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Author: host Created: 10/13/2008 6:48 PM RssIcon
The Daily Voice blog explores Christian education in progressive congregations. Archives of our daily email newsletter will be posted here each weekday morning. Use the various tools to the left to see posts older than 2 weeks.
By host on 4/27/2010 7:00 AM

Anyone who spends a lot of time on a computer has likely encountered the problem of how and where to store website addresses, bits of text, names of books or movies, and all of the other "stuff" one comes across on a daily basis. The bookmark or favorites tool in your browser works fine for websites you use regularly and occasionally, but they really aren't generally well-designed for holding a lot of entries. Storing notes in Stickies clearly has space limitations, and To Do applications are generally ill-equipped for data storage and retrieval. 

There are countless other tools that have been developed for storing and searching your "life-text," and many of these are quite good. For example, the products from Devon Technologies are just superb, if you're a Mac user. I've previously written about Instapaper, a free service that works pretty well for saving web addresses, and (until recently) I used that on an almost daily basis. Evernote, which I've also encouraged readers to check out, is my tool of choice for taking notes, doing drafts of blog posts, storing quotes, keeping lists of books I want to read, and much more. But while Evernote's an amazing tool, it just has never fully grabbed me. Partly, this is because I couldn't justify the cost of the Premium version, and partly it's because I just find it's clunky for certain purposes. But after testing Springpad, an even newer, totally free web-based service, I think I'm about to be a convert.

By host on 4/22/2010 7:00 AM

The library in the church where I spent my teenage years didn't have many books—and practically none that were intended for teens—but since I was a voracious reader I polished off a few of them one year. They would have fallen into a category I'd call “faith memoirs,” and they were stories of persons whose evangelical faith had been the driving force as they worked with gang members, were imprisoned in a dark prison cell in some Asian country, or survived the Holocaust. Thinking back on those books now, I realize that they played an important role in shaping my theology at that time. After all, I thought, the people in those books actually seemed to live their faith in profound ways, not just go through the motions like many of the adults I knew.

My theology has changed quite a bit since then, but not my love for reading. The faith memoir genre—and memoirs in general—have not been high on my reading list for some time, though. Nonfiction books seem to capture my attention the most these days, but I still love the power of a good story. When I realized I'd saved three memoirs to my Amazon wish list, I knew it was time to give the genre a go again, so in a bit I'll share three brief reviews with you of three really great memoirs.

Memoirs are a sub-genre of autobiographies, and the primary difference is that they tend to focus on a smaller time-slice of a person's life. The faith memoir tends to contain not only recollections about particular events, but it also reflects on the spiritual significance of those events. Thus, it's common in faith memoirs for there to be long sections of theological reflections which surround the personal stories. These reflective passages, I find, tend to keep my interest in the book higher because I find the author's stories to relate more to my own life.

By host on 4/9/2010 7:00 AM

We live in the age of sharing…at least in certain spheres of our life. If I open iTunes to listen to music or podcasts when I visit my local wireless-enabled coffee shop, I often can see the music playlists of the other persons who are also listening to their tunes. As long as they leave their laptop open, I can "stream" their music through my computer to listen to anything that catches my interest. I'm always surprised at the eclectic mix of tunes most people have on their computers; showtunes sit next to electronica, and country hits appear in playlists with classic rock. In reality, I almost never actually listen to the music, but I occasionally do browse the lists just to get a peek at someone's personality, a window into someone's soul.

We participate in the age of sharing. Ever noticed this little image before on a website like ours?

When you click on the icons, you become an evangelist of sorts. Whatever page, product, song, or article you happen to like is instantly shared on your favorite social network with your friends, or even just through email if you prefer to "kick it old school." Click on the Twitter icon from one of our daily emails, and you can immediately Tweet the world, "Hey, you really should see this."

By host on 4/8/2010 7:00 AM

teddy bearWhen Tim and I were initially creating the Different Voice website in the fall of 2008, we spent quite a bit of time coming up with our Core Values. The core value I have found myself thinking a lot about lately is Change. “We believe God is continually active in the world and that God is still speaking. Change is critical to growth.” I would add to this statement, that change is inevitable. (Change is the only constant, as I remind myself frequently.) Change, however, even when it is a positive change, is rarely easy.

It is with mixed feelings that I write this, my last scheduled email for Different Voice. I am excited and energized by the possibilities of the future. And yet, Different Voice has been a wonderful experience on my journey, and the decision to move on has been a difficult one. As I have pondered these things, two words have repeatedly popped into my head – Thank You.

By host on 4/7/2010 10:00 AM

DifferentVoice.com officially got its start way back on June 21st of 2000. Yep, that's right. We predated just about every single website for progressive Christians out there. This was the logo that was thrown together by Tim—who had the dream of creating a website for progressive Christians—for the original website. (Yeah, a career for Tim in graphic design is probably less than likely!)

The original website featured about 25 articles and blog posts altogether, mostly on topics related to youth ministry. For a variety of reasons, the site languished and was eventually removed. But the dream remained.

Flash forward to 2008, when Different Voice, LLC was recreated. There were still almost no websites for progressive Christian educators, though a few general websites for spiritual progressives had finally sprouted here and there. Facebook was just starting to become a place where progressive Christians got connected to one another. We started Different Voice together to offer resources, information and training to clergy and laity, volunteers and professional educators.

By host on 4/7/2010 7:00 AM

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to take a group of college students to the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs in Washington, D.C. (I highly encourage you to consider the program, which is NOT just for United Methodists!) One of the activities we did was called a "Trust Walk," and the experience I had in that activity was so profound that I've since led a similar activity dozens of times for groups over the years. It is, without a doubt, my favorite activity to lead with groups. The Trust Walk involves having a group of people silently respond to statements of action or belief through movement, and it does not (unlike another popular activity that involves one youth guiding another) require any blindfolds. Here's a basic description of how to create and lead this activity yourself.

By Different Voice on 4/5/2010 7:00 AM

Are you memorable?On Easter Sunday of last year, I began a quest to worship in every church in my town. My plan was to visit 52 churches in 52 weeks. I didn't know exactly how many churches there were (in fact, I still keep learning about new ones!) but based on phone book lists and Google searches I estimated there were roughly that many. In reality, I missed church a few weeks, and I still have somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 to go, so my current count is in the high 40s.

There are a lot of things one notices as a visitor—how people do or do not greet guests and make them feel welcome, of course, is tops on the list. But when people ask me what I've discovered in my visits, one thing stands out above all else: many churches are too forgettable.

By host on 4/2/2010 7:00 AM

It doesn’t seem good,
this Friday
when we remember
a betrayal, an arrest,
a trial, an angry mob,
many denials, the mocking,
the suffering, the death, the sorrow.

How did it come to be
known as good?

By host on 4/1/2010 7:00 AM

book coverUnless you have been hibernating for the last couple of years, you know what it means to “go green”. Persons of all ages, including children, know words like “recycle”, “carbon footprint” and “environment”. Green Church: Caretakers of God’s Creation is a six-week study for children that explores many ways to live a “green life”, and also conveys that God created us to be stewards of God’s creation. Daphna Flegal and Suzann Wade have written this children’s study which may be used as part of an all-church program along with Burst: Green Church for youth (discussed previously by Tim) and Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! for adults.

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