...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

August 30, 2004 Back from Trip!

A very productive one indeed. I was able to get Ma Smith home, went to Southern Seminary for a meeting with the assistant Admissions director and got all my questions answered. Whew! We talked about the development of online courses to supplement the seventeen or so they have up and running. I was surprised to learn most are CD Rom based. Pretty old technology, and a talking head pedagogy at that.

Then I went to the one day course with Edward Tufte. It was what it was. I think he is very bright and cogent but perhaps mired in a modernist paradigm. He revealed himself to be a champion of the enlightenment and scientific methodologies as the way to truth. He talked for two hours, took a ten minute break, talked two more hours with perhaps a total of a dozen images to support his narrative. He relied heavily on his books which I had already digested, and didn't have a Q and A time. After lunch on our own he went another 2 and one half hours.

There are lots of abstracts of this course on the web, and I always wondered why they were not full of visuals. The lectures were not either- lots of references to the books, which have images on every page. Here's an example and a second one.

He is a real sage on a stage. I hope to blog more on what he covered- his premises and such as I expect to have evening time this week since Earnie is at her Mom's. I don't agree with all of what he contends. He did sign books. No personal inscriptions, please. Strange- he asked everyone in line what they did and why they were there, but when I approached, smiling, he ducked his head and didn't ask. Weird. I complimented his sculpture on his website and moved on.

I saw five wrecks in the Louisville area on the way home. Is it possible that the traffic there is worse than anywhere I have lived?

Louisville now has its own Half Price Books on Hurstbourne Lane- and it is the nicest one I have ever seen apart from the flagship store in Dallas. I think they front- loaded it with good books for the grand opening, because I found some real deals. I even stayed under budget. I always got better deals on trade ins in Dallas though. I took by the Tufte books, still in shrink wrap (I already had a couple of copies apiece of them) and they offered me $8.50 for two- about ten percent of the cover price. So I will find someone who would appreciate them instead and give 'em away.

Everywhere I went, storms followed. That added to the anxiety of the truckers driving 80 mph, but I made it in spite of the challenge.

I have yet to find a way of manifesting grace in those situations.

I enjoyed seeing the Louisville downtown area and saw part of the Louisville citywide campaign called Gallopalooza in which civic-minded organizations have sponsored 200 artistically rendered sculptures.

Gallopalooza is a celebration of horses, artists, tradition and creativity.  It captures all the excitement of past, present and future Kentucky Derby races and continues to spread it across Louisville Metro throughout the summer of 2004. 

At one point I looked up at the Humana Building and had a rush of Déja Vu- I refurbished the original model for that building way back in 1987 for Michael Graves Architects, and seeing it again up close was neat.

Meet Tomcat Staley, the lovingest stray I ever met. Here he is curled up on Earnie's lap. I fear he may get tangled up under Ma Smith's feet so I hope he moves to my Sister in Law's house soon.

Our sunflowers are glorious! I was amazed at how much they grew while I was gone. Unfortunately, so did the grass.

Bees, bugs, and butterflies are in attendance and as soon as they go to seed I expect the Goldfinches to join the party!

More Tufte

I want to highlight some of what was said in the course from notes on the web and my own notes. A key thing I DID agree with is that the best metaphor for presentations is NOT the hierarchies of software companies but rather TEACHING. I just disagree on how that metaphor is defined. All that is said below was advanced as pertinent to good teaching as well as presentations. Note that I DO NOT agree with all his premises. More on that to come.

Best Practices for PRESENTATIONS

* Show up early—something good is bound to happen. Say hello, give out your handout, advance your cause.

* Start with what the problem is, who should care and why, and what your solution is.

* A must--Give everyone a piece of paper (high resolution)—leave traces—something for them to take home, show to others—show they can hold you responsible for what you told them.Talking is not the most efficient way to communicate – terrible way to transmit information. It takes 21 minutes to read 3/4 of the front page of the NY Times aloud = average time of a news show. A series of charts someone can refer to will avoid forcing them to memorize everything you say and keep it on the screen.

* Transfer information—without it, why have the meeting?

* Confirm a piece of the audience's prior knowledge to increase credibility.

* Never apologize for yourself. Distracts from content, impacts credibility.

* To explain complex concepts, go from the particular to the general to the particular. Contexturalize to reinforce the particular. Give an information payoff right away.

* Give everybody at least one piece of paper (high resolution) to take home.

* We can do a lot better than overheads – low resolution, leave no traces, bullets = sloppy thinking, often filled with noble/generic goals, leaving out the important part that will cause things to happen. “Powerpoint subtracts from the total sum of the worlds' knowledge.”

* Your audience deserves endless respect—don't use the “keep it simple stupid” principle—your colleagues are enormously selective and probably care about the content and are on your side. Assume they care as much about the subject as you do and are just as smart.

* No one who patronizes or distrusts readers can write decently.

* Say what you think.

* Use humor to change the pace, make it memorable, quickly reinforce or extend a point. Allows hyperbole. Be careful—don't insult, don't be nasty—alienates audience.

* Use gender-neutral language (vs. testeronic interface of masculine pronouns). It is okay to use singular and plural in speech (the user – they)—avoid accidents of gender.

* If you believe it, let people know. Let them see your enthusiasm. use gestures, get off the stage.

* Practice, practice, practice, in front of a friend or videocamera.

* Avoid placeholders (uh, you know, basically...).

* Don't get dehydrated.

* Finish early--something good is bound to happen, and you will thrill your audience. “None ever wished it longer.” (Samuel Johnson on Milton's Paradise Lost)

* Get better content. It's all about content—quality, relevance and integrity.

It is a widely held misconception that the familiar dictum "First, do no harm" comes from the Hippocratic Oath

However, the Hippocratic Oath does not and never did contain those words. It expresses a sentiment similar in general meaning, but never employs the words "First, do no harm."

It is the opinion of many scholars that Hippocrates did, in fact, originate the phrase, but in another of his writings, Epidemics, Bk. I, Sect. XI. One translation reads:

"Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things‹to help, or at least to do no harm."

It is true that "First, do no harm" is expressed "Primum non nocere" in Latin, but Hippocrates wrote in his native Greek. The Latin, then, is not the origin of the phrase, and no one seems to know for sure who coined the Latin. It is a translation of the original Greek, perhaps, but some sources attribute "Primum non nocere" to the Roman physician, Galen.

Inquiring minds wnt to know. Here is a link to more info on "The Caduceus vs the Staff of Asclepius" and you can find a bit at the bottom on Nehushtan.

SBC Leader Warns Church About Islam's Conquest of Europe

Allie Martin, AgapePress

An official with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention says if Christians fail to respond to the spread of Islam, it will eventually become the dominant religion throughout Europe. The IMB's Chris Mills notes that indigenous Europeans have low birth rates, while many of the immigrant populations that are moving into the region have high birthrates. Therefore, he says, it is only a matter of time before the nations of Western Europe begin to experience a shift in the balance of culture and world view. Mills, who made his comments on Mission Network News, says while increased opportunities for sharing the gospel abound, many European Christians are simply not acting on them. In fact, he notes, many times as Muslims move into an area, Christians move away. "Rather than reaching out to the neighbors, they're running." The result of this trend is that more and more of the continent is being conceded to Islam," Mills says. The SBC official notes that "Islam is the fastest growing religion in Western Europe." He warns of a growing need for Christian missionaries in Europe if the rapid spread of Islam is to be countered.

Missionary Couple Slain in California

Agape Press

Reports suggest the execution-style killings of a Christian missionary couple in California last week may have been a hate crime. Police are going door-to-door in the coastal town of Jenner, seeking clues to the murders of 23-year-old Lindsay Cutshall of Ohio and 26-year-old Jason Allen of Michigan. The two, who were set to be married next month, were found shot to death in their sleeping bags on a beach near Jenner last Wednesday. The couple had been working together as counselors at a summer youth camp.. Warren Dayton, whose son worked with the slain couple, speculates they may have spoken with their killer. "They could have even been witnessing to him, and ... maybe he's going to come to the Lord," Dayton says. "Of course, a lot of prayers are going up for that murderer." Meanwhile, Pastor Chris Cutshall, who had planned to officiate at his daughter's wedding next month, says despite the tragedy he is nevertheless "grateful to God for taking our children home."

Seven Lessons from Richard Foster

Todd Hunter blogs
about what he has learned from Renovare and Richard Foster.

Lesson 1: Always stay light on your feet. Effective ministry does not require huge overheads from the costs of buildings and people. While I understand that Richard is a unique person, few have had his impact and done it "light on their feet". It really can work.

Lesson 2: Always focus on being a movement: Avoid the forces of institutionalization that depersonalizes or at worst chews people up. Organism is to be preferred over organization; but organization is not "bad". Just stay dynamic and nimble; only have the minimum structure necessary.

Lesson 3: Always attend to the soul"s growth in grace: Distractions to this abound; even religious distractions. Richard says "we evaluate everything with the simple question: will this help people grow in grace?"

Lesson 4: Always center on life in the Kingdom of God: The advance of Jesus and his Kingdom comes first. Always. We must decrease that Jesus and his Kingdom can increase.

Lesson 5: Always prefer people over programs: What really helps and enhances the lives of people" This is the question Renovare asks. If we are pushing ourselves, or staff or our volunteers too hard we back off. We should never have to disobey the way Christ taught us to live in order to do the work God has given us to do.

Lesson 6: Always trust the Spirit, never the flesh: By "flesh", Richard means humanly initiated activity without any reference to God. Richard often critiques Renovare's work by asking "how much of what has happened at a certain event cannot be explained by our skill or brain power, or how was our skill and brain power used in ways that is beyond us"

Lesson 7: Always follow the passion: Before launching a new initiative, Renovare always waits until someone demonstrates passion. This requires discipline and patience. They have at times waited for years for the right person, passion and resources to come together. Then they step out in faith."

Missionary Dating --Sounds like another Urban legend to me...but maybe not.

Date To Save gives "offer your body as a living sacrifice" new meaning. Let me knoiw if you think this one is fake...

Verses, foiled again!

Got another Urban Legend in the box from a well meaning friend. Did Kerry say his favorite verse was John 16:3? Did Gore? Did Bush? As" lovers of truth" I wish Christians would get it together...

Pastors Grapple with Issue of Immodest Clothing at Church

The president of the American Decency Association says pastors around the U.S. have been voicing their concerns about the immodest dress they are seeing in their churches. Bill Johnson, who recently distributed an e-mail message addressing the issue, says the Church needs to counter this trend primarily because Christians worship a holy God. "[A]s we come to the house of God on a weekly basis, [we need to recognize] that we are there primarily to bring glory and honor to His name," Johnson says. "It isn't about our attire, and it certainly isn't about self." According to Johnson, numbers of people are expressing "great concern" that individuals -- both young and old -- are not giving much thought to how they come before a holy God and worship Him. Distractions caused by immodest dress can detract from a person's worship experience. Johnson says a true Christian would not knowingly contribute to the downfall of another.

So is this legalism or NOT? What do you think? Who is responsible for the lust of the eyes? Is modesty even a viable notion in our culture? Are we to look different?

Carb Counters Conspiracy?


Krispy Kreme donuts appear to be feeling the weight of the carb cut down. They are off from last year by 56 percent in the second quarter.

For my friends who will certainly want to rectify this...you must take action NOW...

Vapor trails of the moon

I saw this on the way to work this morning. With the Earth's rotation, time of day, winds, and the plane's flight pattern all coming into play it's no wonder I do not ever remember seeing this before. Like most things pertaining to how and what we see, it's all a matter of perpective.

Get your own

Chris Matthews bobble head. Or if you'd rather , the Pope. Who sculpts these things anyway? They don't look like 'em in my opinion...

And of course, where do retired Bobble Heads go to...?

The Passion of the Christ sells over 4 Million copies on it's first day in stores.

Terribly bad pun of the day...

You may have seen this already... ... but I hadn't.

Israeli police are looking for a German citizen named Joseph, wanted for warehouse pilfering at the Port of Haifa. The suspect is described as tall and blond, the son of an ex-nun from Barcelona. He was a former flutist, and worked occasionally as a farmer. According to the latest bulletin, they are looking for a Haifa-lootin, flutin' Teuton, son of a nun from Barcelona, part-time plowboy Joe.

September 02, 2004 Is the RNC more secular than the DNC?

From the CT weblog: "Since Republicans actually love God-talk, it stood to reason that their convention would be a veritable revival meeting," says Beliefnet editor Steven Waldman. "Instead, it's been more like an ACLU retreat, at least in terms of the use of religious rhetoric from the top speakers. None of the marquee acts on the first two nights so much as threw in a Bible passage. Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were downright Pentecostal compared to John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Olford Obituary

Stephen Olford died this week.

Stephen Olford, a champion of expository preaching and a mentor to many evangelical leaders, died Aug. 29 at age 86 after suffering a massive stroke.

Recently, two Southern Baptist seminaries formed partnerships with Olford Ministries for doctor of ministry in expository preaching degrees. A partnership with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., began in 2003 and gave students the opportunity to study under Olford during a weeklong seminar in Memphis. A similar partnership with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., began this year.

Born in Zambia as a son of missionaries, Olford hosted the weekly radio show "Encounter," which is heard on Christian radio stations in the United States, Canada and overseas. He was educated in England and wrote several books, including "Anointed Expository Preaching," co-written with his son and ministry partner, David, who is president of Olford Ministries International

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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/