Alabama Shakes on Conan

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

More on Alabama Shakes here.

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Power, Politics, Partisanship


Posted on by Michael Carpenter

spacer A few quotes from Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity that provided me some relief in all of this season power plays and political rhetoric.

The problem with our “change the world” rhetoric is that it is too often a thinly veiled grasp for power and a quest for dominance – things that are antithetical to the way Jesus calls his disciples to live.

Our task is not to protest the world into certain moral conformity, but to attract the world to the saving beauty of Christ. We do this best, not by protest or political action, but by enacting a beautiful presence within the world.

Political partisanship costs us [the church] our prophetic voice. We end up a tool on one side, an enemy to the other, and prophetic to neither.

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OK Go – Needing/Getting

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

OK Go set up over 1000 instruments over two miles of desert outside Los Angeles. A Chevy Sonic was outfitted with retractable pneumatic arms designed to play the instruments, and the band recorded this version of Needing/Getting, singing as they played the instrument array with the car.

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Values Based Business



The development of Seventh Generation’s global imperatives began with a question: What is Seventh Generation uniquely able to do that the world most needs? It’s a question that lies at the heart of our beliefs about the purpose and possibility of business.


While that may seem reaching for a new church plant looking to open a coffee shop. But is it?

Read more HERE about the imperatives that drive us. Let us know what you think in the comments.

What are the imperatives that guide you as a follower of Jesus in your vocation?

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The Embrace of Unknowing

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

What if the significant difference is not between those who know the secret of the universe and those who don’t, but rather between those who do not know the secret but who acknowledge this unknowing and those who do not know the secret but who refuse to face up to their unknowing?

Peter Rollins

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The Missing Links

Posted on by Michael Carpenter


A roundup of links floating around the interwebs that you may of missed this week.

Syke Jethani interviews Rob Bell

An interview about work, mission, and why some Christians throw crap parties. Agree or disagree with his point of view, Bell knows how to stir conversation. And there is one thing about Love Wins we cannot dismiss- how we think about the future shapes how we live in the present.

Why You Should Postpone College

“Having access to an education is just the entry fee. To really learn something (as opposed to completing homework and navigating the occasional test), you have to be ready to receive that knowledge—to inhale it, with aggression, satisfaction, even glee.”

When is a Mall just a Mall? The Complexity of Reading Cultural Practices

When is a mall just a mall and when does it become an act of idolatry? Recent works by two prominent Christian scholars provide very different accounts of how to understand everyday cultural practices, such as a trip to the mall.

What people talk about before they die

A hospice chaplain writes about what people talk about just before dying.

“What do people who are sick and dying talk about with the chaplain? Mostly, they talk about their families: about their mothers and fathers, their sons and daughters. They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally.”

Goldfish Salvation

When struggling with artistic vision, Fukahori’s pet goldfish became his inspiration and ever since his passion and lifelong theme. His unique style of painting uses acrylic on clear resin which is poured into containers, resulting in a three-dimensional appearance and lifelike vitality.

This video gives you a glimpse of his amazing painting process.

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A Football Fan For a Day

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

I’m not a fan in any sense fo the word. In fact, I had to ask a friend who is playing in the Super Bowl. I have other interests and have never understood the obsession. Have you ever stopped and thought about where a quarterback has to put his hands?


But I will be a fan for one day for one single purpose which has been pointed out to me as obvious as the nose on my face by Barnabas Piper – People.

He writes:

…go to a Super Bowl party. Or host one. Or crash one. Just be a part of what people are doing! It doesn’t matter that you don’t like football, don’t care about football, or don’t know about football. Share the food, enjoy the commercials, cringe at the halftime show, and give a football fan the opportunity to show off his knowledge of the game.

As Christians, we are called to love people, to know them well, to care about them. We’re also called to be in community.

spacer So I will find a party to crash. Probably at Margo’s Catfish Diner Deli and Grocery. It is next door to my house after all.

What are your Super Bowl plans?

Are you an obsessed fan or indifferent?

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Check Your Perverted Motives

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

spacer Often aspiring church planters have rather perverted or underdeveloped motives for seeking to plant a church.

Cody C. Lorance offers 3 perverted motives for planting a church.

1. Church-Splitting

Let’s say that you find yourself as something of a de facto leader of a group in an existing church that is for one reason or another antagonistic towards another group (perhaps even the majority) in that same church. Your group wants to “plant a church” essentially in order to get out from under the thumb or away from the conflict with the others. This is called church-splitting and should not be confused with church planting.

2. Christian-Clubbing

No! Not opening a christianized/sanitized version of a club in your city. In this situation, you put forth a vision for starting a certain kind of church (i.e. house church, mega church, postmodern church, cowboy church, or whatever) simply for the sake of having such a church. This however is not really church planting but rather a kind of Christian club-making that is motivated more by the self-interest, curiosity, or angst of the aspiring church planter rather than by Kingdom growth.

3. Just Get Busy For Jesus

Church planting, particularly in North America, has become something of a trendy thing. There is a sense in which it has become the default avenue of Christian service for young, North American Christian leaders. Want to do something for Jesus? Why not plant a church?

Be sure to read the entire article by clicking here.

What else would you add?


Anglican 1000, 10 Ways NOT to Plant a Church

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Little Rock Sister Cities

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

spacer Changchun, China
Hanam City, South Korea
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK
Pachuca, Mexico
Ragusa, Italy

Not places one usually thinks of when they hear “Little Rock.” Yet these are her sister cities.

According to the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission’s web site:

The Little Rock Sister Cities Commission works to foster relationships between Little Rock and its Sister Cities to promote mutual cross-cultural understanding and exchanges. The commission will cultivate this environment by serving as a conduit for potential business and educational collaboration and offering unique experiences in international arts and culture.

Now imagine local churches engaging in this natural rhythm of relationships in order to develop long-term global partnerships.

Marketplace leaders in your church participating in economic development and cultural exchange.

Educators engaging in the marketplace of ideas.

Artists walking with other artists fostering conversation around beauty and the gospel.

Youth traveling to one of these cities to serve as an ambassador.

Billy Mitchell on The Upstream Collective blog puts it this way:

Put practical feet on this great concept by finding those in your city who are passionate about a laser-focused, long-term global partnership with a city for the Kingdom’s sake. This might start with people in your church family, but does not need to be restricted to them; this is about the church of your city advancing the Kingdom in a global city.

All too often, we look at the sea of need in the world and become overwhelmed and do nothing or attempt to do everything and thereby accomplish nothing. Therefore, why not simply participate in the established rhythms of global engagement in your city.

Click HERE for a directory of sister cities organized by state.

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The Missing Links

Posted on by Michael Carpenter


A roundup of links floating around the interwebs that you may of missed this week.

Our Problem Is Authoritarianism and Not Legalism

I used to think the problem in modern Christianity was legalism. I was wrong. I now see that some Christians flaunt their freedom and taunt their foes while other Christians consult their legal formulas and insult their libertine friends. One man’s freedom is another man’s sin, but both groups suffer from a much larger problem. The church of Jesus Christ in the 21st century is losing its power because of an infatuation with authority. It is authoritarianism, not legalism, that has become the biggest challenge Christians face.

…Back to (a Theology of) Work We Go!

…the missional approach relies on a young adult’s spare time, extra resources, and expendable energy. It doesn’t capture a core identity issue the way family-based ministries do. When a church helps a 40-year-old mother with her struggling marriage and anxiety-driven parenting, it is applying Christian faith to the center of her life and identity. Missional ministries that try to engage a single 30-year-old don’t accomplish this because they ignore what’s at the center of his life to nibble at the margins. And what is at the center for most young adults? Vocation.

Sister Cities: Fort Bragg & Otsuchi, Japan

Thousand of miles divide Otsuchi, Japan, from Fort Bragg, CA., but they were sister cities. What can we learn from these cities about the Kingdom, global engagement and the practice of giving ourselves away?

The “Ten Commandments” of American Culture

Here are ten very common sayings that will help you understand ten key American cultural values. I call them the “Ten Commandments of American Culture” even though they are not really “commandments.” They have no religious or moral authority like the “Ten Commandments” of the Bible do for Jews and Christians. However, if you break any of these “cultural commandments,” many Americans might think you do not fit very well in America.

2011, The Year in Photos from the IMB

What does God’s heart look like? Perhaps the joy on the face of a newly baptized Japanese believer in the wake of a killer earthquake. His hands? Maybe a worker comforting a starving child in Central Asia. His voice? An Egyptian Christian woman worshipping amid tumultuous political changes. See images of 2011 captured by IMB photographers as they trace a year of God’s presence in places filled with darkness and light.

A Space Oddity

Newt Gingrich takes his South Carolina primary Newt-mentum down to Florida and reveals his plan to build a permanent U.S. moon base by 2020.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

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