July 27, 2006

A new Arena?

Jason and Tony, thanks for letting us know about Arena. We're very interested.

July 23, 2006

Reflections on the TYPO3 Conference

I previously posted about the TYPO3 Conference, but wanted to expand on it a bit. Thinking back on the event re-affirms my excitement to be a part of the Web Empowered Church ministry. This was the second conference, and the second opportunity I had to meet Kasper Skårhøj, the creator of the TYPO3 CMF. Kasper is a character, and a great individual with a strong passion for quality and perfection.

This year, Kasper was in good spirit from becoming a new dad just a few months earlier, but was also excited to renew his connection with WEC. In the past, Kasper expressed how he struggled with the motivation to continue maintaining TYPO3, as it was not a perfect fit for his desires as it was earlier in time. At this years conference, he expressed how deeply connected he now felt to the WEC ministry, and how he wished to contribute more than was able. When he released TYPO3 in the open source world his vision was brining it to the church world, enabling them to perform ministry on the web with ease and ability. It seems WEC has been formed to help push the ball over that goal line. His motivation was renewed with TYPO3 being brought to the church like he initially envisioned.

At the same time, those of us performing WEC tasks have become much more knowledgeable in TYPO3, not leaning so heavily on the TYPO3 community to make progress, and we are giving back to the community more. The WEC ministry is now in full swing, more capable than ever, and more supported than I ever imagined by Kaspers personal commitment who believes it a God match.

So coming back to my reflections, I am excited to be a part of WEC for all of these reasons. God brought me to Church of the Resurrection five years ago for some purpose, and although I don't feel worthy, I believe it was to do my part to bring WEC & TYPO3 to churches. It is exciting to be a team mate with these individuals, and partner with those supporting WEC. I'm looking forward to what the future will bring and where God will lead us.

July 17, 2006

Blackbaud's open API

In a post last week, Tony Dye quoted Blackbaud's CTO regarding their open API. I hope other ChMS vendors are reading Tony's blog and took note of that post.

I'm done with Pluck

I'm done with Pluck.

Last summer when I began blogging and reading blogs on a regular basis, I surveyed the available RSS readers and ended up liking and using Pluck. I liked Pluck because it integrates with IE and it allows me to mark posts as read so at any time I can come back and see easily the unread posts.

Unfortnately, Pluck has been neglected. It hasn't been updated since last November and now certain bugs are really starting to bug me. Recently I realized that Pluck was missing new posts in some of my favorite blogs. It also frequently has errors reading feeds, which show up as messages I have to mark as read.

I tried Bloglines, which is cool, but it won't import my OPML and I don't have the patience to re-subscribe to all of my feeds in Bloglines.

I'm playing around with Vista beta 2 and Office 2007 beta 2. Vista comes with IE 7 with its built-in RSS reader. So that's my new reader, at least for now. Goodbye Pluck, I'm sorry to leave but you let me down.

July 02, 2006

United Methodist Worship, North Carolina Style

This past Sunday morning the Web Empowered Church team attended two churches to give our guest, Kasper, a taste of different worship services here in North Carolina, US. First we attended the Long's Chapel UMC worship service. This was a modern church building which extended off an original stone building. The sanctuary felt new, with pews on an angled floor, and a beautiful wooden roof having a look of yellow pine. The roof was flat, and angled upward from the corners of the room up to a square center, which raised up to let light in through small windows at the top. It reminded my wife and I of a Catholic sanctuary we visited last year while we were in Wisconsin. Both created a beautiful vertical space that gave a very personal feel to the room, and left you with a sense of awe.

The service was contemporary, with songs that were thoroughly approved by my wife, and we had the pleasure of witnessing a baptism. Everything had a touch of Southern style to it, which is hard to describe here in words other than "a comfort of home." This was the weekend before Independence Day, so the theme was patriotic, along with the sermon. The pastor spoke about church and politics, Chucks favorite topics I might add, and mentioned Jesus' response to paying taxes, "Give to Caesar what is Caesars, and give to God what is Gods." The message, as it should be - simple, hold God above all things in your heart.

The second service we attended was at the Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska, through the South Eastern Jurisdiction. The auditorium was an open gathering hall, originally constructed with a tin roof and sawdust floor. The building we were in now was more modern than that, but still considered strange, with a very high wood roof and this large white structure coming out of the middle, descending down into the center from the ceiling. The only way to describe this thing was it looked it like it could sprout legs and walk off like a some version of the mechanical beast from the movie, Wild, Wild West. The sides of the building were very open, with fans hanging down to cool the inside temperature.

Other than the distraction of analysing the strange structure, I thought the service had a well seasoned choir, and the speaker of the week was William Willimon. He did use some "churchy" words in the sermon, and lightly dusted the sermon with dry humor about the disagreements between liberal and conservative churches regarding whether the Christian church needed a full body resurrection to believe in Christ. It was delivered in good taste, with no names mentioned.

It was wonderful to be able to experience not one but two Sunday services, both of which my wife attended and survived to my surprise, and something I'll be able to remember quite a while.