Archive for January, 2009

First ROM Lower-Body Workout

You thought that my first ROM upper-body workout looked tough? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Peep yer eyes on this.

So far, the ROM‘s been an equal-opportunity punishment device.

Don’t Mess With Michele Norris

Michele Norris Facts is pretty funny. A sampling: A sampling: “The last person to mis-pronounce Michele Norris’ first name was shot in the face by Dick Cheney.”

Thanks, Steve! We can all use a laugh right about now.

Zondervan Book Survey – Prize Inside!

Hi all,

This just in from my friends at Zondervan. A great survey about reading, aesthetics, and Coen Brothers films. There’s a substantial gift at the end if you opt for the final elective part of the survey. Click below to begin.

‘End-Times Remixed’ – This Book Will Change Your World (& It’s FREE)

preview the book

What comes to mind when you think of ‘the end-times’ or ‘the return of Jesus’? For some, this is a boring subject. For others, it literally defines their lives. For many, ideas about eschatology fuel their passion & faith in God; for still many others, those same teachings have caused untold pain.

From the 1970s – 1990s, books about ‘the end of the world as we know it’ became best-sellers that fueled entire cottage industries. But as the first decade of the 21st century seems to mirror more & more a real-life apocalypse now, it seems like Christians are questioning their inherited assumptions. At the same time, people of goodwill from all faith backgrounds (or none at all) are questioning the public good of ‘Left Behind’ spirituality. Environmental carelessness, turmoil in the Middle East, and a general attitude of war = end-times progress and peace = the antichrist have caused many journalists, theologians, ministers and ordinary believers to weigh the fruit of these popular ideas. They’ve been weighed and found wanting.

Thankfully there are other resources for faith and practice besides pop-culture interpretations of Revelation. Inquirers have been seeking out Scripture and church history with fresh urgency, to see what Jesus and his earliest followers might have been thinking about ‘the time of the end’ and Jesus’ return.

My friend Kevin Beck of Presence International has written a book exploring just these questions. No dogma remains unwalked; no sacred cow remains un-tipped in his exploration of a better way to tell this Story. Kevin and the folks at Presence have decided that this book is too important to sell – and I agree. Whether you see eye-to-eye with every jot-and-tittle is irrelevant; This Book Will Change Your World lives up to its promise, and deserves to be set free to as many readers as possible.

For this reason, Kevin has enthusiastically agreed to give away a digital edition of this book to everyone who will share it with their friends. You can share it with as few as 3 friends, or you can share it with your whole email address book, which I’m doing.

Kevin wants to share this book with everyone – not to manufacture consent, or tell you what to believe. Rather, his heart is to re-frame a well-worn paradigm and open a conversation, a vital dialogue on what is (spiritually, geopolitically, ecologically – you name it) one of the most urgent matters of our time. To get your free copy of This Book Will Change Your World, go here and click the ‘free e-book’ option. It’ll take you from there. I’m trying to get the word out about this, and I hope you’ll help me. Feel free to post a link to (or my post here) to your blog, Facebook profile, email list, etc…

And let’s discuss it! In the comments here, or on The Ooze.

Dear Facebook: Please Lift 5,000 Friend Limit (A Modest Proposal)

Well it happened today: A. Jason Jones added me, and became Facebook friend number 4800. I have 200 friends to go before Facebook caps me out. In case you didn’t know, Facebook has a 5,000 friend limit. Their reasoning is that, unlike Myspace, they want to limit your contacts to actual friends, and curtail commercial abuses and that sort of thing. I get that. And yet, it feels a bit paternalistic that they get to decide who consenting adults add or accept as ‘friends.’ It’s true, I accept & request people on the basis of shared affinity – people interested in comic books, futures studies, house church & emerging church, fellow authors, et cetera, et cetera…not just my high school & college buddies, co-workers, and flesh-and-blood friends. But so what? I enjoy my e-quaintences, and to some degree they must enjoy me too, or else I’d be pruned from their lists by now. Sometimes I meet a Facebook acquaintances who’s in town over coffee, and we become friends of the more flesh-and-blood sort. Sometimes powerful business partnerships result, or new activist initiatives. Or conferences or meetups or…

Continue reading ‘Dear Facebook: Please Lift 5,000 Friend Limit (A Modest Proposal)’

Listen to My Beautiful Idol – Free! friend Pete Gall is making his infectiously-funny, hard-hitting memoir My Beautiful Idol available for free as an audio book on NoiseTrade if you share it with 5 friends. If you like Dave Eggers, Tom Wolfe, Anne Lamott, Sara Miles, or (yes) Don Miller, you should download this puppy and give it a listen. Word on the street is Pete’s got another book coming out soon; I can’t wait.

Oh, and incidentally, I think Pete’s decision to give this book away for a season in audio format is a smart one from a publishing standpoint; this week, God-willing, I’ll be blogging a bit about the recession, publishing industry, and creative marketing innovation.

But anyway, you can download the free audiobook here.

Saturday Morning Praize

Good morning! I wanted to share with you three great (if you’ll pardon the term) praise & worship videos friends of mine posted on YouTube.

This one from Brittian Bullock is a nice atmospheric riff on faith & ambiguity

Seth Irby‘s anthemic offering expresses unabashed praise toward a good God

Brian McLaren‘s song here is infectious – it’s what would happen if Michael Dowd wrote Messianic Jewish music

Coming soon to a congregation near you?

Tony Jones on Me on Queermergent – Mending the Breach Tony Jones blogged the other day about our friend Adele and her new website/network Queermergent. Though Tony was simply mentioning the fact of its existence, his post erupted in a firestorm of angry blog comments from all sides (sigh). I came in kinda late, but there’s something I’ve been mulling over for about a year now that I think makes it possible for friends & followers of Jesus on all sides to have loving & courageous conversation about the matter. Or at the very least, when we all pause to take a breath, we can consider each other members of one family, and indeed one body.

Here’s what I say:

Well, I’m coming in on this discussion late – which is probably merciful. I think that, before posting on such things, we need to do a quick blood-pressure check. If its too high, then it’s probably not the Holy Spirit, no matter *what* our views on Subject XYZ are! What follows is not an attempt to change anyone’s mind about the sinfulness or blessedness of homosexual orientation and practice. We all have our perspectives, and they change like glaciers, not ice cubes. Rather, I want to lay out in as concise a manner as possible my own readings, prayer, and reflection in this these past few years, showing essentially four different options people of faith have in this regard. I’m pretty sure we all fall into one of these four understandings. My goal in showing them in a descriptive, matter-of-fact manner is to humanize all four perspectives, so that we don’t demonize one another.

Continue reading this over at Tony’s blog.

Meanwhile… Adam Walker Cleaveland is blogging about Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers. Here’s the Preulde, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5…chapters 6 and 7 forthcoming.

ROM: The First Workout

The weight is over! Bwa-ha-ha…okay, sorry. I couldn’t resist. Here is my first-ever ROM workout video:

There was so much gabbing going on I didn’t go as fast as I would’ve liked (or as smokin’ as you’ll see me on subsequent vids) Nonetheless, my friends who participated did a fine job. At the camera: Irish peace activist and film critic, the good Doctor Gareth Higgins. Standing in for technical and moral support is my housechurch-mate John of PaperBackSwap fame. Providing ambiance are the wonder twins behind Zehnder.

Thankyew, thankyew. The first in a yearlong journey!

Do I Really Need to ‘Lose Weight’? am happy to report that, since using the ROM, I’ve lost at least seven pounds.

Alas, you know what they say about statistics. The same can be said about correlation and causation; I’m afraid this rapid weight loss was more due to me (and indeed my whole family) being very sick last week. Purge-O-Rama!

But is what I’m doing in my journey toward health best framed as ‘weight loss’ anyway? ROM manufacturer Alf Temme (ahem) weighs in:

There is additional advice that we give with the ROM. When you start on an exercise program that is meant for losing fat then ABSOLUTELY DO NOT GO ON A DIET AT THE SAME TIME. In fact a calorie restricted diet will worsen your fat problem.

When you are saying that you are about 50 pounds overweight I have news for you. You are most likely 70 to 75 pounds overweight on FAT and about 20 to 25 pounds UNDERWEIGHT on MUSCLE. The word OVERWEIGHT should be stricken from the English language because it misinforms and misleads people about their problem. The reason why people get fat is because they have lost muscle first. Every pound of muscle will metabolize between 5 and 90 calories per 24 hours. It will minimum metabolize 5 calories and more depending on whether it is used to perform work and how hard it is used. Losing a pound of muscle (not maintaining it, use it or lose it) will cause at least a loss of metabolism of about 1800 calories in one year. Those 1800 calories equal the calories contained in half a pound of fat. This would result then in that you will burn half a pound less fat per year. The process of gaining fat can be slower or faster depending of how fast and how much muscle you lose. If you operate a computer all day and do not much else you will lose muscle very quickly and will accumulate fat in rapid fashion.

Going on a calorie restricted diet worsen the muscle loss problem even though it can cause some of the fat storage to decline temporarily, only to increase faster after you return to normal eating habits and it result in more fat than before starting on the diet. If you are interested I can elaborate about what to do about your eating habits when you start using the ROM. Surprisingly you should do the opposite from what people believe they should do to get rid of their fat. You actually have to start off the day with a carbohydrate breakfast.

75 pounds overweight on fat, how delightful. But that just means I’ve been building up a secret cadre of muscle these past several weeks! Ready to strike at a moments notice. Coming tomorrow: My first ROM workout video!

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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave