Monday, August 31, 2009

Social Media Revolution?

So I just received a link to this video on twitter, and thought I'd share it with you. Here's the gist of it. This video explains a MAJOR shift in the way people communicate. The cool thing for all of you who aren't up on social media is that people still communicate by talking face to face, writing letters, and even using their phones. But, I imagine if you are reading this blog you have used at least one of these other communication methods. Email, skype, facebook, myspace, twitter.

And if you haven't used any of these, well, it appears that this may be the direction the world is taking. Ironically, while people are using these sites more and more, and reconnecting with many friends old and new, the number of relationships we can successfully maintain has not fluctuated much. According to social theorists, the magic number is around 150. And according to a recent article written in 'The Economist', that number hasn't fluctuated with the advent of social media.

It's pretty wild to think about the rapid shifts that are taking place with new technologies emerging. It's hard to imagine that it was less than 100 years ago (1933) that FM radio came into existence. We make the assumption sometimes that these technologies have always been around.

Even though social media has helped facilitate connecting with others, I get an eerie feeling that we are living in an age with greater feelings of loneliness than any other. So, while these technologies can be very handy, and they do help us reconnect in a fairly splintered society, maybe we need to experience a deeper and more substantial connection than tweets, homepages, and even skype calls can manage. Maybe what we really need is to somehow learn to share a real experience with others, and to know presence.

May you experience the presence of the One by which and for which you were created. And may you find community in this world that is only supplemented by social media, and not substituted.


It's been a few days since I last blogged, and what really stinks about it is that there has simply been SO MUCH happening and I haven't been able to really document it. The photo above was taken while I was riding from downtown Morgantown out to Chestnut Ridge Church for a few meetings last wednesday. Although I took the photo last week, I hadn't uploaded it to the web until this morning.

So why the bus picture? Well, there are a few reasons. One of them was that last night, I was talking to a new friend who had been reading my blog before we ever connected face to face. Among the many subjects we discussed, one was the idea of environmental sustainability. The bus photo gives me an opportunity to remind me and challenge us all to be considering greener ways of going about our days. When I ride the bus, I can read, study, listen to messages and music, talk with strangers, and more, and I don't spend money on gas (or burn extra fuel) in the process. Also, I'm able to walk to the bus-stop, and that means great exercise. We all need to exercise, so why not be productive at the same time!

But that's not the only reason I chose the bus image. I also chose this image because it conveys a few other concepts I've been thinking about. The last few weeks of my life have been defined by movement. In fact, I would argue that much of each of our lives our characterized by movement. The bus relates to that motion of life.

But even amid the flurry of activity, there is a deep desire in our soul for stillness. I believe it's not only a craving, but it's truly a need of our souls. There is something about stillness and rest that refreshes and restores. The Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel talked about a Hebrew idea called Sabbath. He said it's not just rest so we can keep moving, but rather, it's the destination. While we are compelled to move, the discipline of rest reminds us that our life isn't defined by movement.

It's frighteningly easy to let life get out of rhythm and fail to take moments to rest. It's frighteningly easy to let inertia have it's way and to not stop moving. But our inmost being needs rest. My hope is that you and I will be able to find intentional space for rest and refreshment. And that when we are in motion, we'll use public transit or other green options when available. ;)

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Perseid Shower

Well, even in Morgantown, it proves a bit difficult to watch this meteor shower, but I'm hoping to make it out to a place that it might be a bit more visible.

Just hearing about it has gotten me thinking. My ancestors used to set up mounds and earthworks that were oriented to the night sky and the cycles of the sun and moon. Pretty crazy how much we are disconnected from the rhythm's of this world. I mean, when was the last time you were just looking in awe at the night sky? How many of us live in a place where the night sky is even visible.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we were somehow able to go back in time a bit. What would it be like without iphones and laptops (like the one I'm using to type this blog)? What if the only music we heard was live, and we didn't have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to hear it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming a Luddite--I really enjoy the technology we have at our disposal. At the same time, I am very aware that a laptop is no replacement for a night in the woods next to a campfire, or conversation with friends while gazing into the night sky.

I hope you can find a place to view the meteor shower, and that you can view it with friends at that.

May we never lose the wonder that our ancestors had with the majesty and marvel of creation.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the Capitol building in Washington DC. I literally stood in the center of DC as my friend JR gave me a tour of the place where the legislative branch of our government does it's work.

It's pretty wild when you think about it. I was walking around this building at the same time that elected representatives from all 50 states were making decisions based on what they believed YOU as their constituents wanted. Of course sometimes, it's easy to get jaded and feel like folks don't really have a voice, but our government was founded on the principle that the people have a voice.

We vote for representatives, but then we also have an opportunity to be advocates for legislation we believe in. Over the last few years, I've been provoked to take a more active role in participating in this kind of advocacy. My involvement within my tribe along with many non-profits including International Justice Mission, Invisible Children, and Nuru International have led me to not just talk about change but literally do my part as an instrument of change.

There are so many great needs in our world, and so much hurt. Every day I hear about yet another form of injustice, and I'm stirred once again to enter the fight. Earlier this year, I posted a video that told a horrible story of human trafficking and child prostitution. If you click that link and watch the video please take a minute to read the blog entry associated with it before watching the video. The sad part is that it doesn't have to be this way. We can step up and make a move toward positive change.

Change doesn't happen with passivity. Change happens with pro-active steps. One pro-active step is to write your congressional representative. There is a piece of legislation seeking support right now that would make a major stride in reducing this injustice. Want to join me and write? Here's a a template IJM offers for anyone interested in writing for congressional support.

If you are feeling apathetic, maybe writing a similar letter could be your first action step. The problems of this world are HUGE, and maybe the Creator of the universe placed YOU in this world for such a time as this.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Dad can ride a bike with no handlebars

Ok, so that's dad on the left. You might remember him as the guy who had a massive heart attack and four way by-pass a few weeks ago. I had a few minutes free today, so I went into his cardiac rehab space, and took this photo of him. He's doing incredibly well.

Saturday night, I went for a walk with him, and during the walk, he averaged about 4 miles per hour over the course of four miles. For those of you unfamiliar with walking paces, this is about the fastest most people can go without breaking into a jog. The last mile, dad completed at a 4.2mph pace.

He also walks 4mph at a 4% incline in the rehab center when he's on the treadmill. That's pretty impressive for someone at any age. Dad is 68 and he is a total stud. After a big scare at the end of April, he is like a new person. A month ago, his cardiac surgeon told him that he looked like a new man.

Tomorrow he goes to visit his cardiologist. We are praying for a few things to happen tomorrow. We are praying that Dad will be able to stop taking some of his medication (like coumadin) and cut his dosage in others (like lipitor). We are praying that the ejection fraction of dad's heart (a measure of it's efficiency) will have improved from 35% to somewhere above 40%. (40% is the upper cut-off for a condition called congestive heart failure). We are also praying that Dad will be given the green light for more activity (like bike riding). My dad used to ride his bike a lot, and he misses it. It would be great if he were released to do this again.

My dad has made amazing progress. While he hasn't returned to walking 12 miles per day yet ( I think the most he's logged is about 6), he has so much more energy and vigor with which to carry out his walking that it is like he is a new man. Me, my sister, her husband, and Jamie, all have trouble keeping up with him.

Pray with us for a good report and some more positive changes tomorrow.