Posts Tagged 'Foresight@Regent'

Introducing…KedgeForward!

The End of FoodMy new semester of Foresight@Regent begins in just a couple of weeks; I’ll be delving into one of the more intriging and qualitative classes, Images of the Future – we’ll be examining (you guessed it) the images of the future our cultures and socities create, reflected in everything from public policy to science fiction films. Additionally, I’ll be doing an independent study on The Future of Food, mashing up research done by Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Paul Roberts, Eric Schlosser and others in the real/slow/local food movement – as well as their Big Agribusiness opponents (Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson, etc., etc…) – to see what food futures might look like over the next 25 years, utilizing a CLA framework – that is, a Causal Layered Analysis mode of inquiry and transformation.

In the Regent program, Dr. Gary encourages us to get on-the-ground experience whilst we are in our virtual ivory towers. Toward this ethos – and jumping in the deep end in a big way – I have a major announcement: Seasoned futurist Frank Spencer and I are launching KedgeForward – a lean, mean, Strategic Foresight machine! Here’s how Frank put it on his blog this morning:

Introducing… KedgeForward!


kedgeA “Kedge” is a lightweight anchor used to manuver ships when they’ve run aground, or when there is no wind to fill the sails and push the vessel through the water. This anchor, rather than keeping the ship stationary, actually works to move the vessel forward by rooting it in the place where the crew wants the ship to be. After several members take the anchor away from the ship by means of a small craft – and have placed it in the desired location – the crew can then pull the ship through the water toward its destination, even though the natural element of wind is completely absent!

KedgeForward! is an agile strategic foresight firm rooting in where you want to be – in past hindsight, present insight, and visionary foresight – to give you the forward-pull you need! We are dedicated to helping businesses, NGO’s, and transformational agencies to develop environments of creativity, innovation, sustainable practices, resilience, future-fitness, aspirational road-maps, and adaptive & flexible strategy for the “New World” of the 21st Century and beyond!

We are founded on an integral and evolutionary approach to human and organizational futures, and actualize transformation through the use of change-oriented methods that are transdisciplinary, unique, and customizable – making our work with each client a personal, authentic, and “one-of-a-kind” relationship.

We look forward to working with you in developing your future-ready strategy and organization!

To continue reading this annoucnement, please follow me to the KedgeForward blog, where in coming months we’ll be bringing you, dear reader, the bleeding edge of Stragegic Foresight forays. And if you’re a publishing house, nonprofit, ‘conscious capitalist’ Fortune 500 company, denomination, or City Planner, why not drop us a line? We can create beautiful transformational futures together!

Video Month!

Today is August 1st! My mother’s birthday, and The Beginning of the End of the Year, how I reckon the calendar. (I can’t believe 2009 has gone by this fast!) I’ll be starting a brand-new semester at the end of this month; in the meantime, I’m declaring August to be Awesome Video Month at zoecarnate. I’ll be highlighting videos from TheOOZE.tv. Then toward the end of the month I’ll be participating in an innovative meme with Frank Spencer, Kevin Beck, Brittian Bullock and hopefully others. As always, I’ll keep on ROMming.

Stay tuned!

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

The Future of This Blog

https://i1.wp.com/i59.photobucket.com/albums/g316/Goonsquad4/question-mark-1.jpgSo I haven’t been blogging much lately. It’s almost cliche, longtime bloggers lamenting their lack of time, or greater reliance on Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed, or life malaise or life busyness – and then saying that they’re hanging their blog up.

All of this describes me –  and yet I’m not hanging it up. I like to write, and I need to write – so I’m going to step it up. I’m going to taking blogging even more seriously, even if it’s becoming unfashionable. I’m realizing that it’s important to me, as a creative outlet and a life-discipline. But I am going to change up my game somewhat, and open up to blogging metamorphosis. Here’s what you can expect:

More about my personal life.

I’ve always gravitated toward blogs that are more journalistic and commentary-driven in nature, as opposed to the ‘Dear Diary’ types. And I’ve blogged thusly – I haven’t really thought of my personal life as being that interesting. If I’m hooked by someone writing about their personal lives, it’s usually because they have a really catchy style – they’re not Jacques Cousteau or anything. And neither am I. That said, I received an email from a friend of mine a couple of months back. It wasn’t ‘nice.’ Essentially he said “I know what you think about religion and politics, but what about you? What’s going on in your life? Do you have a spiritual pulse?”

Ouch.

I have things to share; I want to be more transparent with you, dear readers. All is not well in Morrell-land. While I’ll not blog about things that involve others to protect the innocent, I am going to open up more about my own life journey, my struggles and glimpses of grace. True confessions time!

My whole-health journey.

Yes, this includes my continuing ROM experience, but it’s so much more. I feel like I’ve been especially slacking in blogging in this area, mostly because I’ve been completely neglecting the fuller context of my whole life. To know why I’m seeking health, you must know the ‘sickness.’ So I’ll be blogging in more detail about ROM processes and results, as well as centering prayer, DoxaSoma, and (yes, even) mental health. Should be fun.

Book reviews & free stuff!

I’ll continue blogging about books I care about, books I’m working with in the Ooze Viral Bloggers platform, and free eBook & audio book downloads I become aware of. In the midst of publishing industry upheaval and information glut, I feel like some very wise, compassionate, and expanding works are being written. I want to do my best to keep you up to date on what I’m seeing here.

The Future

Finally, I want to post more relating to the Future(s) of Everything, related to what I’m seeing in my studies. Expect food futures (no, not pork bellies!) and publishing futures especially.

This will all have the net effect of six-days-a-week blogging, I think. I want to be realistic about what I can do, but I think that thoughtful repurposing of older, supplemental journal material (as I’m exploring some of the ‘personal’ spaces) will carry some of the extra freight. Thank you for reading – I think the best is yet to come!

A People’s History of Christianity

I was privileged to emcee a public conversation between Diana Butler Bass and Brian McLaren at the World Future Society conference last summer on the future of North American Christianity in conjunction with Foresight@Regent. Diana’s in-depth personal, historical, and anthropological knowledge of the Church in her many facets is quite striking  – and, I’m imagining,  what so many local congregations and denominational bodies she consults with find particularly helpful. So imagine my delight when my very own copy of her just-released A People’s History of Christianity arrived in my mailbox! I haven’t read much beyond the introduction yet, but I’ll be taking it on the plane with me to the New Mexico conference tomorrow.

Here’s what others are saying about A People’s History

https://i2.wp.com/images.contentreserve.com/ImageType-100/0293-1/%7BF00518F7-1EC3-4F96-8FF1-E1060BA4EBCE%7DImg100.jpg“It would be difficult to imagine anyone reading this book without finding some new insight or inspiration, some new and unexpected testimony to the astonishing breadth of Christianity through the centuries.”
—Philip Jenkins, author of The Lost History of Christianity

“A perfect armchair companion for contemporary Christians. Charmingly written and refreshing to read, yet rich in details and thorough in its mapping of the major themes and events that have shaped the evolution of the Western Church, A People’s History of Christianity is our story re-told with both clear-eyed affection and a scholar’s acumen.”
—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence

“In this beautifully written history, Diana Butler Bass reveals the living, beating heart of love at the core of Christian faith.”
—Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread

Does Anyone Have a ROM?

https://i2.wp.com/sswhsle.com/ROM/002_Front.jpgNo, not ROM Spaceknight, you comics aficionado sillies; ROM as in the über-high-end 4-minute workout machine that just screams Range of Motion (hence the acronym). I found out about it one night whilst venturing into the back pages of my Atlantic Monthly, something I rarely do for fear of being pelted by the conclusions of articles that have already taxed my ADD-addled attention span to the limits, arranged between ads for the Belgian Waffle Pro and custom-crafted leather bookbinding. I know, it’s what I get for subscribing to The Atlantic (and Harpers, and Mother Jones, and other magazines that make me what my friend Gareth calls ‘a certified member of the liberal white guilt intelligentsia’).

So anyway. I was flipping through the mag when I came across this ad, headlined in all caps EXERCISE IN EXACTLY 4 MINUTES PER DAY. I used to be a copywriter for a living (I still maintain some clients, but I mostly do my publishing consulting stuff nowadays), so I’m always a tough critic for ads like this. The sheer audacity of what comes next drew me in:

The typical ROM purchaser goes through several stages:

1.     Total disbelief that the ROM can do all this in only 4 minutes.
2.     Rhetorical (and sometimes hostile) questioning and ridicule.
3.     Reading the ROM literature and reluctantly understanding it.
4.     Taking a leap of faith and renting a ROM for 30 days.
5.     Being highly impressed by the results and purchasing a ROM.
6.     Becoming a ROM enthusiast and trying to persuade friends.
7.     Being ignored and ridiculed by the friends who think you’ve lost your mind.
8.     After a year of using the ROM your friends admiring your good shape.
9.     You telling them (again) that you only exercise those 4 minutes per day.
10.     Those friends reluctantly renting the ROM for a 30 day trial.Then the above cycle repeats from point 5 on down.

Take a look at this thing:

ROM machine

It’s, like, totally Zen. And it carries a $14,615.00 price tag. Holy Guacamole, Batman! And yet they have these 15-year warranties, and I’m adding up gym costs plus gas costs in my head, plus (of course) time costs – which are the biggest one for a certified-ADD father/husband/student/small business owner/author. Their ad concludes:

From 4 minutes on the ROM you get the same results as from 20 to 45 minutes aerobic exercise (jogging, running, etc.) for cardio and respiratory benefits, plus 45 minutes weight training for muscle tone and strength, plus 20 minutes stretching exercise for limberness/flexibility.

O. Really?

Well, I’ve poked around the internets, running keyword searches like “ROM scam” and “ROM ripoff” – nada. Instead, I see testimonials from people who really seem to be losing weight, building muscle, feeling better, and having more time on their hands. For someone who’s never been into sports (or athletics of any kind for that matter), I’ve gotta admit: four minutes a day is appealing.

So here’s what I’m thinking.

I just turned 29 last month. Less than one year from 30, I’ve been taking a lot of inventory of my life. In my Foresight@Regent courses, we learn a mode of personal and organizational learning called Systems Thinking – popularized by Peter Senge of The Fifth Discipline fame. The gist is we’re always creating the life we live; we’re always designing it. The problem is, most of us design it by default, unconsciously, and often in self-sabotaging ways. Bringing life-design to a conscious level is a skill set we humans are just developing. (Hence the rationale for Strategic Foresight, btw) This ‘intelligent design’ happens on societal levels of course, but also personal. These past couple of years I’ve been privileged to have some wonderful people in my life – mentors, life coaches, and even (gasp!) therapists and counselors who are helping me work through my ‘shadow’ sides and interact with reality in a more healthy and whole manner. I guess what I’m seeking is integration, a whole life well-lived for myself and others. Isn’t that what we all want? https://i2.wp.com/www.christianitysite.com/IMG_0292%20fence%20flower%20edit%20a.jpg

So: A friend of mine, Drew, was recently reading Integral Life Practice, edited by Ken Wilber and published out of the Integral Institute. The Integral folks are always fascinating, what with their map-making theories of everything and all. It turns out they have a great programme for ‘whole-life cross-training’ involving our physical, mental, and spiritual selves. Taking a cue from ILP (I’m still reading my own copy of the book), I’ve decided: I want to develop a doable life-rhthym, one that incorporates Centering Prayer, maybe some Yoga or DoxaSoma, and – of course – physical training. True, the apostle Paul said (in perfect Elizabethan English) “bodily exercise profiteth little,” but hey: that guy built low-cost dwelling for a living. I’d like to see him sit behind a computer all day and tell me that! (Plus at four minutes a day, I’d like to think even Paul would approve.)

In short, by the time I’m 30 I’d like to:

  • Engage in centering prayer daily – ’cause we can all use more of the conscious fellowship of the Godhead in our lives.
  • Practice Yoga – seeing as I have the grace and flexibility and in-touch-with-my-body-ness of a dried-up turnip
  • Exercise my body – because I need cardiovascular health; I want to keep up with my little girl; I like natural endorphin highs; I like to concentrate on my work; I need to lose 50 pounds this year

…and I want to do all this in about an hour a day. Because I want to delve more deeply into my studies, love my family more, spend more time with my neighbors, and hang out more with my friend Hugh Hollowell and his homeless friends downtown. Stuff I think I could do with some whole-life cross-training.

What If…

What if I could somehow procure a ROM? (I have my ways) Would any of you, dear readers, be interested in charting my progress with me? I’m thinking I’d blog about what it’s like for a time-management-challenged guy like me to engage in some ‘intelligent life design,’ how it feels to make positive, healthy, & consistent changes, and if this ROM thing really does what it says. Since workouts are ostensibly only four minutes long, I’m thinking that once a week I’d actually record my entire workout and put it on YouTube or Vimeo or something. It might not be as funny as Will It Blend?, but I’m thinking a pasty white guy like me working out could provide some of you with catharsis or comic relief.

Please comment if…

  • You have experience with the ROM or some kinda similar exercise equipment
  • You’d get a laugh out of seeing some ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics and workout vids along The Countdown to 30
  • You have stories of your own whole-life rhythms and lifestyle design you’d like to share
  • You want to make fun of me.

Update 12/10: I’m getting a ROM!

Sin Boldly! Free Audio Download

https://i0.wp.com/www.sinboldly.com/sincover.jpgI had a great dinner the other night here in Raleigh (at Bogarts, mmm) with my friend Mark from Zondervan/Symtio, a new audio/eBook hybrid platform launching to serve the Big Z and several other houses. We had a great conversation about Foresight@Regent, ministry, and the future of publishing in all its technological and authorially-empowered glory.

One cool thing I learned about is a little-publicized full audiobook giveaway of Cathleen Falsani’s incendiary tome Sin BoldlyFalsani is a Wheaton grad and religion Chicago Sun Times, Huffington Post, and Religion News Service. I haven’t read (or listened) to the book yet, but with a dual background in evangelicalism’s heartland and those godless liberal media (grin), I’m sure it’s interesting.

In case you take umbrage at the title (and it’s not the book on the left, by the way), here’s the back story: Martin Luther said it. Here it is in some kind of context, from a 1521 letter from Luther to Melanchthon:

If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy.  If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin.  God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. (Source)

https://i1.wp.com/images.barnesandnoble.com/images/27760000/27769491.JPGAh, Lutherans – such a way with words! Because I’m kinda New Perspective-y, I wrestle somewhat with Luther’s late Medieval psychologized reading of Paul and texts discussing grace. I think Luther equated 1st century Jewish folk with his contemporary Catholics, and Hebrew Law with Canon Law and his own conscience, and well…things got complicated. But! Let me be the first to sing Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! We interpret the meaning and scope of grace differently from age to age, but I think any person of faith, hope, and love rejoices in God’s compassionate grace revealed in the face of Jesus.

So back to Lutherans for a sec. From Nadia Bolz-Weber (whose own book, Salvation on the Small Screen, is just delightful) to Robert Farrar Capon – who isn’t technically Lutheran but I’d like to say Episco-Lutheran in a way that’d make Karen Ward proud – some of favorite grace theology, practice and storytelling comes from Lutherans. I have no idea if Falsani is a Lutheran.

And on that note, please, download the audio book here while it’s still available (and then go buy a truckload if you like it – its the only way publishers will have their fears assuaged and keep trying these nu-media experiments). And check out this short YouTube interview with Falsani.

Grace & Peace…


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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

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    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

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