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Posts from January 2009

Moving Feeds from Feedburner to Google

Everyone who has Feedburner looking after their feeds has to move to Google by Feb. 27. I am doing the big move today. Apparently, the scariest thing is watching the subscriber numbers plummet and then rise again. So if that number on the right goes from 3339 to 0, you will know why. Anyone else moved already?

I found encouragement from Google FAQ and from Michael at Pro Blog Design. Thanks. Lets see how it goes.

UPDATE: Nightmare - Google Adsense has locked me out and I cant get back in. They sent me an automessage to tell me to reset my password but i have done that 2x already today. I used to access my Google adsense through Feedburner but I cant get back into Feedburner anymore because Google has taken over. Bummer. Between a rock and a hard place.

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Out of Ur is Officially Not Lame

Joe Hernandez of CityTeam emailed me something he read on Christianity Today's site about their blog Out of Ur which came very close to top in a recent list of top church blogs.

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Did I really call their early attempt at blogging "lame"?
Yes, I did, Their first blog was a clearing house for articles and was nothing at all like what a blog should be. The Out Of Ur blog changed all that. It was quick to respond to current controversies and stories, with plenty of scope to comment and participate. And it always had great graphics. Its probably the best Christian blog in the USA.

There's a lot of stuff each day from CT and the best way to keep up with it all is to throw some relevant CT RSS feeds into your reader. Some of my articles on Christianity today include What Did You Go Out To See? and Lie is Beautiful.

As for Google ranking, Coffee Shop Journal reminded me of some of my earlier thoughts on coming first [or not].

Picture 17-4

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Missional Church ala 1955

"This is my parish", said the Reverend Father, his beer half drunk, his cigarette pointing to the bar."

The title under one of the photos says, "THE CHURCH MUST COME TO THE PEOPLE." IN A SOHO PUBLIC-HOUSE, THE REV. TONY REID TAKES A BEER AND TALKS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY". The article, which Jonny Baker and I found on display this week at the new photographers gallery in London, is from Picture Post, 1955. I sneaked a photo or two and these will enlarge if you click on them.

Missionsohopage1Rev. Tony Reid was given freedom for his missional work in the pubs by Father Patrick McLaughlin, the Rector of St Annes in Soho who founded The Society of St Annes in the clergy house that was bombed out during the war.

According to Wikipedia, "The Society was begun late in 1942, when McLaughlin and Shaw asked the Bishop of London (Geoffrey Fisher, later Archbishop of Canterbury) for permission to use the St Anne's clergy house as a kind of mission centre for thinking pagans". The Society drew a lot of key thinkers including CS Lewis. Sounds like it was good soil for the mission action that came during the 50's. Always good to see talk lead to action.

Best quote for me from that Picture Post article is toward the end:
"It was in Brussels in the 1930's that he [Patrick McLaughlin] saw the church in social action. He spent some weeks studying the process of going out to the people, of taking your empty church as a fact, but your parish as the real and living church."

My questions for the mission geeks out there:
1. What Catholic mission(s) did he see in Brussels in the 1930s that so inspired him?
2. What ever happened to Rev. Tony Reid?

Missioninsoho1955

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Atheist Bus Campaign Probably Not a Breach

ASA ruling yesterday, after 326 complaints against the atheistic ads on English buses. HT Cybersoc (by Twitter)
"The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has concluded that the “There’s probably no God” bus ad campaign by the British Humanist Association is not in breach of the advertising code. The ASA will therefore not launch an investigation and the case is now closed. . . Although the ASA acknowledges that the content of the ad would be at odds with the beliefs of many, it concluded that it was unlikely to mislead or to cause serious or widespread offence."

Atheist-Advertising-Campa-001"

Fair enough. We have freedom to put cheesy messages about the existence of God on buses and so atheists should enjoy the same freedom. If they lose their freedom, we stand in danger of losing ours.

And its quite clever, really. There is "probably" no God, or, according to scientific probability, their evidence points to the absence of God and therefore you should do what you like because there is no judgement. Quite a reasonable argument, unless there really is a God . . in which case you are stuffed. Al Mohler says that the Australian ad campaign failed due to lack of support but their ads would have said "Atheism: Sleep in on Sunday mornings." Also quite funny.

Mark Berry, who spent a day hard at work with us yesterday in Sheffield, pointed out a response by bass player Steve Lawson.

probably no god atheist

Not very subtle, Steve, but I like the idea of the bus message to get your point across.

Before you move off to read The Skinny on the New Atheism, assuming you will, take a look at a few other gospel billboards that I quite like on this animated GIF.

Godsbillboard-2

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Crowded House (the church, not the band)

crowded houseLast night I was in Sheffield, England. I was lucky enough to have dinner with Steve Timmis and some of the Crowded House people [No connection with the Kiwi band called Crowded House, in case you were wondering. Although I really like them as well]. I had a few hours to spare and I had been meaning to catch up with Crowded House for a long time, especially after meeting Steve at Grassroots Festival last year in Australia. Really nice meal, nice people and a good Bible study. They even drove me to my next stop - Andy and Bea Marshall. Must stop in there again sometime.

Steve and Tim Chester have a book out called Total Church that I started reading a while ago. Not a racy exciting book but rather a solid plod-along book that does a good job in laying out some good basic principles and practices of ministry. Americans like the book also, especially Michael Dewalt who awarded it Number One book for 2008. And check out Steve's interview by 9Marks blog.

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Streams, Presences and what to do with icons.

I am in a meeting today in Sheffield with some interesting people: Mark Berry who was just featured on Radio Times, Jonny Baker, Bob and Mary Hopkins. Although we are talking about mission and how to save Europe on a budget [not exactly] the topic moved to blogs. I put in my streams from twitter, facebook, etc last year and they look like this:

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Jonny redesigned his blog a few weeks ago and it looks really sharp. Jonny has used a lot of borders which no one has done for a while. What I call my "streams", Jonny calls his (presences)

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Jonny's idea to give a one pixel border to his "presences" is rubbing off. It looks like, and this has been the subject of our conversation, that Mark has appropriated [stolen] Jonny's idea. Mark says he did "steal" the idea but he had to create some of his own icons. They are larger and look pretty cool. They make my little puny "streams" seem old hat so I might need to do a redesign in the near future.

Picture 7-6

Anyone else doing anything interesting with their digital self streams?

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Obama and the Internet

Plenty of Barack Obama parties today, even here in London where I am blogging from. And plenty of Obama inauguration blog posts. What sticks out to me today is the place of the internet in that election. Two quotes:

"Barack Obama’s election was historic not just politically – his use of the the Internet to promote awareness and create a loyal following will be the template which all future presidential campaigns will draw inspiration from."
Barack Obama’s Ultimate Guide to Marketing: How he Used Internet and Social Media to Become President-Elect

Obama Seo Can Happen

"The Internet played a disruptive role in the 2008 election in the same way television played a disruptive role in the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy to president. Neither medium was new in the respective elections, but both “came of age” and swung the election towards the winning candidate."
The Internet As A Force In Politics: “Obama Would Not Have Won Without The Internet”

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Top Christian Blogs: How the Skinny Have Fallen

Church Relevance have compiled a list of the top 60 Church Blogs. If you followed the Tall Skinny Kiwi blog when it was the number one Christian blog, God bless you. If you havent been on the web for a couple of years, you might be forgiven for thinking that nothing has changed. But you would be wrong . . . you would be VERY wrong. Ohhhhhh how the skinny have fallen! My mum is going to be really disappointed to hear this but i have fallen all the way to number 14. Oh . . . the shame of it!

HELP ME! I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP!

But not to worry, at least i am beaten by some really excellent church blogs.

Some thoughts on this list before you read it.

- Tim Challies deserves to be on top. He is a great blogger and an innovator. Well done.

- The measurement criteria is pretty accurate because its using a combination of the leading indicators - see the legend on the Church Relevance blog to see how they did it. I am sure you will want to cry "FOWL" and argue that I should be much higher [thankyou, God bless you, yes . . i see that hand] but the fact is these numbers are pretty solid.

- Some non-USA bloggers are not on the list. Where is Jonny Baker? Jordon Cooper?

- I am beaten by Internet Monk! Well done, Michael.

- Pyromaniacs beat me but I knew they would - they have a better blog, better graphics, and a higher readership. But I think the QUALITY of my readership is better than theirs.
[yeah - three cheers for TSK readers!!]

- Scot McKnight should really be much higher. Scot did a silly thing recently. Having a kick-butt blog called Jesus Creed with a huge amount of inbound links, Scot deserted it to blog for BeliefNet. Having lost his legacy with the search engines, it might take him a long while to make it up again. So in this case, the numbers are not accurate

- if you are really discouraged reading this list and wondering how the heck you are going to get some google love, remember this. Search engines rank your site, and they rank your page, and they rank your post. Those three. Your site might be really new or it might really suck BUT there is nothing stopping you from writing a killer post that kicks all our butts on the Google search engine. For some advice on that, read my blogging tips.

- Out of Ur is probably the best blog here. I used to criticise Christianity Today for their lame blog attempts but they really got it right with Out of Ur. Its risky and timely and very interactive.

- Where are the Catholics? They were blogging before most of these Protestants. Surely they don't rank that low?

- Where is La Shawn Barber? [oh thats right, she's a woman]

- I need to say it or there will be a whole pile of bloggers-of-the-female-persuasion pointing to the male dominated state of this list. Cynthia and Anne, are you the only women here? [Kem Myer also - thanks] My gosh - James Brown was right.

James Brownits A Mans World

Top Church Blogs
0. Tim Challies [Rank 4.83]
AR 151,747 ___ BS 582 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 3,604 ___ TA 1,109 ___ TIL 5,179
1. Between Two Worlds / Justin Taylor [Rank 7.33]
AR 152,069 ___ BS 228 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 2,437 ___ TA 1,335 ___ TIL 8,684
2. Stuff Christians Like / Jon Acuff [Rank 9.33]
AR 283,778 ___ BS 526 ___ GP 4 ___ GRS 3,596 ___ TA 1,024 ___ TIL 7,130
3. Out of Ur [Rank 9.83]
AR 12,169 ___ BS 338 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 1,132 ___ TA 546 ___ TIL 2,621
4. The Resurgence / Mark Driscoll [Rank 11.00]
AR 178,120 ___ BS 126 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 2,237 ___ TA 1,176 ___ TIL 5,784
5. GetReligion [Rank 11.67]
AR 125,516 ___ BS 274 ___ GP 6 ___ GRS 906 ___ TA 684 ___ TIL 2,566
6. Swerve / Craig Groeschel & Bobby Gruenewald [Rank 11.83]
AR 93,973 ___ BS 333 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 593 ___ TA 641 ___ TIL 3,098
7. Pyromaniacs / Phil Johnson [Rank 12.00]
AR 324,560 ___ BS 288 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 1,164 ___ TA 615 ___ TIL 3,905
8. Ragamuffin Soul / Carlos Whittaker [Rank 12.67]
AR 309,252 ___ BS 280 ___ GP 4 ___ GRS 2,040 ___ TA 953 ___ TIL 5,939
9. The Evangelical Outpost / Joe Carter [Rank 15.50]
AR 340,360 ___ BS 238 ___ GP 6 ___ GRS 1,213 ___ TA 335 ___ TIL 2,989
10. Church Marketing Sucks / Brad Abare & Kevin Hendricks [Rank 16.33]
AR 239,868 ___ BS 160 ___ GP 6 ___ GRS 1,819 ___ TA 436 ___ TIL 2,240
11. Internet Monk / Michael Spencer [Rank 16.33]
AR 297,600 ___ BS 205 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 523 ___ TA 622 ___ TIL 5,749
12. Desiring God / John Piper [Rank 16.50]
AR 43,865 ___ BS 389 ___ GP 3 ___ GRS 3,664 ___ TA 1,153 ___ TIL 4,935
13. Perry Noble [Rank 17.33]
AR 556,912 ___ BS 277 ___ GP 4 ___ GRS 1,847 ___ TA 690 ___ TIL 3,422
14. Tall Skinny Kiwi / Andrew Jones [Rank 17.50]
AR 589,474 ___ BS 360 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 996 ___ TA 509 ___ TIL 2,302
15. Monday Morning Insight / Todd Rhoades [Rank 21.33]
AR 240,792 ___ BS 453 ___ GP 4 ___ GRS 922 ___ TA 283 ___ TIL 1,607
16. Church Relevance / Kent Shaffer [Rank 23.33]
AR 369,485 ___ BS 134 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 1,576 ___ TA 252 ___ TIL 1,152
17. FlowerDust / Anne Jackson [Rank 23.50]
AR 410,152 ___ BS 115 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 430 ___ TA 529 ___ TIL 2,273
18. Leading Smart / Tim Stevens [Rank 25.00]
AR 775,255 ___ BS 346 ___ GP 4 ___ GRS 951 ___ TA 446 ___ TIL 1,881
19. Steven Furtick [Rank 26.00]
AR 738,114 ___ BS 344 ___ GP 4 ___ GRS 533 ___ TA 529 ___ TIL 2,184
20. Emergent Village [Rank 26.17]
AR 564,952 ___ BS 121 ___ GP 5 ___ GRS 402 ___ TA 492 ___ TIL 2,271

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Continue reading "Top Christian Blogs: How the Skinny Have Fallen" »


CompassionART and Mr and Mrs Smith

So we wanted to watch a movie last night and my kids chose "Mr and Mrs Smith" which was coming on TV at 8pm. [Yeah - I was too stingy to rent a video]. When the movie started, it didn't look anything at all like the movie we were expecting with Brad and Angelina but instead there was this other couple sitting on a couch. And I said to my kids,

"Hey - I know that guy with the scruffy hair and peapod eyes. We met in Sheffield. He's a musician and his name is Martin Smith. He had a band called Delirious!" [He probably still does but I don't keep up on the Christian music scene very much]

Picture 6-4Picture 4-8

And then there were other people that I recognized on the show and in fact, the house they were filming in was the same house we were staying at last year - The House of Cantle in Scotland, owned by my friend Jim McNeish, who was also in the show. And my kids are like "Hey . . . we were there. I was like soooo sitting there!"

Anyway, kinda fun for us all to reminisce over our fabulous time at Cantle last year. Come to think of it, Jim was telling me about some some songwriters who had just gathered there before us to produce some music for charity. CompassionART, to be exact. Haven't heard the music yet but the cause sounds good. Looks like you can order the music here.

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Since we are talking about Cantle, I had a quiet time of reflection there and wrote some poetry.

Houseofcantle-3-Tm

Tip: If you want to attend a retreat at the famous House of Cantle, make sure you do'nt go on a week where there are a dozen noisy musicians making a racket and disturbing the peace.

I might rent a movie today - maybe the real "Mr and Mrs Smith"

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Why I am lending out my EC books?

There's a story about a cop who was watching a truck driver do a really silly thing. At every traffic light, the truck driver got out and ran around his truck, beating the sides with a stick. Having circled the truck once, he would jump into the truck and drive off. At the next traffic light, out he jumped again, thumping the side his truck and then driving off. Eventually, the cop pulled him over and asked him why he was doing that.

"It's a one-ton truck", the driver explained, " and I am hauling two tons of live birds. The only way I wont overload my truck is to keep the birds flying."

OK - its a silly story but it does illustrate why I am sending my library books to my blog readers. We only have room in the motorhome for a few boxes of books. The rest will have to stay floating with you. 150 emerging church books need to be thumped into mid air, circulating around, and one day make it back to the Suddenly Seminary library.

Want to borrow a book? 24 requests so far. Have a look and follow the instructions on the previous post.

Emergingchurchbooks150-2