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.

A lull in blogworld…

All the people based blogs I read (except Al’s, Findo’s, Gav’s, and Gary’s, and to a lesser extent Arthur and Tamie, and Sophie, at the Fountainside, who tend to post on a more disciplined substantive regime anyway) appear to be going through the motions of blogging, or not at all,* at the moment. Come on people. Harden up. Drop us a bone. Especially those of us who use the internet to procrastinate.

The current state of affairs makes me sad.

Come on Ben. Simone. Izaac. Scott. Post something. Anything. GIVE ME CONTENT…

I’ll start taking note of all those articles that say blogging is dying otherwise.

* I realise and acknowledge the irony that I am a contributor to this general state of affairs…

Things to click (and read)

Sometimes I need to clear the thirty tabs I have open in my browser and I can’t be bothered posting them separately. This is one of those times, and it reflects on me, not on the content of these links that you should read.

There’s a rumour that floats around the Internet every now and then that Facebook is responsible for one in five divorces these days as people rediscover old flames. This rumour is just that. A rumour. The Wall Street Journal kills it.

“The 1-in-5 number originated with an executive at an online divorce-service provider in the U.K. Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online, which allows Britons to file uncontested divorces at low cost, had just launched the company’s Facebook page and wondered what role Facebook has in precipitating divorces. After determining that the word “Facebook” appeared in 989 of the company’s 5,000 or so most recent divorce petitions, he had Divorce-Online issue a news release in December 2009 stating “Facebook is bad for your marriage.”

Mr. Keenan acknowledges that his company’s clients aren’t necessarily representative of all divorces, and he adds that his firm never claimed that Facebook actually causes 20% of divorces. “It was a very unscientific survey,” Mr. Keenan says.

Elsewhere, Clayboy (a newie for me) has two must read posts about the new atheists – the first about the conformity of “free thinker” thinking, as demonstrated by a magazine called The Freethinker, the second about whether Christians can value atheism.

“I might even ponder whether the award for secularist of the year (apparently a “prestigious” one – who knew?) reflects this. The winner is not Salman Taseer, the nominee who was assassinated for opposing the Pakistan blasphemy laws mainly aimed at Christians, but Dutch Euro MP Sophie in ’t Veld who, er …, bravely organised a protest against the Pope.

I am somewhat underwhelmed in my admiration for such a courageous achievement advancing the cause of rational civilisation.”

Slate says the lack of looting in Japan is down to the Yakuza. Which is pretty cool.

“Organized crime. Police aren’t the only ones on patrol since the earthquake hit. Members of the Yakuza, Japan’s organized crime syndicate, have also been enforcing order. All three major crime groups—the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Sumiyoshi-kai, and the Inagawa-kai—have “compiled squads to patrol the streets of their turf and keep an eye out to make sure looting and robbery doesn’t occur,” writes Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, in an e-mail message. “The Sumiyoshi-kai claims to have shipped over 40 tons of [humanitarian aid] supplies nationwide and I believe that’s a conservative estimate.” One group has even opened its Tokyo offices to displaced Japanese and foreigners who were stranded after the first tremors disabled public transportation. “As one Sumiyoshi-kai boss put it to me over the phone,” says Adelstein, ” ‘In times of crisis, there are not Yakuza and civilians or foreigners. There are only human beings and we should help each other.’ ” Even during times of peace, the Yakuza enforce order, says Adelstein. They make their money off extortion, prostitution, and drug trafficking. But they consider theft grounds for expulsion.”

Elsewhere, I’ve been taking part in an increasingly lengthy discussion about gay marriage on the solapanel.

Five Senses Coffee offers a great diagnosis guide for figuring out what is wrong with your espresso. Well worth a read if you think your coffee could be better.

First Things has a good list for engaging with people in the online world. Especially for responding to people you don’t know who disagree with you.

“The manner of your answer will affect your inquirer more than its content. You are often, as far as you can tell, trying only to encourage him to hear the answer, to open a crack in his defenses that might over time open into a door. Hope and pray that you are only one—perhaps the first, but perhaps not—in a series of encounters that will bring him to see the truth. You do not need to win the argument to change his life.”

You should be reading Things Findo Thinks – I haven’t linked to it for a while, but Findo seems much more interested in engaging the nu-atheists than I presently am, so if you want your fix of fallacy busting, head there. Try this post about arguments from authority on for size. It’ll help you avoid bad arguments about your arguments.

It’s iPad 2 week this week. And luckily my wife is going to let me buy one. Unlike this guy in the states, who allegedly had to return his iPad because his wife said no. At least that was the reason he gave on the post-it note that went to the store, that was passed on to Apple Corporate, who may or may not have sent back the iPad with a note reading “Apple says yes”… brilliant if true.

Links, Links, Links: Some tabs opened in my browser

I just spent a couple of days at Stir, a conference in Queensland featuring Al Stewart and a bunch of Christian people from around the state. It was very encouraging. But before I went, I had about a thousand tabs open in my browser that I had planned to blog. Here they are.


The Twitter users who have single letter accounts (a to z): from the Atlantic.
Taking a look at the users who make @replies easy.

“Unsurprisingly, nearly all the accounts are used heavily. The average single-letter Twitterer has Tweeted 3,266 times, follows 302 people, and is followed by 2,896. That might seem like a lot relative to the average user, but none are celebrities or power users like a Tim O’Reilly and his 1.4 million followers. @T aka Tantek Çelik, a developer, has the largest number of followers in the group with his 13,005.”

The best bit, @c and @k are now married to each other. Brilliant.

NineMSN takes a look at terrible business terminology, or management guff:

“The 2010 winner is the investor Chuck Davies who was quoted in the FT saying: “He is a deep-dive, granular, research-oriented person who really understands the inner workings of companies and is just a very free-cash flow, hard-asset-based investor.” He was speaking of one of the men who may take over from Warren Buffett; on the basis of this testimony one rather hopes someone else can be found instead.”

While the SMH deals with similar terminology applied to surrogate parenting

“Terms such as breeder and gestational carrier are dehumanising. The experience of carrying and giving birth to a child is profound. It is also difficult, painful and life changing. The changes go beyond the merely physiological to the core of our personhood.”

I can understand the emotions that drive people towards surrogacy, and they’re murky ethical waters, but I can’t imagine what it does to a kid – especially if genetics play some role in the formation of identity.

I’ve just signed up for Kindlefeeder, and Instapaper – two services that bring online content to the kindle so that you can read stuff offline in a purpose built document reader. Fun times. Instapaper also saves stuff to your iPhone.

I love this post from Mark Thompson – I think some people are all too keen to toss out terminology not found in the Bible because of a propensity to employ it to describe ministry roles – this is a better balanced picture methinks (and a warning about what ministry is and isn’t):

“In an era when some fear their backs are against the wall and that we must do everything in our power to arrest Christianity’s slide into oblivion, the temptation to rework this classic understanding of Christian ministry is felt keenly. The ministry of the pastor is recast in terms of images gleaned from outside the Scriptures: a leader, a manager, a mission director. Yet these images must be subverted by the dynamics of the biblical gospel if they are to be of any use. The Christian leader leads by praying and faithfully attending to the ministry of the word. Effective management takes place through prayer and the consistent, faithful teaching of the Scriptures. The mission is properly directed by teachers rather than strategists, by prayer warriors rather than vision casters. It would be wrong to portray this as a battle between either/or (e.g. teaching vs leading) and both/and (e.g. teaching and leading). One is the means of the other (e.g. we lead by teaching). Christian leadership, management and mission direction is not simply a modification of what we might find in other walks of life. It is an entirely different phenomenon.”

This “List of Common Misconceptions” on wikipedia is like mythbusters for common old wives’ tales and other miscellany. Here’s one somebody quoted to me today (in a milestone I discovered my first grey hair. On a youth convention):

Shaving does not cause terminal hair to grow back thicker or coarser or darker. This belief is due to the fact that hair that has never been cut has a tapered end, whereas, after cutting, there is no taper. Thus, it appears thicker, and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges. The fact that shorter hairs are “harder” (less flexible) than longer hairs also contributes to this effect.[77] Hair can also appear darker after it grows back because hair that has never been cut is often lighter due to sun exposure.

Here’s another one:

A popular myth regarding human sexuality is that men think about sex every seven seconds. In reality, there is no scientific way of measuring such a thing and, as far as researchers can tell, this statistic greatly exaggerates the frequency of sexual thoughts.[102][103][104]

And the BBC reckons the King James Bible changed the way we speak English. Not surprising really, given its influence on the written word. Alister McGrath has even written a book about its influence (Amazon)
(and there’s some stuff on thees and thous in there too):

“The translators seem to have taken the view that the best translation was a literal one, so instead of adapting Hebrew and Greek to English forms of speaking they simply translated it literally. The result wouldn’t have made all that much sense to readers, but they got used to it, and so these fundamentally foreign ways of expressing yourself became accepted as normal English through the influence of this major public text.”

“David Crystal in Begat, however, set out to counter exaggerated claims for the influence of the King James Bible. “I wanted to put a precise number on it,” he explains, “because some people have said there are thousands of phrases from the King James Bible in our language, that it is the DNA of the English language. I found 257 examples.””

Pretty funny that he’s from Begat, given its use in genealogies of the Bible.

I’m a long time mafia nut – I, at one point, was planning to write the next great mafia novel. I read heaps of “true crime” mafia confessionals to prepare. Maybe one day I’ll do it. In the meantime I’ll savour stories like this one. Where the good guys win. Slate has a look at how modern mafioso are making a dollar.

“Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Mafia has begun stealing millions from the EU through a sure-fire scheme—wind energy. Enticed by government underwriting of renewable energies—Brussels ordered all 27 EU nations to use one-fifth renewable energy by 2020—the Mob has focused on its own backyard. (Italian wind power sells at Europe’s highest rate, a guaranteed 180 euros per kilowatt-hour.) In 2008’s Operation “Eolo”—named after the Greek god of winds Aeolus—eight alleged Mafiosi in the Sicilian coastal town of Mazara del Vallo were charged with bribing officials with luxury cars for a piece of the wind energy revenue. Police wiretaps recorded one man saying, “Not one turbine blade will be built in Mazara unless I agree to it.”

Animoto seems like a cool site for making videos that are “killer”… which means videos that connect with young people. You have to pay money for the good stuff.

Stanley Fish has written an interesting book on how to write and read outstanding sentences (Amazon Link)
. Sounds fun.

Slate reviews it:

“[Fish suggests] we should be examining the “logical relationships” within different sentence forms to see how they organize the world. His argument is that you can learn to write and later become a good writer by understanding and imitating these forms from many different styles. Thus, if you’re drawn to Jonathan Swift’s biting satire in the sentence, “Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse,” then, Fish advises, “Put together two mildly affirmative assertions, the second of which reacts to the first in a way that is absurdly inadequate.” He offers, “Yesterday I saw a man electrocuted and it really was surprising how quiet he became.” Lame, and hardly Swift, as Fish is the first to admit, but identifying the logical structure does specify how satire functions at the level of the sentence and, if you want to employ the form, that’s a good thing to know.”

Calling all blogs

Are you in my blogroll (it’s down the bottom of the page). If you’re not, you should be. And now’s your chance. If you are, then this post is for you too.

I’d like to be more Web 2.0 (which means more “social”) with this little corner of the web. And I’d like to include a little one or two sentence bio/description of your site in my list of links. But I’d like you to write them for me and leave them in the comments on this post.

I’ll also do nice things for you if you’re in it – like posting links to you from time to time and visiting your site. I’ll even comment there.

Apparently (in an article I read today) the one sentence bio (or 140 character bio) was the foundation on which such Web 2.0 luminaries like Facebook and Twitter were built on. So it is an exercise in webness for all of you.

As an incentive – if you don’t participate I’ll probably relegate you to some impossible to find corner of the site (I won’t remove you, because if you’re there already I like what you have to contribute).

Rectifying a sin of omission

I have been somewhat remiss in not including a link to Arthur and Tamie’s most excellent blog in my footer. That has been fixed today. If you don’t already check it out from time to time you really should. They’re from South Australia but they live in Melbourne. Arthur is famous for once running a particularly awesome Christian forum called Logos that sprung out of the murky waters of AFES.

Here are a few recent posts that I think make a compelling case, on their lonesome, for reading regularly.

Check them out.

Expanding (and relocating) the blogroll

So my loyal minions readers, I know some of you have been looking for the blogroll that used to rest snuggly in my sidebar. It’s gone from there. Very observant of you – though it turns out some of you have a routine of clicking from blog to blog that I have disturbed. I had put the list in the drop down menu (in that black bar up there ^)… but I don’t think anybody actually ever clicks that – in fact, quick survey:

Question 1. Do you use the menu bar up the top of the page?
a) I click that menu all the time. I love how it moves in and out – it’s like an accordion.
b) I once clicked it, thought it was nifty, but have never used it again
c) menu? what menu?

Question 2. Do you ever use the toolbar that floats on the bottom of the page (it’s white and called the “wibiya toolbar”)?
a) Sure do, I share your posts with all my friends and the whole world using the button it offers and love how I can subscribe to your feed and search your blog both at the top and bottom of the page.
b) It annoys me, floating there, looking at me…
c) Toolbar? Are you on drugs?

Anyway, I was trying to clean up my design the other day and decided to move the links from the menu bar that nobody ever clicks on to the footer that nobody ever scrolls to. But you should. It has pictures. And you can become a fan of St. Eutychus on Facebook (and then share funny things from the internet with your friends who will think you mildly annoying – though less annoying than intrusive spam and friend requests from people you don’t know). Anyway, the links are now there. Check them out. Ai.

Also, while I’m on the subject of links, I am adding some links to the blogroll there as we speak. Welcome to the following additions:

  • Al Bain – one of those Taswegians – Paradoxically Speaking is a good read with regular posts. Check it. Al was even kind enough to add me to his blogroll today.
  • Pete Whittle – tumblogs are beautiful. Pete’s is nice. He’s a fellow QTCer, he’s from Dalby, and he’s a muso.
  • Dave Bailey – told me today at college that he couldn’t figure me out, and told me the other day that my posts are too hard to sift through for the good stuff. Started a blog last week. We’ll see how he goes at filling it with content (his post on prayer in church (or a prayer in church) is a cracker).
  • JeffK is a QTC grad and a Pressy minister. I’ve met him a couple of times in the real world. He made me laugh.
  • PeterY has been blogging for a while, he’s also a muso, he’s from Lismore, in real life I had one of my favourite conversations of all time with him and Kutz on a mid year camp a few years back.
  • Gary has been commenting here lately – his comments are pretty on the ball (for a QTC grad and Pressy minister) and I’ve enjoyed having him around, and enjoyed his blog. Especially today’s post on how to conduct a funeral.
  • Stuart has also been commenting here for a while – and I particularly appreciated his comments on the church planting metaphor and country ministry stuff a few weeks ago.
  • Luke got here via Izaac’s blog I think – he doesn’t post that often, but his Google Reader shared items are worth following.

And, it’s quite remiss of me, but I haven’t previously had Mikey’s Boxed Sets or Christian Reflections on that blogroll (though I think they’re on the link page). That is now fixed.
Welcome to the blogroll boys – I don’t feel bad about the male domination of that list for two reasons:

a) I’m a male and more inclined to read stuff by males.
b) I have heaps of females on my blogroll already. Eight. That’s plenty.

The Links Effect – Posts you should read.

I haven’t spread the Link Love for a while.  So here goes.

If you haven’t already done so you should read the following:

That’ll do for now.

A list of posts from the Christmas period

While the rest of the blogosphere seemed to take the last couple of weeks off (Simone excluded), I ploughed on.

Here are some posts that I thought were a bit of alright from that period.

The Links effect

It’s been a while since I last shared some significant link love. And I like doing these posts – it reminds me how much fun the blogosphere is…

I’m looking forward to working at a church that cares about the small things – like fonts – next year (not that our current one doesn’t – it’s just I don’t work for it). Simone is writing a new series of Sunday School material on 1-2 Kings.

Jeff’s sermon on evangelism prompted some interesting application of his application. He also posted on the gender pay issue that cropped up in the comments of Benny’s last (or second last) post.

Ali noticed that conversation starter cards are springing up everywhere.

Kutz designed a cool shirt and perhaps started a sub-movement.

Ben created a word game.

Tim posted some good analysis of the World Cup bid (and other Football goings on) via YouTube – Play Fair,
NIKE: TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL (high quailty), Balanced view of the world cup

Stephy at Stuff Christian Culture likes covered the wardrobe choices of “relevant” preachers in the US. But before that she took on two of my favourites – prayer requests as gossip and oversharing via prayer request. What’s worse than oversharing via prayer request is oversharing via prayer request on Facebook.

Lee who has turned into a regular comment in these parts has a couple of blogs – I guiltily enjoy Lemon Harrangue Pie more than the serious one about being a Contemporary Calvinist. But both are good stuff and I commend them to you.

Dave Miers has a great list of books people should read in their first year out of highschool – at the very least you could put them on your holiness shelf.

Andrew managed to pick a fight with some atheists on Tumblr. Having first picked one on Twitter.

Stuss reviewed Australia. She didn’t like it. I haven’t seen it. I don’t plan to. It’s a bit like the Passion. I know all the good bits so a movie is only going to cheapen the experience.

Conference blogging was all the rage – Izaac shared some thoughts on NTE talks.

Over at Christian Reflections Mikey liveblogged the Geneva Push’s In the Chute conference. There were lots of posts. Here were 24 I enjoyed.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the good stuff around the blogosphere but it has, for now, exhausted me.

If you’ve got something you wrote or read that is worth sharing – put it in the comments for all to see.

Linked in

LinkedIn is a pretty dumb professional networking tool that takes all the fun out of Facebook. I’m on it somewhere. If you find me I might accept your invitation, but I probably won’t.

I haven’t written a link post for a while. But it’s time. I just discovered that a heap of people I know have blogs that I didn’t know about. And it was pretty much by accident. People should be like me and post links to their blogs on Facebook more…

Anyway, here goes, a list of friends or casual acquaintances, mostly from Brisbane, who have blogs that are pretty amusing. Some I’ve been following for a while, others not so much… I might do it in order of the length of time I’ve been following…

SDAL – Scott’s blog has been on my radar for a while, though I’ve been pretty much a serial lurker. He posted a link on my Facebook status once when I asked if anyone had blogs that I didn’t know about. He blogs about fun stuff like comic books, art, movies and obscure stuff. I think Ben would like him.

Phil Richo is Andrew’s brother and thus Simone’s brother-in-law. He blogs mostly about politics. Which I like. But you might not. If you do. Check him out

I followed Phil’s blog to Brad’s blog. Brad officially falls into the casual acquaintance category because although he linked to one of my posts recently he refused my Facebook advances some time ago. And I hold a grudge. It’s a shame. Because his blog is pretty funny.

The other link on Phil’s blogroll was to Josh Mansfield‘s blog, it was intersting, though I’m not sure why he thinks you shouldn’t say the word crap.

Brad’s blog was a veritable treasure trove of links to others.

Nick Gauci for example has a blog called a wealth of riches, I had a look, it lives up to it’s name.

Richard W has set his sights on having the eighth worst blog ever. Which, given he currently has a few intriguing posts about chemical elements, is unlikely.

Is anybody else out there in lurker land in possession of a blog that should be plugged?

Hi five

Ben is top 5-ing all week this week. I’m looking forward to his lists of awesomeness.

I’ll join the fun.

Here are my five favourite posts from elsewhere this week (in no particular order):

1. Ali’s post on how to catch a koala – I didn’t think it was that challenging, a rock and a big net would have been all I’d have used.

2. Ben’s post about signing off letters (and his one about the etiquette of extracting oneself from annoying conversations)

3. Simone’s post about how to make mud pie

4. Izaac’s post about bad bible jokes.

5. Justin for his posts tracking notable quotes from “Inspiring People” a mission running in Sydney

Nine Christian blogs you should read

These are not necessarily my favourite blogs by Christians – but they are the ones that are most likely to cover interesting trends in evangelical Christianity (in the Australian sense of the word evangelical – which mostly means reformed)…

  1. John Piper’s blog at Desiring God, his son Abraham Piper’s 22 words is another one of my favourites… his current post is a cracker.
  2. Mark Driscoll’s blog at the Resurgence – lets face it, what Christian male under the age of 30 isn’t at least a little bit of a Mark Driscoll fanboy. He’s a Mac, and Piper is a PC.
  3. Tim Challies blog – great link posts and book reviews.
  4. Between Two Worlds – nice short summaries of the American Christian blogosphere.
  5. Craig’s blog – the Australian equivalent of Between Two Worlds – nice short sharp summaries of important discussions and developments around the Australian scene.
  6. The Internet Monk – trying to define him is difficult. Post reformed, post evangelical, partly Calvinist – usually interesting or thought provoking.
  7. Church Marketing Sucks – a nice little site dedicated to improving the way churches communicate Jesus.
  8. Communicate Jesus – an Australian equivalent to Church Marketing Sucks.
  9. Stuff Christians Like – the Stuff Christians Write writer has his finger right on the pulse of Christian culture – warts and all.

A list of nine barely does my subscription list justice, there are heaps of notable omissions both from gospel ministers in Australia to collective blogs like Pyromaniacs or the SolaPanel – and a bunch of quality blogs by bible college students.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Design4Church – a most excellent blog about graphic design for churches at this point…

Any good ones I’m missing?