Thursday, November 30, 2006

@ the movies: The Nativity Story

Mary, Joseph and their faithful donkey taking a break on their long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census. 100 miles is nothing for us today but 2000 years ago that meant a trip by foot!

The Nativity Story opens in theaters on Friday, December 1, 2006.

I had the opportunity to see the film in a pre-release screening as a guest of Grace Hill Media. I recommend it highly.

For those who believe, the film will be a devotional experience amidst the busyness of the Christmas season reminding us what Christmas is truly about. For those who are skeptics, I hope they will still nonetheless the film and grasp the earthiness of the Christian story: God came to earth in the form of a baby to parents and people with dirty feet and rough hands.

Mary and Joseph growing closer while on the journey to Bethlehem.

The Bible account of the Nativity is very brief. The part the film covers can be found in Matthew and Luke.

The film has to engage in some speculation as to what the story was beyond what we have in the Gospel records.

For instance, what was the relationship between Mary and Joseph like?

How would Mary react to hearing: "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

How would Joseph react to Mary telling him this?

I was very moved to watch how Michael Rich (screenwriter) and Catherine Hardwicke (director) unfold and develop the relationship between Mary and Joseph with humor and sensitivity.

The second thing that impressed me was the effort the film makers took to create an authentic look and feel to make the culture and history of the era come alive.

Particularly potent was the oppressiveness of the Roman Empire. Seeing the film helps me to understand why in the Gospel records, the followers of Jesus had such a hard time with him being the suffering Savior and not the revolutionary who would overthrow the Romans they so desperately wanted.

Finally, I loved the the usage of the Magi as comic relief. The film makers worked in all the relevant material from the Bible regarding the Magi and some of the speculation regarding what the astronomical phenomena they saw that drew them to Bethlehem. But they cleverly went beyond that and put in some humor through their bantering with each other.

Take the time out to go into a movie house to see this film. You'll be glad you did.

Images were obtained from the Yahoo! Movies Production Photos Page for The Nativity Story

UPDATE: The KPCC movie review radio show gave the film mixed reviews. One of the reviewers felt the film was a somewhat conventional telling of the story. He mentioned that the film was probably more ethnically real in that many of the actors cast for the film are of the right skin color for that region of the world. He also praised the production design that gave the film an authentic and gritty feel consistent with that time in history. The other reviewer liked the script and story details beyond the Biblical text but felt the director's visual style was poor and sense of pacing was not up to par. It was quite fascinating to hear that reviewer say, though I'm not a religious person I find the whole idea of what the Nativity means to be such a powerful concept. Both felt the 3 Magi's performances and use of humor to be a breath of fresh air.

Sports: D-2 until U$C vs. UCLA - H.D. Buttercup's Wager

I don't know if I heard it right but I think there was a radio commercial by H.D. Buttercup that said if UCLA wins the game, you can buy furniture for FREE at their store!

UPDATE: I heard the ad on the radio again so maybe it is for real... I think they said if you buy furniture up to $2000 worth and UCLA then wins on Saturday, you can get your money back.

UPDATE: The bet was if you buy $2000 or more and then if UCLA wins, you get a refund. This LA Times item says they are indeed tallying up the cost of the promotional as people came to the store on Sunday morning to get their refunds!

Sports: D-2 until UCLA vs. U$C

UPDATE: Pat Cowan will start at QB for UCLA in the big game on Saturday.

UCLA has received and accepted a bid to a third tier bowl, the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

The Emerald Bowl PR machine went into best face forward spin mode to make the game sound more dramatic than the two ~0.500 team bowl it actually is. Excerpt:
UCLA becomes the first Pacific-10 Conference team to play in the Emerald Bowl.

Florida State has never before played a game in Northern California. The Seminoles' last West Coast appearance was a 14-7 victory over USC in 1997. This season marks the 25th consecutive year Florida State has been invited to a bowl game.

The two teams have never met.
We're thrilled to bring Bobby Bowden, the winningest coach in college football history.... The Bruins bring great tradition and the nation's second-largest media market. To be able to match UCLA against Florida State in the first year of our ACC vs. Pac-10 match-up is a dream come true for our game.
It goes on and on like that trying to pump up the game. Gotta give credit to their public relations writer!

This is a family friendly blog so I am a little hesitant to provide this link but for those who want to understand a little bit of the intensity of the USC vs. UCLA rivalry, you can check out this R-rated (for foul language) video blog post.

The rivalry extends to other sports and Lexus has capitalized on it for marketing purposes by awarding the Gauntlet Trophy to the school that fares better in a variety of sports.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sports: D-3 until U$C vs. UCLA

You can find a list of the final score of the game over the years here.

USC has won 41, UCLA has 27 wins and there have been 7 ties.

In a previous post, I mentioned the only way for UCLA to win would be to apply pressure on the USC QB. Given too much time, USC will shred the UCLA secondary with their speedy receivers.

Lonnie White of the LA Times agrees:
If the Trojans linemen have an Achilles' heel, it's that they're not known for their agility and quick feet. At times this season, they have struggled against speed rushers such as Hickman and Davis. That was the case in the first half of USC's loss at Oregon State, when ends Jeff Van Orsow and Victor Butler were able to harass Booty.

Final call: UCLA's defense has been strong most of the season because of the play of Hickman and Davis, who have done well under the tutelage of first-year defensive line coach Todd Howard. But the Bruins' defense has problems when it has to stay on the field for extended periods, which happened a lot during the team's midseason four-game losing streak.

That will be a key for UCLA, which has to be able to move the ball against the Trojans. The more the Bruins can keep USC's offense off the field, the fresher Hickman and Davis will be to get after Booty.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sports: D-4 until U$C vs. UCLA - to sell or not to sell that is the question ...

I had bought two tickets for this game earlier in the year when prospects were still good for the Bruins. Alas, now, it is hard to find a UCLA alum football fan who wants to go to see what amounts to be a ritual sacrifice: USC to earn the favor of the BCS gods will kill the Bruins.

My guess is that "style" points will not be needed but since this is a rivalry game, nothing less than total demolition of the opposition is demanded by the faithful. I threw out a 56-0 score as a possibility in one of my prior posts.

Thus, the question before me, do I sell the tickets?

They are selling above face value. It is highly likely that USC fans are buying up tickets UCLA fans are unloading.

I have not attended a UCLA vs. USC contest live in 24 years. Would I desire to see a blowout? Or would I achieve some sense of liberterian satisfaction making money on my tickets selling them to a USC fan?

I mean they would be happy to sit in the UCLA section in their red sweaters and make noise as there team steamrolls down the field.

I'd make some money out of it.

I'd be spared attending a game with little to cheer for.

As a good libertarian, that is about as good as it gets: making some money out of a bad situation.

But as a UCLA alum, would that be a denial of faith? A failure of devotion? What if a miracle occurs and the Bruins pull off the greatest upset in the history of NCAA football and I wouldn't be there? Or would I feel quietly satisfied with my money in the bank and USC fans sitting in the UCLA section watching the horror of their team fumbling away a shot at the National Title?

Indeed, the existential question remains: to sell or not to sell...

What do you think Dear TTC Readers?

Help me decide what to do. I still have time to post my tickets on StubHub!

ed. note - I'm only 1/4 serious when I wrote this! I hope people realize I'm being melodramatic to be entertaining as part of the hype in the run up to the game. 8-)

Sports: D-4 until UCLA vs. U$C

What would you do if you were the athletic director?

You hire a promising young coach to try to turn around your division I football program.

In the first year, the team finished 6-7 with a 25 point loss to your rival and a loss at a third tier bowl game.

You probably chalk that one up to it being a rebuilding year.

In the second year, the team finished 6-6 with a 5 point loss to your rival and a loss at a third tier bowl game.

The fans are getting restless.

In the third year, the team finished 10-2 but suffered a 47 point loss to your rival but win a second tier bowl game.

Expectations have risen but skeptics abound because the 10-2 record could have easily been 6-6 as many games were close.

In the fourth year, the team stands at 6-5 and are a 2 TD underdog to your rival and a bid to a third tier bowl game is uncertain.

What does the athletic director put down in the notebook as factors in deciding whether to stick with the coach or look for someone new?

That is the situation athletic Dan Guerrero faces regarding UCLA coach Karl Dorrell.

Dorrell is regarding as a person of good character but restlessness is rising among the fans that he might be in over his head. Fans might not come right out and say it but some are thinking if UCLA gets blown out by USC for the third time in four years of his tenure then maybe he will get fired.

Isn't it a sad state of affairs when some of your fans might be wishing for a horrible defeat?

The situation is similar to the UCLA basketball program under Steve Lavin.

Go Bruins?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sports: D-5 until UCLA vs. U$C

The Las Vegas Odds are out. UCLA is a 13.5 point underdog.

I'm shocked.

ND got beat by 20.

USC has been on a roll since their wake-up call loss to Oregon State. They have beaten their last 4 opponents 144-43 and 3 of those 4 opponents were top 25 ranked.

UCLA (6-5) is a shell of last year's team that went 10-2.

UCLA can win only if USC has turnovers, more turnovers and still more turnovers. They have to hope the UCLA pass rush can force JDB into bad passes. Give him and their WRs too much time and it will be 56-0.

Culture: What Divides Americans?

Why do we feel that America is getting more polarized?

We all have that vague or not so vague sense that that is true.

What is at the core of this?

(1) Faith in God - one part of America believes that God (of the Judeo-Christian variety) places moral obligations upon us while another part of America believes that religious belief is, at best, non-sense and, at worst, the source of all sorts of evil in the world.

(2) America's role in the world - one part of America believes that the United States is the new Roman Empire and the source of all sorts of evil in the world while another part still gets misty eyed when they sing The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America and believes Americans though far from perfect do a lot of good in the world.

I heard this analysis this morning on Prager's radio show.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sports: D-6 until U$C vs. UCLA

How do the BCS bowls get filled?

Any questions?! 8-)

Here is the projections by CBS Sportsline.

UCLA could throw everything into chaos with the upset of the century over U$C. If so ...
BCS bowl: Ohio State vs. Michigan
Rose bowl: USC vs. LSU
Sugar bowl: Florida vs. Notre Dame
Orange bowl: Wake Forest vs. Louisville
Fiesta bowl: Oklahoma vs. Boise State

Bruin and Wolverine fans are rooting for this scenario!

The victor of the UCLA vs. U$C game gets the "Victory Bell" which according to this UCLA alumni site became part of the rivarly's tradition in 1942.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sports: D-7 until U$C vs. UCLA

UCLA lost to ND 20-17. It was a classic case of UCLA playing prevent defense that prevented them from winning. The soft coverage was supposed to allow the receiver to catch the ball but not be able to run making a modest gain into a big gain. Alas, a couple of missed tackles and UCLA missed its chance for a huge upset win.

Thus, since UCLA played ND close, I had little doubt that USC would crush ND and they did.

UCLA is now the last speed bump on USC's road to the BCS championship game.

What will the odds makers put for the game?

USC by 30? Higher or lower?

UCLA is vulnerable to speedy passing teams and can get pushed around by bigger front lines.

Here are the dismal numbers:
3 TD passes by Oregon along with 276 ground yards
3 TD passes by Washington State and 405 passing yards
3 TD passes by California and 266 passing yards.

How many people believe UCLA can win next Saturday?

Karl Dorrell has his hands up but it is his job to believe they can win.

As a UCLA alum, I want to believe. However, as a realistic sports fan, I know, as Chick Hearn used to say, there are only two chances: slim and none.

UCLA has to have the game of the millennium and USC has to cough up the ball which is what cost them against Oregon State.

I'll be blogging up the hype of the UCLA vs. U$C game all this week.

If UCLA wins, it will be the upset of the Century!

Go Bruins!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Life: Happy Thanksgiving Where Ever You Are!

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Culture: Conservatives - kinder and sexier!

Saw this item by David Frum. Excerpts:
You'll never know who will turn up in Washington to talk politics. On Wednesday, the city was graced by actress Eva Longoria, the sultry star of ABC's Desperate Housewives. Addressing an audience of Latino business leaders, she explained the wide appeal of her show: "Everyone on Wisteria Lane has the money of a Republican, but the sex life of a Democrat."

It's a pretty good joke -- but very poor sociology.
Frum then proceeds to mention various studies that show that the various stereotypes are actually the opposite of what people perceive. He concludes:
If we must have stereotypes, let's at least have accurate ones. Not only are conservatives sexier than liberals -- they are kinder too.
Check out the whole thing.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sports: Ohio State vs. Michigan

That is the huge game on Saturday. Much of local sports radio even in Los Angeles is talking about it.

The odds-makers have Ohio State favored to win by 7 and most of the radio-talking-heads are picking the Buckeyes.

As a follower of college football in California and as a UCLA alum, many of my memories are of the U$C vs. UCLA game which this year won't occur until December 2. Unfortunately, for most of my life, UCLA came out on the losing end of these affairs.

The most memorable college football sports moment in California doesn't involve USC nor UCLA. Rather it was "the play" from the 1982 California-Stanford game. John Elway drove the Stanford team down field in the final minute to take a 20-19 lead on a field goal. Unfortunately, there were still FOUR seconds left on the clock and the team was penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration. Thus, the kickoff was at the Stanford 25 yard line. It was a squibb kick and the rest was history.

To see the (in)famous play, check the Berkely alumni page and click on the links to see the video.

Wikipedia has an entry for the renown episode and recounts it also from the Stanford and the referee perspective.

Obligatory prediction worth every cent you are paying for it: OSU 20 UM 17.

update: Stewart Mandel of thinks UM defense will win the game for them.

Update: It is not even half time and the score is already OSU 21 UM 14. Unless the second half turns into a defensive struggle, they will blow past my 37 point over/under forecast!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sport: Anteaters 67 Gamecocks 52

Just love it when one of the mid-majors beats a team from one of the power conferences!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Life: YS-NYWC Anaheim 2006 - Summary and Index

Last week, I went to the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention in Anaheim, California. It was a tremendous experience.

In sharing about the experience via email with some friends, I wrote this:
Just wanted to say I had a wonderful time at YS-NYWC. I really went into the conference feeling pretty beaten down by life so the times of worship and challenge was much needed. God took a hammer and started to chip away at the many hard-edges in my life. I'm a work in progress and still got a ways to go but it was sooooo good to be reminded that God hasn't stopped working on me.

One of the training sessions I went to on middle school ministry, the speaker had us briefly break out into groups based on age... one cluster of people were the UNDER 20s(!) .... another was 30s .... there was a group of 40somethings (hooray!) ... a clutch of 50ish folks and yup, there was even a few in their 60s! The speaker also showed a photo of one of his volunteers: a 70 year old guy! Anyway, it was a light hearted moment but it just showed me that God use all sorts of people!
Below are other posts I have written regarding YS-NYWC ...

Sights and Sounds





First impressions


If you are in youth ministry, consider going to an event in your area. If you aren't in youth ministry, see if you can encourage your church to support the youth workers in going to a future convention.

Sports: Go 'Eaters ... Zot Zot Zot!!!

The Anteaters opened on the road with a narrow loss to the South Alabama Jaguars.

Expectations aren't too high. The pre-season polls have the Anteaters finishing fourth (coaches poll) and sixth (media poll).

Long Beach and Pacific tied for first in the coaches poll while Long Beach won the media poll.

Meanwhile over in Westwood, expectations are high (too high!) after the unexpected run to the NCAA finals. Bruins open against BYU next Wednesday and I'll be at Pauley! UPDATE: Drat, the tickets fell through...

As for the UCLA football team, it is sad to say but Karl Dorrell maybe turning into the Steven Lavin of the football program. Virtually no one questioned Lavin as a decent human being but many critics felt he was in over his head. The same feeling seems to be in the air about Dorrell.

Friday, November 10, 2006

World: Nothing But Nets

I just donated. I hope you do too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Religion: Theological exam continued, part III

Am going to continue to utilize this item as a jumping off point for another blog post.

What are some objections to the doctrine of verbal inspiration?

The postmodern objection would be that matters of history suffer distortion due to cultural bias and temporal distance. The atheist would object that inspiration invokes a God who is not proven to exist. However, of course, if we assume God exists and God wants to be known through the vehicle of written text then God should be competent to "inspire" human authors. But even this line does run into a problem: how do we recognize out of a pile of writings claimed to be inspired what truly is inspired? We have 66 books in our English Bibles. Is it theoretically possible that we have included material that was not truly inspired? Is it theoretically possible that we have excluded material that was inspired? I freely acknowledge that it is an article of faith that what we have is inspired. In the case of the New Testament, there is some rational basis for the inclusion of the 27 books such as proximity to Jesus and the apostles and wide acceptance by the early church. As for the Old Testament, as Christians, we trust that the record of God's interaction with the Jewish people were retained in the works of Moses (Torah), the prophets and the other writings. But in the end, it is an assertion of faith.

Is it essential that inspiration extend to every word in the Bible? Why?

Hard to say. The main Hebrew text we use to translate into English is the Masoretic text. It has consonants and vowel points. However, vowel points were not part of the written language for much of the history of written Hebrew. Thus, are the vowel points inspired?

Additionally, the Gospel accounts we have do not always use the exact same words in parallel accounts of what Jesus said. Today, we have video and audio tape and can make exact transcripts. 2000 years ago, it was an oral culture where word-for-word accuracy was not possible. However, they were still highly motivated to preserve what Jesus said. For an excellent discussion of how preservation can occur reliably without word-for-word accuracy, check out this item by Mark D. Roberts.

What do we mean when we speak of unity and diversity in the Bible?

The Bible is a unity in that God is behind the diversity of human authors through inspiration. Each author wrote in his time and circumstance (diversity) yet they all point to (unity) the same God and the consistent message of God's holiness, mercy and desire to have a relationship with us.

What do we mean when we speak of the historical interpretation of the Bible?

I suppose that could be the study of how through history the Bible is interpreted. With 2000 years of church history, it is quite likely that in different eras a certain mode of interpretation may have been more prevalent. Some passages are probably so clear that there hasn't been much debate over the centuries. However, some passages that are less clear will have had a diversity of opinion through time. Perhaps the idea is related to the importance of understanding the historical-cultural context of a given text before an interpetation is ventured.

What are the basic principles of theological interpretation of the Bible?

Since I haven't taken a theology class I can only offer a guess! If we believe that God is behind the Scriptures then we would believe there should be a unity of theology in all its individual parts. If some of the foundational ideas are the holiness of God and the redemption through Christ then these lay out the core from which other ideas would refer back to.

Disclaimer: I'm a molecular biologist not a theologian! However, I do want to have a thoughful approach to my beliefs.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Politics: It was a pretty big wave

It seems once a decade there is a shift in the political landscape.

It seems to be an inevitable reality of political life that the party in power gets complacent and the voters toss them out. So even though I'm a GOP supporter, I'm not all that surprised or worried.

I'm old enough to remember the Reagan victory in 1980 which swept in a GOP Senate. I was not yet old enough to vote that year but I followed the coverage eagerly.

I remember 1994 when the GOP took both House and Senate.

Well, last night, 2006, the Democrats regained the House and Senate.

Technically, the Senate will be 49D, 49R and 2I. I am assuming that Allen will not contest the election in Virginia and that seat is indeed lost to the GOP.

The 2 independents could make things interesting. The current assumption (a fair one) is that both Sanders (VT) and Lieberman (CT) will join the Democrats in procedural matters of constituting the leadership of the Senate. I suspect Sanders who I heard is a socialist will probably stick with the Democrats under most conceivable circumstances. However, I do have to wonder though if Lieberman is telling the Democrat leadership quietly, don't get crazy or I'll do a Jeffords on you guys and throw the Senate back to the Republicans. I don't think Lieberman would do so out of revenge for the fact that the party threw him under the bus for Lamont as he doesn't seem like that kind of person. However, if, on substance, he sees the party going looney left on national security issues, I think he would jump ship for the sake of the country.

The key thing is how the Democrats use their newly obtained power. Will the next two years be productive ones or years that the locusts of political payback chew up?

Meanwhile, Rummy has announced his resignation.

My guts tell me that that resignation letter was written weeks if not months ago. The Bush family is famous for its loyalty and W would not sack the SecDef before the election as it would look too much like tossing the controversial figure overboard to save his own political fortunes.

UPDATE: Some GOP supporters are saying Bush should have accepted and announced the resignation weeks/months ago and that maybe that might have helped a few of the close races in Congress.

We shall see what else happens in the next few weeks in response to the shaken up political etch-a-sketch.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Culture: God Blog Conference 2006 - Saturday Morning Session

The Saturday morning sessions at GodBlogCon 2006 was devoted to some small group sessions with practical training.

I attended the session on web design presented by Kevin Wang of Zeit Studios.

Kevin gave some perspective thoughts about blogging that go beyond the design of the page by saying, "Design in not merely ornamentation and bloggers are more than minds."

He said the main goal of the blogger has to be establishing trust with her/his audience. There are three components a person must sense before the trust someone.
(1) They must believe the other person is concerned.
(2) They must believe the other person is competent. i.e. they know what they are doing.
(3) They must believe the other person is capable. i.e. demonstration of ability beyond the theoretical.

God is maximally all of these three things.

As bloggers who are followers of Christ, we need to cultivate those traits in our lives.

In terms of design concepts, Kevin's mantra is: "Share with the rich and sell to the poor."

What he meant is that some in your audience are "rich" in the sense they are, for whatever reason, already sympathetic to what you have to say. Others are "poor" in that they are not quite ready to trust what you have to say.

As such, your web layout on the main page at the top has to keep in mind these two ideas. For the "rich" you want to make it easier for them to find more of your content. For the "poor" you need one or two key items to hopefully "sell" yourself to them as worth trusting.

A fairly common layout is the top part of the page having a navigation bar where the "rich" can easily access more of your content. On the right is often the "about me" section where the "poor" can check you out and see if they will gain more confidence about what you have to say.

Generally, people's eyes are drawn to the right. Thus, stuff you might want to carry more weight with the reader you may want to put on the right hand side.

In terms of color usage, not surprisingly, red draws attention while blue is more pleasant.

Kevin asked the bloggers to share their URLs so we can all see them on the projection screen.

James Kushner asked for some input on the two blogs he is involved with:
Mere Comments - I see they have already taken to heart some of Kevin's suggestions! The layout we saw on Saturday had some ads that you couldn't quite tell were ads.
Salvo - This is a case where the designers knew the impression they wanted to make right off the bat. It looks really intellectual! And it is supposed to be! Kevin roamed around the site and suggested they clean up some of the flash animation menus and it looks like they have done so.

Ted Slater writes for The Line. I met Motte Brown on Friday night who also writes for this blog. In any case, Kevin liked their layout: clean and easy to get around. I have to say though, tonight, when I clicked some items on the navigation bar, the links are dead. I don't know if it is uust me or they have been tinkering with the site. I'll have to email them about it.

Elizabeth Taylor writes over at Daily Inklings. She has made some changes to her layout. Looks like she has gone with a much simpler template. Very neat, very clean.

Carnivorousfish is a new blogger and chose a simple template. Kevin recommends beginning bloggers use the pre-made templates. He said they are put together by people with good design sense following many of the guidelines he mentioned.

The last part of the time together was a roundtable discussion. The main idea to come out of that was that "war" metaphors might not be the best ones to describe what it means to be a Christian blogger. St. Paul uses a metaphor of the armor of God and there are definitely times when Christians will defend a point of view, correct an error or advocate an idea. However, many other metaphors exist in the Bible to describe the kingdom of God such as sower/seed/soil, fishers of men, the church as a body. Thus, Christians who blog can see themselves in that light rather than "lone snipers."

All felt that what makes a Christian blog is content. In the final analysis, if we are striving to be more Christ-like in real life than that should translate into the content and manner by which we blog. What many felt could be developed was more community building. Just as in real life we have people we are a part of in our actual churches, we might strive to make some more efforts in building small communities with other bloggers.

We acknowledged that there is a tension between trying to combine efforts with some structure and individual creativity. Another tension is fostering community with bloggers of different flavors of Christianity yet not diluting the definitions such that outright error is accepted.

All in all a terrific conference. I felt encouraged. It is great to see the people behind the blogs. Had some nice conversations with some local bloggers like Brenda who summarized the conference nicely, in this post. Over dinner, I had the chance to talk with Brant who has posted detailed summaries of the panels at GodBlogCon (just scroll down a bit on his main page).

Also quite enjoyable were conversations with the youthful and energetic students of the Torrey Institute. I feel better about the future knowing these folks will be taking their training and passion to the world in a handful of years.

Hats off to the organizers Dustin and Kevin! Good job!!