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Sabbatical, Day 85: Random Links And Thoughts

 There’s not a lot to report today on the cat front. Debbie had a long phone conversation with a woman who runs what amounts to a clearing house for people who cannot keep their pets. We’ve expressed an interest in two separate pairs of cats, and now await a call back regarding arrangements to visit them.

In the area of church and sabbatical, there is also little to say today for delicate reasons.

So instead of the usual, I offer you a pot-pourri. (No, not popery, Mr Paisley.)

Here are some interesting links I came across. 

Some Video Fun 
How about Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody played on old school computer equipment?

(Via the weekly Mojo magazine email.) 

Here’s a parody of the Christian worship – ahem – ‘industry’:


Jesus Stuff 

Not a link, but a couple of great quotes from an interview with J John in the Summer 2009 issue of New Wine magazine, pages 10 and 11:

If we are all witnesses, does that mean we are all evangelists? 
Not everyone is an evangelist, but everyone is a witness. In a court of law, you have a lawyer who takes the facts and presents them in a convincing manner. As an evangelist, that’s what I do. I take the facts and try to get people to the point where they are convinced that Christianity is true. An evangelist will communicate much more of the substance of Christianity.

But if you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a witness. And a witness in the court stands up and says, ‘Well I don’t know very much, but let me tell you my story.’ Everyone that’s a follower of Jesus has a testimony of what Jesus has done for them. Therefore everyone can answer. It’s not hard at all.

How do you approach people of other faiths? 
I don’t get defensive. Rather, I ask questions such as: in what way does your faith help you in your life, give you confidence for the future or help you face death? I reveal cracks in their philosophy and show them that in Christ, we have a confidence and a hope. But I wouldn’t ever put people down. All we have to do is lift Jesus up.

(This material copyright New Wine Magazine and used with permission.)

Chopping down the Sunday tree: radical thoughts on how to approach a potentially dying church from Graham Peacock. HT: Maggi Dawn.

Mr Tweet recommended Mike Todd on Twitter to me. I found his blog, Waving Or Drowning, and among a feast of riches I found in this post a brilliant quote from Brian McLaren about what Christians might consider to be a proper view from the economic crisis. Do read it. He says that we might contemplate recovery in the way an addict does, in which case we don’t want recovery to be a return to our old addictive highs, but a facing of the addictions.

1st Web Designer: 28 Online Photo Editing Sites To Have Fun With – via@problogger.

Read-Write Web has great first impressions of Wolfram-Alpha, not a ‘Google killer’ search engine but a ‘computational knowledge engine’ that will cross over into Wikipedia‘s domain. TechCrunch reports there will be a public preview on Tuesday, streamed live from Harvard.

Sabbatical, Day 38: Music And Search Engine News

Today has involved a fair bit more reading of Clay Shirky, including the chapter where he describes how the revolution in technology and social tools completely changed the ability of Catholic laity to protest against sexual abuse by priests in Boston. When I’ve finished reading Here Comes Everybody, I’ll blog it in a series.

Family-wise, we’ve been giving Rebekah a severe lecture for knots in her hair that we had to cut out. She seems more obsessed with twiddling her hair (or that of school friends) than concentrating on her work. Being the mean parents we are, we are sending the hair we cut to her teacher.

I’ve also done some more Cross Rhythms reviewing today. A special word for Welsh singer-songwriter Phil Lewis (Facebook page here). Highly recommended for lovers of 80s-influenced pop-rock. He doesn’t have the big budget some artists have, but if he did I think he’d make a big impact. And for something different, Native North American worship music from Waking The Sound. There’s no way I would have heard that without being a CR reviewer. Quite extraordinary.

In other music news, I was delighted to receive an email from Vineyard Music UK announcing the release of a new CD by bluesy American worship guy Chris Lizotte. Nothing sugary about his stuff, even when the lyrical content is conventional. Here he is, singing Brighter Day with Crystal Lewis:

In technology news, The Guardian has a piece on the latest potential Google-killer. Wolfram Alpha claims to have found the holy grail of computing with the intelligence to understand human questions. It launches in May. It’s confusing that it’s caused Alpha: it sounds like it hasn’t even reached beta status. However, you can apply to participate in the beta testing on the site. It only seems months since the last Google-killer was announced and hyped, only to be ruined by bloggers (including obscure ones like me) pointing out that it didn’t deliver good results. I wonder whether this will be any different.