About Me

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I’m from New York but my driver’s license lists that my address is Ohio. My passport has a number of stamps in it. I’m the youngest of six, yet oldest son. I have a number after my initials, but not my name. I like music. I drink coffee at all times of the day. I am a follower of Jesus. I own my own business. I watch bonus features on DVD’s. For four months each year my wife and I are the same age. “I pledge allegiance to a country without borders, without politicians.” I am an ordained pastor. I’ve eaten raw horse meat. I’m fifteen inches taller than my wife, but I look up to her. I still prefer buying CDs to downloading music. I’m a night owl, who doesn’t mind getting up early. I like to shop, and my wife doesn’t. I like to play games. I moved to another country nine days after my wedding. I sometimes quote random lyrics. I believe in miracles. I prefer desktops to laptops. I like listening to audio books. I listen to hockey games on the internet. I have five sons. I'm living life mid sentence.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Need of Coffee and Conversation

There aren't too many things I really miss from my years of bachelor life. However I do miss getting together for coffee with friends. Sometimes the center of attention was the coffee, but usually it was the friendships and discussions.

While I am grateful for a godly wife that I can discuss theological issues with, sometimes I miss having male friends that I can get together to talk with. I have a few friends that I probably could talk about just about anything with, but now that we all have children it seems like an insurmountable task to try and find time to get together.

This evening I had a short chat online with an old friend. Our time chatting about politics and religion made me miss the past trips to coffee shops with friends. I miss talking U2 with the youth pastor at the church I attended after college, or politics with his predecessor. I miss talking about how the rubber meets the road in our Christian walk with both men, as well as a few others I would get together with. In all, I miss the caffeine and the iron sharpening iron.

Maybe someday I will once again be able to have good discussions about anything and everything with friends over a cup of coffee. One can hope at least.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The "Good Enough Revolution" and Christianity

Last week while flying to Georgia I took a magazine along with me to read in flight. One of the articles in the magazine was called “The Good Enough Revolution” and it talked about how for many people do not feel the need to buy/get the best product, but rather one that is “good enough.” They gave a few examples (small camcorder’s with lower quality point and shoot digital cameras, MP3 vs. Hi-Fi audio) about how people are trading quality for ease of use and cost. Instead of purchasing an HD camcorder or 12MP DSLR Camera, people purchase compact SD camcorders and tiny point and shoot cameras. In most cases, people realize they aren’t getting the best quality available to them, but they are willing to make that trade off for different reasons.

Here is part of the article from Wired Magazine:

Jonathan Berger, a professor of music at Stanford University, recently completed a six-year study of his students. Every year he asked new arrivals in his class to listen to the same musical excerpts played in a variety of digital formats—from standard MP3s to high-fidelity uncompressed files—and rate their preferences. Every year, he reports, more and more students preferred the sound of MP3s, particularly for rock music. They've grown accustomed to what Berger calls the percussive sizzle—aka distortion—found in compressed music. To them, that's what music is supposed to sound like.

What has happened with the MP3 format and other “good enough” technologies is that the qualities we value have simply changed. And the change is so profound that the old measures have almost lost their meaning. Call it the MP3 effect.

After reflecting on this article I started to think about how the “Good Enough Revolution” seems to be infiltrating Christianity. Instead of seeking the gold standard (“Be holy for I am holy”) we settle for mediocrity—which we believe costs us less. We don’t come right out and say we don’t want the best, but we say just that with our actions. We make the small compromises, or at least small in our opinions, and think that it won’t affect the way we live our lives in any significant ways.

There comes a point when we are likely to believe that stretching ourselves further is beneficial for the kingdom of God. Instead of only being able to do “X” we can now do “x y & z”. Much like a CD can only carry a dozen or so high quality songs, yet can carry a hundred or more MP3’s, we think we the trade-offs we are making are good. However, much like frequencies have to be nixed in MP3’s to shrink their size, something must be cut out in order for us to replace quality with quantity.

At first we may not notice much difference in the quality, but as time goes on the proof shows itself in the pudding. Just as a first generation MP3 may not have major noticeable flaws, the further you get away from the original (read: pure) recording, the more the flaws will begin to show. Or if we trade our rifle approach for a shotgun approach we may cover a wider area, but our accuracy and effectiveness suffers.

As we move from one generation to the next what philosophy are we passing on? Are we encouraging those that come behind us to pursue the gold standard, or are we saying –with our actions, if not our words—that “good enough” is,…well, “good enough”?