Social Networking

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ACT3 Network and Social Media

I work regularly with a leadership consultant who is lending help to me so that ACT3 Network can better use the social media. While I continue to major on face-to-face friendships and growing relationships I believe the social media can both supplement and help such friendships I also believe it can establish the basis for such a friendship. The social media is not an elixir for Christian ministry but it is important.

To the end that we better use this media I offer this update so friends can pray for ACT3 as we try to expand our vision of “empowering leaders and church for unity in Christ’s mission.” Pray that each day I respond in true love to those God brings across my path and pray that every post I write is both thoughtful and focused on this mission statement.

Facebook & Twitter: My Life Course Corrections (1 of 2)

UnknownLike so many of you who are reading this blog post I have been on-again and off-again with Facebook and the social media. Recently I embraced them and began to devote more time to interact with friends and acquaintances via this means. As of today I am taking a “leave of absence” to rest from this medium. I want to rethink what I do with these resources over the next few weeks. One thing I am sure of, I do not need to be a “presence” in this world of social media. I do not criticize those who use this medium for its many good purposes but I have had to take personal inventory over the past few months. Here are my thoughts.

I find several reasons for using Facebook and Twitter that have encouraged and benefited me (and I hope some of you):

  1. I have come to know some readers (who I have not personally met yet) who pray for me and sincerely care for me as a person. Some of these friends I feel as if I know quite

A Sabbath From Social Media and the Cell Phone

Blade Barringer develops and maintains our ACT3 website as well as my blog site. He is a consummate professional. I recommend his services to any of you who need help in these areas of your ministry. His work is incredibly good and his prices are fair. His day job is with a Christian publisher but he handles some side jobs like his work for ACT3 Network. If you’d like to contact him let me know and I’ll pass along how you can reach him.

Unknown-3One of the things Blade has given to me is “freedom” in my spirit about how to use the various media tools that I employ. I am so clueless about this stuff but in Blade I have a friend who is patient, slow to speak, gentle and a great teacher. He will interact with me and yet never overwhelms me with big data in the process. I may sound “dumb” to him at times (I never ask) but he never makes me feel “dumb.” My world is so much better since Blade began to

The Sunday Assembly – A Non-Theist Response to Religion

MET-AJ-GODLESS-CHURCH-1108For well more than a century freethinkers, and religious skeptics, have gathered, talked and participated in various forms of social interaction without any expression of formal religion. In 1882 the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago was founded to provide a meeting and fellowship for just such a gathering.

The Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago describes itself as a democratic fellowship and spiritual home for those who seek a rational, compassionate philosophy of life without regard to belief or non-belief in a supreme being. According to their website they value “the importance of living an ethical, responsible, and joyful life [and] promote intellectual, philosophical, and artistic freedom, avoiding dogma and rigid creed.” They also say of themselves: “While respectful of the faiths and traditions we have been born to, we serve as a new religion or as an alternative to religion.” A full-blown description can be seen on their very attractive website.

A new movement, similar in many ways, began in January a year ago in London and now already has over thirty meeting places in the United States. This

TIME’s Man of the Year and “Selfies”

pb-130829-pope-selfie-630a.photoblog900The famous Oxford University Press Dictionary of the English Language continues to add new words to each edition. One of the lovely things about the English language is that it grows through global usage. A new word that many Millennials know, but few in my generation have heard, is “selfie.” Selfie made the cut in the newest edition of the Oxford dictionary, or at least in the online edition. In case you wondered the plural of selfie is “selfies.” What, you ask, is a “selfie”? Well, the dictionary says it is, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart-phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

You might wonder what all this has to do with faith and practice? Let me explain. Selfies are the rage and everyone, it seems, is posing for them. Young people visiting the Vatican a few months ago asked Pope Francis to pose with them for their selfie. The Catholic News Service printed a photo of the pope with these five young adults (August 28)

Can You Interpret the Signs of the Times?

25955Except for political debate, popular culture may elicit as many responses, both pro and con, as any current subject discussed by Christians. There is a range of views in our ranks about culture. This range goes from one end of a spectrum – an end which says, “stay away, stay entirely away” – to another – which says “enjoy it without serious thoughtful consideration.” I have previously admitted that I embraced one side of this debate in my early years and then the other side (or extreme) in my thirties. I now embrace a third view, one that is hopefully a bit more theologically reflective. (One must be careful here since you should know that you always tend to favor your present view as your more mature and correct view!)

So why do I think engaging with popular culture is so important? To ask this question another way I put it this way: “Why should I write blogs about movies, books, art and music?” Or, to put this even more precisely: “Why should I engage with news events

Are We Reading Less Because of the Rise of the Digital Generation?

UnknownWill reading decline because of the digital revolution? Instinctively many (most?) of my generation thinks the correct answer is a resolute yes. But, as college football analyst Lee Corso often says, “Not so fast my friend!”

We are dumbing down, or so the accepted line of argument goes, thus fewer and fewer books are now being sold. Libraries will soon be dinosaurs, or so I heard more than a few friends and enemies say in my recent experience with the Library Board election this year in my hometown of Carol Stream. Few bothered to really dig into this pressing question when it was raised, pro or con. I am not sure why but as with so many popular conclusions this one is just wrong.

In an age of countless data downloads and multiplied distractions one simple fact is now becoming more clear – a significant number of Americans, especially between 18-40, are reading more books than ever thanks to using e-readers and tablets. A national poll conducted for USA Today, and a website designed to help readers discover and

The World Is Flat – What It Means for Mission

imagesThomas Friedman, in his best-selling book The World is Flat, provides an incredibly compelling overview of how advances in modern technology, communication and marketing have flattened our world. He explains that the world is rapidly shrinking and shows how geographical, language and cultural barriers have become increasingly blurred by the day. Never before have we had the resources, technology and accessibility that is now available to  us to effectively and instantaneously communicate and connect with people all over the world.

Just yesterday I had lunch with a friend who related a story to me that is now quite common. He was at a Christmas gathering with his “god-daughter” and asked her if she could function in the world without her “smart phone” in her hands? She looked at him incredulously and said, “No, I do not know how I would function without my cell phone/device!” I asked my friend, a few years older than me, if he could imagine functioning in his world without his automobile? He immediately saw my point. Of course you can live

Don't Let the Suburbs Kill My Soul

My friend Jeff Gokee, executive director at partner ministry PhoenixONE, shared this You Tube song with me yesterday. It is written and performed by Christian musician Ben Rector. I had never even heard of the guy until I listened to this song. The plaintive and prayerful plea is to “not let the suburbs kill my soul.” I have done a lot of reading and viewing lately about how suburbia broke down community, broke up America’s cultural oneness and then drove us to independence in radical ways that harm our collective soul. This music strikes me as a haunting challenge to life as I’ve known it my entire adult life. I now pray, “Lord, do not let the suburbs kill my soul.” Tell me what you think when you hear it.

An ACT3 Network Partnership in Phoenix

Last week I shared again in a wonderful time of ministry in Phoenix. It was my third visit to the Valley of the Sun over the last 16 months. My primary purpose has been to be with my dear friend, Jeff Gokee. Jeff is the executive director of PhoenixONE, one of the most hopeful and exciting movements of the Spirit that I’ve personally witnessed in my travels across the U.S.

The mission of PhoenixONE is to be a unified movement of local churches who come together as ONE to reach 20-30 something’s for Christ and connect them to a local faith community. PhoenixONE began about two years ago and now reaches over 1,000 people every other Tuesday evening in downtown Phoenix.

After completing his B.A. at Moody Bible Institute Jeff Gokee originally moved to Phoenix to help plant an urban church. After a series of setbacks he joined the staff of an area mega-church and, after several more years of pastoral ministry, was led to pioneer this ministry to reach out to the generation that