Wednesday, November 23, 2005


LibraryThing Catalog your books online is a website I find intriguing ... though I'm not sure exactly how I might use it. I could see it as a place to keep a backup list of my library that I can view from anywhere. The use of tags might help me keep track of what topics I have in books. I might event use them to tell me where the book is. There is ability to add reviews to books, but few were actually available. The different views, like the author "cloud", are interesting and might be helpful in finding interesting books to read. Maybe I could discover some folks with similar libraries ... and interests. It's in beta still so it will be interesting to see what develops ... or if Amazon buys it! My problem? You can upload books to a personal library by entering ISBN or keywords. The program will look up and add any books with valid numbers. I have a library that is upwards of 8,000 titles - at twenty a pop it's gonna take a long time. It costs $10 annually to add more than 200 titles ($25 for eternal use). My imported ISBN data was rejected as "wrong" way too often. Maybe I'll just use it to enter books I'm reading or books I'm thinking about reading. Then again, maybe I'll see if I can find out how to get Challies simple book list software to do that. Or maybe I can get all my friends (virtual and "real") to upload their books and we can see what is shaping our lives and minds. By the way, I have been using Ministry Notebook to manage my library ... an older, clunky, program that is never upgraded, but I haven't found anything else yet.

Finally ... Time to Visit

I finally had some time to really visit Just about every blogger I read regularly links to Tim Challies so, since it’s a holiday tomorrow, and I’m planning on major vegetation, I have time to leisurely blog-surf. This is a great site! I particularly liked his reading list and book reviews though it cost me some buck$ at Amazon – I discovered a couple of books that I just had to add to my to-be-read-someday bookshelf. Apparently Challies has been a long-time reviewer of Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven marketing juggernaut – a recent post summarizes some key thoughts. You don’t have to guess at his worldview … he’s pretty up-front about it. This is a site I can highly recommend. I know I’ll be back often.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Eddie Gibbs in Leadership Next brought a new term to my vocabulary - Apatheism. Defined on Wikipedia as a portmanteau neologism (a haplology combining apathy with either atheist or theist) for the position that God may exist but is of no real importance to one's daily life. Gibbs says that today's church leaders need to train God's people to reach this growing group. They are not theists, nor athiests, but apathetic about either side - they just don't care what you think ... and some of them may even be "christian." The wiki listing goes on "Apatheism is not synonymous to atheism, but is rather a particular form of agnosticism, in the sense that it holds that the question whether or not God exists may be meaningfully asked, but is not worth asking." I think we are going to have to train Christians in new ways of evangelism. The old arguments won't work with these postmoderns. They may grant us the argument ... it doesn't mean they'll believe. Hopefully we have lives that demonstrate something worth considering. What a challenge for the future!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Breakout Churches: Thom S. Rainer

Thom Rainer really likes Jim Collins' Good to Great. So much so that he applied to the church. The book is helpful in determining what might be wrong in some churches, and encouraging in that he sees God doing great things in churches. The main issue is knowing what you are all about ... having a clear sense of pupose ... knowing why you do what you do ... having deep passion that drives the entire church. One of the key insights is at the end of the book. His research team came to the conclusion that the best churches didn't often let the "tail wag the dog." Then one of the researchers pointed out that most of the not-so-great churches didn't really even have a dog ... just a bunch of tails. This is an interesting book worth the read - especially if you liked Good to Great. He's not talking about every church that seems successful. And he's not talking about just mega-churches. The research is pretty scary ... The huge majority of churches - large and small - are plateaued, which is a nice way of saying they are in slow erosion. And most of those think they are doing very well. Mostly because they have no "dog" to wag.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Brutal Reality

Brutal Reality Jim Collins was the first to popularize it as a leadership practice in Good to Great. Thom Rainer picks up the same theme and applies it to church leadership in Breakout Churches. Andy Stanley makes it a main theme of his Next Generation Leader, where he says that a vital practice of leadership is the courage to face current reality – even if they are “the brutal facts” per Collins. Earlier writers like Max DePree spoke of the same concept when they indicate that the first job of a leader is "defining reality". Stanley says there are seven things the leader who wants to confront “real reality” (or the brutal facts) must NOTdo:
  • No pretending.
  • No blind eyes to truth.
  • No exaggeration.
  • No shooting bad news bearers.
  • No hiding behind numbers.
  • No ignoring constructive criticism.
  • No isolating self.
Of course this has to come from recognized leaders – all others will just sound like cranky people.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Quotes from Really Old Guys

"If you is, what you was, then you ain't.": (John Jasper) is the quote that captured my interest and led to looking deeper at this web page. This is a site full of great reminders of what it means to serve as a preacher and teacher of the Word. It isn't about being "cutting edge" or relevant. It is about God and His Word clearly taught.