Archive for the ‘Cultural Ideas’ category

Here’s to Change!

December 15, 2008

Sunday was a day for big announcements. John Sloan our bass player was leaving to go to Cincinnati, service times were changing from three back to two services, and I was stepping out into a new place of uncertainty and question marks. Sounds like you should have been there, right?

Change was the topic of conversation. I mentioned Robert Quinn and his book, Deep Change. We all are faced with opportunities to choose Deep Change, yet even in our inaction we make the decision to live within the status quo. The decision to embrace Deep Change is a decision that will shift your way of thinking and making meaning in the world, but it is also the only way in which we can truly grow as human beings. Personal Transformation is a topic that encompasses both the spiritual and mental capacities we posses. In order for a person to experience Spiritual Transformation and Mental Transformation, the lenses with which we see our lives have to also change and be embraced.

The best lenses are the ones we aren’t aware of. When we have a shift in our “seeing”, it takes time for the new lenses to integrate themselves into our lives. The first step is to recognize that the lenses you are currently looking through aren’t letting you see things the way you are accustomed to seeing them. Just like with real eyeglasses, when things start to become hazy and blurry, it’s time for new lenses to clear up your vision.

As I continue on in this journey, I hope you will also share your experiences. I also hope that my decision to embrace transformational change will spur you on to begin your own journey of transformational change.

Tribune Co. files for bankruptcy protection

December 8, 2008

I know this is an odd title for a post, but there are a multitude of things that are happening around us and some are worth mentioning. This is one of them. Today the media giant became the first major newspaper or chain to file bankruptcy in the modern era. This tactic is aimed at relieving financial pressure while the Tribune works out arrangements with it’s creditors.

The Chicago-based company owns a coast-to-coast empire with television stations and newspapers in most of the nation’s largest cities. Its holdings include the Los Angeles Times; cable television superstation WGN in Chicago; the Baltimore Sun; and WDCW-50 in Washington, the CW affiliate. The company also owns the Chicago Cubs.

The reason this is important is that it signals a trend that has been in the background for a while. The old ways of receiving and dispersing information are no longer financially viable and will cease, eventually.

Real estate mogul Sam Zell engineered an employee-owned transition to private ownership one year ago this month. He says, “We believe that this restructuring will bring the level of our debt in line with current economic realities, and will take pressure off our operations, so we can continue to work toward our vision of creating a sustainable, cutting-edge media company that is valued by our readers, viewers, and advertisers, and plays a vital role in the communities we serve,” Zell said. “This restructuring focuses on our debt, not on our operations.”

With the President using the word Recession and the failings and moves by major businesses, the tempo of concern is speeding up among the consumer. The key in all this is to maintain a balanced personal outlook. The fundamentals are called “fundamentals” simply because they remain when everything else is failing. The fundamental of living in Today, the Present, is one we should keep in front of our eyes.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here. Change and Decision can only take place in the magical land of Now. You control Now; your reaction and action. Live on purpose and keep to the fundamentals.

Macon and the Arts

December 5, 2008

 

SoChi Gallery in Downtown Macon

SoChi Gallery in Downtown Macon

Macon, Georgia is a town with a lot of history, but many of the residents of Middle Georgia don’t get to experience it. The interstate veers people away, and years of negative talk about crime have also kept people back.

I’ve posted before about the work being done at the Fountain on Third and Cherry Street in Macon for the homeless. It is a wonderful avenue for people to become engaged in helping their neighbor, but also in seeing the beauty of Downtown Macon.

I just came back from a visit to downtown and met several people who were knowledgeable about the area. The Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Center is a great place to go to get maps and information about things that may be happening  in or around downtown.

One of the places I spent some time was at the Sochi Gallery. They were having a First Friday showing, so I went to check it out. It’s a great little gallery that immediately take you off the street and into a serene space. If you have time go check it out, you’ll love it.

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

December 4, 2008

rockefeller-center-christmas-tree_6648

One of my most favorite holiday traditions is watching the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. After the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the tree lighting is another step closer to Christmas.

Maybe I’m nostalgic, but I like to do a few things year after year, and also keep an eye out for things that can become traditions. For instance this year I found out that my youngest, at age 8, was enthralled with the debates and election coverage. So in 3 or 4 more years we’ll do it again.

This year the kids did the tree themselves (except for a couple on the higher branches). They had a blast and we weeded out some of those fragile balls that you can worry about being broke – no more worries for us!

Loving this time of year; loving experiencing all the sights and sounds of the city and the neighborhood! I really do think “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”.

World AIDS Day 2008

December 1, 2008

2008-world-aids-day

Today is December 1st and that also means that it is World AIDS Day. Since the 80’s I’ve seen the little red ribbon surge in popularity and create a whole new way of showing support for a cause, to being left in the drawer and almost forgotten. There are even those who believe that the whole AIDS Crisis was made up. Kind of hard to believe that when you have over 25 million people dead between the years of 1981 and 2007.

A great deal has been done, but there are still more than an estimated 33 million people living with HIV today. As the years pass there is a new picture emerging of AIDS. In the 80’s it was young “reckless” people, living “reckless” lives. Now, almost 30 years later, those young people are either well into middle age or are retiring.

The first World AIDS Day took place on December 1, 1988.  Twenty years later the red ribbon seems to have been with us forever. Today, say a prayer for those who are dealing with this pandemic and their families. And say a prayer that we find a cure and put this virus into history along with smallpox and polio.

It’s Beginning to Sound like Christmas

November 28, 2008

In our city there is a ritual that takes place the week of Thanksgiving that my kids have found irresistible. A radio station, Z93.7, begins to play Christmas music nonstop. They play every kind of Christmas music, from classic to the tunes being created this year. A couple of years ago, this was cute and, I thought, nice for people to get into the Christmas spirit.

Now, whenever we get into the car, the kids automatically ask for “Z93.7“. Obviously it was a good marketing from the radio guys. The kids aren’t asking for “Christmas music”, just “Z93.7” There is no doubt what time of the year it is – it is most definitely Christmastime!

There are a couple of good new Christmas albums that I’ll review in the next couple of days. Also, a new book has come out to help with the money crunch we feel at this time of the year, and I’ll be looking at that as well.

How to Start-Up

November 25, 2008

There is a saying that – “Anything can be improved”. In the world economy, these simple words provide the foundation for asking questions. Every time we look around we find things that could be better. What should be there that is not? What can start with what we know or are passionate about? What bothers us? What’s missing? We can come up with a very long list of things we wish were different or could change, or have the interest or skill to do something about.

In these lists are the beginning ideas of some of the most profitable businesses around. Google found a better way to search, Amazon found a better way to buy books, Ebay found a better way to sell everything. No super magic formula, just an opportunity to make things better.

These same principles apply wherever we find ourselves. The next big idea could come from you looking around and seeing something that could be done better.

Twilight

November 20, 2008

twilight

Yes, I went to see Twilight. Not only did I go to see it; I was watching it at the midnight premier showing. I brought Shawn McCann, he helped me on a book review a few weeks back, and then there was about ten thousand teenage girls. I won’t put in any teenage girl humor because you’ve probably already added it in yourself!

The movie itself was different than the book in it’s tone. I read about half of the first book before going to the movie. The plot and dialogue came up to be about what the book contained. I can’t stress how different the reactions were in the movie theatre from the reactions I had planned on hearing. From the start there were more giggles than “oohs”. The main character was supposed to be a smooth guy, but he started off decidedly un-smooth.

There were some good parts, but the movie was aimed to a distinct target audience – an audience that didn’t include me. Humor was the most surising facet of Twilight. Toward the end there was a quote that was somewhat profound. The main guy and gal are dancing under the lit gazebo for the school dance and she asks him why he didn’t let her become a vampire like himself. Her feeling was that, if he had, she would be able to live forever with him. He responds by asking her if just one long lifetime with him would be enough.

I couldn’t help but think if that is the conversation the Church is having with God/Jesus today. There is such a stress on the “happily ever after” fairytale “by-and-by” life in heaven, that many so-called Christians waste the life given to them, to live here dissatisfied and without desire to “do” anything but wait “until He comes”.

How sad that the gift of Christ is used for such a small expression of life. Life is to be lived. There is an abundant life to be lived, but you must live it. It will not live on it’s own. You must give it breath and strength as you choose to step out and become active in your life.

Dialogue for Change

November 19, 2008

One of the big topics in education and learning is the concept of Dialogue Education. Jane Vella first proposed the concept in the early 80’s. It draws on a variety of adult learning theories and combines them into an integrated learning experience. The biggest difference is that teaching is typically done in a monologue format, this form is a dialogue. The dialogue focuses more on what the student does and less on what the teacher says.

The implications for this are staggering as we look at the current way in which most learning environments are designed. In the church setting there is a person talking (monologue) and a congregation listening. In the work world during a meeting, there is a person making a presentation (monologue) and a group listening. In most educational settings there is a teacher (monologue) and students listening.

Dialogue education is a form of Constructivism, in that it focuses on the argument that people construct knowledge and meaning from experiences, because of that, Dialogue Education can be a means for transformative learning. The big reason is that it gives ownership to the learner for his own learning.

I know that is lot to digest, but the implications in the church setting cannot be stressed enough. Because of this I’m beginning a series of Dialogues, called Dialogue4Change. At the onset we will discuss the theory and practice of Dialogue Education itself and what its meaning in our different environments:work, family, church.

If there are a majority of people in the Warner Robins area we will meet at Lifepoint Church approximately once a month. If the majority are from further places, I’ll do my best to facilitate an on-line discussion in the same time-frame.

To let me know if you are interested in becoming a part of this cutting edge discussion, email me at dialogue4change@gmail.com.  In the next few days I’ll be putting up a separate page that will go into more detail. This is going to be Great!

Most People

November 15, 2008

This is from the book Tribes by Seth Godin and it is great:

Most people like the products they already have, so marketers ignore them.
Most people work hard to fit in, so others don’t notice them.
Most people like eating at places where they’ve eaten before.
Most people would like the world to stay just as it is, but calmer.
Most people are afraid.
Most people didn’t use Google until last year.
Most people aren’t curious.
You’re not most people.
You’re not the target market for most marketers.
Almost all the growth that’s available to you exists when you aren’t like most people and when you work hard to appeal to folks who aren’t most people.

Here’s to you. Someone who is most assuredly not “most people”!