade, and I hardly ever use the word anymore, but it was 1988 when I became a full time student at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and so its appropriate to bring it up now. That was my introduction to postmodernism and some concepts that were relevant to my course of studies.

 Tallskinnykiwi Images ChapelIn Cross Cultural Communication, with Dr Donald Smith, we studied communication theory and the anthropology of Paul Hiebert. Hiebert is a professor at TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) whose book Cultural Anthropology was the main text for our course. Cultural Anthropology is a fascinating subject. It is influenced by the thought of Claude Levi-Strauss who was influenced by Ferdinand de Saussure, the Swiss linguist who laid the foundation for postmodern thought during the 20th Century. Anyway, regardless of the many connections between Saussure and Strauss and Hierbert, we were rightly instructed that communication happens when people hear and understand the gospel, and not when we speak it. Communication is therefore "creating understanding." This was a huge breakthrough for me.

Hiebert had some thoughts on 'bounded sets' and 'centered sets' that also impacted me. And not just me. But over the years, this thinking would impact the entire emerging church. NextReformation have done a good job in laying out this teaching and its connection to emerging church and the teachings of Frost and Hirsch.

Center-Set

Doug Pagitt and I were chatting last month on these models. Doug offered a third alternative - a "networked set" with a more distributed structure. This model has Christ located in his body as well as a distant point and will probably challenge the previous two models of bounded and centered.

A visiting speaker at Western named JP Moreland spoke to us on apologetics. He told us that the leading thinkers of the first century were often the followers of Christ. The challenge was to be the critical philosophical thinkers in today's world. Good challenge. JP has been putting out books on postmodernism. I haven't read any of them yet. I think his understanding of postmodernism is the more the Derridian deconstructionism and epistemological questions of truth rather than the more cultural understanding of postmodernity that i carry. Heck - I might be wrong . .. but I am sure even JP Moreland lives in a postmodern world and goes home each night listening to postmodern music in his postmodern car to a post-modern house with postmodern architecture and styling. My world of modern-colonial missions ended in 1991 and a new world started. I wish there was a better word for it than "post-modern" (meaning AFTER the period of cultural modernity) but I just cant think of one.

Another visiting speaker was researcher George Barna who has recently published a book called Revolution. I helped George get back to the Portland airport that day - nice guy - and I am soooo glad he has finally set his sights on the emerging church.

Lamin Sanneh spoke to us about Africa. I got hooked on the idea of non-western theologians and have made a special effort to find their teachings ever since.

Dr. J. Carl Laney taught Old Testament. His teaching on the book of Job later inspired an article I wrote in 2002 called "Postmodernism and Global Worldviews", part of the Skinny on Postmodernity Series for The Ooze.

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