Tag Archive: Technology


I should precede my comments by pointing out I studied music in high school and college, and though I am far from a purist, I expect there’s some deep-seeded music snobbery in me.

I found this video of a band called Atomic Tom playing one of their songs on the New York subway both exhilarating and distressing. What’s so incredible about their performance is that they use now instruments, yet they’re still performing. They do the whole song using nothing but apps on their iPhones.

Click here to watch the video on Youtube. The owner prohibited me from embedding it.

There’s no question that what they pulled off is original, entertaining and creative. but that music snob I mentioned above asks: is it music? From a consumer’s perspective, the answers naturally seems to be “yes.” After all, if it sounds like music, it’s music, right?

But what makes something music? Of course you don’t have to use formal, proper instruments to make it, or else everything before the creation of our modern instruments would somehow be illegitimate. But is sampling music? Is spoken word? What about the improvised rhythmic instruments used by groups like Stomp?

My gut says that it’s all music. Any time we use our bodies or other objects in a way that combines rhythm and/or melody in some way that evokes anything in us is music. But I’ll admit is pushes my boundaries of what I’ve accepted as such in the past.

Enough from me; see for yourself and make your own decision.

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Here’s a new nonprofit I’m working that endeavors to place AEDs in every public school and other public building nationwide, and also to provide CPR training to help save lives.

http://www.refresheverything.com/theviafoundation

Please take a minute to register your vote and to pass this along to your list of friends. Also, please consider posting this to your facebook page, blog, etc to help spread the word.

Thanks!
Christian

My first webinar (online workshop) on “how to use Facebook as a ministry tool) was great fun and well-received. since then I’ve gotten several requests to host this workshop again, so it’s back along with an exciting webinar on how to select a literary agent an, ultimately, how to get published!

If you want to learn more about the events, go to christianpiatt.com, or email me directly at cpiatt@christianpiatt.com.

CLICK ON THE EVENT TITLES BELOW TO REGISTER:

Using Facebook as a Ministry Tool
Wednesday, September 30th, 1pm (MST)

Learn the basics of “2.0″ social networking, how to set up a Facebook account, take a tour of Facebook and learn strategies for using it as a tool to connect with people throughout the week, beyond the walls.


From “Writer” to Agented and Published “Author”
(w/ Lit. Agent Anita Kushen)

Tuesday, October 6th, 11am (MST)

Join the conversation with Author Christian Piatt and Literary Agent Anita Kushen about what it takes to move your passion for writing to the next level. Learn valuable information like how to find and select a literary agent, and how to become a published author.

My newest podcast, called “Porn Nation,” is taken from a chapter I wrote for a forthcoming book by Chalice Press called Oh God, Oh God, OH GOD! which deals with a wide range of topics on faith and sexuality. The book is due out February, 2010, and is the first volume in the new WTF? (Where’s the Faith?) book series focusing on young adults.

You can find all of my podcast episodes on iTunes, on my website or at the podcast host site.

For more about the series, visit my website at www.christianpiatt.com, or hit the Chalice Press website (www.chalicepress.com) and click the WTF button at the bottom of the home page.

Though you all might enjoy watching me and Brandon Gilvin, co-editors of the new WTF? (Where’s the Faith?) book series in a short video chatting about the series and the first two titles, coming out soon.

The nerd on the right is me.

I’ve had some questions about how to register for the online workshops – or webinars – I’m offering this month. Well, I have good news!

As of today, I have online registration available. You can click on any of the titles below to go directly to the event registration, and you can use any major credit card. In the future I hope to add Paypal Express Checkout, but we’ll start with this. You can also visit my website for more detailed workshop descriptions.

All webinars are $20 (though it will increase to $25 per session after July), and will last between 60 and 90 minutes. Registration is limited to 15 people per session, so be sure to reserve your spot as soon as you can. If you have questions about these webinars, if you have another topic you’d like for me to cover or if you’d like to participate in one of the events listed below on an alternate date, email me and let me know.

Podcasting 101
Tuesday July 21, 12 Noon (MST)

What is podcasting? How do I do it? Do I even need to? What can it be used for? Get an introduction to podcasting, including how to set up your own podcast, ways to promote it and content ideas for your episodes.

Blogging 101
Wednesday July 22, 10 AM (MST)

Learn how to blog, what it can do, and how to best promote your blog for maximum exposure.

Using Facebook as a ministry tool
Thursday July 23, 1 PM (MST)

Learn the basics of “2.0” social networking, how to set up a Facebook account, take a tour of Facebook and learn strategies for using it as a tool to connect with people throughout the week, beyond the walls.

I’ve had a number of requests for web-based workshops – or webinars – on various topics from blogging, facebook and podcasting, all as tools for ministry. I’ve finally set some dates up, so check out the info below and let me know ASAP which classes you’re interested in so I can reserve your spot.

Webinar Training Sessions
Email me at cpiatt@christianpiatt.com to sign up!

The following web-based training courses (webinars) are being offered. All courses are $20 and will last between 60 and 90 minutes.

Each session is limited to fifteen participants, so sign up early to confirm your spot in the training.

Using Facebook as a ministry tool
Tuesday July 7, 10 AM (MST) or
Thursday July 23, 1 PM (MST)

Learn the basics of “2.0” social networking, how to set up a Facebook account, take a tour of Facebook and learn strategies for using it as a tool to connect with people throughout the week, beyond the walls.

Podcasting 101
Wednesday July 8, 10 AM (MST) or
Tuesday July 21, 12 Noon (MST)

What is podcasting? How do I do it? Do I even need to? What can it be used for? Get an introduction to podcasting, including how to set up your own podcast, ways to promote it and content ideas for your episodes.

Blogging 101
Thursday July 9, 11 AM (MST) or
Wednesday July 22, 10 AM (MST)

Learn how to blog, what it can do, and how to best promote your blog for maximum exposure.

Want to participate? Email me at cpiatt@christianpiatt.com and I’ll send you payment information.

After payment clears, your space is reserved and I’ll send you everything you need to log in to the seminar.

I came across this site, sent to me by a friend today, and I’m still reeling from the potential is suggests.

Basically, imagine the volume of information contained in Google, but add to that the ability to manipulate and compute / slice up the information any way you can imagine. Their database set is still pretty basic relative to all the info in the world, though it’s already pretty amazing.

Check out the introductory video and see for yourself.

Interested in your thoughts.

Originally posted at the DisciplesWorld blog.

Last week, I threw a bit of a teaser out there, with this whole “Spider vs. Starfish” concept. As I’m sure many of you have lost hours of sleep, and perhaps have had a hard time forcing down a decent meal in eager anticipation of the follow-up, I figured it wasn’t fair to keep you waiting any longer.

The whole concept came from a book on business management practices, called The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. The model presented here resonates with the idea I’ve had for a while now that church could learn a whole lot from the structure and governance of organizations like twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. After all, they have reached millions with virtually no budget, and they seem immune to economic conditions, flourishing while we institutional churches struggle to keep the doors open.

So what’s the difference?

I might help answer that question with another question; if you cut the head off a spider, what happens? We all know it dies, right? But what if you cut off the arm of a starfish? It just grows another starfish. Where you once had one, there are now two. In trying to stop it, you actually only made it stronger.

So, how many of our churches are more like spiders instead of starfish? I thought so.

Here’s where the advent of recent technology might teach us an awful lot. If Rebecca Woods will indulge me in the future, I’d gladly post some other blogs about using applications like facebook, podcasting and blogging to further our ministries, but for now, let’s consider them a little more systematically.

In particular, consider a phenomenon known as “Web 2.0.” This is much like the so-called “leaderless organizations” that Brafman and Beckstrom are referring to. They are viral in nature, highly adaptable and scalable, and relatively easy to manage because the users generate the content.

I’ll offer a few examples to clarify the differences between a 1.0 – or spider – model and a 2.0 – or starfish – system. Amazon, which has become a behemoth presence for online commerce, would be considered a 1.0 model. They have a product that they sell to customers, pretty much in the traditional model, despite their lack of storefronts. Though they’ve been successful up until now, they are depending on some basic truths about the market. If, for example, the cost of paper or transport fuel went through the roof, it would affect their business model significantly, or if a supplier shut down, they might be stuck.

eBay, on the other hand, is a 2.0, or starfish, model. eBay, as you probably know, doesn’t actually sell anything. All they do is create the framework within which people can conduct business. This means they can be a conduit for everything from sweat socks to automobiles and homes. If the price of gold plummeted and jewelry markets crumbled, people could just sell more baseball cards or used books on eBay.

Another comparison might be looking at the difference between the traditional military structure versus a network like Al Qaida. Though you can throw an entire military into chaos by attacking its senior leadership or supply lines, Al Qaida is hard to stop in one sense because it is a headless beast. You kill or capture current leaders, and a dozen more pop up in their place. The system is so adaptable, it’s hard to stop.

Our churches have been based upon a 1.0 “spider” model for centuries, and so far, it’s worked pretty well. But now, we’re surrounded by starfish like facebook, Craigslist, BitTorrent, MySpace, eBay and the like, and we wonder why it is that we, the institutional church, don’t seem relevant to younger people.

For starters, we not only don’t look familiar: we don’t even look relevant.

People may not be able to put their finger on it, but they know 1.0 versus 2.0 when they see it, especially younger people. There are consequences to being a starfish organization instead of a spider, such as letting go some control over the content exchanged within the system, but there’s great opportunity as well.

In future installments, I’ll discuss a few more ways in which we can employ Church 2.0 methods in or existing congregations, both with technology, and even on our boards and in our Sunday School rooms. But for now, look around you and see if you can start spotting the differences between the spiders and starfish, all around you.

Until next time!

Christian Piatt is the author of MySpace to Sacred Space: God for a New Generation, and Lost: A Search for Meaning, and he is a columnist for various newspapers, magazines and websites on the topics of theology and popular culture. He is the co-founder of Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Amy. For more information about Christian, visit

If you have not yet heard about the Pomegranate Phone phenomenon, you’ve missed the latest buzz:

http://www.pomegranatephone.com/

The ad reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer talks about
how great bacon, pork chops and ham all are, and when Lisa explains
they’re all from the same animal, Homer rolls his eyes skeptically. “Oh
sure,” he says, “some maaaagical animal, Lisa.”

The Pom, which boasts a HD projector, 50 language real-time voice
translator, on-board coffee maker, electric shaver and, of course, a
harmonica, is said “magical animal.” Problem is, it’s a big, fat,
would-be awesome fake. I knew, as I was watching the phone suck up a
glass of water and spit out piping hot coffee from a modified K-cup
insert, that it was a viral video scam.

But there was this little part of me that cried out, “hey, I want to
be able to shave while speaking Farsi, playing the blues and sipping a
latte! I want it, I want it!”

The very fact that the Pomegranate is even within the realm of
comprehension is phenomenal in itself. I mean, I just picked up a G1
“Google Phone,” which sports a touch screen, full qwerty keyboard, web,
email, camera, and a high-speed connection. I can look up anything in
the universe by voice command on Google and look up any product in the
world and compare prices by snapping a picture of the bar code. I can
have my phone “listen’ to any song being played digitally and it’ll not
only find the album cover, artist, publisher and year released, but
it’ll also link right to Amazon MP3 or iTunes so I can download it to
the on-board MP3 player.

Ten years ago, I was considering my first mobile phone, whether I
really could use it or not. Now, I not only have the G1 wunderkind
phone, but as soon as I saw something better, even though my logical
mind kept reminding me it wasn’t real, I longed for it. I pined, I
coveted.

At the heart of the technology industry is a delicate dance between
wooing you with a seductive dance for the new, while also making you
dissatisfied with it, pretty much as soon as you get it. Thus the cycle
begins again. Though the Pom is laughable now, I’m sure there’s some
geek somewhere that’s watching this viral ad and thinking, “yaknow, if
I tweak my iPhone just so, I bet I could make it brew coffee…

Who says our economy’s in trouble? God bless human innovation, combined with an insatiable desire to consume.