Yeti Drum Clip

Yeti Drum Clip by jimmyeatworld

Here’s a drum clip recorded with the Yeti into GarageBand. I used compression with no additional EQ and no verb (my office is pretty “roomy”). The mics was set on the stereo pattern setting. I’m really happy with this. WAY better than the Snowball.

Virtual Church Debate Round-Up (and why I’m partially wrong on the matter)

There has been a fair amount of conversation floating around the web lately regarding the proposed validity of “virtual church.” Doug Estes, author of the book Sim Church, posted a defense of virtual church on the Out of Ur blog. Scot Mcknight chimed in on his blog. Nick from the Nick and Josh podcast asked me to take part in a little conversation about the matter. Bob Hyatt has provided the most thoughtful push back on this issue, raising questions that the most notable proponents of virtual church seem to just push aside, as to not even acknowledge Bob’s effective critique.

It’s been great to read all the varying opinions while processing this issue. It’s an issue that clearly exposes a fundamental shift in the way the usefulness web has altered the way we perceive and experience relationships. Through it all I’ve found a little bit of a change of heart in how I view the validity of virtual church.

I do believe that this push for the validation of virtual church truly comes from good intention and a longing to serve the needs of others. Doug Estes seems to be coming at this from a more evangelical strategy. For him it seems to be a matter of simple math. There are millions of people who spend 40 plus hours surfing the web each week and how can we convert them while not requiring them to actually join a local church community. As if encouraging folks to go to a join a local church community is a cruel “colonization” of a lost soul. It’s an argument that says that the conversion experience should be one of ease and convenience. This begs the question, is the Gospel message itself one of convenience?

But there is another aspect of this that I hadn’t really considered before until I began a back and forth with Kimberly, a pastor of the virtual church Koinonia found in the virtual, web based world of Second Life. You can read the back and forth here. The blog comments led to a video chat between myself and Kimberly that gave me a more full understanding of what this community is all about. Koinonia is a small community of folks where more than half of the congregation are GLBT. They have found something profound in their experience in Koinonia that they simply haven’t found in “first life” church communities. While many members of Koinonia do participate in first life church community, there is an aspect of this virtual church that serves the desperation of folks who’ve been deeply wounded by their previous church experience. In many ways, it serves as a spiritual triage for folks who’ve no where else to go. As a pastor, Kimberly comes along side these folks and enforces to them that they are accepted and loved by God and the community. As you might imagine, this very well may be the first time a congregant of Koinonia has ever experienced such a feeling. As a white, married, heterosexual male, I could never pretend to understand the obstacles that gays have experienced in the Church so I regret that my previous critique of virtual church never really took this into consideration. I can say with great confidence that the (C)hurch is much better off with the Koinonia community doing what it does. If Kimberly senses that one of the congregants is hoping for a first life community that resembles their experience at Koinonia, she does what she can to research and help them find a local community for them to try out.

The overall fear I still have is that while these kinds of options can be very helpful for folks, we are not paying attention to the way the web is altering the way we fundamentally view relationships. We can all agree that our most important, meaningful relationships are at their best when physical proximity is an essential value. We don’t talk about virtual parenting or virtual marriage as valid forms of relationships. I think the same should be said for the Church. The web burns into our conscience an ethic that if we don’t like something we can just delete, unfollow, or edit out of our lives. It sells us the notion that we deserve an experience that is 100% deferential to our preferences. While I don’t desire to argue over the semantics of what is and isn’t church, I still believe the push back on the unblinking acceptance of virtual church is very much needed.

On the Bright Side…..

Yesterday I attended my first “tweetup” at Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert. If you don’t know what a tweetup is, it’s simply a gathering of folks who use twitter to organize the event through using their twitter networks.

Most of the conversation on this blog about twitter has been to take a look at its dark side. You can check out a little video chat between myself and Shane Hipps here where we discuss the unintended consequences of Twitter and online communication in general. While I agree with Shane wholeheartedly on the potential downsides of “virtual community”, I still enjoy using twitter and find it valuable in many ways.

One of the ways Twitter can be valuable is that is allows you to make initial connections with people you would have never known otherwise, and the idea of a “tweetup” is to actually meet some of these folks face to face.

I had a great time yesterday meeting a few people who I would probably never have met otherwise. Not only that but the conversation was engaging and friendly. I say that because I sort of half expected for everyone to be glued to their laptops or constantly looking at their cell phones. It was the exact opposite. Everyone truly seemed engaged in conversation, undistracted and open. It was a great experience. Thanks to Liberty Market for hosting. Hopefully I can make to some other tweetups in the future.

On a side not, a honey badger beats the cobra.

Thoughts on the Kindle

I recently received a Kindle 2 as a birthday gift from my lovely wife. Luckily the Kindle was shipped to my house just in time for a five day trip to the East coast last week. This was the first time I’ve ever gone on a trip without bringing several books, weighing down my bags. So right away, huge plus.

The trip was a great opportunity to put the Kindle to the test. In theory, this device is a great idea but I’ve never had an opportunity to give it a whirl. All in all, I’m very impressed. The screen is very easy to read and at no point did it fatigue my eyes. The ability to take notes, highlight, listen to music all in the same reading device makes it a very useful tool. At the bottom of the screen, the Kindle gives you a percentage of how far you’ve made it into whatever book your reading. I found that it provided an extra motivation to tackle the pages, something I don’t get with the dead tree version.

At no point did I miss having a real book instead of the kindle. Maybe that’s because I am still digging the newness of the device. It’s also due to the indisputable fact that if I were to bring with me all the books I have in my Kindle, I’d be paying so much more for extra baggage- not to mention how bad my back would have been with a backpack heavier than a bowling ball.

In addition to the device itself, the integration between the Kindle and the Kindle iPhone app is fantastic. I really do feel like I’ll up my reading volume significantly while armed with both options.

If you love to read and do a lot of traveling, a Kindle is an absolute no brainer. The only downside I can see with the device is that it seems very fragile. If you’re going to get the device, don’t skimp on a case and the 2 year extended warranty. I have a friend who ended up getting a slight dent on the back of the device and his screen doesn’t work at all.