October 28, 2017

Extras that I couldn’t get to in the sermon from the Sunday before. This one focus on some musings about the problem of evil.

October 25, 2017

I took a brief planned hiatus which turned into a longer unplanned hiatus. But it was good to get back to the fancy mic with Rich Villodas on the other end. Too bad I forgot to make sure my fancy mic was actually turned on in the settings, instead of my MacBook’s dinky sad mic.

October 25, 2017

Still having so much fun with this series called Catechesis on long held beliefs of the Christian faith. Perhaps a little too much attention was given in this on to Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Jürgen Moltmann’s eyebrows.

A Simple Workflow for Book Exercises

You know...those parts at the ends of chapters you usually blaze past

October 18, 2017 | Leave a comment

I have a goal to read at least 52 books every year — an average of a book a week. I’ve met that goal every year since 2004. I love to read. I also love to say I have read…that long list of books I’ve read probably makes me feel a little too good about myself. (Completely unrelated, but important — I read The Brothers Karamazov this summer!)

I don’t want to be too hard on myself here, because I do get something akin to a dopamine hit when I learn something new. I browse library and bookstore alike, scanning for covers and titles that catch my eye and curiosity. So, it is true to say that it is reading that I love as ideas pass through my progressive lenses into my brain.

But, I recognize that I’m also eager to move on to the next idea as soon as one book is in the final few pages. I have a helpful system to capture notes from books for future reference, and that often gets put to use in sermons and conversations.

Most of the time, though, I’m not so eager to stop and fully engage the ideas I read. I’d rather stuff them in my brain with the other words I’ve read and move on to consume more. Me is to words as Cookie Monster is to cookies.

I’m progressing in age, as that mention of lenses above might have told you. And maybe I’m gaining a little patience and wisdom too —- at least enough to recognize that those exercises and questions I often find at the end of chapters might be helpful to engage beyond a skim.

A few months ago I created a system to make space in my attention for those exercises. I’m a regular journaler in Day One, capturing personal reflections, beans or bourbons I’m imbibing at home, movies I’ve seen, and yes, books I’ve finished reading.

The ease of getting photos in Day One has made it a streamlined way to work through book exercises too. When I run across an exercise in a book I think worth returning to, I capture an image of it into Day One. A screenshot of an iPad screen, or a quick photo of a Kindle screen or (gasp!) physical page does the trick. I tag that entry with the Book title and an incomplete tag. A task in OmniFocus prompts me daily to work back through the unfinished tag to see what exercises still await.

Am I new man in the last few months after adding this workflow? Probably not.
Am I a little more thoughtful? Hopefully.
Am I more intentional and deliberate turning ideas into growth? I think I can say yes.

October 17, 2017 8:20 am

Mulling on the page is an artless art form. It is fooling around. It is doodling. It is the way that ideas slowly take shape and form until they are ready to help us see the light. All too often, we try to push, pull, outline, and control our ideas instead of letting them grow organically. The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.

Just finished my third time going through The Artist’s Way. Didn’t stir as much in me this time around, but still find resonance with occasional idea like this one that can be found throughout.

October 12, 2017

A companion to the sermon below. We’ve been offering extra content in this series to include some of the parts that didn’t make it in the sermon, as well as reflect on what has come out of the discussions in the community groups. Never thought it would be so easy to sit in an empty room and talk into a mic for 40 minutes…

October 9, 2017

We’ve started a series called Catechesis exploring some of the longstanding foundational beliefs of Christianity. This one was so fun for me. Hope it was for everyone else because I think it’s my longest sermon to date in aMS.

September 25, 2017

Finishing off a brief series for the fall as we revisit our hopes for who we are as a church.

September 13, 2017

My second sermon back after being away for Sabbatical. (Unfortunately, my Sabbatical reflections sermon didn’t get recorded.) Good to be back doing one of my favorite things.

September 6, 2017 8:27 am

Finished trudging my way through Dune a few days ago. Not sure I understand why it’s a classic. But maybe I’m just not really much of a sci-fi guy.

The Ultimate Posture Agnostic Writing Workflow

Well...why I like my Apple Pencil anyway

July 18, 2017 | Leave a comment

I packed an iPad mini for over 4 years, from the week they rolled out until earlier this summer. Now, I’m lugging around the smaller format iPad Pro. (Lugging may not be the most generous term… my feels for this thing fall just a tad short of adoration.) There are trade-offs with the size, but the delights of working with the iPad Pro diminish the heft.

One particular delight, that I didn’t so much expect, has emerged for me – handwriting. I fancy writing by hand a romantic, long lost art. I respect and admire people who do it. I confident they are better people than me and productive members of society. I’ve seen allusions to studies that say handwriting works your brain, and therefore your creativity, from different angles.

I just haven’t had the patience for it.

I’ve been clacking keys since my 9th grade typing class on things called typewriters. It might be the most important skill I learned in that building we used to call a Junior High. And when I want to get words out, I know the keys will get them to the screen.

Typed words can be stored and shared and searched. Digital text moves around easier than ink. I’m keen on finding thoughts I’ve stashed, whether mine or others, for later use, so I’ve long been taking digital notes.

But the shortcoming to the iPad, for me, has always been an ability to capture words when I’m anywhere but at a table or desk. My body’s most natural state is slumped (or reclined if I want to be kind in my self description). It’s not the easiest posture in which to get words into an iPad, so, ideas often seem too much trouble to capture in a moment, let alone paragraphs or sentences. One of my original hopes for the iPad Mini was that it made thumb typing more accessible for my prone moments, er, hours. Even that had just enough tedium to discourage it, though.

But the iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil changes my game. Particularly, some key apps with said hardware are the primary all-stars

First off, I love being able to handwrite words into the normal typing area using MyScript Stylus. Whether reclined or with the iPad sitting on a table beside a book, one hand is all I need to get some words down. It’s not perfect, as the screenshot below shows, but it works well enough to snag the idea.

Then, there is the cousin of Stylus – MyScript Nebo. (See screenshot below.) Rather than a keyboard replacement, this app let’s you write on the screen and converts it to text on the fly. The handwritten pages can be saved in a notebook, or you can share the converted text into other apps.

I’ve been doing some journaling this way. I don’t yet know if I’m stretching the creative muscles in my brain, but I can say I’m building back long lost hand muscles and pushing my patience to new places. But, most of all, it’s a viable way to get some words down that is posture agnostic.

The blog reviews I’ve seen about the Apple Pencil either love the thing, or they still aren’t sure how to best use it. I’ve used mine for sketching, fiddling, and highlighting to be sure. But with MyScript’s technology, I’m getting some words down that I might not have otherwise.

July 18, 2017

I’ve known Nick for a long, time since he was a teenager, and that made this one fun. Of course, it’s been a long time since I last talked to him so that made this one all the more fun.

July 16, 2017 4:48 pm

Streamlined the color scheme around here to Angels colors. I’m thinking that should be the extra little boost they need for a second half surge into the playoffs.

July 6, 2017

Ken surprised me with a sermon prep workflow that no one else has mentioned before — dictating the first manuscript using speech recognition software. Makes so much sense since most of us have differences in in style between how we talk and how we write.

June 25, 2017 8:18 am

Neurologically speaking, boredom is also fruitful. When we’re bored, our brains can more easily transition into what’s called “divergent thinking”—to travel through all the strange rabbit holes of the overgrown gardens that are our brains. We make unusual connections. We marinate in not knowing.

June 14, 2017

I believe I had more people suggest an interview with David Guzik than any other guest I’ve had. I even had one suggestion come in an hour before we were scheduled to record.

June 4, 2017

In talking with Jorge, I found a lot of respect for how many new things are always starting around the edges of their church community. And also a great deal of respect for how he sees the role of the sermon being so closely tied to all of it.

May 15, 2017

I’m off for a three month Sabbatical from my role at Austin Mustard Seed. In my final Sunday, I shared some hopes for the time away for my self/family and for the church.

May 6, 2017

Last year, I met Josh at a conference where he was sporting a big old iPad Pro and keyboard. He proudly claimed it was his everyday device. My subconscious told me to get him on the podcast and my conscious finally got on board a year later.

April 19, 2017

Good one here. The Rev Dr Luke is the affable dean of the Duke University Chapel and a thoughtful practitioner and teacher of the sermon as an art form. He’s also written a few books on the role of lament in the sermon which were probably of great value after this past basketball season.