The phrase "thinking out of the box" nas been grossly overused for a long time now. What it means is looking for solutions to problems in unusual ways, from different angles, that don't involve doing the same old thing because that's the way we learned to do it. Today I stumbled on a fantastic story that illustrates this kind of smart thinking. It's from Tom Brackett, who is the Program Officer for Church Planting and Redevelopment for the Episcopal Church. Quick excerpt from the story...
As the medic and I called the Emergency Room physician to ask for advice, one of the Fire Department personnel started up the engine on their new Jaws of Life. The physician heard it as well and fairly yelled into our ears, “Stop everything! We have to have a plan before you cut him out of that car. We’ll only have a few minutes before he’ll bleed to death once you free him from the car -- it’s holding him together right now!”
The last few weeks I've been dabbling with iOS (the iPhone/iPod operating system) and building an iOS application. Well, it's just about done. It's a simple utility program that calculates standard atmospheric parameters (temperature, pressure, density, speed of sound) at any altitude. The numbers can be toggled between metric and Imperial (or English) units, and there's a nice little flipside view for additional information.
I've had it working on the iPhone simulator for a couple of weeks now, but I finally ponied up the cash to be an official developer and so I can load it on development devices, i.e. my own iPhone, iPad and iPod. So far it's just on the iPhone, but it works as I hoped and looks reasonably slick...
So there's a quick look at the icon, the front view and the flipside view (accessed by touching the little "i" button on the bottom right of the main view.
I'll let you know if and when it hits the app store (free!)
Meanwhile I'll be playing around with a few more ideas.
Well worth checking out - if you're looking for a church themed calendar for next year as a gift or even for yourself, Dave Walker's 2011 church calendar could be just the thing. Available at Amazon US as well as Amazon UK.
With all the excitement of fall comes a new ballet season. As I've been checking popular posts from the past on the blog one that has been popular via search engines for three years is the Twyla Tharp In The Upper Room ballet post from Nov 2007. That was a remarkable piece, made brilliant by a combination of music, choreography and costume. I would love to see it come back (and many pieces much less worthy have been repeated in less time) but sadly it hasn't happened yet.
However, the new season opens tonight with Director's Choice. There are four pieces, one of them is Glasspieces, with music by Philip Glass and choreography by Jerome Robbins. The music for the two pieces (Rubric and Facades) is very reminiscent of the score for In The Upper Room (adapted for that ballet I suppose) so at least one of the elements for this program will be similar. With his broadway background, Robbins' take on the Glass music will be interesting. Here's a look behind the scenes in rehearsal, courtesy of the Pacific Northwest ballet's youtube channel:
Two of the other pieces have been done very recently by PNB - Petite Mort and Jardi Tancat, while Six Dances is a PNB premiere.
In any season there are some classic ballets that are good, but well understood and predictable. The Director's Choice programs are where artistic director Peter Boal will take a few more risks. Not everything pays off, but when something does it's usually spectacular - like In The Upper Room. Wel worth the risk of checkng out the program this weekend and next.
My UK readers will no doubt be well aware of the cartoons of Dave Walker. Those in the US not so much. The inestimable Mr. Walker has a new book of cartoons out (his third, I believe) called The Exciting World of Churchgoing - available Sept 30 on Amazon in the US.
I could try to describe Dave Walker's style or the book myself, but Simon Jenkins of Ship of Fools (the (web) magazine of Christian unrest) fame did the job for me.
Dave’s visual style is deceptively simple – with childlike drawings of bishops, people in pews and church architecture – and reminds me of Tim Hunkin’s Rudiments of Wisdom cartoons from the Observer in the 1980s. But what takes these above Hunkin is the humour, which is delivered through flatly factual text.
For example, a cartoon on the responsibilities of the church sound desk operator: ‘Moving the slider up a bit. Moving the slider down a bit. Every now and then pressing the “sudden unexpected feedback” button.’
The deadpanning and the simple drawings conceal an artful and inventive brain at work.
Not all humor crosses the Atlantic in either direction, but I find Dave's work to be uniquely British, but also easily understood universally. Oh, and funny as heck... and licensable for use in your church bulletins and newsletters for a very reasonable fee.
Apparently one of Charles Bennison's other failings is a lack of comprehension of the English language. Whereas the recent Court of Review found in no uncertain terms that he had been guilty of conduct unbecoming a priest (i.e. failing to disclose or address his brother's sexual misconduct) they determined that the statute of limitations applied and that he could not be appropriately punished. In Bennison's midn this somehow translated to "innocent of all charges".
I sincerely appreciate the prayers of my peers in the House of Bishops and understandthat they are concerned for the welfare of my soul.
However, they have no cause to be worried. I am, and have always been, innocent of thecharges against me. And now the Court of Review of the Episcopal Church has reversed the erroneous decision of the Trial Court, and I have been restored to my position as Bishop of Pennsylvania.
As the Court of Review clearly determined from its review of the facts, I was unaware ofmy younger brother's inappropriate relationship with a minor member of our church until late 1977, after the relationship was over, and the young woman was legally an adult.
From the actual Court of Review report:
The tragedy of this conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy is exacerbated by the fact that, during the trial of the case, Appellant testified that, upon reflection on his failure to act, he concludes that his actions were “just about right.” They were not just about right. They were totally wrong. Appellant’s testimony on this subject revealed impaired judgment with regard to the conduct that is the subject of the First Offence and that is clearly and unequivocally conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.
The mind boggles at the sheer self-delusion. And he wants to run a diocese?
Sadly, he's not mentally competent enough to run a hot dog stand.
For too long, Obama said, U.S. policy has been defined by the amount of money spent and food and medicines delivered.
"But aid alone is not development," he said. "Development is helping nations to actually develop, moving from poverty to prosperity. And we need more than just aid to unleash that change."
Obama said the U.S. also is changing its view of the ultimate goal of development. He said that some U.S. aid has saved lives in the short term — such as food aid for millions of starving people around the world — but that it hasn't always improved those societies over the long term.
"That's dependence, and it's a cycle we need to break," Obama said.
Interesting... it's about time someone noticed the lack of development in Africa, despite enormous amounts of aid over the last few decades. Aid is just, well, a band-aid on the problem. Nothing will change unless governance changes and civil rights are properly and universally acknowledged and promoted from within.
“An educated woman is an educated family and an educated country since women represent more than half the population in most countries today,” she said. “When women have no access to education all other (MDG) efforts are doomed to fail.
“Access to primary education is vital since it has a run-on impact on all other MDGs, it even determines the success and survival of some, like women’s empowerment.”
House of Bishops to Charles Bennison: “We exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.”
In no uncertain terms, the House of Bishops exhorts Bennison to resign immediately and end the debacle. Unfortunately, it appears that nobody has the authority to just fire the swine. It appears that that will be rectified at the next General Convention... too late in this case, though.