Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nexus and Crosswalk!

Last week I reached out to Eric Elnes, the author of The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity and founder of Crosswalk America. I sent an email explaining how we had used the Phoenix Affirmations in our small groups and that we were just concluding a worship series focused on the Affirmations. He called a few days later and we talked a lot about the possibility for curriculum based on the Phoenix Affirmations - including a video series that introduces Christianity from a progressive perspective. He was very encouraging about the opportunity to have more resources so we'll see what we can do!

Well Eric blogged about our call an how EXCITED he is to have a church start-up that used the Phoenix Affirmations as its springboard. It is really a great blog entry - read it HERE.

(NOTE: Some of the info Eric wrote in the blog is the result of cell-phone communications - "can you hear me now?" The administrative location of our Springboro PO Box is listed - we'll have to fix that soon. I mentioned that we had seen about 65-75 faces at Nexus, including the 40-50 regular attendees which got translated into 65 regular attendees. The small group involvement is also overstated - where I think I said about 1/3 of the regulars were in small groups but nearly everyone had picked up a copy of the Phoenix Affirmations...)

What a great shot of energy and connectedness. Eric was a very down-to-earth person and supportive of our efforts and what we have accomplished in a short period of time.

Thanks to everyone - keep up the faith and great work!

Friday, February 23, 2007

El Gato

So we got a cat today! A mouse in the house was freakin' my spouse. Cy (cyber) was her name from the friends who have "loaned" her to us. We need a more ferocious moniker so we have renamed her "Xena - Warrior Cat" for the time being.


Living next to a field has its advantages - and its disadvantages... Mice, voles, moles, poison ivy, etc, being the major disadvantages.

Xena (Cy) had been adopted by some friends about two years ago. Seems she was left by her family when they moved and became a neighborhood cat. Our friends called her "the garage cat" because their own house cats were too territorial to let her in. No problem here, she just has to put up with a one year-old.

Xena is a pretty tortoise-shell cat with black and brown/red markings. If she had white blotches she would be a calico. So far so good.

Nothing like a cat in the house to let you know who is boss. We expect great hunting stories to follow...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Newbingin and the Camera Saga

A parable: Even if I believe that a camera is going to suit my needs, and everything I read about it or see in the test results indicates it will be OK, it does not always equal my perceived truth. I will need to keep searching until I find an acceptable camera that captures reality as I perceive it.

That parable pretty much summarizes Lesslie Newbingin's "The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society". Our culturally conditioned view of truth more often than not limits our ability to perceive other truths - it is a filter we use to discern belief from truth (or truisms) and fact. Belief = Jesus fully embodied God for humanity. Truth = the Bible says Jesus told his followers that the meek, merciful and peacemakers are blessed. Fact= no one can prove Jesus said this.

Our truth is conditioned by the relevance we put on fact. Our beliefs are conditioned by the relevance we ascribe to truth.

OK, I had a few $$$ from a refund that happened through PayPal so I decided to get a new compact digital camera. I ended up getting the Panasonic DMC-LX07. Unfortunately the images were not acceptable to me - when I blew them up to 8x10 they were soft and had a lot of noise in the dark areas. I REALLY wanted to like this camera as a carry around shooter but it has been returned. Not as a replacement for my Nikon D70s or Leica, but just for something to keep in my bag. Some of the images from the Panasonic, when the sharpening was adjusted, came out looking as if they were watercolor paintings!!! One of my other purposes was to have a camera to capture images for a few worship-arts projects I'm working on. Again, I'm really sad this camera didn't work out because it had a great Leica lens that went from 28-105mm, it was small, it had image stabilization and it was QUIET. Bad images can't make up for great styling though...

After some more searching I've ended up ordering the Canon A640. Again this isn't to replace my film rangefinder or dSLR, it is a convenience carry-around camera. This camera isn't as sexy but my understanding is that it produces some of the nicest images available in a compact camera. It also has a stellar macro mode which I make use of a lot.

Fact: Photographs capture reality (infinitely small and sometimes abstractly...)
Truth: I need images that accurately represent what I perceive
Belief: The Canon A640 will deliver these images (conversely, the Panasonic DMC-FX07 did not)

Newbingin in a nutshell.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bad blogger...

Yep, I'm officially a bad blogger. Life got busy and I dropped out of blogging for a while. I'll do my best to get back on the wagon.

I'm reading Lesslie Newbingin's "The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society" and it is really compelling. The difference between "truth" and "belief" and the process by which "belief" becomes "truth" under certain circumstances. Deep...

For progressive Christians this concept is especially interesting - how do we avoid contextualizing "belief" without dogmatically insisting it is the one and only exclusive "truth?" I'm going to keep reading and thinking on that one.

On an artistic note I'm becoming more and more dissatisfied with film imaging. I've been a ardent Leica M6 user for a long time - love the camera (its a lovely tank), love the lenses (smooth and contrasty at the same time) but film is driving me nuts! No matter where I go I'm having trouble with development/scanning. I have a dedicated film scanner but re-scanning film from the lab is a huge hassle, especially if there are a lot of "snaps" that you want to use. Even when I develop my own B&W it can lead to an entire day of scanning. Fortunately the setup only takes a few minutes for each frame and I can continue to work on other things while the scanner does its 5 minute hi-res scan of each frame.

Not sure what I'm going to do here but I do have digital cameras - a Nikon D70s SLR and a compact P&S digital. Not having to scan and retouch every image would be a beautiful thing. But I really love my Leica, it is a piece of art unto itself: