Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New tool (to me anyway)

Ok, so thanks to Brooke, I've now discovered Feedblitz. Actually, i knew about it, but i didn't know much. I knew that i could use it to subscribe to some blogs by e-mail, but i didn't know i could subscribe to any blog (and nearly any website) for free, and i didn't know that i could add it to my site for free, either. I assumed the blogs had to pay for it. So now if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you'll see a link where you can add your e-mail address and get new posts that way, and if you go to their website you can sign up for e-mail updates for just about anything else, too, like you're local paper's web updates. I have a feeling my inbox is about to get a lot busier.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Negotiating Indirectly

Today i got this article in my e-mail about negotiating, claiming that to get what you want you have to start by asking for something else, instead of being completely direct. The author gives a convincing argument, and it does seem to make sense that sometimes we scare people off when we tell them what we really want up front. So i wonder how this might apply to church work. My first thought was with approaching potential volunteers - is it better to tell them up front what we hope they'll sign up for, and all of the accompanying expectations? Or do we get farther by starting small - like getting them involved in small capacities before trying to sign them up for the jobs with high expectations, or like talking in general terms about the job and then, laying out all the details a few conversations later when they're really interested?

I guess neither of these really counts as asking for one thing in hopes of getting another, more like asking for something but not describing it fully up front. But it still raises the question - how do we as pastors best "negotiate" for what we need, especially when recruiting volunteers? Last time i was looking to fill a high-committment volunteer position i struck out twice by approaching people with the full job description and asking for a yes or no. The third time i gave most of the job description up front, but invited the person to participate in the ministy for a few weeks so he could check it out while he was trying to make a decision. The rest of the details were hammered out when he was ready to commit. So far he's the most committed volunteer i think i've ever worked with. God's hand was in it - i think he really was the right one out of the three i asked. But i also think the way i approached the previous two - unloading all the information up front in a single conversation - probably helped scare them off.

Need to Clarify

After re-reading my last post i realized i wasn't entirely clear. I'm looking for some html i can use on this site in the left column that will automatically update from several blogs and websites, instead of having to create separate spaces for each site. I'm not sure if i can get what i want for free, but i thought it didn't hurt to ask. Thanks!

Monday, August 27, 2007

need code

Hey, if there's anyone out there who knows how to do either of these or could point me to some good information - please comment!

- I have a new cell phone now with a web browsing feature. I was able to get to this blog but couldn't really read it because the html was not designed with a cell phone in mind. Does anyone know how or where to find blogger templates that will also render well on mobile browsers?

- I'd love to do an rss feed that pulls from multiple sites at once and puts the most recent article at the top - instead of having separate rss feeds for each site i connect to here. Anybody know how to do that?

Thanks :)

One in four Americans read no books last year

Don't be one one them next year, please :) CNN's article.

TIME Article about Mother Theresa's Struggle and Doubt

In case you haven't heard, there's some new stuff out about Mother Theresa that reveals a very different side of her than we've seen before. The headline of the TIME article is "Mother Theresa's Crisis of Faith." A new view of Mother Theresa is going to necessarily affect peoples' view of the Faith itself, so it's really worth checking out.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Complaining is bad" - The Bible and Yahoo Finance

Ok, for any of us who don't take the Bible seriously when it says not to complain, at least one business columnist is saying the same thing. Check it out: Five Ways to Avoid Being Overworked by Penelope Trunk.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cheap TV Commercials

Hello Again,

Today in Rick Warren's e-mail update i found a link for an article about how advertising on TV isn't as expensive as many pastors assume. I don't know if our church is ready for it, but maybe yours is. Here's the article - Church TV Commercials for a Buck. No - it's not really just a buck, but it is pretty cheap and the article isn't trying to sell you a particular service.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My identity has been stolen (a little)

Well, it appears i am now officially a victim of identity theft. Yesterday i got one of those "returned mail" messages in my inbox, but i didn't recognize the address that the message had been sent to - and when i saw the subject line i knew i hadn't sent it. I e-mailed Yahoo about it (which by the way i've loved using yahoo mail for around 7 years now), and they said it looks like someone's managed to falsify the "from" or "reply-to" section of a spam e-mail that they sent. So now it looks like i sent the message. Worse, it appears that there's nothing Yahoo can do to find out who's doing this or to stop them. So all i can do is delete all the returned messages that come to me and pray that my legitimate messages don't start getting filtered out by spam blockers.

I guess it doesn't do you much good to know this, since i don't think there's a way to prevent it, but I just wanted everyone to know that the return address on the spam you get could be that of another innocent bystander.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Article at Leadership Journal about church security

Hello again,

I found an article today by a police lieutenant giving churches advice on how to respond in case of an attack by a gunman, and how to become a little more prepared for that event. It's worth taking a minute to read. I know my tendency is to almost take pride in a church with minimal security - it seems like churches should be safe places as well as places where we trust each other - instead of places where you have to go through a security checkpoint. But the question is worth asking - should we be doing more to protect our sheep?

Here's the article : Security Against Shooters

Friday, August 17, 2007

the stories behind tattoos

For some this may be an obvious concept, but many, if not most, tattoos actually have deep stories behind them, and are not the result of some short-sighted whim. Unfortunately, i think a lot of times in the church, or at least a lot of times in the past in the church, we've assumed it was always just that. There's an article about this at the Center for Parent-Youth Understanding by Paul Robertson, and i highly recommend it if you find yourself wondering why anyone would choose to put such a permanent mark on their bodies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How to respond to racist jokes

I've let a whole month slip by without blogging :( Part of the problem is that i'd rather read the really good things other people are writing than write something halfway good and put it out there. So today i compromise and post a link to something really good that someone else wrote, hopefully furthering the world of good thought without watering it down.

Today i ran across an article at Race in the Workspace titled "How to respond to a racist joke." I'm passing it along because i'm sure a lot of other Christians and church workers besides me have a genuine desire to avoid participating in racism but aren't always sure what to do. I'm not convinced that this author's approach is going to work, but it might and it certainly seems worth a try, so check it out.