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Becky Garrison
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What I like about Powerpoint is that it's very easy to copy your presentation and then put it on a USB stick - a necessary back up in case the laptop fails and forced to use a loner computer. As the file can be read on both MAC/PC, you can share the file afterward without having to convert.
In the immortal words of Monty Python "I'm not dead ... yet." Sorry to hear about your struggles but glad you're still around. :)
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2012 on the blog that almost died at small ritual
Andrew - if this posts, twice my apologies. I hit post and the sucker disappeared. I was noting that you provided an excellent analysis as always. a few points this brings to mind ... Keeping benders private can be handled if there's an accountability group set in place. IC has been this "untouchable entity" for some time. If any organization or individual gets to a point where they are above criticism, that sets the stage for a crash and burn scenario - and when this happens all one remembers is the bad and not the good. Also, an accountability group can help guide leaders to practice self-care so they don't have such a public meltdown. Filtering the funders is the bit that is going to keep biting IC in the butt - once it was proven tbey were connected to individuals involved in the Ugandan kill the gays bill, someone should have spoken up and publicly distanced themselves from anyone who advocates on behalf of imprisoning and even killing people because of their sexual orientation. Can you save child soliders and then stand by when LGBT teens are sentenced to death? You find this in spades with even progressive evangelicals supporting The Family (sponsors of the National Prayer Breakfast) despite this groups ties to aforementioned bill. Yes, this can be dicey in today's shifting economy where as you noted back in 2008 the Christian conference carnival is over. But can you really say you're for a new kind of Christianity when you say take funding from a hedge fund manager in a post Madoff era, have individuals like A Larry Ross to pimp your product (he was hired by the Family to clean up their image BTW), and the like? Yes you may have short term financial success - but trust me, eventually this will all come crashing down. And you'll be the one running around butt nekkid at least figuratively speaking. :)
So glad we get to connect. :)
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2012 on if you are in austin... at jonnybaker
Amdrew - this is why I have been attracted for some time to the work of Jonny Baker, Karen Ward, Ian Mobsby and this intermixing of the UK-US Anglican stream of new forms of church. Here's where I find many similarities between the two countries as they're united by a common Communion - but as you noted, those communities with long-term sustainability are not led by the author/speaker church gurus. IMO, it's the unique flavor of American evangelicalism (and also strains of prosperity Pentecostalism) that has infused the church planting structure to the point where you can't really throw out the bathwater without somehow losing the baby as well. No matter how you slice it - new monastic, organic, missional, emergent - it still has that US Evangelical structure and smell to it. :)
Amazing how time flies - can't believe Andrew I met you along with Jonny, Steve Collins and Kester 8 years ago.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2011 on Vintage Theoblogians at Tall Skinny Kiwi
BTW-I've met pastor/writers/teachers who are receptive to constructive critiques. But they tend not to be connected as thought leaders behind a brand (organic, missional, emergent, new monastic) that feel they have to defend. So whenever new material comes along that advances or offers corrections to their work, they feel free to take the new data to see where the spirit may be taking them. You see this in the recent dialogues regarding spiritual atheism for example - my thinking has shifted considerably since I published my book on the topic in early 2008. But it sounds like Carson got those emails from some defenders of the "emergent" brand who weren't exactly in the mood for "dialogue" - and as I learned the hard way, you can't rationalize with those people who choose to engage in name calling, gaslighting and the like without getting so durn angry that I end up having to pen an "I'm sorry" piece like this ... http://blog.sojo.net/2010/01/11/experiments-in-accountability-forgiveness-and-reconciliation/ I don't know Carson at all (and as my writings on Fresh Expressions has focused on the US and UK Anglican streams I don't follow his stuff). But I would hope he tried to chat with those he knew. Mybe he tried to apply Matt. 18 and got the cold shoulder. That's been my experience - it's hard to meet someone in person (or at least chat on the phone) if they refuse to reconcile.
Andrew - here is my reporting on Joel Osteen's charity of choice that he pushes on his crusades. http://www.religiondispatches.org/blog/politics/1409/ I covered my experience attending his concert at Yankee Stadium (admission charged, two collections taken) in "Jesus Died for This" and the event was appalling. I can see where the Sunday service might be a bit different especially if someone else is doing the preaching.
Thanks for being a pilgrim along the way. Keep me posted how your journey goes ...
Andrew - I was the one who encouraged Cathryn to use IndiGogo as a fun, creative, grassroots, organic, etc. way to raise money. I'm all in favor of doing things that don't bode well with Baptists. :) See you guys soon ...
Mars Hill Church (the one is Grand Rapids NOT Seattle) always struck me as a cooler, hipper version of Mars Hill in Seattle - it's still the model of a megachurch, which by definition would preclude it from being in the emerging model. From what I've been told, MHC has lost about 60% percent of it's members. And while Rob's sales stats are numberes most writers would love, his first book which sold over 500,000 but his remaining books haven't come anywhere close to that stat. This is a common trajectory for a hot new writer - first book does gangbusters, so he gets monster size advances only to have the subsequent books fall way short of expectations. I predict this trend will continue as people move on to the next shiny new theological toy. What you're seeing is various incarnations of Jell-O that are now labeled organic, missional, etc. But it's still that same wiggly goo in dayglow colors that contain bits of fruit, marshmallows and God only knows what else. People keep bringing this crud to church potlucks when in fact, folks want a fresh fruit salad.
Ah - now I know where my creepy requests are coming from. As a rule of thumb, I add everyone unless we have no friends in common. Then I send them a note and if they respond, I add them anyway. Should they start say sending out too much spam and pleas for money, I tend to then unfriend them.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2010 on Scary Facebook Friend Requests at Tall Skinny Kiwi
Excellent advice ... one more point to add .. author/speakers need to come clean if their blogs are paid for by their publisher or some other funding entity that has a vested interest in shaping their product. In those cases, the aim is to produce provocative that will enhance one's blog ranking thereby hopefully increasing one's book sales instead of creating a community. You can tell if a blog is publisher sponsored because there's often a banner of sorts tipping you off - and if there isn't, then check at the bottom to see if the (c) symbol lists publisher as the copyright holder. (I'm not talking about the donation buttons for a ministry or the banner ads - which I get why missionaries use these as fundraising tools.) In these cases, I suggest that we all just stop going to these blogs - and if possible, gently let the person know why you're departing. If enough people leave, then maybe the person might get off this PR machine and then settle down and start blogging in a more organic fashion. Some of the loudest voices are raising a racket because they want you to buy their product. And I highly recommend having someone like Andrew around who can kick your hiney if your head gets too big - though be careful as Andrew has some pretty thick workboots. :) We do need to pray for how to engage in this critique so we can put Matthew 18 into practice or else all these logs and specks will start flying around blinding us all.
When you get back and rested, it might be an interesting reflection to explore what it meant for you to be accidentally unplugged from this 24/7 world and unexpectedly reconnected to nature. And knowing Jonny, he'll turn it into a worship trick. :)
Toggle Commented Apr 18, 2010 on stuck in europe! at small ritual
Paul - are they laughing with us or at us? If it's the former, join in. :) And if they're laughing AT us, then assess what we're doing that's giving them fodder.
Andrew - you are the gas that fueled my engine on this one. (Insert fart joke as you wish):) And speaking of gassy - to add to your jet comment - EVERY author/speaker should disclose publicly their requirements for accepting gigs to avoid having these items end up as theological tabloid fodder. Shane Claiborne has set up a model that I adapted for my own use. http://www.thesimpleway.org/shane/speaking
Thanks. A few reflections from someone who satirizes the church and has been at the end of some incredibly horrid slams. 1. I agree with Nadia not to engage your detractors if they're calling you a &^%$#@ Christian destined for H-e-double toothpicks (or worse). You will end up being dragged down to their level. No one wins. If you are going to develop a public persona (and this includes bloggers with a major ranking, pastors, teachers and published authors), you have to develop a thick skin so you can learn not to let these comments bring you down. 2. Expect major pushback if you're taking controversial positions. Rather than dismiss anyone who dares to differ as a dumbass, try to dialogue when possible vis their blog or email. I've made some amazing friendships started this way. 3. Along those lines, don't dish it out if you can't take it. If you don't want people to use words like Hitler, Mafia, Antichrist and the like to describe you, then don't use these terms in talking about other people. 4. If you post facebook postings, tweets, blog postings, etc. that have a frat boy quality, don't be surprised if no one takes you seriously. :) People have lost jobs, college applications, etc. because they didn't realize that social networking sites are not private. 5. Disclose if your blog is sponsored by a publisher or if you are being paid to hawk a certain conference, book, or other product or you will be called on the carpet. Some of the very angry pushback I am seeing is caused when people think they're participating in a genuine convo only to find out they are participating in building up an author's buzz. 6. Form an accountability group around you that consists of a range of people with differing views and listen to their input. 7. Be humble - and when need be, seek forgiveness and reconciliation. I started the new year off with this post on the God's Politics blog. http://tinyurl.com/y68vxkd
Then there's "new forms of church" - it seems to me that we're most inclined to want to label something when we're trying to figure out how to market the message esp. true when one tries to operate within the US publishing world. Hopefully with all the decentralization that's happened, we can focus on more on being the body of Christ than whatever we choose to call what we're doing.
Andrew - good call. Here in the US nothing is ever as black and white as it may first appear. When a national organization gets together with ANY position statement, it can and will be used to influence lawmakers in ways that would probably make the baby Jesus do a dump in his diaper. My recommendation for folks is NOT to sign anything unless it's a grassroots effort where you know the people, so you can ascertain exactly how your signature will be used.
You said what I was about to say ... and not just gender. We also need to question why we're still lily white in 2009. I had a talk with another person about a transformative missional meeting where the two "stars" invited to speak were both white dudes. I was told they were there to bring in the folks - my response was yeah but aren't they the same folks who show up to just about every other US Emergent event? But any event where Andrew is present will at least have an international voice - yippee! :)
Thanks for the thoughts - I hope that these communities can celebrate what they bring to the table and not feel pressured to grow - bigger isn't necessarily better. And at least here in the States, we have a market of people hiring themselves out as consultants to the church who either have never run a church or have been out of the scene for so long that they aren't really tuned in to what's happening on the ground. What they have are "ideas" they want to test out as though missional communities are like lab rats. I hope these groups can learn and grow from each other instead of bringing in "experts" to run experiments on them. :)
Toggle Commented Nov 9, 2009 on what kind of bread and wine at jonnybaker
Andrew - another trend I'm seeing is a return to mysticism - look at how many communities are developing rules of life, prayer books, etc. Now with that is coming a slew of crapola as some folks think they discovered "doubt" for the first time - sort of like the songs penned by teenagers who just got born again. But books like "God of Intimacy and Action" (Tony Campolo and Mary Darling) seek to marry social justice and contemplation - Richard Rohr's stuff on this subject is pretty amazing on this front as well.
Amen Carole. And as evidenced by 174 comments, Jon has been able to create one of the most diverse, stimulating and kind Christian communities I've been able to find in cyberspace. Rare find indeed.
Toggle Commented Oct 30, 2009 on come to us? at jonnybaker
Andrew - prayers with you. A few thoughts ... Don't rule out the T-shirt idea. One option is to connect with Jon Birch - we have been BUGGING him to print his cartoons on T-shirt format for the past few years. Heck, I'd wear it around and then carry cards telling folks where they can get in on the action here. Another thing to think about all the small ministries you've met whose ministries you can vouch for (and therefore we trust you that this is the real deal). A lot of them created CDs, crafts, etc. to fund their ministry but they barely get enough traffic to make any dent in their sales. Meanwhile, you have the #25th Christian blog. Why not set up a retail store where you can be the middle man for these ventures - take a small percentage for your efforts and I see a win-win situation. here. Become an Amazon associate and set up an Amazon store on your account-you are SUCH an amazing font of information re: those books that are actually worth reading. You get paid a small bit every time someone orders a book by clicking on the link. And then as you continue to review books, keep adding the item to your Amazon store. IF a blogger explains why there is ad crap on their site, then I'm cool with it provided they are really walking the walk (which you do in spades). Just make sure that the ads doesn't support anything that you don't believe (e.g., I can't see you running pro-hunting items). As we've discussed the publishing/media world caved in and I've had to take on some non-writing work so I can eat. What's key for me (and I know you) is to keep Wormwood at bay. The temptation is great to sell out but as you know, the short term cash flow might feed our bodies but we have to make sure it doesn't kill our soul in the long run.