Tuesday, May 26, 2009

20 Assumptions of a Christian Blogger

Read this at the Church Crunch blog and found it interesting (good to follow on Twitter, etc.) Here it is, blatantly 'borrowed' and credited!

Here’s a list of assumptions that I’ve been thinking about for a while that I finally wrote down on paper this past week. I’m giving very little context for why my thoughts have been moving toward these ideas, but take it for what you will! I think these are pretty “safe bets” though:
  1. It’s safe to assume that you will probably never make a full-time living off of being a Christian Blogger.
  2. It’s safe to assume that you will be misunderstood theologically from pretty much every camp, including your own.
  3. It’s safe to assume that you will never have the “numbers” like a secular blog does that may in fact cover the same scope and content.
  4. It’s safe to assume that your family, friends, fellow staff members, congregation, and pretty much everyone has or is reading your blog.
  5. It’s safe to assume that your pastor has read your blog (and has some thoughts about it).
  6. It’s safe to assume that God doesn’t need you to be a blogger.
  7. It’s safe to assume that you aren’t blogging about something that’s entirely original, both in coverage of content and theologically.
  8. It’s safe to assume that you’re probably not doing good enough of a job attracting non-Christians to your obviously overly-Christian blog.
  9. It’s safe to assume that if you’re blogging under a pseudonym that you will ultimately and inevitably be discovered.
  10. It’s safe to assume that you’re going to have to work harder, smarter, and better to increase your readership than in other industries.
  11. It’s safe to assume that much of your readership is probably technologically backwards, to varying degrees.
  12. It’s safe to assume that you’ll eventually question whether it is “God’s Will” for you to be a blogger.
  13. It’s safe to assume that you’re not as good of a blogger as you’d like to think that you are.
  14. It’s safe to assume that pride is ultimately not a sustainable mechanism for success in Christian Blogging, so probably best to ditch it.
  15. It’s safe to assume that your blog design looks light years behind the industry standard for taste, appeal, and quality, so you probably should spend more time (and money) on it.
  16. It’s safe to assume that some people will actually be impressed with you and it’s your job to remind them that you’re just as human as they are.
  17. It’s safe to assume that the world would be just as bad (or good) without your blog content. See #6 again.
  18. It’s safe to assume that people will misinterpret your motivations for being a Christian Blogger.
  19. It’s safe to assume that God intends to use the web and blogs to further His Gospel Message, be encouraged.
  20. It’s safe to assume that God will get His Glory regardless of whether you’re a blogger or not; whether you blog about Him or not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Better Ways to Spend Your Money

I'm not a big Starbucks guy. I have no problem if others want to spend their hard-earned dollars on their products. We all have our ways to spend our money, so if my friends want to double-latte themselves, have at it. Truth is, I'm not a coffee drinker at all, and fortunately I have a wife who is very content with the 99 cent cup of coffee or cappucino from the local Speedway.

And I've really only been in Starbucks a few times. Most of those visits were made on a trip to the Philippines with a group of guys, and every time we saw on, we had to pull in. I think I had an over-priced muffin, but that's about it.

They do sell bottled water there, and the pitch that's used is that you and I can help with the worldwide clean water crisis, which is very real and something I hope we all pay attention to and respond. But the Starbucks approach with their Ethos brand water is troubling, misleading, and a huge waste of money.

Ethos, a brand of bottled water acquired by Starbucks in 2005, is sold at locations throughout North America. Ethos bottles feature prominent labeling stating "helping children get clean water", referring to the fact that $.05 from each $1.80USD bottle sold ($.10 per unit in Canada) is used to fund clean water projects in under-developed areas. Critics have argued that the claim on the label misleads consumers into thinking that Ethos is primarily a charitable organization, when it is actually a for-profit Starbucks brand and the vast majority of the sale price (over 94%) does not support clean-water projects. Although sales of Ethos water has raised over $4,000,000 for clean water efforts, the brand is not a charity and has added to Starbucks revenue. The founders of Ethos have stated that the brand is intended to raise awareness of third-world clean water issues and provide socially responsible consumers with an opportunity to support the cause by choosing Ethos over other brands.

Well, that's all fine and sounds good. My, those socially-conscious folks at Starbucks...let's give them a hand!

Not so fast. I've been told that the water actually costs a more than that (remember, I don't frequent SB, and I live in a town where...believe it or not...we don't have one), and some report that only $.02 of each bottle goes to fund water projects in these under-developed areas of the world. But let's stick with the $.05 per bottle. Guess how many bottles had to be sold to come up with $4 million bucks?
How about 80 million. OK, so maybe there were donations along the way, etc. to help them get the $4 million. So lets say they sold 40 million bottles - still seems like a lot, but 40 million bottles at $2 each is $80 million bucks....of which $4 million went to the cause they use to market the water.
What if each of those people took that $2 and instead of buying over-priced, trendy water which really pads Starbuck's bottom line more than it helps provide clean water worldwide....and gave it away instead? If 80 million of these bottles have been sold, what if instead...that money was just given to Blood:Water Mission, or any number of reputable groups who are really in it to serve people and not make a profit? $2 x 80 million....$160,000,000.
I think a lot could be accomplished in the worldwide clean water crisis for those kinds of dollars. Don't you?

Oh, and on a side note of great importance...Starbucks WASTES over 6 MILLION gallons of water EVERY DAY!

I know this controversy isn't new - others have pointed it out long before me, and much more convincingly. Doesn't seem to change much of what Starbucks is doing with Ethos. Funny, the definition of Ethos from Websters is 'the character, customs, and habits which distinguish a people or community from another.' Well, with Ethos, Starbucks doesn't appear to be distinguishing itself from anything. Just another way to make a buck and make us all feel like we're helping in some way.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Narrow Way

Came across this image called The Narrow Way. Thought it was particularly interesting. Artist is David Hayward, aka The Naked Pastor. You can see lots of his work - some funny, some edgy, some funny & edgy, etc. on his blog.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Stand By Me

Terrific video, shot in various cities all over the world. Street musicians, all singing the same tune, put together for a documentary. Very cool....