Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Television to Internet Transition: social decentralization

When the television/radio culture was introduced, people were at the mercy of local programming. We all watched the same shows. We all heard the same news. At first there were just a few tv/radio channels, so the effects were greatly pronounced. We were unified around the content provided by a few people. If they did not say it, we did not know it.. unless we we read it in a book or were taught it in a school.

Then cable came and had a thousand channels. It did not change things too much, because so much of the cable programming is just fluff and the real meat stayed very near the staple networks (ABC, NBC, CBS). 24/7 news networks are the real exception to the fluff that cable offers. Anyways... I am going off on a tangent.

With the invention of the internet, we are decentralizing from the television model, where we must consume whatever we are fed. With the internet, we create our own content. The power is of the many, not of the few. We are more aware and connected to our loved ones via social networking like Facebook. There are still some high-traffic hubs and centralized information powerhouses, but we now choose what stories we are aware of, what news we consume. We can find and form our own little cultural niches.

In many ways we are returning to the social model of old, where we knew the ongoings of our families, and towns, but not much outside of that besides what little news made it to town via newsletter or messenger, but instead of actual 'little towns' we create cultural niches that we are interested in and pay attention to.

For example, I tend to check my email and Facebook each morning when I wake up. I am much more aware of my family and friends. Then after that I only am exposed to the sites that I am directly interested in. If you ask me what is going on in the world of 24/7 prayer movement I could talk your ear off. On the other hand, if you asked me about the latest music trends, I would be completely clueless. This is largely because of our cultural gravitation away from television to the internet, which allows us much more specialized self-directed information sources.

There are ups and downs to this. I admit, when I watch television, I have much less control what I am exposed to, but I get a much more well-rounded picture of American culture. On the internet, if I am not interested, I don't click on it. On TV I have to complain and muscle through it 'til the next segment.

That all said, with the internet, we can shape our world. We control what we see and pay attention to. The result is less uniformity over the population, and greater tendency toward extremes due to isolation in our own little self-controlled worlds, and a much greater diversity of opinion and debate. That is the often viewed as the downside. The upside is much greater exposure of truth.

During the days of ABC, NBC, CBS power only, if they did not cover it, we did not know it. Now if I uncover something, I can insert it into the public arena with a few clicks. We tend to think that there is much greater corruption in our nation due to all the information that is now revealed, but I would argue that it is just that we know about it!

If you are frustrated with media bias, that they are not covering your favorite news story, just remind yourself that the only reason you know about the news story in the first place is due to the decentralization of media power. Before the internet, we would not even be aware of the news that is being ignored and glossed over. Anyways... this is way too long. Good night!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Priveledge of Parenting

Lately I have come to realize the importance of parenting and how this idea of parenting as a great privilege and responsibility is all but gone in our society.

I recently came across a book that declared that religious people will soon dominate the world, through reproduction. Reproduction seems so innocent, natural, harmless, powerless, but it is the beginning of everything.

I hate to sound so cliche, but 'children are our future'. Seem obvious, but we rarely think about the implication of this.

As Christians, we hold up our pastors, preachers and evangelists on a pedestal, and they are important... but they are powerless without the parents. Everyone they reach has been raised by someone, talking to them every day, instilling their values daily into their young minds. Discipling them to be whatever type of person they are and care to be. The majority of preachers are 'preaching to the choir', to use another cliche, but the only reason they have a choir to preach to and like-minded people to influence is because the parents have raised them that way. We hear of miraculous conversions all the time, but these are a very minor portion of any religion's population. Most accept their idea of God that they were raised with, no matter the religion.

Christ said to care for the orphans. Could you imagine the peaceful worldwide revolution of love that would exist if we all tried with all our hearts, all our souls and all our strength model Christ everyday? To shepherd our children in love, kindness and generosity and to adopt all the unwanted children and raise them to do the same? To take responsibility for our schools and take it upon ourselves to tutor the struggling children? Oh man that would be cool! I need more hours in a day! Maybe once my own children grow a bit! That would be really cool!

Parenting is the #1 method of discipleship throughout history and throughout the world! We need to lift up and promote the importance of parenting, foster-parenting and adoption! A world wide movement of love, adoption, and foster care = revolution!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Behaving as a Christian Universalist

I am one of those people who read Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" that has caused the theological controversy about hell and salvation theology. I saw the theological errors and spoke against them, but my lifestyle says otherwise. I am definitely not behaving in a way that shows the urgency of letting every one know about God's love and salvation. I kinda just live as if everything is okay. I have a serious problem getting the motivation to make 'On Earth as it is in Heaven' a reality. I have to gain the motivation and education necessary to live according to God's will rather than go along with the ways and concerns of the world. It's just to deceivingly comfortable going with the flow!!!

That said, I am glad to see some big names setting the theology straight on this. I have seen many testimonies of people who claim to have been shown heaven, hell, etc... but not one of them has ever said "Don't worry about it... everyone gets in!"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Twisted Morals

I've been making some observations lately that I find very odd. It concerns the morals of the world. Lately the ultimate moral good is peace and tolerance, and the ultimate evil is violence and death. Death bad, peace good. Sounds good on the surface, but what happens when tolerance of evil and peace at all costs is touted as good? What about the death of Osama Bin Laden when our ultimate evil is death?

I would pose another point of view... peace with evil is unrighteousness. Tolerance of injustice in the name of peace is
itself evil. Death of an evil doer is not sad or evil. It is the life choices that the evil person made that strikes me as a much greater evil. When it comes to Osama Bin Laden, his death is not something that I rejoice over, but I do rejoice at the end of his evil influence.

Neither do I find his death sad in the least, but his life choices are the ultimate sadness and it grieves my heart to see one person choose to perpetrate so much evil. You gotta hand it to him though, he definitely was productive... not lazy, not a procrastinator. If only the righteous could be that productive and purposeful then we could turn around this world for the better.

Peace is not our ultimate good, it is our goal, but true righteousness needs to involve the intolerance of evil, and sometimes to the extent of death.. as in the case of the execution of someone such as Osama Bin Laden.

This extends to the Mid-East peace goal in general. That speech yesterday... was that approval number suicide yesterday or what? Someone needs to tell that guy that approval numbers are not like golf, lower is not better. That speech seemed like he was shooting himself in the foot at every turn. Israel? Screw 'em! Debt ceiling? What debt ceiling?

Peace in the middle east is not a noble goal if it means upholding the evils of those who wish the death and extermination of Jews and siding against the only stable nation in the entire middle east.. the only one that even comes close to having a good human rights record. The only one where women and religious rights are treated with respect, not to mention the only stable nation in the entire region and the only one that is not hostile towards the US. Peace to the extent of tolerating evil is not righteousness.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Love Perennial Edibles!!!

I am loving my perennial edibles this year!!! My greenhouse collapsed and I have not started the seeds of the tomatoes, peppers, etc early like I had planned, but what I do have growing are my perennial edibles!!! I have little tiny asparagus, sorrel, lovage, salsify, garlic, kale, rhubarb, horse radish, raspberries, fruit trees, all well on their way. If only I could get the fence in the ground in time for the deer not to get to them first!!!

By the way, our neighbor hood deer herd has multiplied from 5 last year to 12 this year, all does and probably pregnant right now!!! I seriously have to do something about that, and calling the DNR does not work. I tried!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Furious Love Event: Shampa Rice

Bokaro Children's Home from Wanderlust Productions on Vimeo.

We went to the Furious Love Event this week. Wednseday to Saturday. One of the speakers there is Shampa Rice. She is an Indian Christian who grew up across the street from Mother Teresa. She was amazing. She has absolutely zero internet presence, so I thought I would share this video with you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

For Kara

Kara, you are one amazing lady!
I love you and thank you for being my friend.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bible lessons... from a chicken?!

I have recently noticed that the bright brown chicken with the fuzzy feet, Honey, has been alone lately. The other three chickens all stick together, but Honey is always by herself.

The other day I went out to say hello, and check for some eggs. When I opened the egg door they all gather around, and one of the black chickens pecked at Honey and made it very clear that Honey was not welcome. Now, this immediately tainted my view of that black chicken.

When I bought chickens I chose them for their egg laying abilities and chose breeds that were known for their friendliness. Out of all of my chickens, the two black chickens are the most productive and the most friendly. They are always the first to come say hello when I visit the coop. They do everything right, except for one thing... they treat Honey like dirt.

Since I have noticed this I have made a special mission to take Honey under my wing. Since she is neglected by her peers, I will treat her as a pet. Today the kids were thrilled when I came into the house with a chicken in my arms, especially Juneau, who did not want to say goodbye.

Honey is beautiful, she is somewhat friendly and loving, but nothing spectacular. Not compared to the lovingness of the black chickens, but she is being mistreated. I do not even know if she is a very good egg producer. Except for those stinkin' adorable fuzzy feet, there is not much that would set her apart as a favorite, as far as the things that I wanted in a chicken.

Tonight when I went into Bear's room to say goodnight, I saw his bible on his table and picked it up. I opened to Luke 11: 39-42. I read trying to glean what I was supposed to learn. It did not hit me until I was in the kitchen thinking about chickens.

In Luke 11:39-42 Jesus is hassling some Pharisees. The pharisees are being scolded for "cleaning the outside of the cup and dish", but inside being "full of greed and wickedness." Jesus advises them to "be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you."

42Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

So I think I have finally found names for my black chickens, I think I will call them the Pharisees. There are two of them, and I never had names for them. I think one of them is named Michelle, an inside joke of Bear's.

These two black chickens have done everything right on the outside, but on the inside they lack love for their fellow chicken, Honey.

There is also another layer to this story, a girl I know is also named Honey, and God is working on me with that one. If she were a chicken, she would not be a very good egg layer. She would not even be one of the friendlier chickens, but she would probably be a loner and she is hurting right now.
Even if she had adorable fuzzy feet it would make things a tad easier, but alas... God beckons, and now He know I know it is Him, and there is no getting out of it now.

Monday, January 31, 2011

We are Laodicea

Have you ever read the letters to the seven churches? We are Laodicea!

(We) say,"I am rich. I've become wealthy and don't need anything." But (we) don't realize how pitiful and miserable we have become. (We) are poor, blind and naked (spiritually). -Rev.3:17

We are a nation that knows the word of God and believes the Word of God, but does not feast on the Word of God. We eat spiritual crumbs. We have fire insurance. We know we are going to Heaven through belief in Jesus Christ, and have stopped there in large part. There are exceptions, of course. There are many who I know that have a wonderful relationship with Jesus, and relish in growing closer to God. I know of many miracles and testimonies in our close circle, and that is the way it is meant to be! God's treasures are in Heaven, but they are meant to be enjoyed on earth as well.."On Earth as it is in Heaven!!"

I just got done reading a book by Heidi Baker, a missionary in Mozambique. Her stories are amazing. One of the stories that starts off the book, Compelled by Love, is a vision she had concerning the Western Church. She had a vision where she looked out at the well-fed comfortable audiences of the western church, and super imposed over them were images of the starving, bloated bellies and emaciated faces of her Mozambican children. God told her to love the spiritually starving in the western church. May we all yearn to become closer to God and may we all become spiritually rich! May we fall head over heals in love with Jesus, just as he already is with us!!!

Our goal is to become so in love with Jesus that His love fills us to overflowing. When we are overflowing with Jesus' love, it overflows onto everything we do, everyone we meet. We will find that we desire to help the poor, desire to spread the happiness that Jesus has created in us! May we gain such an enthusiastic faith that we can't help but share it with others! That is what we are meant to be, and everything else pales in comparison.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fear Not... the Truth shall make you Free!!

Do you know what command is seen most frequently in the Bible? .... Fear Not!

It the most frequent command from our Lord! The ONLY thing to fear is the Lord, our God!!! He is the only one worthy of our fear!


This week I received a whole new understanding of the verse, "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)"

What is truth? "...Your Word is Truth!!! (John 17:17)"

I have realized the importance of knowing the Truth of Scripture to be able to stand against the lies of the enemy, and the truth has made me free!!!

I have found lately, especially when struggling with fear, when I hold to the truth... in this case, that only the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of my fear and my worship, I can reject the lie that is fear of everything else.

I found a great anti-fear verse yesterday... it talks about the antidote to fear, LOVE!

I love truth and love! They are the polar opposite to fear.

So, 1 John 4:16-19
"We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He loved us first!"

This paragraph is so often quoted that almost everyone is familiar with portions of it, but I had never heard taught what I am about to point out...

The antidote to fear: "The one who fears has not reached perfection in love". Why have I not heard this more strongly emphasized? I have been fearful for so long, and it has all been centered on lies, and the truth has set me free.. but now I know what to do if I ever find myself becoming fearful again, it is probably because I am believing some lie, or because I have not reached perfection in love. So, if we find ourselves fearful, LOVE MORE! Draw near to God and concentrate on His love and your love for Him. His promises to be your shelter, the fact that "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world". The fact that God is "in your midst" and "near", that He is our "dwelling place" and our "strong fortress".

Do a concordance search on "God is". That guy is nothing short of absolutely amazing! He is cooler that Superman! When I read the results of that concordance search, it gave me greater insight into the true nature of God! God is Love!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New year, New project...

I am currently reading through the New Testament, and while doing so have gotten a couple of big ideas. I tend to give more credence to ideas that pop up while reading the Bible or praying, especially ideas that seem especially uncharacteristic of my own thinking. And that is why I am going ahead with the 'Local Charity Art Auction at the Grand Ledge Opera House' idea.

I have no experience with gathering donations or organizing charity auctions, but hey... why not! Sounds like fun!! (and a bit intimidating, but we'll ignore that part for now) So, it begins!!

Here is the general premise, I went to bed a couple weeks ago all excited about getting rid of all my stuff and selling it off to charity. Total Luke 12:33. I went to bed dreaming of all the things I can sell, and than woke up realizing I don't have a stinking clue how to do it! So, fast forward a couple weeks and I was reading and this full blown idea popped into my head. A Local Charity Art Auction at the Grand Ledge Opera House with proceeds going to a local food bank. It should be a good time, getting to know all the local artists and getting affiliated with the local charity community. A night at the opera house surrounded by cool people and art from local artists doesn't sound half bad... So, now I just have to figure out how.