Technology and Ministry

I was recently invited to be interviewed for a podcast at Ministry to Youth.  They talked with me about two of my favorite subjects: technology and student ministry! Check out the link by clicking on the image below.  This also goes well with my page of “Apps for Spring 2015.”

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss . . . and Thanks for Horton!

As a young child, I loved to read.  One of my favorite authors was – and still is – Dr. Seuss!  His creativity both visually and with words was unique and fun.  I enjoyed reading his stories over and over again.  Today, March 2 – would have been his 111th birthday!  In honor of the man born Theodore Seuss Geisel, I’d like to share this post with you.

The Older I Get, The More I Like Horton

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One of my favorite lines from this book is when Horton says,

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

He’s talking about the “Who’s” in “Whoville.”  He makes a great point: It doesn’t matter the literal size or the supposed significance of a person, each one has priceless value.

As a follower of Jesus, this character seems to echo the true words that described how God created the first people – and how all of us carry God’s image in us.

 

“So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27, New Living Translation

And which is reflected later by Paul, as he wrote this description of what God has and does do in us as we choose to follow Jesus:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10, New Living Translation

 As a Christian, these words encourage me to see the value Jesus has placed on me and on every single other person in the world.  As a husband, these words remind me of the priceless value God has placed on my wife and how I need to honor and care for her.  As a father, these words remind me of the limitless value God has placed on my children, reminding me that even though I can’t comprehend it, God loves them more than me, but has somehow still trusted me to help raise them to know and follow Jesus.  And as a pastor, these words remind me of how much God loves every single person and how much I need to grow in seeing them, not through my human eyes, but through His eyes.

You can read all about the background of this story and its connection with post-World War II Japan here.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Marcus Ashley Fine Art Gallery in Lake Tahoe, California.  While there, I enjoyed their wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss art.  I was a little child all over again!  There were lots of things I expected: prints and drawings of various Dr. Seuss books.

And then there were things I didn’t expect but should have, especially the taxidermy collection.  Here are a few of the pieces I really enjoyed and would loved to have purchased to put up around my office.  (Can you imagine the faces of students, parents and anyone else who walked in and saw these on my wall?!)

The gallery reports the following about these creations:

In 1938 Paul Jerman, who had graduated from Dartmouth with Ted, wrote a brief biography of him for the alumni newspaper. Jerman said in part, “Another iron in the fire is what the doctor himself calls The Seuss System of Unorthodox Taxidermy. Not satisfied with drawing strange beasties, Ted modeled the heads of some of his animals and mounted them. Put on display in bookshops around New York to promote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, many people wanted to buy the weird animal heads.”

Shortly after Ted created this unique collection of artworks, Look Magazine dubbed Dr. Seuss “The World’s Most Eminent Authority on Unheard-Of Animals.” To this day, Ted’s Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy remains as some of the finest examples of his inventive and multidimensional creativity.

At several thousand dollars a piece, I’d have a hard time justifying the expense to have one of these.  I am surprised that no company has won the rights to produce these at a lower cost for those of us who would enjoy having these creative mounts on our walls without the extravagant price tag.

And then, I spent a good deal of time admiring one piece in particular: a bronze maquette of Horton from Horton Hears a Who.

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HORTON HEARS A WHO! – MAQUETTE Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s character and created by artist Leo Rijn.

The last I checked, the price tag was just over $6,000!  An amazing artwork inspired by Dr. Seuss and created by Leo Rijn.

There are similar, cheaper versions out there.  But I like the idea of a valuable piece of art representing a story about the value each person has – and should have.

Whether you are reading this on Dr. Seuss’ birthday or on another random day in the year, may we all remember the value of the people around us.

As I look into the eyes of preteens and middle schoolers, I want them to see and hear someone who believes that they are a person of extraordinary value and potential, no matter how small the world may tell them they are – in size or significance.

As I look into the eyes of my three children, I want them to see a father who looks on them knowing they are created in God’s image, resembling their heavenly Father in so many more ways than they resemble their earthly mother and father.

As I look into my wife’s eyes, I want her to know that I see in her the masterpiece that God has created her to be, and that I will cherish her all the days of my life.

And as I live as a follower of Jesus, this children’s story helps me remember that God has a special place in His heart for those that others see as of little significance.  Jesus encouraged parents to bring their children to him, even when his own followers though they weren’t important enough for his time. (Mark 10:13-15) And I need to see each person as one of limitless value – whether I meet them face to face, come across their postings on social media, or only hear about them.  Because, after all, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Post-It Notes, Evernote and Foamcore – creatively organized

If you know me at all, you know that I love to brainstorm.  Lists are boring and frustrating to me.  But mind maps liberate my mind to function at the highest level.

So, thanks to some people and companies, I am working with a new way to brainstorm, collaborate, get organized, etc.  It involves the new partnership between Post-It Notes and Evernote.  Then, I read a blog post about reusing old foam core boards.

I shared this with a few friends in an email.  I got such a great response I thought I would share with all of my friends in the cloud!

You know I’m an ideas person and my head is always in the cloud(s).  (which in today’s world has multiple meanings).
So, I wanted to share something with you.  (I’m excited at how this might work with open source technology.  See Wikipedia or Open Space World )
I believe I have already shared how excited I am at the new possibilities with the partnership between post-it notes and Evernote.  Here are some helpful articles if you haven’t used this yet.
Evernote partnership with Post-It
Digital Life for Post-Its with Evernote
CNET’s How-To Use Evernote Post-It Camera
And then I came across this article:
Foamcore, Post-Its & Evernote
And so I used all of these after a meeting with staff members about some changes we need to make in our student ministries center with regards to technology:
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And this is what happens when you take the picture of these notes with the Post-It camera feature in Evernote:

Evernote Snapshot 20140127 142349Evernote Snapshot 20140127 142855Evernote Snapshot 20140127 142515Evernote Snapshot 20140127 142742

This is a fun new way to collaborate using some old, familiar tools, new technology, and reusing items that can now be repurposed.
So, what will you do with Post-It Notes and Evernote?