Friday, September 12, 2008

updates

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the links in my blog. Some have fallen out of date while a few have needed adding for quite some time. If you’ll check out the right hand column I’d like to point out several new and old links of note;

We’re two short months away from the U.S. Presidential elections. Many of us have come to the conclusion that there is not one party that represents God or the church. However, as a response, many of us have automatically jumped to the other party. Think about that for a minute. Does that make any sense at all? If there is no one party that represents God or the church, then why would we automatically jump to the other party? The truth is that we need to be educated and aware of who we support as Christians. To the right you’ll notice a link for a site called “Vote The Issues”. A quick quiz will let you know which candidate (for any of the elections) that you most closely agree with. Sadly the candidate I most closely agree with agrees with me on only 44% of the issues still, it’s important to know the facts. Incidentally, many will look at the quiz and think to themselves, “I don’t really know much about that issue”. Their next move will be to move on but what this should really tell you is that you need to educate yourself. You’ve got two months to do it! Get started today!

As always the spiritual gift assessment and description sheets are linked and I’m thrilled to say that I get regular letters from people who are accessing this information and discovering their spiritual gifts. Hopefully you’re then putting them into practice!

Next is the “Get Involved” section of my blog. I’m always on the look out for websites that give practical information on ways that you can personally get involved. You’ll notice a new link to a site called “Kiva”. Kiva describes itself as a site that “lets you lend (money) to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world-empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.” I don’t normally plug ministries/agencies looking for financial gifts. Mostly because I personally find it difficult to actively engage in mission and social action if all I’m doing is writing a check (a check???). But Kiva is different and, I believe, will end up being as addictive as Ebay. Sign up for an account and look through the different people throughout the developing world who are trying to start a business in an attempt to lift themselves, their families, and often their communities up out of the ashes. Each will have a financial figure that they’re trying to raise, and you are welcome to give everything from $1 to the full amount! Once you become a partner you have regular contact and updates from the person you’re funding and who knows where those conversations might lead. This is basically micro financing only on a scale that makes it possible for people, other than millionaires, to get involved. 97% of the loans that have been made through Kiva have been paid back by the people who originally got the loan. That’s a staggering figure. Once the loan is paid back, it goes back into your account where it is then available for you to loan back out again to another entrepreneur from the developing world or, if you should choose, to withdraw back into your own bank account. The site even keeps track of your “portfolio” which is very motivating to see. Imagine, after a few years of giving and getting repaid, you could actually have a pretty large lump sum collected to give out. Again, though this is a financial way of getting involved, it is rather engaging and, through the process, really educates people on the realities of life in the developing world as well as just how blessed so many of us are to have been born in the West. I can also see this being an amazing tool for the family. A good way to educate kids and a great thing for families to do together. Why not create a family portfolio! (btw, I don’t work for Kivo. It just sounds like I do.)

Finally are several new blogs added to the list of blogs that I regularly keep up with and that you too might find interesting.

The first two are of my lovely daughter and wife.

The next two are written by Christian activists and are full of good information and education for the Christian community in relation to social justice.

Urban Army is written by the guy who actually got me started in the blog world. A good guy with a real heart for the lost.

The next is written by a friend who, like me, is pretty passionate about music and rock history. He spends a lot of time discussing the spiritual search that often takes place through artists and their music.

Hoodlum Pastor is written by a pastor in Tennessee. He’s actually my parent’s new pastor and is pretty radical yet sound in his theology. He writes some really challenging posts.

The next is written by an activist friend of mine here in London. We don’t see eye to eye on everything but she is constantly challenging me on what it means to be a Christian and so deserves a place on that list.

Questionable Content is written by a guy I’ve known since I was ten years old. He is a former Pentecostal professor who has recently become a Methodist worship leader and is undergoing the process of ordination through the Methodist church. Besides being a dear and very old friend, his story is a fascinating one to read as her tries to come to terms with where God is leading him. His struggle to find balance with the doctrine of his youth verses the doctrine of his current ministry is one that I identify with. I appreciate his openness and think his struggle is one that every Christian should work through.

The next five belong to personal friends who are all asking similar questions; the church I grew up with isn’t all that relevant so how do we once again become relevant and still stay grounded? Relevant Magazine’s site continues this theme.

The final two are websites, written by Christians, which tend to have rather biting commentaries on the church. The first is called Asbo Jesus and has a lot of cartoons which reference the state of the church. The cartoon featured above comes from that website. The other is called Ship of Fools and is a lot like The Onion only written specifically to the church. It describes itself as “The Magazine of Christian Unrest” and tends to address a lot of the issues surrounding politics and the church. It also features a section called “Mystery Worshipper” where people actually write in and review different churches they’ve visited. More than one of my friends’ churches have featured in this section; some good, some not so good.

At some point I need to update my books list but this will have to come at a later date. Until then, if you click on one of those links, you will be taken to a site that allows you to read the first chapter of that book online. I love this because it’s like going to the bookstore, looking over a book, but never ever having to get up off your couch or have any human interaction whatsoever! I’m so thankful for the internet. Now if somebody would just create a way to use the bathroom without having to leave the living room. Come to think of it, I think somebody has. It think it’s called an “efficiency apartment”. Shaun, can you give us any insight?

Incidentally, I realized this week that I have three close friends named Shaun, Sean, Shawn, and none of them spell their name the same. If I ever have a son, I’m definitely naming him Timm.

Comments on "updates"

 

Blogger James said ... (10:42 PM) : 

Tim,

Actually, funny thing is, I’m not sure we never met. You see, I am also a long, LONG time friend of Brandon Keaton (consequently, I love how you referred to him as a “very old” friend; fitting). I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma. He and I originally met on the A/G talent circuit (biting sarcasm fully intended). We became very close friends through late jr. high and high school. I was the best man at his wedding. In 1996, my wife and I moved from Oklahoma to serve at a church in North Texas. A few years later, I served with Brandon as an adjunct instructor at Southwestern A/G University. In 2000, I accepted a pastoral position in California and have been here ever since. As you know, a couple of years ago, Brandon moved to Florida. Though he is my oldest and closest friend, we now live on opposing U.S. coasts.

I digress… where was I? Oh… I spent a good deal of time with a number of GCA students growing up. Though I don’t remember you exactly, you do look familiar to me (or maybe it’s just because you look like Kanye West… if he were a completely different looking white man). Some time ago, I discovered your blog from the link on Brandon’s “Questionable Content.” I believe you and I once even had a brief “comment” discussion there.

Thank you for the response to my post. The thoughts are actually a continuation from an earlier post titled “WE WANT YOU TO HAVE LOBSTER.” (sadly, sarcasm NOT represented here by the caps lock) Check it out if you’re interested. http://meusbonuspars.blogspot.com/2008/07/we-want-you-to-have-lobster_02.html

So, if I never met you long ago, it is nice to meet you now… sort of… (Does this kind of thing count as meeting? Are there books on web-based social networking etiquette? If not, the world could really use one.)

It’s always great to find your own thoughts on someone else’s page—your own life lyrics in someone else’s song. Comforting, challenging, and the slightest bit creepy. Thanks for that.

Jim (James) Graham

Oh, and as for the word verification "drugvx," you tell me. What kind of subliminal message did you receive? Hmmm?

 

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