Saturday, June 30, 2012

more and more writing

Did a lot of writing about cartoons. By a lot I mean thousands of words.  It's not all for posts that will get published here.  In fact it may be none of it gets published here but I can note that writing is happening.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Brooks actually posts at City of God blog

It seems The Brooks only posts once a month but he posts and this one is worth linking to.
By way of associative linking here's Jim West on a question about what a megachurch pastor is.

... a mega-church is any church which is so large that the Pastor doesn’t know the names of every person who regularly attends. Such Pastors aren’t truly pastors – they are merely functionaries, public speakers. Pastors know their flock just as shepherds know their sheep. It is no accident at all that the early Church seized on the analogy of the Pastor as shepherd.

And he expounds a bit in a comment.

shepherds don’t watch over flocks they can’t manage. those sheep are placed in another flock. look, let’s face it, larger churches are more about egos than christianity. why must large churches have multiple ‘campuses’ (i loath that terminology)? what theological justification is there for it? why don’t these large churches plant churches in other areas, other neighborhoods. why, in short, don’t they divide and multiply rather than simply just add.

go to your church board and ask them- ‘hey, why, instead of collecting all of these resources and people, don’t we send half the members to small house church plants and let them begin new work in new areas where they live’. see what excuses they make for not.

"The difference is women agonize over the menu and men just order and live with it"

Dahlia Lithwick:

An awful lot of Slaughter’s piece is as urgently important for men as for women. All of us work too hard. We all shortchange our kids. We all buy a lot of stuff we don't need. We are all pretty much a mess when it comes to balance. The difference is women agonize over the menu and men just order and live with it. Jan Rodak and I wrote a piece a few months ago that argued that as long as women see life as a sum of choices they will always fret and regret. Slaughter is right that for most women the juggle just FEELS worse. As one of those 4-a.m.-train moms who missed my sons star turn as "Monkey No. 2" last week at the camp play, I am aware that most of the guilt and regret are self created. But Traister is so right that anyone who tries to have it all has a problem: That's the stuff of Disney and soap commercials. We need to make it easier for women at every level to balance work and home. But balance isn't about constantly weighing what you have against what you don't have. That isn't balance—it’s a recipe for a life spent longing for all the things you bargained away.

I think there is some truth to this but there are plenty of men who agonize over the menu, particularly about the price of some of the options and on how the options on the menu got selected, which doesn't seem so different from women agonizing over the menu in some ways, does it? I mean, sure, it is different for all sorts of reasons but the decisions of people who have the financial, social and cultural capital to buy the more popular and common items on the menu will have a different set of anxieties and concerns than those who realize they have ended up in the restaurant and they don't have enough money to order anything. :)

There is a problem with having it all, whatever "all" may get defined as.  The author of Ecclesiastes, well, Koholeth anyway, declared that he had it all and did it all and it all became as nothing to him because he realized everyone dies and nothing lasts.  The problem with having it all is that when you die you lose it all, sometimes you lose it all even before you die.

I'm particularly struck by the final sentences in what I cited, that balance isn't about constantly weighing what you have against what you don't have, because that is nothing but a recipe for spending your life longing for everything you bargained away.

If men order from the menu and live with it then perhaps what this means is that men, for whatever reasons, get some kind of message that there are opportunity costs to anything you choose to do, want or be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

a question--has anyone written a sonata form that includes the banjo?

You don't have to guess too hard why I would be asking this question.  Surely someone has written a work for the banjo that makes use of sonata allegro form, right?  Maybe a duet? Maybe a solo banjo sonata?

I've got an idea taking shape for a sonata for banjo and guitar.  I've been thinking of writing one for a couple of years but this year I've finally got some ideas to play with. If anyone knows of a bona fide sonata form written for banjo or that includes banjo comment away.  I'm curious.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brave. a review in the works

Longtime readers know that I write about cartoons and Brave is one of those Pixar films I was going to make a point of seeing.  I want to write about the film but the actual review will have to wait until I have some time to collect my thoughts about themes and character arcs.  The movie has been out for a short-time but since this is Wenatchee The Hatchet if you've read my reviews of Pixar films in the past or my writing about cartoons you'll know that I write very spoilery reviews.  As in spoilers may appear in the first paragraph. So if you haven't seen Brave yet, read my blog, and don't want spoilers you may want to catch the film in the next couple of days. ;-)  You can trust me that it's a sweet, endearing film with more stuff to chew on thematically than the princess tropes and adventure set-pieces might initially suggest.

Hinns reconciling, remarrying

over at The Boar's Head Tavern this was announced as the one actual healing associated with Hinn.
Justin considers this kind of cool and wonders if his cynicism has been waning with time.

I don't really know what to think about that myself but a reconciliation does seem like a good thing in principle.  I make no secret that I've never been a fan of Benny Hinn at any level but if he and his wife are able to put their marriage back together then my regards.  May they stay together and have a healthy relationship.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cinemagogue: Prometheus, Panic and Hubris

James Harleman admits to having always thought it was dumb when characters ran in a straight line.  What lazy scripting?  But wait, you mean to say most living sentient creatures get into this mindless flight path?  Oops.

It's a short but worthy little read about realizing that there are times when you sit back in judgment thinking "who is really that stupid?" only to discover that sometimes it's you. I just wrapped up Daniel Kahneman's fascinating book Thinking Fast and Slow and there's a lot of research that tells us that our brain is great at jumping to conclusions too quickly with too little information and that there are times when our brains answer the simpler question and make the intuitive judgment call that turns out to be tragically wrong.

And from a story-telling standpoint this explains why the only sorts of characters that don't reflexively run straight away from danger tend to be characters who have trained that out of themselves through years of self-discipline ...

like Batman. :-)

Sorry, couldn't resist that one.

Mars Hill Church Update "... it's just that we had an economic model that wasn't sustainable for our future".

"... it's not that anybody has sinned, or done anything wrong, or is in trouble it's just that we had an economic model that wasn't sustainable for our future."

Back in 2008 I privately shared a few concerns.  I left on mutually good terms, as longtime readers already know.  One of my concerns was about the lack of clear and consistent precedent and procedure in church discipline.  If that didn't get worked out there might come a case that blew up into a local scandal.  To put it mildly that came to pass in the form of Andrew's case.

Another concern I had was about the competence and good will of counseling pastors (long since called "biblical living pastor").  It wasn't clear to me whether some of the men installed as counseling pastors of various sorts were actually qualified for that work.  In the interest of not being too detailed let me just say that some folks seem to have been canned and at least one of them was in the biblical living division.  Two things I warned about in 2008 have, in 2012, turned into areas where Mars Hill found itself some trouble.

Another thing I shared was my worry that the constant pursuit of meteoric growth was a problem for Mars Hill.  Gaining campus after campus is not gaining assets but liabilities.  If you commit to expanding into site after site without being careful to sustain and cultivate a donor base sufficient to keep each campus operational you'll end up with an institution that runs on systemic deficits rather than having a long-term viable economic paradigm.

What has Driscoll just recently announced since June 12, 2012?  Curiously this third concern I privately shared with Mars Hill leadership has turned out to be a problem, too.  Folks, that's three for three on things I didn't want to see continuing at Mars Hill.  It took a while for me to see these as systemic risks between 2006-2008.  I shared my concerns and it seems that those concerns did not register with Mars Hill.  I'm just one person so it's understandable my concerns might not matter much for an institution as big as Mars Hill. Still, I gotta admit that this is still three for three on things I privately warned were risks that Mars Hill leadership did not seem to be taking seriously enough in the 2007-2008 period.

Last year Driscoll said Munson was always above reproach.  Okay ... but what's with this stuff about how Mars Hill has had an economic model that is unsustainable for the future?  Who formulated that economic model?  Whose vision put into place an economic model that turned out to be unsustainable?

If Mars Hill leadership can admit the economic model was not sustainable is this conceding a possibility of bad stewardship?  If Mars Hill leadership had budgeted for actual revenue on a weekly basis earlier rather than banking on the year end "bonus" could systemic lay-offs about every year have been avoided?  I don't know, I just remember that about every year people got laid off.  Some people I've known got jobs at Mars Hill only to get laid off eight months later!  And Mars Hill is a non-profit that I'm not sure has ever paid into unemployment.  If you've ever been laid off by a 501(c)3 you'll discover that in many cases you're not eligible for unemployment and related social safety net benefits.  What if a single woman has worked on staff at Mars Hill for years and gets laid off?  She's stuck.  Take it from a single guy who got laid off by a non-profit a few years ago, it's a bad spot and unless the non-profit pulls out the stops and has an amazing (for a non-profit) severance package things can get ugly.

A word of advice to folks in non-profit settings, it may behoove you to rarely ever take vacation and to not get sick, particularly if both sick leave and vacation pay get paid out in your severance package.

To those of you who may be Mars Hill staff, keep this in mind if you're reading this.  To those of you who were Mars Hill staff and got cut loose because the leadership at Mars Hill have been working from an economic model that has been unsustainable, you're in my prayers.  I know exactly how bad it sucks to get laid off from a non-profit and I'm not gonna lie, I think I was laid off from a far better and more accountable non-profit than I'm afraid Mars Hill is likely to be.  My hope is that you're able to land some work soon, where ever and who ever you are.  This is not a good economic time for non-profits by a long shot.  Development work is likely to be saturated.  A lot of places are hiring part-time no-benefits jobs.  You may be stuck trying to find work within the Martian and Acts 29 orbit.  Given the economic model that scene has had be prayerfully cautious about taking more work there.  I've known guys who have served faithfully for years who never had the same job for very long.  My hope is that you and your families are safe.  I don't have any way to help you myself because I'm in a perilously tight financial season of my own but I can certainly pray for you.