I have this portable field recorder that I absolutely love, but have yet to have found a real use for. It seems like I am always testing it and trying stuff, but I haven’t done much productive with it other then record a few podcasts. At church the other night they introduced a new song that I thought was just awesome, so I figured I might try to record a live bootleg version the next day. I only later found out that the band had already released a free download, but I still kind of like that underground live feel, so I gave it a try. Here is how it turned out. I’m uploading two versions. The first is the raw audio from the device and the second has added compression. I may have recorded in mp3 format and then re-encoded, so I probably broke a few audiophile rules, but for a quick shot attempt, it turned out alright. I might keep doing this on occasion until I get a cease and desist letter from the church.
I grew up southern baptist. I still consider myself a southern baptist although I go to a church that isn’t really a denominational church. When you are raised up inside a comfortable institution, whether it be a church or even a school or community, you get a sense of ownership and pride about that thing. There are a lot of Oklahoman’s who believe with all their heart that OU is the best college of choice no matter what your field of study. It’s not really due to the institutions ranking or even their marketing. It’s just a natural, although sinfully prideful desire to be a part of the “good” side. We all tell stories about our lives and we all want those stories to make us out to be the hero. For a lot of Christians this extends to their view on church. My church is the good church, the right church, and thereby others are not quiet doing it right.
So why is that wrong? Well, lets be honest. We are all sinners and have fallen short of godliness. So that desire to justify ourselves to be the “good guy” is wrong. Not to be Debbie Downer, but that is the harsh reality we live in. When we fool our selves into believing that our sinful nature hasn’t impacted where we are in life, we limit our ability to change. The Church, being the body of Christ, although sacred and special in the eyes of God has historically missed the mark on numerous occasions. Flaws in the the church simply reflect the humanity of who the church is composed of. As Christians we should embrace our human flaws because it magnifies Gods grace and points to the power of Christ’s leadership in the church.
So why the rant? Because this is something we all struggle with in any and every church. I think it helps me to remember what it is the church is made of, and how it was intended to be formed by the forgiven. If every church in the USA would make an real effort to loose its individualistic identity and align itself as part of the greater body of the Church, it would drastically change how we approach domestic missions and directly influence the spiritual direction of our nation.
For me, Fathers Day is a bigger deal then my birthday. Not because of the attention I get, but because of what I can be proud of. I was born, so what, everyone who ever walked the earth can say that. But I’m a Dad. Multiplied by six. And not just six kids, but six really wonderful glowing individuals who I am so proud of. That’s why I love Fathers Day. Gifts are nice, but not necessary. I just need to be reminded of what I am to them and what they mean to me.
I’ve been following Donald Miller on twitter lately, which reminds me often about stories. If you don’t know of Donald Miller, he is the author of Blue Like Jazz which has also been made into a movie that will be coming out in a few weeks. He also has this whole view on life, like it’s a good book or movie. He does a conference called StoryLine, which I would love to do some day, but honestly, would never have the chance to go. But he talks a lot about looking at the story of your life. If your life was a movie, what would it be about? Would you even want to watch it? I personally find my life very entertaining, but it is something to think about. What are your dreams and goals. If your goal is to buy a new gadget or get a certain type of car or house. How boring would that story be as a movie. A good movie has real challenges. All that to say, check out Donald Miller and the new movie coming out. But what I want to talk about in this post is how we put a story to everything we hear and see.
A few weeks ago, in Florida, a boy was shot by a man who claimed it was for self defense. The press heard this story and ran with it. The way it was reported the man who did the shooting was a villain. A racist, trigger happy, militant neighborhood watch freak. The media didn’t say this, but they drew a picture and let people fill in the gaps. Just the right adjectives and well placed emphasis will go a long way to spin a story. They also chose to only show a 14 year old boy in any of the photos, although the boy who was shot was now much older and much larger then the photo. There was public outcry as to why this man wasn’t charged and arrested for a crime.
Just recently it was leaked out that the “facts” of the earlier reporting were a little misguided. The new leaked information tells a completely different story. A story of a troubled teen and a concerned neighbor who did wait until the very last moment in a physical altercation where he was in fear for his life having his head beaten into the pavement, defended himself with his gun. Suddenly, my heart which held him in contempt was flopped to now pity him for being caught up in that situation. It now seems as though he is not the villain he was painted to be. He, I’m sure, is broken over this situation.
I just think it is interesting how we have this need to story line every situation so that we can better understand it. When we are given a few facts, we fill the gaps with reason and character that we sometimes completely make up in order to find a story to fit the facts. Much like those visual tricks and puzzles work, where the eye is given just the right amount of information and it assumes the details to match it’s perception of what your brain thinks it is seeing. We do that for stories as well, and sometimes it’s wrong. But we do it all the same. Everyone does. Your family tells a story about you. Your employer tells a story about you. Maybe you are someone’s nemesis? What are you doing to actively effect the stories being told about you? Don’t just sit back and let people assume who you are. Make your character known by your actions. Also, don’t be a bit part in the story. Make an impact in the lives of people you interact with. Draw people into your story and make it a good story, a worthwhile story. There are some stories that change our lives. Maybe your story will be that to someone else.
I’ve been super busy. I finished up a dynamic widget that hooks into LifeChurch.tv’s website and displays the time until the next church online experience. I have it here on my personal blog but I built it for http://edmondoklahoma.us which has been doing really well in search rankings under a lot of key words. I also launched our first podcast for EdmondOklahoma.us called Best Of Edmond. We pretty much pick one type of food or something and discuss the top places to get it in Edmond. The point of the podcast is just to collect the information from a user base and develop a well rounded list of places that will become a more detailed post on the site. I’m looking for guests on the podcast as well, if your interested, it’s a lot of fun and only takes about an hour to record. Or if you just want to submit recommendations for your favorite places just go to http://edmondoklahoma.us/best-of-edmond/ and see what we are talking about next.
I also started doing micro loans through Kiva.org. I’m new to it, but it seems pretty neat. I got into it through a podcast I listen to called Stuff You Should Know with hosts Josh and Chuch, or is it Chuck and Josh. They talked about it a lot and I looked into it a little deeper and was pretty impressed with the potential of taking a little money and helping make a big impact in one persons life. I’ve started with a fairly small amount of money, but if I keep adding a little each month then by the end of the year I will be able to personally finance home building mortgages in some seriously impoverished areas around the world where 5-7 hundred dollars will add a room or build a one room house. I encourage you to check it out. And if you listen to podcasts, you really aught to be listening to Stuff You Should Know from howstuffworks.com
Today I built a quick little fun project. I have committed to give blood every time I get the chance ever since late last year. It isn’t that hard of a thing to do, but I have to be reminded of when the next time I will be able to donate, because when you donate, you can only donate after a set number of days has past. So, being a programmer, it was easier to code a php file on the web to do the date conversion and show me the next time I can give blood then it would have been to look at a physical calendar and count the days. Also, since it’s on the web and other people can see it, it builds some accountability for me to keep it up to day by donating. You can check it out here at http://giveblood.dev.nxil.com/
I went ahead and scripted it so that people viewing could also find out when they could give by inputting a date and the type of donation they gave. The whole thing was tossed together pretty quick with my eldest daughter watching over my shoulder half the time while I explained the process. I love how you can take something like PHP’s easy date handling and jQueryUI’s interface tools and easily put something together that works on any device and with a little CSS3 to make it look pretty. Oh and I did use a table in my layout, so suck it design snobs. That’s a nerdy inside joke for HTML nerds.
Tony and his friends had a blast. We don’t do big birthday parties often, but we decided to make 10 a big year.
I have actually been blogging more then ever lately. Just not here. I launched a new blog about my experience joining lifechurch which I will maintain for the rest of the year and then leave it up as a resource to people getting started and getting plugged in at lifechurch. That site is http://joininglifechurch.nxil.com. So there is a lot that I still need to do with that blog in the coming weeks. I am also gearing up for a podcast I will be doing with my sister called Best of Edmond. We will discuss some of the best places to get stuff in Edmond/OKC and I will use that podcast content to wright extensive articles on edmondoklahoma.us. And if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I am also in the early stages of writing content for a new blog on parenting and being a dad. More on that as it develops, and if I keep up the writing pace I have been at these last two weeks, that site should launch by the end of the month.
I have been doing a lot more writing on the iPad. I know I trashed it early on, and it still is not ideal, but when you are up late at night writing, it is the quietest device you could use to wright with. I just need to get a real keyboard to go with my iPad or iPod, and then I could see using those devices a lot more for blogging.