Book spine poetry (and theology)

So ages and ages ago, Ali tagged me in a meme. I liked the meme. I wanted to participate. And then Andrew participated, and one thing led to another…

I made some poems, that felt a little more like prose. I’ll write out the titles below each picture so that you

Like this attempt to capture the Zombie Apocalypse.

Revelation Unravelled
An Outbreak Of Darkness
Gridlock
The Summons
Newspaper Blackout
To The Burning City
World War Z
A Furious Hunger
Serious Eats
Backyard Ballistics
One Last Kill

And these…

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse
Meltdown
A Furious Hunger
Help Lord The Devil Wants Me Fat

How To Be A Man
The Idiot
The Big Idea
Absinthe And Flamethrowers
Fools Die

How To Have A No. 1 Hit Single
Songs Of The Humpback Whale
An Outbreak Of Darkness
Backwards Masking Unmasked
The Whole Truth

Just Do Something
One Day At A Time
Jogging With Jesus
Run Baby Run
Slim For Him

And then I made some theology. This is pretty much the narrative arc of the whole Bible, though it’s also a summary of Genesis and then the solution to the problem of Genesis…

How To Read Genesis
What Is History?
The Origin Of The Species
Utopia
Picture Perfect
Calls To Worship
The Tipping Point
Help Lord, The Devil Wants Me Fat
Adams v God
Weasel Words
The Collaborator
Cry, The Beloved Country
Requiem
The Promise Of The Future

Deliver Us from Evil
Emperor: The Death of Kings
Divine Justice
The Great Exchange
Paradise City
This Other Eden

Blogging v Writing

I love this quote from a Daring Fireball post a couple of years ago.

“The entire quote-unquote “pro blogging” industry — which exists as the sort of pimply teenage brother to the shirt-and-tie SEO industry — is predicated on the notion that blogging is a meaningful verb. It is not. The verb is writing. The format and medium are new, but the craft is ancient.”

Other than the YouTube videos that keep my post count ticking over (or in the case of HeySoph.com are the entire content strategy) – this represents how I conceive of my sites these days. A place to write.

I’ve found my longer “essay style” posts actually get better traction and traffic than short form blog fodder so I’ve pretty much moved away from posts like this one, or posts about what I’m doing from day to day. I do occasionally miss having an avenue for that sort of thing, but that feeling is fleeting and is well and truly overcome by the satisfaction of trying to piece together a cogent 1,000+ word rant.

I read the Daring Fireball post because its a blog that celebrated its tenth anniversary today. That’s impressive.

I guess what I want to ask you, dear reader, is have you noticed the change? Do you care? Do you miss anything?

Introducing: Dave Bailey’s Blog

My friend, colleague, and personal Yoda, Dave Bailey, has a new blog. Well. It’s the resurrection of an old blog.

This is an artist’s rendition of Dave’s face. It’s the closest we could get, because he is very shy.

He’s kept at it for about three weeks longer than he did last time, and there’s some gold there. Including these reflections from a recent visit to Hillsong.

I wrote an eBook: 5 Steps to Better Coffee

Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears, your eyes, your wallets, and then give me $5. And in return, I’ll give you an eBook that I like to call 5 Steps to Better Coffee.

Cover jpg

Seriously – at $5 this is a bargain. It contains way more than $5 worth of valuable information that you will find nowhere else except the internet. Buy one. Tell your friends. It’ll change your life.

I learned some fun things about eBooks in the process of putting this together. Here are some of my reflections.

1. Amazon’s self publishing thing doesn’t really like PDFs, especially those with text boxes and pictures.
2. You can make pretty nice (free) 3D covers using 3D Box Maker.
3. There’s a really easy way to sell files if you’ve got a PayPal business account – it’s called UploadnSell.com. I looked for all sorts of ways to deliver files to people automatically when they gave me money. They were all difficult. This was easy.
4. Pricing eBooks is hard. It’s hard figuring out what something intangible is worth. If you go too cheap people will think it’s rubbish, too expensive and people won’t buy it… I went for $5 because that’s $1 a step (as people have now pointed out both on Facebook and Twitter).

I’ve got a few other little eBook ideas up my sleeves. So watch this space.

What do you reckon – is $5 a fair price for a 25 page eBook? What would you charge?

Introducing “Resources”: Some content housekeeping

I’ve been working at pulling together some streams of content and sporadic bursts of related content into something that is less “blog” and more “website”…

So I’ve gathered together a few streams of resources, and you can find a nice little drop down menu on the top of the page.

I’ve got:

I’ll be updating these over time, but hopefully this will provide a better return on investment for me content production wise, and be of cal

Holiday book reviews

These days, when I go on holidays, I ask for book recommendations on Facebook, download some novels to my iPad, and then spend my holidays discovering the 50 unread books on my Kindle that I bought on a whim, or a recommendation, and haven’t bothered reading yet. Our most recent holiday was a bit like that. I spent some of the weekend reading about the decline of Christianity in America (unChristian), and also about the historical development of American Christianity up to the present (Bad Religion) – both books are analogously useful in Australia (though our Christian heritage is very different to theirs), both have something to say about the way people who want to follow Jesus can operate in a post-Christian world, but I haven’t finished either of them.

I did finish possibly my favourite “How To” book of all time, How to Sharpen Pencils.

How to Sharpen Pencils

Brilliant.

Then, in a possibly award winning attempt to “relax” and “chill out”… I spent most of the weekend reading books about social media and being a better citizen of the internet.

I’m going to post some reviews to these – with some helpful tips and things I’ve gleaned from them, as applied to figuring out how social media can support church and mission in some upcoming posts, but here are the books I read, they range from the practical, to the theoretical, to the technical.

Holiday snaps

So I’ve been absent from blogworld for a few days. What’d I miss?

In the real world our little family were taking our first family holiday – we had been planning to go to the Gold Coast hinterlands, right up until the car was packed, and I was printing out our wotif booking. Only to discover that some idiot had booked the accommodation for the wrong weekend. After a mad scramble around the interwebs we booked three nights in Stanthorpe at the Sommerville Valley Resort.

Soph was a bit excited en route.

Here’s the view from the balcony.

Here’s the view from the lounge room.

We saw the pyramids. Well, a slightly lamer Australian version…

Went to a fun jam shop where Soph charmed the storekeepers. Which was lucky.

Soph, in turn, was charmed by an ornamental peacock in our room. She couldn’t get enough of it.

We added a bit to the trip with a Tour De France style experience on the way home.

And now, the craziness of college begins for another semester.

Holidays!

Wow. What a semester. Luckily I’ve only got to do this three more times…

Sadly, my “break” is shaping up to be almost busier than the semester. Plenty of deadlines to meet. PR work to do. Sermons to preach. Coffee to roast (and make). Cafes to check out.

Hopefully we’ll get away somewhere for some days so if there are a few days of radio silence maintained here – that’s why.

In the meantime, I’ve got a backlog of things to post here that will hopefully keep you amused. No doubt I’ll find some semi-serious things to write about… In the mean time, here’s a cute photo of my baby girl – who is now just shy of half a year old.

I’m looking forward to spending some time with my girls in the next couple of weeks.

Essays, study notes, and things college related

I don’t like boring people too much with college related stuff in these parts any more. I’d rather bore you by beating the same old drum and ranting about the ACL.

Anyway. I’ve been blogging my exam prep over at Venn Theology – first for Corinthians, then for Pentateuch. I’ll update the College Resources page here accordingly.

I’ve also uploaded my essays for this semester to Scribd – you can read them at the following locations:

1. Corinthians – In which I suggest that Paul’s view of preaching was heavily influenced by Cicero, a relatively novel argument.
2. Old Testament – In which I suggest that Biblical Theology is the key to understanding the odd mish mash of law and narrative in the Old Testament.
3. Church History – In which I suggest that though some suggest an almost bipolar understanding of Luther where a switch in his head flicks in 1525, he was consistently applying the same theology and ministry practice to changing circumstances throughout his life. And I get a little excited about Reformation propaganda.

I like to think that as I write these essays my implied reader is you, dear reader. So feel free to read these, or ignore them. I can’t promise that they’re entertaining, but putting them online fulfils my desire to be completely open and transparent about what I’m thinking – because full disclosure is the best PR policy – and hopefully means they serve some purpose other than just being lost on a hard drive somewhere like my essays from my first degree were.

They also all have pretty extensive bibliographies that I hope will save other QTC students some time in the future.

That is all.

Confession: I have been a bad citizen of blogworld

A long time ago, in a virtual galaxy not so far from me, people used to comment on blogs as a blogging love language. I knew that, It was blog etiquette. Somehow that world passed me by. And I miss that.


Image Credit: Apparently there’s a conference called blog world. Who knew? (This guy)

I have commented much more sparingly than I used to. Others seem to have a similar blog comment malaise. I’m going to do my bit to hold up my end of the social (media) contract. And be more appreciative of the good content other people are writing that I’m thinking about.

Here are some links, rather than comments, as my first step towards rectifying this situation.

Andrew has pretty much killed Things Findo Thinks, replacing it with A Borrowed Flame. I liked this SLR camera simulator he found.

Anna at Goannatree has been writing about writing about writing. She’s posting about her PhD, which is about literature. Which is pretty meta. I enjoyed this post, which came hot on the heels of this one about a week of dissertation themed life in Scotland.

Al writes nice little posts, and I like them. His posts about Tim Chester’s posts about Social Media made me grumpy, not at him, at Tim Chester. So angry I commented on the first one. Also, his post about preaching at weddings is something I’m going to file away for the future.

Ali posted something last week about her near brush with a raving gunman in Sydney, and this week introduced me to The Tallest Man on Earth. She also tagged me in a book spine poetry meme which I will participate in once my books consist of something other than light reading on Corinthians and the Pentateuch.

Arthur and Tamie are getting ready to finish life in Melbourne, start life as parents, and start life in Tanzania. Their posts are fun. I liked this one.

Ben has a new theme. Which looks nice – though for some reason the first second after you load it the fonts are really effeminate, only to be replaced with the felt tip styled ones.

David posted a good little review of the 2 Ways 2 Live App, and a better post about marriage and stuff.

Izaac has been pondering preaching, I commented on two of those because I think the idea that word ministry is ONLY preaching is a bit spurious and doesn’t fit with the Bible’s picture of prophetic ministry, or the way Paul conceives of his teaching of the churches he cares for to include his life and sufferings.

Mikey posted about the search for black curtains, spiritually inspired cake, and excellence – following this discussion on Hans’ blog. Hans has an excellent post on Christianity and homosexuality too.

Steve at Communicate Jesus also reflects on the excellence thing.

Peter Ko posted on a strange issue (I thought). Apparently there are young Christians who think it’s a good idea for unmarried Christian couples to holiday together. Alone. And further, that it’s a bad idea for people to be “legalistic” about the issue. This isn’t legalism. This is wisdom. And thus, I became an old person.

Simone has been writing reports and musicals.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of the posts I’ve enjoyed from the blogs that I read, but I hope that in some way it makes amends for my poor online citizenship in recent times.

UPDATE: I completely forgot this one. Which was, indeed, the motivation behind providing a list to blogs I enjoy. Dave McDonald has started a blog tracking his fight with cancer, and the thoughts that go with it. This sensational letter to Sam Harris is a fine example of what he’s producing and why you should read it. Plus – it’s a great way to keep him, his family, and those around him, in your prayers.

Robyn’s (and Sophia’s) first Mother’s Day

Today was fun. On the back of an incredibly busy weekend we spent the afternoon painting with Soph. This was Robyn’s Mother’s Day present.

Well. The painting, a photo, and a creatively paint stained white onesie. Which I’ll frame or something.

We appreciate that this day is both a) very commercial, and b) hard for many people, but there’s something nice about the opportunity to recognise mums.

I think one of the things that being a parent has taught me, in these four and a bit months, is the sort of emotional investment, love, and energy, my own parents made in me. So thanks mum (and dad).

I’m also incredibly in awe of Robyn’s transformation. She’s such a natural at being a mum. It’s incredible.

Big day for my biggest little sister

I’m looking forward to watching my biggest little sister get married tomorrow.

I’m thankful that I’m the oldest child in my family because I can watch all my sisters blossom, and appreciate their gifts, with pride rather than envy.

It’s a privilege to have grown up with such quality women, who became something of a yardstick for me when it came to looking for my own spouse.

Anyway. Big congrats to Jo, and to Shayne. I think the comment a status I posted asking for one word descriptions of both of them pretty much sums this up:

“Jo is incredible in every way. Shayne is a very lucky guy”

I’ll be MCing the wedding. I’ve done a few of these now. I’m finding it harder and harder to try to be funny rather than functional. I’ve seen so many bad MCs and I dread being one of them.

My six rules for posting parenting related stuff on Facebook

So a while back I courted controversy by poking fun at parents who overshared on Facebook. Now, the world has turned and revolved. Time has passed. And I’m a parent. Which is great. Really it’s up there as one of the equal best things that has ever happened to me.

Like all parents I believe my offspring to be the cutest and most interesting baby the world has ever known. Like most modern day parents I believe Facebook is a great medium for sharing content with interested people who live a long way away. Like my sister who lives interstate, and my sister-in-law, brother-outlaw, and nephew who live overseas. It’s so easy to justify posting stuff on this basis. But that. Friends. Is a slippery slope into oversharing – about which my thoughts have not changed. But consider this a preemptive post which I will supply in the future to anybody who calls me out on the potentially perceived gap between my words in 2009, and my actions in 2012.

So here are my six rules.

1. Make it opt-in. Don’t force people to consume what you’re putting out there. The internet pretty much does this for you though, so I don’t worry too much about that.
2. Make it interesting. People won’t hate you for oversharing if they’re entertained, or what you are posting is actually cute. Check with someone else. Edit. Put up less than you think you ought (I’m a little guilty of breaking this last bit). Leave people wanting more.
3. Keep it contained. Don’t post a new album of photos every time you upload a photo. Post photos to the old albums. Don’t clutter people’s newsfeeds with an upload a day, upload a batch at once.
4. Don’t be single-minded. There’s more to life than your child and than your role as a parent. Talk about that stuff too. For me this means posting about coffee. Posting links to cool stuff. Posting
links to my blog(s).
5. Don’t potentially embarrass the child. Remember your child isn’t old enough to censor you yet. So self censor. I have good poo stories, and good spew stories. But only posted about the latter when it was me who got covered, and mostly because Robyn’s response to said covering was to laugh and get the camera, rather than to clean me up.
6. Never. Ever. Give gratuitous parenting advice to anybody on the basis of how excellent your own child is, or how brilliant you think you are at parenting. Especially if you’re not a parent.

So, that’s really a long justification for sharing these additional photos of our incredibly cute daughter. Dressed in a koala suit that I bought online. When I ordered it a couple of months ago I was told that it was tacky and horrible. Now I think it’s safe to say that the purchase was inspired.